Posted in Creativity, Publishing

4 Signs You May Not Fit the Writer Stereotype

We all have questions and doubts when it comes to our writing life. Am I a good enough writer? Is my story any good at all? How do I know if I’m cut out to be a writer anyway?  The list of doubts goes on.

We all have moments of reflection too… moments when we wonder if we should continue on our quest to become a published writer, ponder if we have what it takes to stay in it for the long hall. And in doing so, we think about the successful writers—authors like JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins who have become household names. But we may also think about our writing friends who’ve gotten published already, the ones who are not quite yet a household name but have made this writing thing a job. Some we may know personally, some we may know merely through Twitter or some other form of social media. The more we engage with these other writers, the ones who have made careers of putting pen to paper and spinning words into gold, we can’t help but hear or read about the ways they do things—the way they work, the way they write, the schedule they keep, etc.

And we are fascinated by it.

Mostly I think because we believe that any time we read something about a real writer, we’ll learn something, anything that will pull back the curtain on all that is the mystery of getting published. If we know their routines, we may be able to imitate them and perhaps that will lead to publication for us too.

But what happens when we learn something about a published writer and realize (without a doubt) that what they do is something we may never do. Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s just not us?

In thinking about this topic for quite sometime now, I’ve come to realize that writers, like those in any other profession, have a certain stereotypical look or some stereotypical behaviors. The problem for me is this.

I don’t fit the writer stereotype.

Like, at all.

First, I don’t wear pajamas (or even sweatpants) all day when I write. My hair is not thrown up in a messy bun. And I don’t wear glasses. I don’t skip showering before writing either. Like ever.

In fact, every day of my life (without fail) I get up and shower before I do anything else. Then I get dressed, put on my contacts, do my hair, and do my make up before I start writing, even if I have no plans to leave the house or see another human being all day. Call me crazy, and maybe it’s because of my background in teaching and in sales, but I feel more productive and ready to take on the world when I look the part.

Second, I don’t drink endless cups of coffee while I write. I drink a cup of tea most every morning and a chai latte in the afternoon. But I do that whether I’m writing or not. Sometimes I’ll sit down with one or the other (or even with a cup of highly sugared iced coffee) as a coincidence, but I don’t drink it for hours to make the time spent with my manuscript more productive.

Third, I’m not a book worm. I don’t love reading above all else. I didn’t grow up with my nose buried in a book. I almost feel ashamed for admitting this. Sure, I like reading. I love reading books in the age group that I write in, I like reading YA books when I find a fabulous one. I like reading motivational books and an occasional grown up book too. But I don’t think about books all day long. (Except the one I’m writing). I enjoy reading and it is part of my daily routine, but it’s not the first thing I would do on a day off. Books are important to me, but being creative is even more important. I’d rather spend an entire day daydreaming about my next project or invention. I think that’s one of the reason’s why I write. Ideas are constantly spinning in my mind (to a point of frustration) and I will never act on most of them. But my characters can! I may not invent the next big thing, but the next big thing may just pop up in one of my books!

Fourth, I’m not an introvert. Well not all the time. I definitely like my alone time. That’s when I’m at my most creative.  And I don’t really love hanging out with giant groups of people. But once I’ve had enough alone time, I do love being with people and interacting with them.  In fact, I’ll probably talk your ear off if we ever meet in person! A night out with friends (old or new) or a lunch date with my college roommate or a dinner with my husband or whole extended family is definitely my thing. Many writers I know would prefer to exist in their own world and don’t love interacting much with people. They let their words do the talking, and that’s okay too.

It used to scare me quite honestly. I used to panic thinking, well obviously I will never become real writer because I hate hanging out all day in my pajamas. But then I snapped out of my making excuses trance and realized it doesn’t matter at all.

Stereotypes in most case are ridiculous anyway, right? So if you’re doubting your abilities to do this writing thing just because you haven’t read all the classic literature ever published, if you only read the Cliff Notes to the Scarlett Letter in high school and really didn’t love Jane Eyre (I know, I’m sorry!!) just don’t. Don’t doubt yourself at all. Writers come in all shapes and sizes—coffee drinker or not. How else would we get all these amazing stories? If we were all the same, our stories would all be the same and how awful would that be? No thanks!

