Tag Archives: Enchanted Spark

Writing Wins and Woes: Why Blog at All?

265After a recent post by Melinda Moore, who also has a blog at Enchanted Spark, Link here: http://enchantedspark.com/wordpress1/   where she mentioned that she considered ending her blog, and then also reading a blog by someone else that said basically, Why blog at all if you’re a writer, there is no proof that blogging helps your sales, and instead you should write articles, that you can sell for real money. I admit, I was shaken. By the way, I have written articles for real money, and I love doing that. Articles are educational and if you write about what interests you, they are also fun to write.

But I began seriously questioning. Should I be wasting my writing time on a blog? Here’s what I gleaned from my blogging research:

Why do I blog:

  1. To encourage other writers. I put this down as number one because it is my primary reason for blogging. I’m not blogging for a cathartic experience or to brag or to wail, I’m blogging because once upon a time, a writer encouraged me with their blog, which incidentally was just a blog relating their rejection letters from publishers. I know it’s hard to believe but it encouraged me. It sounds wacky but just knowing that someone somewhere out there was experiencing what I was experiencing made me feel like I could keep on doing what I was doing.
  2. 60% of businesses who blog acquire more customers. If this is true of business, I would think it can be applied to book sales as well.
  3. To get people on my team. Yes, a writer needs faithful backers who will follow what he does, both to buy books and help promote his books. Enough said.
  4. To share my expertise. Do I have expertise? Everybody has some. Since I’ve sold myself some sixty plus times, I do have expertise on how to do this, at least somewhat.
  5. To keep me thinking about possible writing topics, where to submit, publishers etc. To stay in the game I have to keep myself current with what’s happening. Blogging helps me do that.
  6. To keep writing. Blogging is a creative way to express myself. Even if I don’t have any other ideas to write about for a story or a novel, I can write a blog, because let’s face it, there’s a lot less pressure when I’m blogging than when I’m writing to sell something.
  7. It is free PR. Advertisements cost money. Blogging is free. Now I did read someone’s blog who said that blogging can be costly, too, if you hire people to help you with it, designers, consultants. I skip all that. My blog is my voice. It might not be as good as some, but it’s my authentic voice.
  8. To give me insights into what books people will buy. The comments that people make help me to determine what I’m good at and what they are interested in. Blogging helps me get a feel for what subject I might write about next.
  9. To be encouraged. I started with to encourage others and I end with encouraging myself, because yes, I want to be encouraged to keep on writing, and when someone says, please, don’t quit, it makes me sigh, gather my wits about me and push forward once again. So, I say to you fellow bloggers, blog on.
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Writing Wins and Woes: How to begin?

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It is almost February and I have not moved even a snail’s pace into the agenting arena. I am so stuck with “How do I begin this process?” Yes, I have Holly’s article on How to get an agent? Link for that is here:
http://enchantedspark.com/wordpress1/2014/10/15/finding-an-agent-guest-blog-by-holly-jennings/

I know about agentquery.com and I’ve looked at it before. Every time I do, I get overwhelmed with the amount of agents. It is so difficult to say to myself “I entrust my baby with this stranger.” It’s almost like finding a babysitter for your kid. I never trusted anybody but my parents, my husband’s siblings or a few times a very responsible teenage girl from church. How can I do less with the work I’ve toiled over?

I’m beginning to see a flaw in my character. I often do nothing and hope the situation rights itself in time. Guess what? That may happen with a facial blemish, but it’ll never happen with writing. I’ve got to make it happen somehow. Nobody is going to email me tomorrow with, “I’d love to publish your book. Send it right over.”

So, February starts my big agent search. Follow along. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have any advice, no matter how big or small on how to pick an agent, let me know. I’m aware that I’ll probably query many before one even shows the vaguest interest in me.

Next week, I’ll post on what I’ve done in my baby steps to find an agent. Say a prayer for me. Thanks.

Writing Wins and Woes: A Relaxed Writer

Lucy and Alpacas 008 Unfortunately, I have never been a relaxed writer. It’s always been scouring my brain for ideas, plenty of anxiety about the places I submitted to, and rushing to pen the words so I could finish a story. It’s been a while since I just sat and enjoyed the craft of writing. Somehow, the publishing process can take a whole lot of joy out of what should be the most satisfying part of my life.

All that is said to complement this picture of my corgi, Lucy. She is often relaxed. Dogs don’t know when you will come and go, when they will get their next meal, or if they will get to follow you on your adventures. Yet, they still can relax. I could learn a lot from a dog.

I need to remember that this whole writing thing is mostly out of my control. I write; others decide. That’s it. That’s the way it flies. I can only do my best. I have a co-worker that says you can only give your 100%. That’s all I can do as a writer.

So, I submitted to two places this week and I’m sad about one of them. Photo Flare’s last contest. I have really enjoyed submitting to these contests. The photos Julie provided were inspirational and challenging. A big shout out to Melinda Moore for hosting these contests. We are going to miss them. The other place I submitted to was Strange Horizons. Not much hope there, but as I said before, sometimes you shoot for the moon. I had no acceptances this week, and one sort of rejection, because I had submitted to Enchanted conversation back in June. Winners were announced and I wasn’t one of them. Anyway, that is another contest I will miss. Kate Wolford’s contest was all about fairy tales, and the stories there are truly lovely. Check out her site. It’s a wonderful adventure into fantasy. http://www.fairytalemagazine.com/

Thought for the Day: Try to relax more as a writer. Don’t let the fears and failings of publishing steal the fun away from writing.

