A Writer’s Life: Social Media, self-doubt and creativity.


DB Tait has some comforting words for writers struggling with self-doubt and social media on Romance Writers of Australia – “Doubting myself is a chronic condition with me but I found social media made it worse. I saw other people discuss their work, including their work output, and knew I would never be able to achieve what they did. I saw people win dubious prizes and brag about their position on Amazon and wondered if I should be involved in that. Sometimes I did and then didn’t like myself. Other people marketed their work ferociously, which irritated me but also made me again wonder if I shouldn’t be doing that too.” Read on here.

Romance Writers of Australia

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk.  This peek into DB Tait‘s writing life first appeared in the October 2016 edition.  Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA]. 

db-taitSocial media, self-doubt and creativity

Back in 2004 when I started writing seriously, the internet was a great source of information about the craft of writing and a whole range of other writing-related issues. I started out not particularly wanting to write in romance as a genre, just wanting to write something. But I noticed that everything I wrote had a romance in it or a romantic theme. So I googled, found the Romance Writers of Australia…

View original post 825 more words

Killer Doubt and Kicking Butt


Writing is like a balanced diet – everything in moderation.

Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. In embracing the art and craft of writing, we aim to improve with every book we publish. Each conference we attend, every workshop we take and with every round of edits on our manuscripts, we’re honing our technique and learning new skills. As a reader, I never noticed things like ‘point of view’ swings nor did I care about the hero or heroine’s ‘mirror moment’ or ‘character arc’. All I knew was that the story did or didn’t work for me. I didn’t understand what it was that drew me out of the story after the opening paragraph, made me reach halfway point only to be unable to finish the book, or (most importantly) what it was that kept me on the edge of my seat entertained until ‘the end’.

Then came writing, editing, research, competition entries and finally, publishing. I learned technique, the do’s and dont’s of writing a good book, publishers’ guidelines and styles…the list goes on to assist you in presenting the reader with a book you hope will be the next international bestseller. And who knows, you might just be lucky 🙂

So that’s book one on the shelf, all nicely packaged and ready for ripping through the roof of sales charts world-wide…until that devil named Self-Doubt comes knocking on your door. And you don’t have to be a writer for him to come knocking.

My current work in progress is a small town romance and I’m having a little trouble with my characters. I’ve plotted and planned out the chapters, defined their personalities, their arcs, their mirror moments, and generally organised them within an inch of their lives. Three chapters later, I’ve hit the wall with them dancing around each other like boxers in the ring with no fight plan. Right after that comes, “I can’t do this. What makes me think I can write a book? What if readers don’t like it?”

Why am I having trouble? Because I’m trying to stick to the ‘rules’.

When the monster Self-Doubt comes calling, I back away from my keyboard and curl up with my all time favorite author, Nora Roberts. It’s there I see all the ‘rules’ being broken that, as a reader, I didn’t recognize before. Here’s a few:

  1. Starting a sentence with ‘And’ – Nora did it
  2. Starting a sentence with ‘Because’ – Nora did it
  3. Starting a sentence with ‘But’ – Nora did it
  4. Switching in and out of POV’s – Nora did it!

 

The editor in me shouts “No!” while the writer in me shouts, “Yes, yes, yes!” Why? Because that’s how ‘real people’ speak and since our characters are ‘real people’, they should be allowed to speak naturally. What gives your writing a ‘voice’ is the uniqueness of your style, the way you structure your sentences, scenes and dialogue; that little bit of ‘you’ in every story. So perhaps it’s time I followed the same advice I give to others in my role as an editor – write from the heart and apply the rules later, if they apply. If we apply the same rules to our work all the time, all our books would be the same – like a recipe passed down through the family – until someone comes along and adds a twist to it.

Be that person to add the twist – in moderation of course, you don’t want to break the rules all the time! Write from the head and the heart of your characters, and you’re on the road to writing a book that will resonate with the ‘real people’ out there – your readers. And when Self-Doubt steps into the ring, tell it to rack off and remember: Nora Roberts did it.

Night TalesThe most succesful novelist on Planet Earth’ – Washington Post

Night Shield

Even though he agreed to protect her cover — even though her own dad vouched for him — Allison Fletcher refused to be seduced by Jonah Blackhawk’s smooth charm and good looks. She was too much of a cop to fall for a shady character like Jonah…even if her pulse did race at his touch.

If only she didn’t have eyes like prime whiskey and a smile that melted his insides. If only she weren’t Boyd Fletcher’s daughter. Jonah had never cared much for cops…until now. But Ally was definitely off-limits to a guy like him. If only he could stop wanting her…

Night Moves

The house had stood vacant for ten years, but Maggie Fitzgerald knew she could call it home. An award-winning songwriter, Maggie had sought peace and solitude from the Los Angeles celebrity hounds after her husband’s accidental death. Instinct had brought her east, to the small Maryland town of Morganville.

Instinct also told her that Cliff Delaney, owner of a local landscaping company, was just the person to revitalize her property. But once that project began, the remains of a dead man were discovered and everyone she knew, including Cliff, seemed to have a motive for the killing.

Could she trust her instincts again or would the truth be her undoing?

Never Stop Learning


A good writer never stops learning. Whether it be from your own mistakes or by taking part in workshops and attending conferences. It’s not only your craft you need to hone but also your marketing skills. Technology provides us with so many opportunities these days and we need to learn how to make them work for us.

A group of Perth writers recently got together – thanks to the fabulous organisational skills of Claire Boston – for a marketing workshop run by Glennys Marsdon. Now I’ve attended a few of these in my professional past and was convinced I couldn’t possibly learn anything new. Well, I am very pleased to tell you…I was wrong! The day flew by and my head was filled with new information, new understanding and a better grasp of social media and internet marketing. Not only was Glennys an excellent presenter and speaker, but the interaction and input from the writers around the table was gold.

