Tag: craft

Are You a Writer Who Just Got Rejected? Here’s What to Do

If you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should just give up.

You suck down those fears and put a smile on your face. You’re a writer, and you have a short story of a novel or maybe you even have both. You submit your work and sit back.

 

 

 

“No, thanks.”

It’s a stab in the gut, and the ‘thanks’ only adds salt to the wound. You suck it up and submit again. Maybe this time you’ll submit to a smaller agency, a tinier magazine. You hit send:

“No, thanks.”

Now what?

 

The Gotham Writers Conference

Image Via Twitter

 

Thanks to The Gotham Writers Conference, we at Bookstr were able to listen in on a lecture given by Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year. Since everyone had a paper and pen, she had the listeners in the audience go through two different exercises. The first exercise was as follows:

 

  • Writer down your hopes and dreams as a writer

 

After telling everyone to do this, the room was filled with a long contemplative silence filled only with the soft scribbling of pens and the soft groaning rattles of the radiator. When everyone’s pens were done, and after some time after that, Kim Liao said this:

Now skip a line. Protect your hopes and dreams.

After giving us a clear warning that her next two directions were “worse” then she first direction, she gave us the second:

  • Answer what’s stopping you from achieving those dreams

And then the third:

  • What’s underling these anxieties?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Twitter

 

She then turned to the audience, asking them what they answered. Don’t fret, the only people who answered were those who raised their hands and were given the microphone. One person told us a story about how they were writing a book about a “terrible cult” and the effects their actions brought upon their family.

A book about cults? Count me in!

She then said she hadn’t told anyone about the book for the longest time because, well, there was a certain personal conflict with the book.

What was the person problem? Her brother.

Her brother was a member of the cult. He left the cult, but became an apologist for the cult.

It was only after this person was able to tell her brother about the book and give him it that she was able to move on. She doesn’t know if he read the book, if he was angry or upset, but he had the book and it was out of her hands.

 

 

This story is about the third direction Kim Liao gave us: What’s underling these anxieties?  Turns out the most common reason for anxieties about your hopes and dreams about becoming a writer is this daunting question, “What will happen if you tell the truth?”

See, if you’re a writer, then you probably have at least two voices in your head, one in each ear. One voice tells you that what you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games. The other voice tells you that you’re a terrible writer and you should kill yourself.

Both of these voices are toxic.

 

Fiction is the truth inside the lie

Image Via QuoteHD.com

 

Fiction, non-fiction, they all deal with truths. Even if the book takes place on another planet or another dimension, there is always a person connection the writer has with the work. It came from them, and now it’s out there on a bone writer paper written in black ink. It’s literally out there in black and white, and most often we are afraid to show it because of fear.

That right there is a personal rejection. No one has rejected the story except you. If you’re thinking about your worst review, as one person at the conference was, stop that. Any craft, be it writing or construction or electric or running, gets better as you do it more and more. So keep it, and silence the voice that tells you you’re a terrible writer and know that the story you are telling is one that only you could tell.

 

Sit Back

Image Via PlayMelnc

 

Now sit back. Remember that voice that tell you you’re writing is the best thing ever, the next Harry Potter/Game of Thrones/Hunger Games? Bring down your expectations. Humble yourself.

 

Image result for humble yourself advice
Image Via PInterest

 

Even the authors of those books didn’t know they were writing something as huge as those. Heck, I’d bet George R R Martin has days where he’d wish Game of Thrones wasn’t as big as it was so the pressure would be off as he finished up Winds of Winter.

Tamper your arrogance, erase your fears

Now you’re ready to submit. Then you get a rejection. And then another one. And then another one after that.

So what do you do?

Well, what do you think that Kim Laio, author of the essay published on Lit Hub Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year is going to tell you?

 

Kim Liao

Image Via Girl Meets Fornosa

 

Get 100 rejections of year

This is how you do that:

  • Set up an excel spreadsheet
  • Set up one column for the number
  • Set up one column for the story
  • Set up one column for the publishing house/agent

 

Don’t worry, we understand. One-hundred rejections a year? A hundred times of people stabbing you in the gut with that “No, thanks,” as though the ‘thanks’ at the end of that sentence means anything? No, thanks, you go, but don’t reject me now!

According to Kim Liao, she heard this advice from a friend and thought it was the “best advice ever.” By collecting a hundred rejections a year, you’re making it yourself mission. Your goal now isn’t to get published, but to wrap up the rejection list. When you get a rejection now, you can now log it into the spreadsheet and get that rush of a dopamine because you’re productive. That rush, that split second happiness, makes you feel motivated to go and put yourself out there again.

