#IWSG Blog Hop–My Self-Doubt Hitting Me Like a Mack Truck Unexpectedly

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click IWSG sign-up sheet.

March’s question–How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

When I achieve a writing goal or finish a story, I do a happy dance. Then I sit down to catch my breath and pat myself on the back. Me, the biggest procrastinator ever, actually finished something! No just talking about it. No just stalling by doing loads and loads of research on my story topic. No just keeping it in my head but not putting it down on paper. I actually FINISHED!

After the excitement wears off, I always treat myself to a notebook or sketchbook at Books-A-Million. I used to treat myself to a chocolate muffin or a brownie, but I’m not allowed to have chocolate anymore because of the caffeine in it. So, now I treat myself to blueberry muffins or cinnamon buns.

I would love to say I’m one of those writers who loves the craft so much that I only write for the pleasure. If I said that, I’d be lying. I totally need incentives to finish a writing goal. An incentive can be getting to watch TV or Netflix after so many words written for the day. Or taking a road trip over the weekend if I write 3 or 4 days in a row.

Back in December, I was so excited for 2018. I just knew I’d create a better writing schedule for myself, making me more productive. I’ve failed miserably so far. Still being artsy, I’ve been sketching and outlining a comic instead. Doing that won’t help me publish more novellas though. I feel disappointed like I’ll never get out of this ‘publish only 1 book a year’ rut if I don’t focus on fiction writing. Unfortunately, I don’t really know how to get out of this rut…

I thought I had conquered my fear, but it’s definitely haunting me again. I’ve allowed my fear to cause self-doubt and totally mess with my self-confidence. I guess it started when my new release, Six Plus One, didn’t have a good debut. Now, I’m back to thinking my writing sucks even if that may not be true…it just seems like the advice of ‘when you produce more books, you get more sales’ isn’t holding true for me. Every book had a decent release except Six Plus One. I often wonder: what if I have bad luck–where for each new book I publish, I’ll keep getting lower sales?

I’ll get out of this rut, I promise…

That really felt good to share. Letting it all out may very well be the first step in getting my productivity back 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Advertisements

#IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Schedule

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month (even though WordPress will probably say it’s already Jan. 4th, I promise it’s only Jan. 3rd 7:25 pm EST). Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

January’s question–What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for writing and publishing?

I’m a pretty fast writer, being able to write a first draft within a month or two. My problem is that I’m a slow reviser. I plan on doing something about this in 2018.

Joining the 365 Writing Club 2018 on Facebook holds me accountable to writing at least 300 words a day, or 10 minutes a day. I plan on using my phone as an alarm (or stop watch) to set 1 hour every day to write. 2-3 hours if I’m editing. I think this will help me tremendously. Granted, I’m pretty realistic and don’t really think I’ll write every day, but I’ll try my best.

For every story I create, I’ll draw myself a mock book cover. This will be motivation to get it into print. If there’s a goal I can see tangibly, then it won’t just feel like a dream–a dream that I can stall with.

Instead of writing multiple drafts at once (and working on them in different stages), I plan on focusing on one story at a time. I’m going to see if this will help me with productivity. I’m always looking for writing buddies, someone to swap feedback with. I’m back on Absolute Write forums again, instead of just lurking. Hopefully, I’ll stay in the groove of helping other writers as critique partners and beta-readers. Maybe one day they’d like to pay it forward and help me back. If not, then at least I’ll feel good about helping them. Reading stories before they publish makes me feel like I’m in on a secret.

Hopefully, my new process will work. If not, then I’ll go back to the drawing board.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. I’m excited to see who made it into the IWSG Anthology!!!

#IWSG Blog Hop–My Regrets for 2017

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

December’s question–As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

If I could backtrack in 2017, then the first time one of my books only had 1 KENP read on Amazon, I would’ve contacted KDP select help support. I let it go, and that dropped my rankings significantly on some of my books. Researching, it looks like many authors were having the same problem as me during those few months. Something about a glitch in the ‘page flip’ feature on kindle. My silence resulted in lost income, and a decent ranking on Amazon. Bad ranking=no visibility for readers to find your books.

I also would’ve never given up contacting bloggers for interviews and reviews for my books, especially Twisted Obsession. After a handful of no’s and non-responses, I got frustrated and quit. No promotion online=no visibility for readers to find your books. Trust me when I say I learned my lesson and am being proactive contacting bloggers for my new release Six Plus One.

If I could backtrack, then I wouldn’t have quit my Duotrope subscription. For the past year, my writing buddy and I have followed Ray Bradbury’s advice of write 1 short story every week for 52 weeks straight. We only have 4 stories left!!! I’m proud of us. If I was smart, I would’ve kept my Duotrope in order to search for online journals and magazines to submit to. I could’ve had a presence in the short story market…plus, I’d love to be in more anthologies. It seems like I’m always late to the party when it comes to finding out deadlines. Duotrope would keep me in the loop.

Those are my biggest regrets for 2017. Instead of viewing them as something to be upset about, I’ve grown and can admit I’ll do things differently in 2018. Lesson learned.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Character Part of You?