We had a mix of new and established writers, all happy to share advice, experience and encouragement. We had such a marvellous time that the delegates from the course in the next room wanted to abandon ship and board ours! Can’t say I blame them really 😉 We did a lot of talking, giggling and laughing out loud. Aroma did a roaring trade in coffee and I’m fairly sure the WA State Library is still recovering from the onslaught of sixteen authors wandering through the shelves of books with stars in their eyes. There may even be a hint of a story involving The Librarian with the Dragon Tattoo in the making…so a huge thanks to Claire, Glennys and RWA Member Grants for making this workshop possible.

One of the best decisions I made for my own writing was to work as a freelance editor for the last four years. I have learned so much about structure, rhythm and story-building from editing. The more I edit, the more ‘unconsciously competent’ I become with my own work. I can recognise and correct mistakes before I make them or, at the very least, pick them up before it’s too late. Now that’s not to say I’m an expert because I have a lot more to learn yet and I always will have. I’ve barely scraped the surface on my learning and writing journey.

Here are a few more ways I keep up with changes and learning opportunities in the writing world:

And most importantly:

  • Write, write, write!

Regards, Juanita headline

Links in this Blog:

Writing on the Go


It’s been an exciting start to the year and already I have learned so much more on my writing journey. At the beginning of 2015, I set myself a list of goals, and so far I’m pleased to find I’m on track. Although, that could change at any time. Here’s what I’ve been up to so far:

  • Hadassah holds a copy of her book, Courage and Conquerors
    Hadassah holds a copy of her book, Courage and Conquerors

    Two years ago I met an inspirational lady named Hadassah Pomeroy. Hadassah grew up in Tel Aviv during World War II and her life reads like a book on its own. Last year I worked closely with Hadassah to write, edit and publish her collection of short stories, Courage and Conquerors. It was a long, educational and insightful journey for both of us because Hadassah writes her manuscripts in a beautiful, flowing handwriting and they need to be interpreted and typed up. Every moment of that journey was worth it when Hadassah held the first copy of her book in her hands. The fabulous cover was created by Patti Roberts at Paradox Book Covers and Hadassah was overwhelmed at the beauty of her wolf cover.

  • Come to Cafe Nix
    Come to Cafe Nix

    Last year I got together with thirteen other fabulous Escape Publishing authors, and we created Ainslie Paton’s brainchild, Cafe Nix. This project seemed bigger than Ben Hur, but with great direction, a logical marketing plan, team effort and Ainslie’s whip-cracking, we went live ahead of schedule on Wattpad. Edited by Belinda Holmes, Cafe Nix will be up on Smashwords on April 2 for your reading pleasure. If you can’t wait until then…check it out on Wattpad.

  • This year I tried my hand at a little magic by sharing some short stories on Wattpad, two of which were entries in the RWA Little Gems contest. We all need a Touch of Magic every now and then in this crazy world we live in. I’m thrilled to say it’s getting quite a few views. Take a peek and let me know what you think.
  • I love Greek Mythology, so I tested the boundaries of my imagination by bringing a couple of Greek gods back to life. Seriously, what sane man tells a 21st Century woman he’s an honest-to-god Greek god? Ajax the Great does in Finding Paradise. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how his story goes…
  • Last but not least, I finally got down to the business of creating a newsletter. Not one that will hit your mailbox with annoying regularity, but one I hope will be informative, exciting and readable at erratic intervals when the muse strikes or if there is news to celebrate. Want to stay in touch? Sign up via my Facebook page.

Links:

Hadassah Pomeroy

Courage and Conquerors

Escape Publishing

Cafe Nix

A Touch of Magic

Paradox Book Covers (Patti Dunn)

 

 

 

2014 Awards: winners


The results are in! The winners of the ARRA at the 2015 conference in Canberra are:

Australian Romance Readers Association

AwardsThe winners of the 2014 Australian Romance Readers Awards were announced on 7 March at our Awards Dinner in Canberra. We started the announcements off with our Members’ Choice awards:

  • Favourite Cover: the winner was Play by Kylie Scott.
  • Sexiest Hero: the winner was Adam in Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns.
  • Favourite New Romance Author: the winner was Alli Sinclair.

In the main categories the winners were:

The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2014 is Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh.

The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2014 is Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews.

The Favourite Short Category Romance 2014 is The Honeymoon Trap by Kelly Hunter. The award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and presented by Cristina Lee.

The Favourite Historical Romance 2014 is The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie.

The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2014 is Play by Kylie Scott. The award was sponsored by Steam eReads.

The Favourite Erotic…

View original post 124 more words

REVIEWER SPOTLIGHT: Write Note Reviews


I’m honoured to be named one of Write Note Reviews Top Five Aussie Reads in 2014! Big squee to be in amongst these awesome Aussie reads.
Billabong Bend by Jennifer Scoullar

Red Sand Sunrise by Fiona McArthur

Outback Blaze by Rachael Johns

Under Cover of Dark by Juanita Kees

Mountain Ash by Margareta Osborn

AusRomToday

Reviewer Spotlight: Write Note Reviews

 

Tell us a little more about Write Note Reviews:
As a book reader and food enthusiast in no particular order, I’ve always thought books and food go well together. For me, it all started with popcorn … eating a bowl of popcorn and reading at the same time. Write Note Reviews combines these two loves with two more – writing and photography. My book reviews (from 2013 onwards) are complemented by a suggested food treat that “matches” the book. But really, the site is just a way for me to immerse myself in the world of books in a way that suits me best.

 

What prompted the creation of Write Note Reviews?
I started reviewing books while working at a community newspaper as a journalist, and later, editor. Apart from writing a regular column, it was one of my favourite aspects of the role…

View original post 521 more words