My Weekly Update – NaNoWriMo Won, but Far From Done

I wanted to start this update with my favorite post of the week.  I just love Tameri and if you haven’t visited her blog, here is your chance.

Be Amazing with a Little Swagger – I read a quote recently that said “You control the way the world perceives you.” (It was Dr. Phil, but a good quote nonetheless), which is how I am going to approach returning to America in 17 days, 21 hours and 36 minutes, but’s whose counting.  Not that I plan to create some persona that’s not me, but what I have learned most from my adventures in Asia is not be afraid to show people how cool, weird, happy, strange, passionate, funny, different and gorgeous (haha) I am.  This article speaks to that and so much more.

NaNoWriMo Daily Updates – The best of the week

This was a no brainer.

NaNo Notes

The Point of NaNo by Amanda Fanger
10 Tips to Help You Finish YourNovel and/or ‘Win’ NaNoWriMo by Jenny Hansen
When the Going Got Tough, I kept Going. And it Worked! by Misha at My First Book – I am so proud of Misha. If you remember her post from last week: NaNo Doubts, it is so great to see her back on track.
Must. Stop. The Voices. Nanowrimo Internal Dialog by Suddenly Jamie
I was featured in not one, but two NaNoWriMo related interviews, check them out at  Change the World with Words and Donna McNicol’s My Write Spot.
New Followers
Holly Elizabeth Music
Jaimie at Be the Spark
Ravena Guron
Sergio Bastante
And Then There Was One
Iniriba’s Blog
Kirsty at The Last Word From Me
Tracy Constantine
Thomas at OnTopic Reviews
C.T. Westing
Sage Doyle
Lleighh at Hello World!
The Living Notebook
Sean Sandulak
Ink and Page
Next Weeks Schedule – extended version
Monday, November 19th – The Fitzroy – come check it out with me. 
Tuesday, November 20th – Tattoo Tuesday – Ava Esterby
November 21st – 28th – Blog Break
Thursday – November 29th – SQM (Sydney Quotes the Movies) – Anna Karenina and my celebration of the Love Triangle
Friday – November 31th – Guest Post on My First Book
Sunday – December 2nd – My Weekly Update – December is going to be fun. 
*I may do some random post if time permits, but my goal is to finish my NaNoWriMo (20,000 words) novel, finish my Camp NaNo novel (15,000 words) and then prepare for my big move.

I would love to hear how everyone else is doing on NaNoWriMo. I want everyone to win.  So, keep writing. I will be, too.  

Part 2 – Ten Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know by Sevastian Winters

I know you’ve been anxiously waiting for the next 5 tips, let me get out of the way and turn it over to Sevastian Winters. Sev, it’s all yours. 

Ten Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know

about Writing as a Profession

 By Sevastian Winters


Most of the work of a full time writer has nothing whatsoever to do with writing

Stephen King writes two thousand words per day. I can do that in about 3 hours. So what is he doing with the rest of his time? Easy! He’s conducting the business end of the writing business. Most would-be writers fantasize about sitting on a storm deck at their cabin in the woods by  a cozy fire, so engrossed in tapping out the plight of heroes and heroines that they are completely  unaware  of  the bear and bunny rabbit frolicking in the yard playfully with the deer and mountain lion, and surrounded by butterflies that flit about the property, teasing the little fishes in the pond by the tree.

Writing isn’t romantic. It is gruelling, hard work and most of being a writer isn’t even about the writing. It’s about all the work involved in editing, promoting, and selling what is written. Those of us lucky enough to endure this for a living look at Stephen King’s 2,000 words per day and wonder not how come he writes so few, but how he manages to find the time to write so many. If you aren’t ready to commit to being certifiably committed to an asylum, then writing as a profession is simply not for you.


Readers are busy people with busy lives.

This is important information that every writer must understand to their core if they want to earn a living from writing. The title of this article is “Ten Things Every Writer Should Know about Writing as a Profession.” It isn’t very catchy, but in a glance, you had enough information to know what to expect…and to know if you wanted to read it.