I’ll take my tea with extra sweet cream. I’ll dress up when I write if for only my own benefit. I’ll go running instead of reading if the sun is shining. I’ll spend time I should be writing thinking up inventions that make no sense. I may even re-read Jane Eyre one day to see what all the fuss is about. Because that’s me. But rest assured, on the nights I stay up late to add a new invention to my latest middle grade scene, I may even throw my hair up in a messy bun. Hey, at ten o’clock at night even the most neurotic girl needs to change into comfy clothes and get down to business! How else will those words get spun into gold?

What about you? Do you fit into the writer stereotypes? Do you think they exist at all? Maybe they only exist in my mind. Stranger things have happened there, ya know? What do you think? Throw me a comment. You know how much I love notes!

Have a great week, Guys! Now go get dressed…and brush your hair or something. Maybe you’ll be more productive. 🙂

Jackie

Living a Writer’s Life

Writers live the best life ever, and the worse life ever. Sometimes both in the same day.  Read on for my take on what it’s really like to be a writer.

Writing

A writer’s routine includes writing. Many don’t write daily, but they write consistently. If long periods of time go between their writing sessions, it takes them that much longer to get back into their story. Maybe they’ve forgotten how their characters were feeling when they last worked on a scene, or how to access their voice. So they re-read that scene and sometimes another before they can add new words. And for writers, that’s wasted writing time. That’s why they try to write every day.

Writers don’t actually want to write all the time. But…writers make writing a priority anyway. Even though they want to binge watch Netflix when they get home from work, or work out, or read a book, they force their butt into the chair and write the words because they know that even the greatest words will never be read  if they don’t write them down… along with many others.

Writer’s spend too much time procrastinating. They peruse their Twitter Feed and stalk their friends on Facebook…even though they’ve set aside sacred time for writing. Then they wonder why they’ve only written 200 words in two hours. True story.

Writers think their stories stink. They also think their stories are brilliant. They think these things every day and sometime both on the same day.

Writers think about their stories even when they’re not writing. They think about the world they’ve created while showering, while cooking, while grocery shopping and even sometimes while they’re talking to their mom on their phone. Sorry, Mom! Not that talking to Mom isn’t important, but characters feel like children to their creators and the worrying, the planning, the dreaming about them simply doesn’t end when a writer turns their computer off.

On each and every birthday, writers make a writing wish. While they blow out their birthday candles, they quickly sum up their greatest writing desire. They wish to finish writing their manuscript. They wish to sign with a literary agent. They wish for a big fat book deal. They wish someone will buy their book, or lots of people will buy their book. They wish for a book launch party. They wish everyone will love their book.

Writers drink warm drinks. A lot of them. They drink coffee. They drink tea. They drink lattes. They drink Red Bull. Oh  wait, that last one isn’t warm. Well, I guess it could be, so whatever. And these drinks seem to fuel their creative energy.

Writers sometimes write in their pajamas. Actually many writers write in their pajamas and don’t shower or brush their hair. It’s kind of a thing, I guess. However, some writers actually shower every morning, get dressed in real clothes, do their hair, AND put on make-up. That’s actually a thing too. I hope I don’t have to tell you which one refers to me.

Writers hate telling people what their story is about. They can write a 70,000 word novel but writing an elevator pitch is worse that running out of coffee. Writers didn’t always feel this way. When they first started writing, they loved telling their family and friends what their next best seller was about. But after seeing too many blank faces staring back at them, and wasting too many words trying to make their story sound as amazing as it is in their head, they realize it’s better to be vague about the whole thing.

Writers panic every time their words are read. They hand those precious pages filled with their blood, sweat, and tears over to their beloved critique partner or agent or editor for the first time and they resort back to the cafeteria as a middle school kid. Will they like my words? Will they love my characters? Will they hate them? Will they think my writing sounds amateur? They think these things if they written three books or even if they’ve written thirty.

