Posts in Writing Process
Anatomy of a Writer: April 19

Blog Post 2 Being a writer is a process in insanity. Seriously. We mix creativity (which is a monster out of our control), our drive for expression, art, and understanding, with entrepreneurism. We are both introverts and extroverts. We create in the most intimate and vulnerable ways, then turn around and push it out into the world with our armor, shields, and swords.

Basically, never become a writer unless you're also willing to have a smidge of a personality disorder.

Sometimes this hurts. Like, really, really hurts. The transition isn't easy. If we have to force it, expect there to be some emotional backlash down the pipe. For example: you've just spent three solid weeks writing thousands of words a day. The real world has slipped away and you live more inside your fantasy world than the space you physically inhabit. You've stripped away all your defenses in order to feel as your character feels, hurt and hope and your character hurts and hopes.

It's a raw place.

Not at time to be standing up on your rock proclaiming for all the world to criticize you.

And yet...the publishing schedule does not always allow for those precious moments to heal inside your cocoon and slowly reemerge into the harsh, bright world. Nope. Sometimes you've got work to do and that means tying those shoelaces tighter, cinching in your belt, and plummeting headfirst into the Colosseum of life without your Gladiator armor at the ready.

You can do it. You've done it before and you'll do it again. BUT IT SUCKS! And in the end you are bruised, battered, and probably wondering if you'll survive the night.

(Hint: You will.)

And despite all your best laid plans to have publishing and marketing time well insulated from your creative time, your schedule will fall apart again one day, and you will be forced to shift your creative gears, grinding as you seek out the right one.

If you are forced to switch from creative mode to entrepreneur mode in the blink of an eye remember that it's okay to have a freak out afterward. In fact, the one thing you can plan for in a time of no planning, is that you will and should take some time afterward to have an OMFG WHAT DID I JUST DO moment. Take several days. Do not beat yourself up over being overloaded and do not feel less than because you became overwhelmed by the firestorm of the other half of your personality/job.

Having just done this myself, here are a few tips that have helped get me back on me feet faster than ever:

  • Admit you are overwhelmed and accept that this is normal
  • Talk to your friends. Not just once or twice, but many times. As much as you need to in order to stay tethered to that friendly connection. (And talk about more than the book.)
  • Have a person. Someone (a friend, lover, sister, cousin, fellow writer) who knows your personality and your deep doubts and fears. They will hear what worries you most even when you can't put it into words. Let them reassure you. Accept that they are right and your doubts are wrong.
  • Get out of your routine. Go away for the weekend, have an outdoor adventure, visit someone you haven't seen in a while...do something to put yourself outside of the microcosm of writing and publishing. It will get you away from the notifications, the routine, and help break you out of the little dark hole.
  • Speaking of notifications: TURN THEM OFF. There is a time to be on top of book sales, ad views, clicks, and ROI. And then there is the point where you've done what you can do and you need to let it go. Close your browser, hide your phone, turn off all the dings, alerts, and shortcuts that let you sneak a quick peek when no one is looking.
  • Don't do social media for at least three days. Call someone. Have lunch or dinner with a friend. Hand write letters. Download Facebook's group app if you use a lot of groups and want to stay informed but do not open Facebook! All the social medias will still be there in three days.
  • Sleep. If you have trouble with all the anxiety, then talk to your doctor about a sleep aide that might be beneficial to you in times of extreme stress. The most important thing is that you actually get some quality sleep.
  • Drink water and eat yummy food.
  • Have fun again. The best book and marketing ideas come from being out and enjoying your life. Go do something really fun.

Blog post

The Music of Never Let Go

I write to music. We've talked about this before (and here and here) but I don't know if I've ever truly articulated what that means. More on that below. First, let's tackle the meat of this post: the music of Never Let Go. It really boils down to three main songs, and then a handful of "soundtrack" songs. The most important of which is the inspiration song. This came on the radio and BAM! Two years of wondering if I'd ever write another Jake and Eve book was over. Yes, I was writing another book and this was what it was going to be about: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-MBfn8XjIU]

"Like I'm Gonna Lose You" by Meghan Trainor, featuring the amazing John Legend was the crux of Jake and Eve's married life. They spent so many years apart that they are so very keenly aware of how lucky they are to be happy.

The scene hit me like a bolt of lighting (appropriate, I know!) Eve standing at a cold sink staring out the window thinking about how hard she holds onto Jake, loving him like she might lose him. He comes up behind her and whispers in her ear. I wrote the book from there.

But like every other book I've ever written, the inspiration song is just that: inspiration. I don't actually write to the song. This is what I actually listened to while writing:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmjyO-r1OhA]

It's this verse in particular

I'm a hold my cards close

I'm a wreck what I love most

I'm a first class letdown I'm a "shut up, sit down"

that screams "Jake" to me, but there are so many more lyrics in this song that make it his story through and through.

And what has happened with every single book I've ever written? (about halfway through writing) I hear a song that stops me dead in my tracks. THIS SONG is THE SONG!!! It is the story I'm writing and everything I feel when I making words! I fall in love and listen to it like a broken record until I finish writing. For Never Let Go, it was this song:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJDB0FDJDDU]

"This mess was yours, now this mess is mine," is the heart of Jake and Eve's story, more so in this book than the other two. "You're the reason that I feel so strong, the reason that I'm holding on." *dies* "Mess is Mine" is the song of Never Let Go. Period.

To listen to my entire Never Let Go soundtrack and hear all the music that inspired the book, visit my Spotify Playlist here.

So, at the beginning of this post I mentioned that I don't just listen to music when I'm writing. I don't simply find inspiration in songs. I swear I have this out of body experience when it comes to music. I always have. For as far back as I can remember. I see entire stories when I hear a song. The music may only last for three minutes, but in my head it is so much more. A few lines become entire backstories. Entire worlds. I can see hundreds of pages of context from that one song.

Before I could write, I would act out these stories by dressing up. I would force my poor sister to play along. Elaborate sessions of make-believe were all carried out to a soundtrack. Namely Olivia Newton-John, but there were others.

When I got older I realized I didn't want to act out these stories I saw, I wanted to write them (I just didn't have that tool when I was younger.) The first time I was taken away and wrote an entire book to a CD was the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack. I would put on my headphones and listen for hours, making up books in my head.

It isn't any different today, except that I actually do write entire books based on the stories I see in my head after listening to a single song.

These are the songs that transported me to the world of Jake and Eve in Never Let Go. I hope it helps transport you into their world as you get ready to read their final book. Let me know what you think of the songs and the book (out May 24th, 2016!)

neverletgo3