Readers are busy people with busy lives. They ‘peruse’ non-fiction. If you really want them to hang on your words, write fiction. But expect to be poor.

Kurt Vonnegut once said “start your story as close to the end as humanly possible.” Wise words from a man who never wasted a reader’s time. In nonfiction, get to the point. In fiction, cut out the stuff that doesn’t tell the story. Grab your readers and drag them through your work and never let them breathe. If you do that, you can’t help but find your audience and your success.


It’s not personal. It’s just Business.

Writing is a business. The ‘noble artist’ thing stops at the moment you type the last word of your first draft.

If you let your personal convictions about your work cloud your business sense, you may or may not succeed, but you will absolutely be miserable.

It doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction or non-fiction. There is no room in this competitive industry for a Prima Donna. I would venture to guess that every writer has experienced some degree of frustration with editors or customers who we felt didn’t grasp what we were trying to do… our titles, our subject matter, our approach.

As writers we find a lot of people to get mad at:

  •  Editors
  • Agents
  • Publishers
  • Readers
  • Ourselves
  • Other writers

Pretty much anyone who comes into contact with our work is subject to our vitriol if they respond with anything other than sincere adulation.

If you want to succeed as a writer, you are going to need to check your ego at the door. I know from experience. There are two major sources of revenue for whom I currently can’t write because once upon a time, I let my ego take over. Don’t do what I did. Instead, remember: It’s not personal. It’s just business. No matter how annoying, you are the service provider. They are the customer, and the customer is always right.


If you don’t write on a regular basis, you can’t call yourself a writer

Don’t just intend to write. Write. Finish. Sell. Query, Write, Finish Sell. Repeat. That’s the gig you signed up for. Do it. No one cares about your Bejewelled Blitz score… least of all, your bill collectors. Nuff’ said.


Accolades are Great, but They’re Also Stupid

We all like to be acknowledged for the work we do, but the fact is writers seem to need it more than most. I know I do. When’s the last time you thanked your doctor for doing such a great prostate exam? Mammogram? How often to you tell the guy at the convenience store how great he was at ringing you up? Wal-Mart? Look, I will give you that writing is a rare talent (Trust me… I happen to think most of the people making money at it suck). But it’s still just a job. Just like a doctor is expected to do a good job and a construction worker is expected to to a good job, and a sanitation worker is expected to do a good job, so too are you expected to do a good job. I remember a poignant scene in an episode of TV’s “Mad Men” when one character was complaining over a lack of praise from her boss. Frustrated, he shouted “That’s what the money is for.” If you’re getting paid for your writing, expect that you did a good job. Accolades are great, but they a cheap substitute for dollar bills. By means of disclosure, I got paid to write this post. That’s all the thanks I need.

Get to work… and good luck in your writing career!

Check out Sev’s new blog The Homeless Gazillionaire

What’s this all about?  At nearly 41 years old, I found myself having been in back to back relationships for all of my adult life (including 3 failed marriages) with very little to show for my 41 years on earth, and a ton of personal baggage that has made it impossible for me to sort out my happiness. So I am stripping away the whole facade and starting over from scratch.  It’s time to get healthy, happy, and whole. Welcome to my journey.
Related post:  Ten Thing Every Aspiring Writer Should Know about Writing as a Professional Sevastian Winters #1 – #5.

 What do you think of Sev’s tips?  Let us know in the comments below. 

Ten Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know about Writing as a Profession by Sevastian Winters

If you haven’t already, you need to familiarize yourself with Sevastian Winters.  I have been following his journey to find happiness since he began “unpacking baggage” on his blog The Homeless Gazillionaire.    If his post don’t move you, inspire you, or motivate you, well, your probably already dead.  At the least, his post will make you think about how events that occurred in your past effect the way you deal with thing in the present.  
That is why I was so excited to have Sev offer us Aspiring Writer’s an education:  

Ten Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know

about Writing as a Profession

 By Sevastian Winters

When I first agreed to write this piece for Syd, I didn’t quite realize what I was getting into. Choosing ten things from amongst the hundreds of things writers should know about writing is a task all unto itself, and I argued with myself over which ten were “most important.” In the end, I decided to highlight the things about this business that are very often missed. So without further adieu, here are the ten things I feel that writers absolutely must know if they aim to make a living with their “pen.”