For a writer, writing partners are pure gold. A critique partner is like a best friend and workout partner and sister rolled into one. They understand your dreams, they understand your goals, and they know how hard you’ve worked through the years to make a sparkly story. They also give tough love when it’s needed. They are a writer’s cheerleader in the best sense of the word.

Writers wonder each day why their families expect dinner every single night. They feel bad when they order out. But they soon get over it because by not spending an hour cooking a meal that’s devoured in five minutes flat, they’ll have time to write 500 more words. And there won’t be any clean up.

With that said, writers love their crock pots. Or at least they want to. They want the ingredients they throw in there to magically turn into a gourmet feast. Because, ya know writers are good at dreaming.

Writers work at other jobs to pay the bills. Unless they are JK Rolling, independently wealthy, or have another source of income in their family, they find other ways to make money. They do freelance work, they work another job, or they sell their stuff on Craigslist. How’s that for reality?

Writers experience serious self doubt about their chosen profession. But they write anyway because they love to write. And they are gluttons for punishment. They spend too much time staring at a blank screen wondering if their idea is any good. But then another idea sparks and they splash it up on that blank page. Then the doubt is gone and replaced by a great sense of accomplishment.

Writers spend and awful lot of time by themselves. Most writers love this. It’s not a death sentence. It’s glorious time spent with their laptop, coffee, and the imaginary world they’ve created from nothing. It exhilarates them. It’s better than sunning themselves on a beach. Well, maybe not quite but you get the idea.

Writers write the stories that must be written. Writers constantly have stories that live in their heads, begging to be told. They write them in the car while waiting for their child to finish practice. They write late at night when the house is finally quiet. While other people are sleeping in or getting up at 5am to workout, writers are writing. Because that story swirling in their head insists on it.

Writers find inspiration in anything. Music. People. Places. Situations. Experiences. Pets. That’s why they do more than sit at their desk or in a coffee shop. They go outside. They run. They walk.They talk to people. They travel. And they love people watching. Oh, and people listening. But then they turn into hermits again. Because well, they’re writers.

Writers read their horoscope. They read tarot cards. They look for angel signs…or any signs that will tell them their manuscript is good enough and will become a real book someday.

Writers love Staples and Office Depot. They love pens. They love paper. They love notebooks and pencils. They love sticky notes, index cards, and pretty journals. They do.

Writers love to talk to other writers about their stories. And they especially love meeting their writing friends for coffee. No one knows the challenges and successes a writer feels, like another writer.

Writers love belonging to this secret club of writing people. They know how hard it is to write a complete story from beginning to middle to end, full of amazing characters, world class goals, unthinkable obstacles, and emotion that runs off the charts. They know what it takes to write a stellar picture book, hysterically heartfelt middle grade story, or gut wrenching YA novel. They get it and they’ve done it, and that’s kind of exclusive.

Writers celebrate writing successes. Like when they finish their first draft, when they finish revising, when they get their first full manuscript request, when they sign with an agent, when they get a book deal. There’s often chocolate. Usually wine. Always hugs and screams and sharing on Twitter.

Writers are genuinely excited for other writers when they achieve success  too. And not only because they think if it can happen to another writer it can happen to them too. It’s because another baby story is about to be born at the hand of a fellow writer who has worked just as hard as they have, and maybe harder. They love seeing other people’s dreams come true.

A writer’s life is a great one, because writers get to write. They get to share their stories with other people. They get to be creative. But it takes a patient person to enjoy all that goes along with it, that’s for sure.

So writers keep writing. They keep creating. They keep the words coming. They keep buying pencils, and drinking coffee. They know one day there’ll be chocolate and lots of readers for their story. They know their book will save the day for a young boy or girl one day… and that’s why so many writers knowingly choose to live this crazy writing life.

For more posts on living life as a writer, click the links below:

4 Signs You May not Fit the Writer’s Stereotype

An Open Letter to my Future Reader

I Have an Agent Announcement

What Happens After you Sign with a Literary Agent

Things You Imagine While Out on Sub

I Have a Book Deal

Posted in Uncategorized

Creativity Requires Courage

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was restful and rejuvenating.  January is one of my very favorite months. Not only because my daughter was born this month—18 years ago today, in fact…

Happy Happy Birthday, Princess Danielle!

