Frustrations Known-The Thoughts of Simple Perfectionist Scorned

As I work through my final edit of Hardship & Devotion, I am both exhausted and relieved that the process is almost over. This novel, which I started back in 2012, has been something of a learning project for me. In my excitement to publish, I let my judgement become clouded and the novel was published with too many mistakes. I pride myself on being something of a perfectionist, which is why I decided to do a complete revision of the novel.

When I decided to publish through Trafford Publishing, I was thrilled when they told me they offered an editing service. I figured, why not? It would save me the time and I was interested to see what their editors had to say about my work. Now, when you hear the words “editing service,” what are your thoughts? If you are anything like me, you might find yourself thinking of phrases like, “zero mistakes,” “perfect grammar,” or “polished manuscript.”

As my email went “ping” and told me I’d had a new email, I was elated to find my “edited manuscript” in my inbox. Granted, it was covered with plenty commentary and red markings to show my mistakes. It was what I’d expected from an editing service, yet my first thought was “Holy crap! I suck at writing!” Then I began to look through the pages and found most of them to be minor grammatical errors and typos I’d missed. I felt better about myself afterward.

In the excitement of wanting my novel out there for all to read, I pressed “ACCEPT” to all changes and signed my name on the dotted line. Worst thing I ever did. Before I knew it, I had copies of my novel being sent to my home and reviews coming in. It was one review that made me pause, especially when I read these words: “In her first novel, McKaylin shows the promise of a talented and thoughtful writer. I sensed that in her enthusiasm and excitement to publish, she may have rushed to print. But if Hardship & Devotion is ever reprinted, the scattered typographical errors in her manuscript will be easily corrected.”

If any of you have ever heard such words about your writing, you can only imagine how my stomach turned. I was a mess. The first thing I did was open up my book and read it cover to cover, and found that there were mistakes clear through it. I nearly gave up, completely daunted by what would be needed to fix the mess. And here we are, two years later, and it’s just now nearly finished.

I will say this about Trafford Publishing, they are helping me fix the issue with professionalism. I know that this is mostly my fault, seeing as I didn’t take the time to go through and combed through their suggestions thoroughly. The excitement got the best of me.

I learned quite a valuable lesson. Not only is one edit not enough, but I quickly learned what a beta-reader was and why they are so important. Three wonderful women have beta-read Hardship & Devotion, as well as have there been three separate edits completed. I still cannot believe the trouble I’ve had to go through to fix my mistake, but I know that all the blood, sweat and tears will have all been worth it in the end. I’m proud to call this novel mine, and can’t wait for the finished product to be reprinted and available for all to share.

Back to Life!

In the craziness that has become my life, I’ve neglected this blog. I aim to change that!

I’ve been considering adding a few chapters of each of my newest projects, so that my readers get a glimpse of what’s to come. This would include the revamped Hardship & Devotion and the new works: Unexpected Choices, The Irish Bred Series, and The Mystical Forest Series. Why go through all this trouble?

As I work on these works, I’ve found that with my excitement in writing them, I have a need to share just a little bit of them. I hope people become as excited about them as I am. Many authors have done just this, or in the least, shared their thought process as they revised and edited their works. I get a kick out of reading their posts and I’d like to do the same for all of my followers. To ensure that I don’t give too much away on either novel, I’ll only be showing off the first two chapters of each work. I’ll be doing this in the beginning of the New Year of 2014, so keep an eye out! 🙂

I wish you all a very blessed New Year!!!!

HARDSHIP & DEVOTION Facelift

To all those that have read or are wanting to read my first novel, Hardship & Devotion, it is currently going through another edit. After several comments regarding the story line being fascinating and the characters wonderful, there are enough errors that I’ve decided to fix the mistakes that my “editing” team supposedly fixed.  It wasn’t until it was already published that I realized how wrong I’d been in putting so much faith in an editing service. I WILL NEVER make that mistake again. I’m hoping that by end of this year, the newly refurbished novel will be available for all to read. I apologize to all those that have already read this piece and had to suffer through the errors. If it weren’t for honest reviewers, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the errors myself.