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

October’s question–Have you ever slipped any of your personal info onto your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Yes, I’ve absolutely slipped my personal info onto my characters. In fact, I tend to do it all the time on purpose. With my women’s fiction novella, Something’s Amiss, I based the female main character, Poe, off my personality. Children made her nervous, she didn’t want to become a mother, she tried to hide her pain from others, and she pushed Oliver away instead of embracing him. Totally me–that whole pushing people away thing. I really liked Poe. Unfortunately, some readers didn’t like her AT ALL. It made me think they probably wouldn’t like me in real life either 🙂

There’s a scene in Something’s Amiss where Poe was talking to Dominic on the porch. They were reminiscing about their WVU days. Those anecdotes shared between the characters were things that really had happened to me. It was fun sneaking a part of me into the story, knowing I had a secret. The only people who would know were if my readers had gone to college with me and lived in Summit Hall during my resident assistant years.

Another example of slipping my personal info onto my characters–Finia, the female main character of my novella Twisted Obsession, was an accountant. Accounting had been my major at WVU. Finia’s home and neighborhood  in the story was based off my house that I grew up in as a teenager.

It’s fun slipping in my personal information when I’m writing stories, so I’ll probably continue to do so.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Surprised You?

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

September’s question–Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?

I’ve surprised myself with my writing. Growing up, I only focused on dramas and mysteries. In 2011, I focused on my women’s fiction novella Something’s Amiss. It was going to be a romance, but I hated all the rules that came with the genre. My men aren’t manly enough, and my ladies aren’t likable enough. Oh well. My drama Room For Two was published in an online literary magazine. My very first short story that got recognition. I was so proud of myself.

Then, I found out about NaNo–a fun challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. 50,000 words! I’ve never written that except for NaNo haha. 30,000-40,000 words is my sweet spot. Since NaNo was supposed to be fun, I didn’t take it seriously. I figured it would be fun to experiment with a genre I’ve never written before. I love horror movies, so why not try writing a horror or thriller story?

My very first NaNo challenge created One By One. I wrote exactly what I’d like to see on the big screen. It took me 30 days to write 50,000 words. Then, it took me a year to revise and edit. I was lucky to have my writing buddy Jim Baroni–a horror author–offer to edit my novel. He helped me keep my publishing schedule. Ever since, I’ve been dabbling in horror and suspense stories. That’s my passion right now. One day I’ll go back to dramas though. I absolutely love a story that can make me cry.

My writing has surprised me, and I hope it continues to do so.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Valuable Lesson in Writing

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

July’s question–What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

In the 7th grade, I took a chance by signing up for Mrs. Kirby’s creative writing class. Art had been my passion. Art was all I knew. I had been drawing since I was 8. I loved her class–everything about it. I’ve been writing fiction since 11 years old.

Throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot about writing, but the most valuable lesson that has stuck with me would have to be…listening to music helps set the mood. Music is a must when writing anything. Since I love writing in public places (Daily Grind being my favorite), I never leave home without my headphones.

Spotify is my best friend. The app is downloaded on my tablet and my phone. No shame–I can listen to the same playlists or the same songs for hours straight, and each time the music plays over again it’s like the first time.

When I need to get in a romantic mood for a scene, I listen to Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, Justin Timberlake, Brandy.

When I need to get in a dark mood for a scene, I listen to Civil Twilight, Staind, Seether.

When I need to get in a happy mood for a scene (yeah right–me?–when do I ever write anything happy haha), I listen to Danity Kane, Mya, Destiny’s Child.

When I need to get in a drama mood for a scene, I listen to Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera.

You get the point. Don’t be afraid to let music inspire you.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Calling It Quits?

photo-4

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

June’s question–Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Technically, I’ve never said that I’ll quit writing, however, quite a few times I’ve considered quitting fiction writing. At least two times since I’ve published my novellas and short story. I’m a fast writer, but a terribly slow reviser. Sometimes it’s very hard to find motivation to keep going when it takes me a year to publish one book while other self-publishers knock out books every other month. Sometimes it seems like I’ll never be a hustler or pro-active–skill sets a person needs to succeed in this industry.

That self-doubt kicks in all the time. There’s always a voice in the back of my head that says my writing sucks and my critique partners and beta-readers are too nice to point it out.

The feedback I tend to keep getting is my scenes lack emotion. I’m a thinker, not a feeler. That’s why my characters are usually in their heads a lot, thinking of their situation instead of feeling it or acting it out. I’ve also been told that I can be too fast-paced scene to scene.

From this feedback, I’ve questioned my writing skills as a fiction writer. I think I’d be better suited as a screenplay writer or a comic book/graphic novelist. A medium that allows my fast pace writing. My favorite story elements are dialogue and plot. I’m all about the twists and the bittersweet endings. It’d be so cool to see one of my short films on YouTube or to see one of my comics on a bookshelf. There’s less of a stigma being an indie creator in the comics world than in the publishing arena.

After I published Twisted Obsession, I sort of gave up writing novellas once it didn’t sell well. I couldn’t write anything new, and I couldn’t revise my old stuff. I was stuck. I didn’t write or edit any fiction for more than half a year.

Instead, I spent my time drawing comics, by taking free online classes to learn this medium. I also wrote short films and worked on a teleplay with two people. We were going to try and sell it to Netflix. My focus was on being creative and doing what made me happy at the time.

What brought me back to fiction writing–my writing buddies. Melissa and I took a free online writing class from Iowa. Those six weeks of creating a short story every week was pretty cool. It let me know instead of giving up completely on fiction, I could dabble in short stories. Short stories can give short film ideas. Around this time, I also heard from Meka. We shared what had been going on with each other over the year and started bonding again. It was refreshing to see someone in the same boat as me. She motivated me to start revising Six Plus One again. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. She’s went beyond a normal critique partner, looking over my short novella in multiple stages. I owe her big time.

Thank you Melissa and Meka for getting me back into the writing groove 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby