For Writers: Keep on Singing Your Song

Impossible

Sharing this today for all my fellow writers out there, or for anyone who’s having a bad day.

Writing for publication is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it does come with a few crappy days here and there. This business can really be tough at times. Choosing to put your work out into the world and share the results of your creativity and passion with others is hard enough. Add in all the criticism, the submission (and rejection) process, the unending business decisions that always seem to greatly affect your career, the pressure to produce more and more, the need to make every book better than the last, the struggles of everyday life (family obligations and responsibilities, depression, grief, the seemingly unending horrible news in the world)… it can all be very draining on the creative process.

The list below includes some of the songs I listen to on those bad days. I love them for their lyrics, their message, or even just the beat that doesn’t let a bad mood linger. These songs make me smile and remind me to focus on what I love about writing and not what others have to say about the result. They also remind me that no matter what, I just need to keep on singing my song and always write for myself first and foremost. That is the only way I know to continue telling the stories I want to share with others.

So if you’re feeling those pressures building, hang in there. You’re not alone in how you feel. We all have those days at one time or another, and sometimes they seem to snowball into more than a single day. Just focus on why you love to write and keep on singing your song.

Sloan’s Pick-Me-Up Playlist

Don’t give up! Keep on singing your song and living your dream.

Video I Love: We Will

This beautiful video is a short film that was created in support of Australian Marriage Equality. It brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it. My hon and I were married this past summer, and this video says it all. My hope is that one day very soon everyone in the world who has found this kind of love will be free to marry, will be free to love peacefully and openly without fear of hatred or violence or discrimination.

If you can’t see the embedded video above, you can view it on YouTube.

A Heartfelt Thank-You: You fought for all of us and changed our lives

Equal Justice Under Law

Following the wonderful Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage across the United States, my partner and I were legally married in our home state. It was a long-awaited, lovely day, and I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of you out there who get what it truly means. Your support and understanding mean more than I can say.

Because it’s not just about being able to state that “We’re married.” It’s about survivor benefits, next-of-kin status, legal status to your spouse’s children, access to medical coverage and disability, ability to take family leave to care for an ill spouse, inheriting your spouse’s estate, and the list goes on and on and on. Over 1100 rights and privileges granted to married couples in the US.

No more living in fear because you are merely roommates with the love of your life. Now that person is legally “your person.” No one can deny you access and information. You can be with your sick partner (or even claim their body if they’ve passed). You can make decisions as their spouse. You can more easily share finances and health coverage. You can be a family in the eyes of the government.

Thank you to all of the supporters of LGBT rights, to the Supreme Court justices who voted in our favor, and to Jim Obergefell, my fellow Ohioan. You fought for all of us and changed our lives. Thank you!

Look what I found: Breathe Character Note Cards

I was cleaning my office the other day and stumbled across these note cards. They’re my original ideas for the characters in BREATHE. I had forgotten all about them. Most of the characters from the story were in the stack, even Duke, Lincoln’s old dog.

(c) Sloan Parker

(c) Sloan Parker

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by the release party last week. And a big thanks to those of you who wrote to me with your giveaway entries. All your kind remarks about my work meant a great deal to me, and I’m thrilled so many of you have enjoyed MORE THAN MOST. Thank you for taking the time to let me know.

The winner of the release party giveaway was selected and has been contacted about their prize. Congratulations to the winner and thanks to everyone who entered!

When an author acts out the scenes (without really meaning to)

Woman With Camera

(c) Pavels Hotulevs/Shutterstock.com

Right now I’m putting the final polish on MORE THAN MOST. (I’m so thrilled with how it’s turned out and I can’t wait to share it!) At this point in the process, I usually spend my days walking around the house reading the manuscript aloud. I look for anything that stands out: repetitive or missing words, odd phrasing in dialogue, continuity issues, moments when an emotional reaction would up the intensity of the scene, that kind of thing.

I’m also at the point where I know the story so well that I sometimes start “acting out” certain parts. Every time I read the same scene over and over, I make hand gestures and facial expressions when the characters do. I lick my lips when they do. I move when and how they do. (And let me just say, I’m so glad no one has a camera anywhere near me during this phase of the writing process.)

So I thought it might be fun to share some of the specific moments from my books where I caught myself really stepping into the role of the characters.

So in no particular order, here are my more embarrassing moments as a writer:

  • I squeezed my eye shut imitating Walter when Kevin punched him, and then dabbed at the “tender” skin below my eye. (HOW TO SAVE A LIFE)
  • I banged my fist on my desk when Luke did the same on a diner table after talking with his father. (MORE)
  • I limped around the house like Richard after he’d twisted his ankle. (MORE THAN MOST)
  • I went to scoop up little Jessica and carry her through the house like Lincoln did when Nancy’s place was on fire. (BREATHE)
  • I shoved open the (non-existent) bathroom stall door and stormed across the room when Lincoln found out who the man was that he’d kissed. (BREATHE)
  • I squinted as the wind whipped around Evan when he was trapped in the blizzard, even though I was writing that book in the middle of summer. (TAKE ME HOME)
  • I raised my arm to shuffle Mateo into his apartment just as Grady did when he finally located him. (I SWEAR TO YOU)
  • I picked up the pace when Mark raced after Scott when Scott freaked out and ran out of Mark’s apartment after they’d tried to spend their first night together. (MORE THAN JUST A GOOD BOOK)
  • I puffed out my cheeks when Sean stuffed his mouth with two dinner rolls when he’d first met Gavin. (SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN)

And perhaps the MOST embarrassing:

  • I reached for my dick (of which I do not have) when Walter told Kevin to touch himself. And I did it again every single time I read that scene. (HOW TO SAVE A LIFE)

Now that’s dedication, right? Or a really, REALLY nutty writer, I’m not sure which.

I’ll just say I’m very passionate about my work and leave it at that.