I’ll make sure and keep you updated. Also, I’ll be writing a post in regards to my first individual publishing story as well. This will give you all insight into the individual publishing process and the lessons I learned. There are many that were learned, aside from the editing service, and I wish to share them with you all. Individual publishing is a great thing for authors, but it’s important when going through an individual publishing company that you’re made aware of what to watch for.

For now, Happy Writing and Reading everyone!

New Trilogy in the Works

I don’t have a name for this trilogy quite yet, but it’s going to be an adult paranormal featuring Irish Weres (Werewolves). I have been doing so much research for this project, and while I was researching Irish Gaelic, I came across Celetic Wedding Vows that I found to be absolutely amazing!

You cannot possess me for I belong to myself.
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me, for I am a free person.
But I shall serve you in those ways you require,
And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night, and the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite of my meat and the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care.
I shall be a shield for your back and you for mine.
I shall not slander you, nor you me.
I shall honor you above all others, and when we quarrel we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you
This is the marriage of equals.

I have decided to include this in the trilogy, but that’s all I’m willing to share at this time! 😉

HAPPY WRITING EVERYONE!

Looking to Try a Wack at Traditional Publishing? You’re Gonna Need an Agent.

Like some might already know, my first novel Hardship & Devotion, was published through an individual publishing company called, Trafford Publishing. http://www.trafford.com/ Though I had a great experience publishing individually, I am an author with the dream of becoming a Best Seller. From what I’ve researched, the only way to do that is to have an agent at your side.

I have decided to try the traditional publishing route for my second novel, Unexpected Choices. Since this decision, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching different agencies and have a list of the ones that I plan on writing a query to. The big question that I have though, is: How do I write a successful query that will help me get noticed?

While I was on twitter this morning, I found a link: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/how-i-got-my-agent-joanne-bischoff. It’s the story of how Joanne Bischoff got her agent. It is stories like Joanne’s that give me hope in being picked up by an agent one day, and I hope her story can give you that same feeling of hope as well.

Along with this article, there was a link that I found to be very resourceful: http://writerunboxed.com/2012/09/24/9-24/. Here, Chuck Sambuchine reveals “9 Frequently Asked Questions About Query.” It was really helpful to me, seeing they many of the questions were some of the same questions I’ve had since starting my research.

There are those that choose to continue publishing individually, but for me, I think seeing my novels on the shelves in stores around the world would be simply thrilling. If you’re in the same position, keep an eye out for more information as I am still researching and will be sharing it through this blog.

Have any questions you, yourself want answered?

It will help me to know what other questions you guys might have in regards to finding a literary agent, or anything regarding the traditional publishing process. I not only am doing the research for me, but I also want to do it for anyone else that will benefit from it. Feel free to post your questions and/or thoughts below. You can also ask about my experience with individual publishing as well.

HAPPY WRITING!

Creative Writing, Writing Habits, & Writing Rituals

In the process of finding myself, I found that the career path I had previously chosen for myself wasn’t what I wanted to do at all. In fact, I found that my mind had a hard time focusing on the homework, because I was busy lost inside my own head or still lost in the words I’d just read from a new novel I was reading. In the end, I found that my true passion was the written word. I decided to finish my Associates Degree in Medical Billing and Coding, but that I would return in the New Year and start on my Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing. Now that I’m enrolled and currently engaged in my classes, I’m finding that I made the right decision.

The textbook we use for my Introduction to Creative Writing, is called, The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students 2nd Edition, by Heather Sellers. Even if you aren’t a student studying to receive a degree in creative writing, I strongly suggest this book for those wanting to become an author regardless. After reading a few chapters into this text, I immediately thought about my blog and that I could help so many new or even established authors by the knowledge I receive in my studies.

One thing I’ve learned so far is that having a scheduled time of day, every day, to write is important.  In other words, I needed a writing habit in order to keep me focused long enough to actually get words on paper. I have found that the best time for me to write is either late at night or early in the morning. Today, for the first time, I tried writing early in the morning verses late at night. By doing this little test, I was able to sit and type out an entire chapter. I took time to read the last page of my novel in progress and then BAM! I started writing. I didn’t stop until my son woke up and at that point I was finishing up the last paragraph of my chapter.