It isn’t about collecting those rejections slips so you know who to stick it to when you make a ton of money, that’s not why Stephen King collected his rejection slips, it’s to give yourself a goal, to turn your disappoint into a mission to keep going and wrap up the rejection list. You’re accepting that you’re going to get rejected and now you’re striving to do so. Odds are at least one person will accept your story. Plus, if you want to be a writer, you have to get used to it.

 “For a writer, it’s mostly rejections.”

 

Image Via Writer’s Digest

 

Rejections aren’t all bad. Remember: “The door isn’t closing, the path if shifting.”

Rejections can create relationships. Your expert query letter may prove that while the agent isn’t interested in your current work, he/she might be interested in your work as a writer. They might ask to see something else or, worst case, they now know your name. Your name is out there, like a plane traveling across the beach, and you never know who might see your banner.

At this point in the conference, Kim Liao gave us the audience a second set of direction. With pens and notebooks at the ready, the silence was palpable. These are the sets in full:

  • List 5 or more things you can do in the next year
  • List 4 things you can do in the next 6 months
  • List 3 things you can do in the next 2 months
  • List 2 things you can do this month
  • List 1 things you can do this week

So what’re you waiting for?

 

Twitter

Image Via Author Media

 

Go on Twitter and search for submission calls. Look for agents and editors, most agents and editors post their emails on their Twitter.

 

Image Via Webnode

 

Maybe you should set up a blog; just remember to “write lots of posts in advance.”

 

Image Via Self-Publishing School

 

Set up a writing schedule. A writing schedule isn’t necessary just writing. Put time aside for pitching, writing, and querying. All three of these things have to do with writing, and you have to set time aside for each.

 

 

Before you query, take a step back and look at your writing. “Whenever you feel that you’re ready, take a week,” and remember that “[y]our writer’s group can help you solve your problems…not your agent.”

 

You can only query one agent with one project at a time. If you go back and make changes, odd are that agent doesn’t want to hear about that project anymore.

 

When you’re ready to submit your work, set up the excel spreadsheet and aim to get a hundred rejections a year. Rejection is a “necessary step,” in the writing process. “It can happen anywhere,” even to the most successful writer.

But keep writing and keep submitting. If you get a rejection, and then another one, and then another one after that, then guess what? You have only three rejections and need ninety-seven more to finish out your list! Odds are you’re going to be surprised because the best thing you write might be the thing people like the best.

And don’t forget: if you’re writing a novel and you go “Now I have an agent! I’m done,” then you’re wrong. You haven’t even gotten started yet, but you’re ready.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via

These Beautiful Bookmarks Will Revolutionize Your Reading Experience!

 

What do you use to keep your place in the book you’re reading? Ribbon? Receipts? Scrap paper? Cheese? (According to the librarians of Twitter, creative bookmarks are more common that you think!)

But ribbons get tangled or come loose, receipts and scrap paper easily flutter away and cheese? Well, let’s not even go there. But luckily, there is a better option, in the form of the beautiful Book Art Bookmarks.

 

On her website, Book Art Bookmarks’ creator Margaux explains where the idea to create these stunning place-keepers came from:

I have two young, curious boys who love to “help” me read and was constantly searching for my lost page. In an effort to solve my frustrations, I searched the internet, but didn’t find anything I thought would work for me. I ended up being inspired by a notebook I had just purchased that featured an elastic closure band. The next day I headed to my local craft store and made my first bookmark. Finally having found the answer to my problem, I shared with my fellow book lovers, and they ended up loving them just as much!

 

Created in January of 2018, Book Art Bookmarks has since gone from strength to strength, with a popular online store, selling over 6,000 of the unique and eye-catching bookmarks. “We are in five stores located throughout Wisconsin”, Margaux explains, “and have been fortunate enough to be involved in a few exciting monthly book boxes!” Book Art Bookmarks can also be found at the Frick Museum in New York, Malaprop and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The bookmarks range from metal ornamentation, to geodes, to rhinestones, charms and more, so there really is something for every book lover, no matter your taste, whether you’d like something pretty, something a little darker, or perhaps something more timeless. You can also order a custom made bookmark, if you have something specific in mind!

Make sure to check out Book Art Bookmarks on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest designs and offers, and make your reading experience as beautiful as possible!

 

Enter to Win 12 Beautiful BookArt Bookmarks! (Contest on Hive.co)

Writers on Writing: Top 5 Craft Books by Famous Authors

5. Why I Write by George Orwell

 

image via amazon

 

George Orwell outlines what he believes to be the four major motives for writing in Why I Write. They are sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. Orwell exemplifies all these traits in his own writing, and it is fascinating to see how he balances his passion for political reform with his artistic ambition.

“[T]he more one is conscious of one’s political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one’s aesthetic and intellectual integrity.”

4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

 

image via amazon

 

Ray Bradbury is one of the most inventive writers in recent history. His imaginative tales such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles are renowned for their extravagant and poignant sci-fi scenarios. In Zen of Writing, Bradbury gives us a sneak peek into his whimsical thought process.

“You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can’t sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.”

 

3. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

 

image via amazon

 

The title comes from a short anecdote Lamott shares about her ten-year-old brother who was tasked to write a report on birds. He had three months to write it, but he waited until the last day to complete it. Distraught and overwhelmed by the enormity of his task, Lamott’s father gave him the advice to take the project “bird by bird.” Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is Anne Lamott’s attempt to understand what those words mean in relation to the process of writing.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

 

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

image via amazon

 

On Writing is part memoir, part master class. King recounts his childhood up to his early career where he struggled immensely as a writer. Interwoven throughout the book are invaluable pieces of advice that show how one’s personal biography is linked to their experience as a writer.

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

 

1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

 

image via amazon

 

In 1903, a young man sent a few of his poems to Rainer Maria Rilke to have them critiqued. What followed was a several-year-long correspondence in which Rilke expounded upon the merits of artistic integrity and the anxieties that every young writer must face in regard to criticism, self-doubt, sincerity, and much more.

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
Featured Image Via Inc.com

 

Writers Confess Phrases They Overuse

John Boyne, legendary author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, tweeted today asking other writers if they’ve wrestled with phrases they overuse, and if so, what they are:

 

Are there writers who find themselves using the same lame phrases over and over & having to cut them? I'm terrible for "he hesitated for a moment, then looked away" & I've realised that my characters spend so much time shrugging that it's like their shoulders are on springs *crying laughing emoji*

 

If you’ve done any volume of writing, you can probably relate. Beyond a signature style, authors sometimes have words they use more often, or in this case, concepts and sentence pieces. A surprising number of them have to do with actions the characters are taking. The tweet got an enormous number of responses, causing the topic to trend on twitter. The whole thing gives the impression of characters doing things without the authors’ permission.

 

 

And I mean… they probably shouldn’t. But whether they’re blinking might not always be relevant. And she’s not the only one whose characters have gotten a little unruly.

 

 

Why won’t these characters hold still? Don’t they know what medium they’re in?

 

 

It isn’t always character wrangling, though. Sometimes the words won’t work. Or sometimes there are just too many of them.

 

 

Paraphrasing yourself is a lovely new take on the self drag. Though the original tweet’s tone was of amused annoyance, in some cases it devolved into actual advice, as though THAT’s going to change anything.

 

 

I mean, sure, you’re probably right, but sometimes a person’s gotta shrug. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Only when the moment’s right, I guess.

 

 

Featured image via ZDNet 

Moby Dick

10 Literary Christmas Trees That Will Spark Your Holiday Spirit

The holidays are finally upon us which means last minute holiday shopping, trying desperately to figure out what so-and-so wants (you ask them just to be met with “it doesn’t matter” even though you both know that’s not true), family reunions (let’s be honest, half of the time they end in tears and I don’t mean the happy ones), and the need to decorate your house in a way which both pleases you and impresses your family and friends. 

 

On a lighter note, the holidays mean the perfect time to dust off your glue gun, try to find those tiny scissors that somehow keep disappearing, and get ready for some arts and crafts. If you’re naturally a creative and crafty person, then this is pretty much the best time of the year. If you’re not a natural artist, you may just find yourself dabbling in the arts after you hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” the third time on your way to work. 

 

If you’re searching for a new crafty project, then look no further. Here are ten literary christmas trees that you can emulate in your home! 

 

1.

book

Image Via The Hallmark Channel

 

Check out this easy DIY here.

 

2. 

booooook

Image Via Interiorish/Pinterest

 

3. 

tree

Image Via ThoughtsfromAlice/Pinterest

 

4. 

book

Image Via BookBub/Pinterest

 

5. 

book tree

Image Via BookBub/Pinterest

 

6. 

book

Image Via Royal Roaster/Tumblr

 

7. 

hb

Image Via Autumn Leaves/Tumblr

 

 

8. 

BOOKS

Image Via Karen Krut/Tumblr

 

9.

book

Image Via King Collector/Tumblr

 

 

10. 

book

Image Via Cuatroveintiuno/Tumblr

 

Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! 

 

via GIPHY

 

Featured image courtesy of ‘The Hallmark Channel’