Getting back in the groove

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Any kind of writing you do requires a process to complete it.  This includes the writing, editing, publishing, and promoting of it.  Depending on what you are doing, this can take longer for some projects; like novels.  Unfortunately, this also gives life the chance to take over and that writing to be put on the back-burner; possibly for an extended period of time.  And that is exactly what happened to me and this blog.

I managed to wrangle up some freelance writing jobs last summer.  This, along with my full-time job and various hobbies, took me away from working on my novels.  Other than taking a few pages to my monthly writers’ group and giving a copy of my first novel to a friend for critique, both just sat on my thumb drive waiting for my return.  Of course, that also meant my blog suffered because I had nothing to write about from my experience.  Bad writer.

However, I am happy to say that I have returned to my novels once again, and now to my blog.  I have been remiss though because I started working on my novel during 2012’s NaNoWriMo.  In fact, instead of writing the third novel of the series, I used the month to seriously edit my first manuscript.  Wow did it need it!  I can say that two years after writing it I was finally able to look at it objectively and fix some of the errors.

This not only rejuvenated my desire to edit that novel, but also my second one, and even brave the possible “I don’t understand this, it kind of sucks” fear by letting one of my friends read them both.  In fact, I didn’t read anything during the months I edited I was so into the editing process.

I did start a second read-through/edit of my first novel, but the desire is kind of waning.  I’m not sure if I just need a break or I’m anxious to hear what my friend says first.  I have found some other errors to fix and areas which need improvement.

Either way, I am back and plan on staying that way.

You Have To Make Time

Many people will say they can’t write until inspiration hits them, and then those same people never actually finish anything.  The biggest reason is because they are waiting for lightning to hit instead of making it happen.  I can say from personal experience the best way for inspiration to strike is to just sit down and write.  Yup it is really that simple.  However, one of the biggest obstacles can be finding the time to actually do this.

One thing I really like about NaNoWriMo is that it forces me to work on something.  Granted I could just ignore the challenge the month presents but having a place to go, friends to “compete” against, and something which shows my daily progress really helps me to want to write.  That November mayhem has taught me that I work very well under pressure.  It’s the rest of the year which I have trouble.

So what’s the answer, well it’s kind of the same, I have to force myself to work.  This is much easier said than done though.  Just like with exercising, if you want to keep at it, you have to find out what works for you.

So if you write better in the morning, make the time.  You say you have to be at your boring, demanding job at 8 am, well get up a half hour earlier and write for those thirty minutes when you will be at your peak.  Are you better in the middle of the afternoon, work something in there.  Of course that might be hard if you have an 8-5 type job.  My advice then is to write during your lunch.  Or you could see if changing your hours is possible so you are off during your peak creative time.

Whatever you decide, you have to make the time and stick with it.  This doesn’t mean you can’t take a break now and then or that no matter what happens you have to write at that time.  However on the same note if you let other things distract you too much, well you have defeated the whole purpose.  And if you really don’t have a good time due to family, work, and other obligations, find five, ten, fifteen minutes you can write throughout the day.  Those small chunks can make all the difference.

Red Flags

I started this blog as a way to help me go through my manuscript writing and editing process, and hopefully help others in as well along the way.  However, I also do some freelance writing and editing on the side.  I know many people who do both, you know you have to pay the bills (or try to) somehow while waiting for your novel to be discovered.

Everyone knows there are many scams out there from people who are trying to part you from your money or other illegal things that involve money.  It is something we all need to be careful about and warn each other when we find a new one.  Well I recently had one attempted on me.

I have myself listed on many sites as a freelance writer, some I frequent more than others.  I have received jobs from random strangers via email, referred to me by someone I have worked with.  However, I received one last week which was not.

Now they sent me the article they wanted rewritten and edited, I’ve seen that before so you know what to quote.  I looked it over and asked several questions before saying yes.  I made up a contract and sent it off expecting them to tell me my fee was too high.  In a way, it was but the article was in terrible shape and their English in the emails was just as bad so I knew it would be difficult to get right.  They agreed and sent the form back to me.  I told them in the contract that the project would start once I received half the money upfront (the balance would be due at the project completion).

Well a few days later, I receive an email telling me that the person in charge of the money sent me a money order for their entire project budget, $2000!  I received an apology in this email and three copies of identification.  I requested the return address so I could send the money order back and asked them to pay me my retainer only.  I was suspicious at this point that it was a scam but wanted full proof.

The reply was to cash the MO, keep my fee, and Western Union the rest back.  That confirmed that it was a scam and I stopped replying right then and there.  I contacted my location police requesting the email of the police department and I contacted the site where I was told they found my name.  Not surprising the site had never heard of these people but they thanked me nonetheless and said they would inform their people of the scam.  I emailed both the police and the site the entire email transcript.  If I receive an MO, I will also take that to the police.

Once I did all that, I informed the fraudulent company that I had reported them to both places and that the contract was void since they were scam artists.  I have not heard from them since and have told as many people as possible.  Some said I should have known from the beginning but others said it was new to them but those kinds of things have started showing up in areas they previously had not.

So be careful when you are approached for writing jobs.  If it raises a single red flag, it’s probably fake.