Contest Winner: Paint Splashes Flash Fiction Contest

Contest Winner: Paint Splashes Flash Fiction Contest

Congratulations to Melinda Moore, the winner of the Paint Splashes Contest. Melinda Moore reads and writes in The Land of Enchantment. She has a handful of short stories published along with a novella: A Sunset Finish. Please stop by her blog and read the winning stories in her Photo Flare writing contest at enchantedspark.com.

Here is her winning, enchanted fairy story:

FAIRY LIGHT PARADE

BY MELINDA MOORE

Clarise juggled indigo butterflies with wafts of air originating from her fingertips. Birds twittered a song in time with the butterfly circles, and Clarise pranced to it above the ground.

“Clarise!” Mother Superior’s sharp voice cut through the delight. Clarise fell to the ground, and the butterflies flew to the shelter of her golden hair.

“Honestly,” continued Mother Superior. “You should be preparing yourself for the Fairy Light Parade.”

“Is it time?” Clarise scrambled to stand up. Unable to do her chores correctly in her anticipation, she’d given up and hid in the garden where she worshiped God in her way—the joyous way.

Mother Superior sighed and softened her eyes. She was very young to be in charge of the nunnery—young and beautiful. She said, “I thought you should know, your parents will be taking you home at the end of the parade.”

Clarise’s eyes bulged. For eighteen years she’d thought she was the bastard child of the unmarried court wizard. “Parents? But I’m an orphan.”

Mother Superior stepped to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “It’s not the custom to tell one such as you ahead of time, but you’re so filled with the grace of God, I—I wanted to at least say goodbye. I know I’ve been overly strict, but I think you would’ve made a wonderful nun.”

“Would’ve? What are you talking about? I plan to enter the sisterhood as soon as you allow me.”

One tear rolled off Mother Superior’s cheek. “Your parents are fairies. They’ll arrive at the parade to take you home.”

Clarise stepped out of her grip. “No. That can’t be right.”

“But it is.” The next words she spoke slowly as if to convey something important. “You are not the first fairy child to be brought up by this convent. Now go. Prepare yourself and go to the altar fire when the bell tolls.”

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Clarise stood in the sanctuary in a red habit like the other nuns, wishing they wore color more often. Maybe her love of color and flavor and music had been a sign all along that she was a fairy. She narrowed her eyes at the sisters. Had they all known she was a fairy?

She tried to steady her voice as they sang the hymn of preparation. They were to shine the light of God for the fairies to cleanse themselves in, giving them God’s grace. Clarise shuddered. She didn’t want to live amongst those who only sought Him once a year. She calmed her nerves by floating above the ground and to the altar where God’s fire burned on the fairy candle. Everyone stopped singing.

She hovered above the altar, thinking she might see God’s face in the flame or hear his voice. Nothing. Lighting the first candle was for Mother Superior to do, but what did she care of rules anymore—she was a fairy. Clarise pulled the red fairy candle out of her habit and placed the wick in God’s fire. With one spark it lit. She floated above the ground singing the fairy welcome song as she headed down the aisle and out the door. One by one, the sisters followed.

Outside, lamps shone down on empty streets. Light glowed in the windows of the buildings, but Clarise didn’t see any people looking out—the night was too dangerous for those who didn’t carry the light of God.

Above, the yellow crescent moon gave color to the nearby clouds as if they too glowed with the light of God. In an act of defiance against her blood heritage, she dropped to the ground and walked like all the other nuns. Mother Superior caught up to her, but she hardly noticed as she pondered what her parents might be like as well as life in the fairy realm. She might have all the color and flavor and music she could ever imagine, but God would be absent.

She stopped walking and said to Mother Superior, “I can’t go there. I belong here.”

Mother Superior stopped, but the rest of the nuns moved on with their lit candles held close. “Perhaps God intends you to be His light in their realm.”

“Have other fairies gone back and kept his fire burning?”

Mother Superior shook her head. “But you’re strong in his love. You can succeed where they fail.”

Mother Superior’s fire burned brighter, and Clarise saw a silhouette dancing in the flame. She looked to her own candle and saw the same.

“They’re coming,” she whispered. She wanted to snuff her candle out. She could do that. She could blow a gale through the street and blow every flame out all the way to God’s Fire. And then she could remain another year at least.

The figures grew bigger. She’d have to blow it out soon. Mother Superior’s words passed through her mind: maybe she could be their savior in the fairy realm. She held her breath.

Wings unfurled out of the candle flame, and a fairy emerged nude and more beautiful than any human she’d ever beheld. Next to her, a male fairy flew out of Mother Superior’s candle—perfect like she imagined an angel to be. Soon the sky filled with tinkling laughter and ethereal voices. Clarise stood and gawked and filled with dread at living in the realm where fairy glory would overwhelm the grace of God. She was not strong enough. She could not carry

His grace to His lost people. But maybe—she had a thought.

Allowing her fairy impetuousness to take over, she waved her hands high and pushed a gale down the street, snuffing out every candle and God’s fire in the sanctuary. Over the gasps of horror from the nuns, she heard musical laughter roll out of Mother Superior. “Well done.” Something ripped Mother Superior’s habit, and wings opened up behind her back. She flew up and called to the dumbstruck fairies, “Welcome to your redemption.”

END