There are more aspiring professional writers in today’s market than ever before!

If video killed the radio star, then the internet killed the exclusivity and mystery of being a writer. With the advent of blogs, content mills and, more recently, eBooks, everyone from 12 to 112 is getting in the game. The internet is hungry for content, and that means it needs writers. Forget about yesteryear. Writing isn’t just about writing anymore. It’s bigger than that. It is a gangbang of information insemination. If that analogy seems gross, suck it up, princess. That’s the price we pay for moving information around the world at the speed of thought.

If you want to build a career as a professional writer, you can! That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you don’t work smart, you are going to work very, very hard!


Fiction/poetry may feed your soul, but non-fiction will feed your family

I love fiction. It allows me to tap into emotions and the heart of what is, for me, very real. That said, my non-fiction work outsells my fiction ten to one. There are writers who make their living writing only fiction, and the richest writers on the planet write fiction exclusively, but breaking that barrier is hard. In the meantime, if you want to be a full time writer, you are going to have to also get comfortable writing non-fiction. Fiction might make you very wealthy, but if it doesn’t, non-fiction will at least pay your bills.


eReaders are here to stay. So If you want to make money with your writing, you’re going to have to shut  up about how sad you are to see paper go.

Seriously. Writers can’t afford to care about the medium. Pay attention to the content. If tomorrow the fad was to deliver stories written in goat’s blood on the backs of motor homes, no one’s goat would be safe from me. We exist in the market. We don’t control it.


Newsflash: Readers DO Judge books by their Covers!

Even if you’re selling eBooks, you are going to need some cover art. I am constantly amazed at how writers spend months perfecting their work only to give their covers what amounts to a cursory glance. The best book in the world will not sell if it has an ineffectual cover. 80% of what sells books is on the cover, 20% is found in the first 5 pages, and all of the rest of your book determines whether the reader will buy the NEXT book. That means that your books had better damn well be identifiable as yours!

 If a reader likes your writing, they may want to read another. People don’t buy a book called “The Stand” by Stephen King. They buy Stephen King’s “The Stand.” The difference is that they are buying Stephen King. If you want to sell your books, you’d better be sure that people know your work is yours beyond the shadow of a doubt. Covers can’t just be pretty. They have to be memorable! A book cover is not wrapping paper. It is your greatest, and most important sales tool! Treat it with respect.


Without an identifiable Brand, you will spend your writing career fighting an uphill battle.

Branding is about making sure that from a mile away people know your work and know what to expect. It encompasses everything about what makes your product uniquely yours! Branding is why, when I say “Golden Arches,” you know the place I mean.

If people know and become familiar with what to expect from your brand, you will have done 90% of the selling you ever have to to. I have never owned a Canon camera, but if I was in need of a camera, I wouldn’t have the slightest hesitation about choosing that brand. I recognize it, and despite having no personal experience with the brand, I trust it. People buy the brands they trust. If you have not branded your work as yours, you will constantly find yourself selling new product as if it has no brothers or sisters, and that, my friends is an unnecessary and  grueling uphill battle. Brand. Brand. Brand.

I think I will stop there. Let that sink in. If you have any questions for Sev, feel free to leave them in the comments. And please, come back on Saturday, November 17th for #6 – #10.  

Tattoo Tuesday – AM Schultz

Yes! Finally the man, the myth (what?), the legend has graced the pages of Sydney Aaliyah with his witty and evasive words of wisdom.

*Did I over sell it? No, I think I’m still good.

