When writing by the seat of your pants needs a seatbelt…

I admit it, I write when I’m inspired. When the house is quiet, the kids aren’t at my feet, the dogs are fed and the cats are napping. This means I’m not writing nearly as much as I could. Definitely not as much as I should. I try to fix this by writing later in the afternoon, or after dinner, but the house is so crazy that it makes my brain want to melt. Creativity doesn’t easily find its way through when I’m distracted or tired or pissed. So my style of writing as much as I can when I find the time is not working. I need to write when I make the time.

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Sounds straightforward, right? It’s not…not for me. I loathe the word ‘schedule’ almost as much as the word ‘organized’ but the time has come to make this change. To be the person that works a 9-5 (times adjustable) with a calendar to keep track of work days and lists to keep track of my To-Do’s. Ugh. You know those people that write everything down, never forget calls, appointments or special dates like birthdays and anniversaries? I’m not that person. Maybe you are. If so, I’m totally jealous. Writing for me is a way to tame my inner (and outer…I mean, I have a teenager, people) chaos. I quiet the voices by giving them a platform to tell their story, and I know a lot of other writers do this as well. It’s part of the ‘process’ for many, but it’s no longer productive for ME. I feel as if I’ve been flying down the writing highway untethered and unsecured and hoping for the best, but it’s time to crank that down a notch and secure myself in. I need a seatbelt for this road, at least for now.

Today’s ‘work’ hours began 7 minutes ago, when I started writing this blog, because this is part of work, too. And then there’s a webinar to watch, and then there’s writing. I’ll end my work day with a brief stint visiting my social media pages, and come 5pm, I’ll take a break and make dinner and hang out with my kids and do some chores because life doesn’t stop because I want it to.

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I’d love to hear tips from those of you who were born with natural organization skills. Drop a comment below and I may try out your methods! 

Here’s to a super productive work day for all of us! *clinks coffee mug* Cheers!

– Trish 🙂

 

Channel your rage onto the page

Every writer has hit the emotional bottom “IRL” before, whether it’s the day after a break up, a death, a scandal, a failure, or a presidential election. We may live in a world of make-believe most of the time, but us writers are people to. We hurt, we cry, we laugh, we love. And we do all of these things while attempting to balance along that precarious edge that is fiction writing (or non-fiction, don’t want to leave y’all out).

So, how do we write when we can barely function in life, due to its ups and downs and constant challenges? We write through it, that’s what we do. We channel that energy into our work. Sometimes literally, by creating a character just to kill them in a horrendous bloodbath. Or we throw a ‘happily ever after’ love story at another character. But…how? Perhaps writing is like therapy, a chance to be sad, be angry, be delirious, be hopeful, be madly in love, be homicidal, etc…in an environment that won’t gain us a shiny new set of metal bracelets that only come off with a key.

Author friends of America (and especially my NaNo comrades) and everywhere else in the World, I’m challenging you to do this today. This week. This month. The remainder of this year, and into the next. Channel today’s rage or sorrow, your love or fear, and put it down onto the page. Torture your babies with it, because this is what makes good fiction. And right now, I do believe the world needs more good fiction.

We use what we have, or what we are going through, and write it into our little worlds for the delight of others. This is how we cope with life, and this is how we cope with the voices in our heads. And today, that’s what I’ll be doing. Will you join me?

 

Creating a Villain

As I dive into the 7th day of NaNoWriMo, I get to do something I absolutely love (maybe more than is healthy) and create a villain. See, in Riley’s world, even the protagonists can go bad…if only for a day. This villain-to-be is such a character, though I do believe the villain part may be around till the end. Character arcs are a fun thing to see happen over time in a series, and this one will be a bumpy ride. To compliment today’s undoing (in the story, y’all), I came across the perfect song to fit the moment. No doubt, it will be on repeat for a  majority of the day. Enjoy…

Writer friends – I’m curious – what are your favorite villain songs to write to? For me, each character has their own story, and their own song. 😉

“Let’s Be Happily Bookish”…together!

I came across a blog post this morning from THE BOOK RIOT that I wanted to share, called The Happily Bookish (clink on the link to read the original post). It’s a fun reminder that books, unlike so many other things (and people), basically stick around forever, and despite the busy lives we lead (single or married or other), they will always be there for us. Sweet, right?!

This post, which advocates for a Happily Bookish Week, struck me as a great idea to help spread to y’all. Want to join me on a book challenge this week?? If so, post a picture of you with your current read, or just a picture of the book itself, and share this post with your friends! Let’s help spread awareness of how awesome, special and enjoyable reading can be!