Hooray for you!! I hope this year is everything you dream it will be.

But also because it’s a month where we wipe the slate clean and begin again. I don’t want to make this post about New Years resolutions because yanno, everyone else has done that already. Instead I’d rather just focus on some positive things set for 2016.

For those of you who missed it, yesterday marked my first guest post on another blog. OMG, it was both terrifying and exciting at the same time! Author Michelle Hauck, host of Michelle4Laughs.com was sweet enough to ask me to share my story of signing with my agent.  Many of you have already read the post, but in case you missed it, here’s the link on her site:  http://www.michelle4laughs.com/2016/01/getting-call-with-jackie-yeager.html

As you can see from the tab on the right, I’ve added manuscript, query, and synopsis editing services to the freelance work I do. I’ve considered making this move for a long while now. One of the reasons I hesitated was that early in my writing career, I was told to never pay an editor- it’s just not necessary. Once you sign with an agent or grab the attention of a publisher, you’ll work with an editor and they will help to make your manuscript sparkle. And to some extent, I agree. However, some writers could really use a fresh eye to look at their work before submitting to an agent.

If you’re one of the lucky writers who has really strong critique partners (who have been through the submission process before and have at least received several requests), then most likely you’re on the right track. However, after receiving editing requests from readers of this blog over the last year, I realized that many of you don’t, or haven’t been able to get past the rejection phase. (I’ve been there, and it can be soooo frustrating!) I now realize that many of my blog readers are looking for an extra hand—a leg up as they ready their work for submission, someone to bring their writing to the next level.

So, I’ve decided to take on critiquing/ editing of manuscripts, query letters, and the dreaded synopsis in addition to the business freelance writing work I do.  I’ve begun work with three amazing writers already and the experience has been fantastic. Helping other writers to bring their writing to the next level just may be my new favorite thing in the world to do!

I’m currently adding writers for January. Click here for more detailed information. My email address is listed. I’d love to hear from you even if you’re not sure how I can help you. I’d be happy to customize my editing/ critiquing to fit your needs.

In terms of the blog, here’s what coming up in the next few months. I’m planning to share some success stories with you. Reading stories of other writers finally getting the call, finally signing with a literary agent, finally getting a book deal have kept me inspired to keep writing all these years. Publishing is a tough business. It’s good to hear when other writers just like us find a way to get their book babies out into the world!

I’ll also be posting on topics very close to my heart—or rather my world right now…

What it’s like to be out on submission to publishers.

Not much has been written on this and I’m not sure why. I mean, what the big secret? Loads of information can be found about what it’s like to be querying, but not so much can be found about what it’s like to be out on submission. So I plan to let you know what it is like for me. But before that, I’ll also touch on…

What happens after a writer signs with a literary agent—but before they actually go out on sub.

That time can be different for everyone, but I can give you a peek into the way it has been for me. I may even ask some of my writing friends (you know who you are!) to share their insights as well. Our stories are all so different, but somehow the same, ya know??

For the immediate future, when I’m not hanging out at this site, or working on my freelance projects, I’ll be in full draft mode. I’m writing Book 2—the middle grade sequel to the manuscript that grabbed my agent’s attention. It’s been fantastically fun to jump back into the world of my five favorite kids—crazy to see what adventures I can dream up for them. I’ll post about my progress on that periodically.

As far as when I’ll be posting, I’ve decided to stick with my once a week schedule, but the days I post may change week to week. (And I may post more often if I have something worthwhile to say!) The pressure of getting a post up on the site every Wednesday by 8:00am has gotten to me. I’d rather post early in the week if I can, and post later if I need to.

So what about all of you? What will you be working on in the next few months? A draft? A revision? A sequel? Something completely new? Tell us about it. I was a cheerleader in my former life so I have my pomp poms ready!

Thanks for checking in, my friends. I wish for you this…that 2016 will fill you with all the ideas, all the words, all the amazing stories, and all the writing adventures you can dream of. Just remember, it takes courage to follow your dreams, so I wish you all the courage too. 🙂

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