Ok, so without further ado, please welcome A.M. Schultz to Tattoo Tuesday:

1. How old where you when you got your first tattoo?

Age is a number. Sometimes I feel 20, sometimes I feel 40. 
That said, I got my first tattoo in October of 2008. I was old enough to
drink, but not old enough to rent a car. 

2. What made you want to get your first tattoo?

I was young and wanted some ink. I was going through a bit of a
“jaded-youth” stage, and was brimming with testosterone, libido, and
post-teenage angst. I lived on a diet of creatine and protein shakes, and
figured a tattoo was the next logical progression in my
“douchebadassness.” Really, it was for all the wrong reasons.
MMA was starting to become popular and I was seeing a lot of guys get
nautical stars on their chest. I liked the whole “human as lost ship
finding its way in the night” philosophy behind them, so I got them.
Unfortunately, because I might as well have been auditioning for a role on
The Jersey Shore at the time and had been GTL’ing pretty hard, I strolled
into the shop with this huge barrel chest and the stars tends to float in
their own wave of muscular inflation and deflation, depending on my
commitment to superficiality at any given time.

3. How many tattoos do you have?

As of right now, only these two. I intend on getting more, but have
intended on getting more for the past four years.
I had “settled down” for a few years, though, and “settled” men don’t
really need to go sit in the chair or live at the gym, so my journey has
been a bit protracted…
Now that I am “unsettled” — which would sound awful if I wasn’t trying to
pass myself off as a writer — I am free to go get all inky.

4. What is your tattoo story? If you have more then one tattoo, tell me your most recent or your favorite tattoo.

It’s not as deep or introspective as I’d like. I had wanted a sleeve done
that would interweave the major world religions, but never had the right
combination of time/money. I will have to revisit Tattoo Tuesday after my
next session. 🙂

5. Tattoos on a significant other, like or dislike? Why?

Absolutely. I appreciate art and expression and creativity, and a tattoo
can be a great indicator of some combination of the three.

And there you have it, from the creator of Headspit himself.

Make sure you are following A.M.:
Twitter:  @am-sch
Blog:  Headspit

And, check out his debut novel, Ring Girl available in January 2013.

The Next Big Thing

Next Big Thing – I have to thank Felcia ScotzigKaren EinselAmanda Fanger & Emily Anne Shaffer for making me feel like my new project is buzzing.  I’m not quite trending on twitter, but I couldn’t be happier these 4 talent ladies are curious about what I am up to.

What is the title of your Work in Progress?
I wanted a title that conveys a relationship or interconnection between three people in a positive way so I thought of trinity – with the lower case t. This is the first time I thought about the title in relation to a potential book cover.  It’s a sign.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The initial idea came from the movie Oliver Stone Movie Savage.
What genre does your book fall under?
Adult contemporary Fiction – with a hint of romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Can I refer you to my Pinerest board titled trinity?
There is a photo of what Alex looks like – no one famous, I would have to find this girl.  This is my Alexanda.
Lance – Matt Damon, but taller
Chay – Orlando Bloom
What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?
Alexanda has spent her life learning to be ok with being alone and just when she thinks she has a handle on it, she meets her father for the first time and is pulled into his world were she has to trust others in order to stay sane and stay alive.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will go the traditional route first, but this one I really want to see published.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This is my NaNoWriMo project and I am ahead of schedule right now, so I hope it will take me 30 days.
What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
It is a bit like James Patterson’s old stuff, but a little more in-depth character wise.   Sidney Sheldon, but contemporary.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It is different then what I have written before and I wanted to see if I could do it.  Plus, this isn’t a piece of fluff, it’s got some serious issues and a bit more research then I have done before.  I know everything there is to know about the Marine, Special Forces and photography.  Really, ask me anything.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are a lot of elements to this book: romance, relationships, sex, drugs, military, death, regret.  As well as Happiness, Passion, Love and Faith.
5 Nominations:  I decided to nominate some of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants: