November 18, 2020– Let’s take a page out of my own book Advice from a Publisher (Insider tips for getting your work published!) available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/
Q: I’m working on a couple of novels simultaneously, and I’m having a problem keeping things straight! I’ve mixed up my characters and plots in a few places during the story and am driving myself crazy! How do I fix this?
A: Kudos to you for working on two novels! Don’t worry; it’s an easy fix.
- Sticky notes are your friend. Before sitting down to work on either one of your novels, take a sticky note and write the main character’s name in BOLD, BLACK marker. Stick it to the screen of your laptop. This is a visual reminder of what you’re working on and which character/book requires your attention.
- One thing per day. Section your week into specific days that you will work on each project. For example, I write Becoming James Cass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I work on my other book, I am Jessica Westlake. It’s much easier to write on certain days rather than spend the morning of each day working on project one, and the afternoon working on project two. You’ll be less inclined to make a mistake…unless, of course, you’re like me and never know what day it is!
Please send me your questions! I love helping aspiring authors. You can reach me at email@example.com.
March 2, 2020– Happy March, Friends! I trust that this will be a good month because you will make it one! I get a lot of emails each week from authors looking for advice, and this week, I got a doozy of a letter. Let me share it with you.
“I’m having a tough time with a couple of things. The first thing that’s really getting to me is people (friends and family) saying that artists can’t make a living and the arts are a waste of time (I want to be a writer), and second, I’m letting their comments distract me from writing, and they’re getting into my head. I’m spending more time defending my position than I am writing. How do I fix this and get back on track?”
Girl, let me help you, please send me their address, and I’ll teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget, but seriously, please remember that you are a BADASS, a talented writer, and an artist who is GOING TO MAKE IT. And you’ll probably make more money as a writer than all of those people COMBINED, who bring you down.
Here are somethings that you need to do IMMEDIATELY to get back to where you need to be.
- Get rid of all distractions. Put the phone down, get off social media, and recalibrate yourself. We spend so much time being distracted by what’s going on online that it destroys our creativity. Every notification is like a virtual tap on the shoulder that takes our attention away from tasks that are much more important, like living in real life and washing our hair. Focus, girl- you’ll be so glad you did.
- Get rid of negativity. When I was recovering from my concussion, I knew that I could not afford to have another negative thought enter my mind if I was going to heal. The same goes for you; you cannot afford to have negative people around you because they will bring you down and will stifle your progress and stop you from becoming the writer you could have been. They will make you a shadow of who you could become. I am insanely protective of who comes into my space, onto my team, and into my life, and if we can’t build together, we can’t be together. Focus on the positive and take care of your needs first, if someone drains you, cut them loose and cancel them from your life, you’ll be better off, and if you can’t completely get away from them, limit your time with them severely. You can’t pour from an empty cup, being the best for you, will help you be the best for yourself, your readers, and for the people that believe in you.
- Chew, Chew, Chew, because they hope you choke. Prepare, that’s what this sentence means. Some people don’t want you to become all that you’re capable of becoming because it’s not comfortable for them. Some people want you to fail, and they want you to see you f*ck up. That’s how some people feel better about their own lives, I guess; how pathetic and sad for them. When I say chew, chew, chew, I mean that you need to make sure you don’t fail, that you don’t choke, that you properly arm for success by setting yourself up to succeed. Plan what you need to do, show up every single day, learn everything you can, and be better than you were the day before.
So, to the people who don’t believe in you, to the ones who think you’ll never make it, I have two words that you need to hear. I think you already know what they are. You’re either on our team or in our way and you will be treated accordingly. No matter what, dear writer, never give up.
October 18, 2019– Recently, I received an email from someone who submitted their work to me for consideration. There was one line in the email that hit me, “I’ll take your opinion to heart.”
I’m here to tell you NOT to take my opinion to heart when it comes to your writing. Why? Because it’s my opinion and not absolute, undisputed fact. Let’s face it, I have to send out a ton of rejection letters each month and it’s up there with being one of the worst parts of my job, but that’s the nature of the business. I find that sometimes, aspiring writers tend to get so discouraged when they get a rejection letter from a publisher that they stop writing altogether and that’s the worst thing that can happen. Yes, it’s difficult to accept that people don’t appreciate your work the way that you do, but art is subjective and writing is art. There are a hundred of reasons why your work may have been rejected and sometimes it just comes down to the House being full with upcoming projects.
Never stop writing, write the story that you want to read, and take all criticism with a grain of salt. Now, I’m not talking about being arrogant and saying that the professionals in the business have no idea what they’re saying and that you’re the greatest writer of our time and that we’re all idiots and that you’re the next Poe…(that’s a true example by the way) I’m talking about taking the criticism and doing something with it to improve your writing. A lot of times publishers don’t offer critiques and they just don’t respond at all, in that case, try and get an opinion on your story from a third party, not someone who is related to you or thinks you hung the moon. Get a beta reader group, ask an editor, or find someone that doesn’t like you, (I’m serious, they’ll tell you the truth) and have them read your manuscript and offer feedback.
Never give up. Continue to improve your craft and I promise that the magic will happen. The universe is in love with stubborn hearts.