As for me, I’m in writing mode, but have been sticking my nose in a new book that was a gift from a friend when I get a free moment:  Kristy Turner’s, But I Could Never Go Vegan

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Yes, I know.

A few weeks ago, a reader left a message right here under one of my Station novelette posts asking if I was writing under a different name, then notified me of a title that started so much like one of mine did around Chapter 3, that I admit, I had heart palpitations. No joke…panic mode was enabled.

See, here’s the thing – you can’t copyright an idea, or even a concept. But as a writer, if you are mindful of this, one of the best (and hardest) parts of writing Fiction is the world-building, the fresh ideas, the character development, the plot, the twists, etc… It feels good to lose yourself in a world of your creation. But there will come a time, no doubt, when two books are unintentionally similar. Perhaps by theme, perhaps by setting, or perhaps in a hundred different other ways, but when two books combine too much of those things and have entire sections with a similar theme, setting and timeline of events that possibly borrow from one title to set the story for another – is this coincidental…is it still unintentional? The fact is, I don’t know. And legally, as far as copyright law, this enters some very grey area.

It is this grey area that has me curious, and yes, concerned. See, when I wrote Dying to Forget, admittedly, I had not read a gazillion afterlife titles in ‘preparation’. For me, every story I’ve done was 99% waking up from an awesome and twisted dream, to that 1% of real life influence, and that’s what the Station books have been.

I was going through the difficult time of healing and acceptance after the death of my Aunt. She was one of my favorite people. With the biggest laugh and equally large heart, when she took her life it stunned me. Not because I didn’t think it would ever happen, but because I thought I could have prevented it. I know now, how hard and impossible that was. See, mental health is a real issue, not just a phase, not just something someone can get over. Clinical Depression took my Aunt’s life, and I wish that all of us in her life had understood before she died, how hard every day truly was for her. Since she’s been gone, I hear her in my head all the time. She talks me down from my own ledges, pumps up my self-esteem when I need it, and is generally just an extra version of my own sub-conscious. She’s really with me every day. This is what I wanted Piper Willow to be for you.

What I didn’t know would happen, is how many truly amazing people would relate to Piper and the creation of ‘my’ Station. Some of those who have been hurt, or who hurt themselves, have truly found a bit of solace in these books, and they’ve reached out to tell me so. The point of the Station is not a selfish one – but intended to go beyond the pain of one person to help others. And before I get too mushy and start crying all over the keyboard, what’s important to me is not that someone else may have intentionally or unintentionally used the platform of my Station books to create a version of their own, but it is that there is only one Piper Willow. And there’s a little bit of her in all of us. This won’t be taken away by another title; Piper is here to stay.

So, until it is legally necessary to pursue this funky and unexpected matter further, it’s at that point where online I can’t stay completely quiet anymore. I’ve gotten your messages, I’ve read your posts. I totally get the passion behind why some readers of the Station series are curious, confused and yes, pissed off. I also get why readers of this other author are pissed, but if you haven’t read the Station books I guess you just wouldn’t understand why this is a really strange occurrence and why Piper fans are more than a little concerned. The only way to even remotely get the passion behind a Station fan would be to also read Dying to Forget. And this isn’t a sales pitch – because the title is 100% free. It’s not enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, which means I get exactly $0.00 for each download and read. KU books are free for Prime members, but the author still gets paid. I would hope that any reader of the other title in question would do their own research before attacking my Station readers. It’s only fair. For those who want to have mature and respectful discussions with each other about this topic – the comments section is open to you.

So, yes, I know. I’ve been made aware of what is happening and I’m choosing to focus right now on what really matters – that Piper’s fourth story be finished and in your hands soon. Because my Station still has tales to share, and friends to make.

Any decent writer can retell a story, but not all can create one. The books I choose to write are hopefully the same as the ones I love to read: different from the masses. In the end, it comes down to you, the reader, and what you want. I hope that my Station books give you what you want or need, and keep you entertained. If this happens, it’s a win for me.

No, I don’t want to publicly talk about this other title or author by name. It’s not my way, regardless of how I may feel. So keep on doing what you do best as a Station fan – share the book with your friends. Let them know why Piper matters to you.

Now off I go, back to her world and the never-ending drama of the Station, where I’m currently obsessed (and with over 200 million views, I must not be alone!) with Alan Walker’s ‘Faded’ and have on repeat in my writing playlist. I’ll share the video with you below, for your listening pleasure…

XOXO – Trish


Courtesy of YouTube