Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, November 24, 2008

My First Published Work

Yesterday, my mother-in-law gave me a book she found in a box she was going through. It's the, "Castle Dale Stake Mormon Arts Festival Writing Contest Winners, 1979." And guess what was in there? This little poem that won second place in the children's division:

The Lord is Where
The Lord is through the ceiling
And the rainbow that just came out,
And through the stars of night
And the sun of day.
We are just passing through its beautiful rays.
We finally reach his holy place;
We jump up and down with a smilie face.
--Angie Taylor, age 7

My first publication! You know, I can actually remember composing this poem in my head during Sacrament Meeting. It's funny that my mother-in-law had this. We lived in the same stake back then, but my husband and I didn't meet until college.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting in touch with your muse

My mom made me a wall hanging from a Mary Englebreit picture which says, "Inspiration is the act of pulling up a chair to the writing desk." I like that.

Here are some random thoughts of mine on getting inspired to write:

Music: I like to listen to music while I write. Some songs inspire emotions that I want to capture in a story.For instance, my short story "Ripped" was inspired by the melencholy homesick feeling of the song, Five Hundred Miles. (If you miss the train I'm on/You will know that I am gone./You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.)

Daydreaming: Heck, I love to daydream. It also helps me get to sleep at night.

Reading: Reading really great writing makes me want to do some of my own. Reading really crappy writing makes me think, "Hey, I can do better than that." Reading non-fiction often gives me story ideas, too.

I'll add more when I think of some.

I'd love to hear what inspires you guys!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Accepting Rejection

I got a rejection letter last week. It wasn't a letter actually rejecting the story. It was more like, "I'm shutting down the magazine, so here's your story back." It's still disheartening. All rejections are disheartening. Believe me, I have received a ton of rejection letters. Some of them almost made me happy, like the ones actually signed in ink by Stanley Schmidt from Analog, and one really nice one from Sheila Williams at Asimov's. Others have made me absolutely furious. Who do those stupid editors think they are, anyway? I resisted the urge to reply and tell them as much. (You should always resist that urge. Nothing like burning bridges.) Mostly, though, I just feel really disappointed. Sometimes, I fall into "I'm a crappy writer" mode, but that's really not helpful. The best thing I can do is pick myself up off the floor and send the dratted story out to someone else. Then do it again, and again, and again.... All of my published stories were rejected numerous times before finding a home. Last week's rejected story was back in the mail the very next day. (Pat on the back for me.)

As an editor over at Mindflights, I get to see the other side of the coin. That has added a lot of perspective. All magazines (and book publishers) reject waaaay more stuff than they buy. I've read a lot of really poorly written stories. Do I think the authors should never have submitted them? Not at all! Writers have to submit, have to keep working, have to keep trying and improving. Rejection is just part of the game if you want to be a writer. You just have to learn to accept it and go on. Send the story out again. Work on something new, but never give up. If I've learned anything trying to get published it is persistance, and persistance really works.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random Weirdness

This is my Nesquik folder:

It is very appropriate that I have a Nesquik folder, since I drink Nesquik every single day. I have Nesquik in my year's supply. I love Nesquik. I cannot live without it. Anyway, I carried around my novel chapters in this folder when I was making my revisions. Now, when I look at this folder, I see Caleb. Those of you who have read the novel will agree that the Nesquik bunny is in NO WAY an appropriate image for Caleb. But there it is. That's Caleb in my mind. Weird.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My apologies...

...To everyone who thought this blog might be interesting. Sigh. It seems that when I get intensely working on a writing project (or two, or three), I don't have time or interest in blogging. I'm going gangbusters on "Consecrated." I've written 35 + pages. That's cool. I can't wait until it's done. I pulled out the Christmas story again and proofread and changed some little things. I think there are still some weak spots that need polishing, so I'm working on that, too. I got the critique of my novel back from my good friend and FREAKIN' AWESOME critiquer/editor Suzette. I am so excited to be working on her suggestions. So, that's writing project number three. I have to admit, I'm a little scared to finish the novel because then I'll have to submit it, and that is terrifying me. I don't know why. It's not like I don't submit stuff all the time. I'm nervous about it, though. I've had several people read the manuscript, and I have asked all of them to tell me who their favorite character is. It is so interesting to me to find out who they relate to in the novel. It's been cool. They almost all chose someone different. Well, that's all for now. Hopefully, I'll blog again soon!