August 23, 2019– Quick, what is something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done? Too often we have a list of things that we set out to accomplish, but the list never gets finished, or worse, we never start. Today, I have an exercise for you to complete! Check it out below:
- Dream BIG! The bigger the better! Decide what you want to do and make sure that it’s huge. Examples could be, sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, to have an article that you wrote featured in a major magazine, or to travel internationally to a writing conference. Whatever it is, make sure you really want it!
- Set a timeline. I personally use the 30-day rule. I set a goal and give myself 30 days to accomplish it. It’s realistic and gives me enough time to get to work on what I’ve set out to do. Without a timeline, you don’t have anything to work toward and even if you don’t fully reach your goal, you’re going to be a heck of a lot closer than you were!
- Be bold and take steps toward your goal every day. Remind yourself of your goal constantly and do at least one thing each day to help yourself reach it! Let’s use the example above and your dream is to sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, what have you done today to help realize that dream? Have you made a list of publishers to query? Have you polished your query letter? Have you done your research on which publishers fit with your submission? You get the point!I challenge you to dream big and take the necessary steps to turn your dream into reality! Get started today, you’ll be glad you did. X LLB
July 31, 2019– Check out this short but sweet TedTalk with Matt Cutts! You can do anything for 30 days:)
June 21, 2019– Wow, this is an excellent question! Let’s dive right in.
Q: “Lacey, my family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. They tell me that I won’t make any money and that I should focus on getting a real job. Writing is something I love, but I understand that I will need to pay my bills at the same time. How do I convince them that I’m doing something that I love and that this will pay off?”
A: Whoa…for a second after reading this, I was at a loss for words. I’ll break it down because there are a couple of hidden questions in here and I don’t want to miss them.
- My family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. Sometimes, families aren’t supportive of our dreams. They mean well, but then again, some of them don’t. Some families don’t support the arts, and they don’t understand or appreciate any form of artistic expression. This can be very difficult. You have to follow your OWN path and whatever journey that leads you on. No one can decide what you should do with your life. If you want to be a writer, by all means, do it! Find others that will support you in all of your endeavours no matter what they are.
- They tell me I won’t make any money and I should focus on getting a real job. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this has been said to me time and time again. “Writer’s don’t make any money,” “How are you going to pay your bills?” “No one is going to buy your books,” “Who do you think you are?” Yep, it hurts. But, that’s what makes victory so sweet. The fact is, there are millions of writers out there who make plenty of money writing books. And there are so many ways to make a living writing! You can write for magazines, you can do copywriting, editing, content creation, blogging, journalism, and hundreds of other things that revolve around writing. Focus on honing your skills and getting as much experience as possible. Last time I checked, which was 56 seconds ago, writing was a real job.
- How can I convince them that I’m doing something I love and that this will pay off? You can’t and you never will convince them so stop trying. Do what you want to do because YOU want to do it. Life is way too short to be living your life based on what other people want you to do, say, or think. Getting up in the morning is a gamble, crossing the street is a gamble, travelling is a gamble, and the list goes on. There are no guarantees in life except that we only have one shot at it. Don’t spend your life wondering what if. If this is what you want to do, you don’t need anyone else’s approval. I can’t tell you that this will pay off, but what I can tell you is that you won’t regret trying. We only regret the chances we never take.
Keep your head up. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
If you have a question you’d like answered, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 12, 2019– This is a question we ask ourselves that changes over time and certainly as we get older. The question of what exactly do you want also is based on what matters most in our lives at that moment and is shaped by the experiences we’ve had.
As an author, I ask you this question! You have to define what you want before you can ever succeed in getting it. People who don’t have goals (especially written down) are like rudderless ships adrift at sea…they’re going nowhere, fast.
It’s important to write down exactly what you want for your life and to be as specific as possible while making your list. This list is very personal so please don’t filter yourself and don’t ever think that anything you want is too big to consider. The bigger you dream, the better. Don’t box yourself in by thinking small!
After you’ve made your list, STOP doing all of the things that WON’T get you to your dreams. For example, if one of the things on your list is to finish your novel, then stop wasting time, stop playing on your phone, stop getting distracted.
If we all just took five minutes a day to work on each item on our list of goals, imagine where we would be in a year, I bet a lot of those dreams would be accomplished!
So, get started on your list; What Exactly Do You Want?
May 10, 2019– On this episode of Publisher’s Corner, I answer a question from someone who is struggling with outlining. Ahhh, outlining is an old friend who I don’t particularly like to be honest. I’ll explain why in my answer below, so let’s dig in!
Q: “Lacey, Outlining is something that I’ve struggled with in the past. Which method do you tend to prefer?”
A: This is an excellent question and I’ll be real and say that EVERYONE struggles with outlining! Why? Because some information out there is so damn complicated without needing to be. I agree that outlining is difficult because it’s often a case of not knowing how to organize your thoughts as an author. Organized thoughts and author in the same sentence? I know, eh? Crazy. There are a few different methods to outlining, but you have to discover which is best for you as a writer. I prefer the Get-it-all-out-and-sew-it-together method, which is kind of like putting pieces of a puzzle in place. You choose whatever is best for you!
See you next Friday, Happy Writing! X LLB