Not only am I a fulltime student, I’m also a mother of two little ones under the age of five. It’s because of this that I need time away from others to truly focus and get myself into a good enough rhythm to allow my mind to get into the flow of my stories. With so many distractions, I wasn’t able to get much done in a days’ work, like I did this morning with just three hours of uninterrupted writing. I was even able to go back through and read how well I did. I had started this test thinking early writing would have been an awful idea, but I found that it was my best writing yet. Apparently my brain needs to have no distraction, which is only done when I’m not fully aware of my days’ happenings.

With this little test, I now know that my writing habit needs to be changed from late night or a few minutes here and there through the day, to writing a couple of hours in the early morning.

Aside from having a writing habit, I also learned that you should also set up a writing ritual as well. As Sellers states in the textbook mentioned above, “Rituals help us achieve and intensify focus. Writing rituals are the key to keeping your writing habit in place.” By keeping rituals in place, it will also help us writers stay focused, steer clear from procrastination, and avoid any unnecessary distractions.

So what is a ritual? From my understanding, a ritual is something you can use to trigger your brain to know that it’s time to write. The example Seller used was lighting a candle prior to writing. For myself, I have decided to plug my laptop in the kitchen at night. That way I can push the button to make a cup of coffee and then carry my laptop either to my bed or the couch with coffee in hand. These are my two favorite places to write. I don’t like locking myself up in my office. It makes me feel as though I’m shut out from the world. Even if I am the only one awake at 5 a.m., at least I know that because my kids aren’t out of their rooms and I can see their doors from my position on the couch.

I don’t know about any of you guys, but distractions are a big one for me. Who would have thought, me—someone who didn’t like getting up early to even workout—now finds that writing in the early a.m. is best for my creative brain? I was secretly hoping that I did better at night; however my results are proof enough for me, plus I’ll get to go to bed with my husband every night. I’m sure I will have my days where the words don’t flow as easily, but that’s part of being a creative writer. We still have to do what works out best for us in order to produce our work for all to read.

So now I ask you all, do you have a writing habit or ritual? How long do you think is the best time to write?

Work Cited:

Sellers, H. (2013). The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide For Students (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St Martin’s.

WEBSITE IS OFFICIALLY UP AND RUNNING!

Hello all!

HARDSHIP & DEVOTION UPDATE: Hardship and Devotion’s website is officially up and running! This gives a link to Trafford Publishing’s website to buy the book directly through them (bringing in more money to myself :)), as well as information regarding “About the Book” and “About the Author”. The website is: www.hardshipanddevotion.com If you have some time, check it out! I think the web design team at Trafford Publishing, did a wonderful job incorporating my cover art and the overall feel of my novel into the site.

MANY THANKS: I also want to personally thank all of you that have been so supportive throughout this wonderful journey, as well as for those of you that have already purchased my book! If you find yourself liking what you’ve read in Hardship & Devotion, be prepared to hear more on my next novel, “Unexpected Choices.” It is currently still in the writing process, but is coming along quite smoothly. It’s going to be quite the page turner if I do say so myself! 😉 I’ve been putting a lot of me into this next novel. One thing I do know is that none of this would be possible without those that have supported me through all this; my husband Joe, my mother Kellie, my father Tom, my siblings, family, friends and yes, my children, for enduring all my “homework” — as my four-year old calls it. 🙂

PERSONAL UPDATE: Something else to look forward to is that I will be starting school at the beginning of the year to finish my Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing-English-Fiction. I know that many authors that are successful today have been able to get there without the help of a degree, but I hope to use all my knowledge to benefit new authors. Through this blog, my experience in self-publishing, and research I do on a daily basis, I hope that I will be able to help answer any questions you might have if you’re wanting to publish your own work of art.

Happy Writing & Reading,

McKaylin L. Felton