My Lists Have Lists

Resolutions as such, just don’t do it for me. It’s just another list. If your life is like mine, it’s already full of lists. Right now, I need a list to keep track of the lists, and no doubt there’s an app for that. And I have so many time saving apps I don’t have time to use half of them.

One of my many lists involves my writing goals for 2017. Yes, in spite of the fact that I often hear the whooshing sound of a self-imposed deadline as I see it in the rear-view mirror, I still have goals. And I still believe they are attainable. And no, this is not a good way to build a writing career, but it’s authentic.

For the past several months I’ve been working on simply being consistent. That sounds easy. If it were easy, we’d all be living our dreams without effort. Life is good at curve balls and often they can derail the best of intentions.

Right now, I’m dodging curve balls and showing up. And doing the work as best I can. Sometimes it’s not as much as I planned, but it’s something. So, I cut myself a little slack, and consider the progress. Rather than simply quit or lose focus because I didn’t reach that big goal yet, I’m concentrating on I what I have accomplished, not what I haven’t.

And you know what? I don’t feel so derailed. That’s been a big one for me. It eases the frustration immensely. It also really helps the motivation factor and keeps the writer’s block at bay. Instead of thinking, ‘I’ll never get this book written’ I’m changing my self-talk to ‘Look what I managed today. I’ll get this book written!’ I confess, I’m cautiously optimistic about what I may be able to accomplish this year.

Do you have any tricks to keep the motivation humming along?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

The Process of Failure

Fear of failure has stalled many a writer. In growing up, we’re taught that failure is bad. Don’t fail your test, don’t fail your classes, don’t fail the team, and don’t fail your family. Just. Don’t. Fail. At anything. When we ‘fail’ we are conditioned to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. We are not worthy of success. (To this I say, “Hooey.”) We can be paralyzed by our seeming inability to do what someone else appears to do effortlessly.

Failure as a writer can take many forms, and it can take us out of our comfort zone in a big way.

  1. Bad reviews of our work, or no reviews at all.
  2. Few or no book sales.
  3. Basic invisibility in the publishing world. No one seems to notice all the hard work you’ve put into your book. What if nobody reads it?
  4. Rejection letters.
  5. Your editor or critique partner doesn’t like the passages that you poured hours of work into and feel are some of your best work, and they suggest you cut them all.

Really, what would happen in your life if any of these things took place? I can tell you every single one has happened to me. And ultimately they didn’t change my life in the ways I thought they would. The sun still comes up, I still go to the evil day job. Still fix dinner, and still struggle to find time to write. Maybe I’ve failed enough times that it doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Or I finally understand that writing is a process, and what others may view as failure is really just part of one’s progression as a writer. I can’t not write, therefore I must continue on.

The act of writing is what brings me joy. Creating a vision with words and sharing it with the world fulfills me like nothing else. And yet, it includes failure. Just like it includes editing, proofreading, formatting and all of the other things that are necessary to make a book happen. Failure simply means discarding things that aren’t working and keeping at it, until you find out what does work. As I’ve come to understand this, failing doesn’t scare me nearly as much as it used to.

Here’s to embracing our failures because truly, they are part of our success.

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About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Conference Time

Writing by its very nature is a solitary activity. So it’s really nice to be able to get out and spend time with other writers face to face. Although for some, the larger gatherings can be overwhelming.Red Hearts Blank Small It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a writer’s conference. I’ve been before, as a participant, a speaker, and a volunteer. So the drill is familiar. Comfy shoes, business casual, and a little extra room for books.

As you are reading this, I’m in San Diego, at the RWA conference. I know people have mixed feelings about this organization, and I respect that. I have mixed feelings as well. But I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, making some new friends, and talking with other like-minded folks about the state of the publishing industry.

It looks like there will be some interesting workshops, and some fun. My goal is to come away from this experience having found those nuggets of information about writing that ring true for me. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes next month!

Do you enjoy conferences, or do you prefer a small group setting?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Moving Forward

Life certainly has its ups and downs. The last year and a half has been a down time for me, and I had no choice but to step away from the writing world. A change in jobs, a move to another state, the unexpected death of one my beautiful bonus children, the sale of our dream home, and the passing of our beloved feline all kind of served to knock my man and I off of our proverbial pins.

Red Hearts Blank Small

The one constant throughout this time has been our love for each other. Thankfully that never changed. It gave us both strength to weather every storm life threw at us. It’s no secret that time and distance from painful things will clarify your perspective and help in the healing process. And that’s where I’m at.

While I was taking care of things that I needed to do for my family and myself, I considered whether or not I should continue writing. There were moments when I didn’t think I could ever write again. But I simply can’t imagine my life without writing. So I’m moving forward. I don’t have any projects complete yet, but I am writing and very happy to be doing so. It feels really good. And right.

My heartfelt thanks go out to the lovely ladies here at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses for being patient with me and not kicking me to the curb. They are awesome that way.

For now I just wanted to pop in and say hello, and see you next month!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

The Same Old Trap

Are you writing? Working on your current WIP, or trying to decide which of your many stories should be completed this year? Or maybe writing every day is on your 2015 resolutions list. If so, yay for you!

This year I haven’t made a single writing resolution. I had to spend some serious time away from the computer through the fall and end of the year, and it really gave me time to think. Did I want to continue to do this writing thing? The answer was and still is, an unequivocal ‘YES!’

That being the case, with a limited amount of time on the computer, I had to change the way I approached writing and everything associated with it. I used to do a ton of writing related things, lots of social media, and feel really good about them, yet never get actual words on the page. Over and over again I fell into the trap. The deceptive line of thinking that doing anything associated with writing means you’re moving forward. Any successful writer will tell you the words come first. Everything else related to writing is secondary.

So I made a couple small changes in that I don’t do anything until I’ve spent thirty minutes writing. No email, no social media, zip, zero, nada. Also, no social media until evening, and then only if I’m up to it. It proved to be way tougher than I thought. Letting go of social media made me feel disconnected. Some days it still does. Then there’s the changing of a morning routine that’s been years in the making.

But after thirty days, it seems to be working. I’ve got some chapters of a new WIP. And that’s more than I had before. I’m moving up to forty-five minutes next week. Eventually I’d like it to be an hour. We’ll see how it goes. The sense of accomplishment is turning out to be worth the struggle. I’m going to have a new story!

With working, families, small children, we’re all short on time for different reasons; do you have any tricks that help you get words on the page?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Write That Book Newbie!

One of the great things about all the changes in the publishing environment is that anyone can publish a book. If you can read, and follow instructions for the most part, you can be a published author. How cool is that? You don’t need all those stuck up publishing companies and all their hateful gate-keepers who’ve got it in for you and your story. Don’t get me wrong, some of the reputations are well deserved, but not all of them.

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Alas, one of the saddest things about all the changes in the publishing industry is that anyone can publish a book. Sometimes it works out great. The author will make use of all the industry professionals available today. Editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and formatting gurus. They’ll publish a killer story and have fabulous success. And sometimes is doesn’t work out well at all.

If you’ve never written a book before but you have a great idea for one that just won’t leave you alone, at least give yourself the benefit of trying to find out the things you don’t know. Most new writers don’t even know what they don’t know. If this sounds like the voice of experience, it is. I’ve been there. And years later I’m still learning new things about my craft.

This isn’t about me; it’s about your prospective readers. Readers read certain genres over and over again because they enjoy them. These genres have rules. Readers have expectations and they rely on those rules to be entertained.

If you’re a rule-breaker, good for you. But at least do your reader and yourself the service of learning the rules first so you can break them properly. Then the exception will be clear and make sense to your audience.

Where do you learn these rules? Writers groups, writer’s conferences, friends that are writers, writers who’ve written books about how to write in certain genres. One of the concerns I hear most is that if I join a group someone will steal my story idea. Yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories of plagiarism. However, by and large, most writers have so many of their own ideas, they aren’t interested in yours. Do your research. Learn your craft to the best of your ability. Then write your heart out. Write, edit, publish. Repeat. Then repeat again. Here’s wishing you a lifetime of success.

Do you belong to a writer’s group you’d feel comfortable recommending to others? If so, tell us in the comments. Thanks!

 

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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