The Worried Writer Episode #16: Cesca Major ‘Being rejected is hideous’

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howtofindyourfirsthusbandthe silent hoursMy guest today is Cesca Major. Cesca is a fascinating interviewee as she writes in two genres under different names. Cesca’s debut historical novel, The Silent Hours, was published last year by Corvus, to great acclaim. However, Cesca also writes romantic comedy under the name Rosie Blake. The first Rosie Blake book, How To Get A (Love) Life, was originally published by Novelicious Books and was then picked up by Corvus, as part of a three book deal.

Rosie Blake’s latest novel is How to Find Your (First) Husband – out 2nd June, 2016!

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
For more about Cesca Major or her alter ego, Rosie Blake, head to: cescamajor.com or rosieblake.co.uk or via

Twitter: @CescaWrites and @RosieBBooks

In the interview:

Writing during the holidays as a teacher and the value of chunks of time:

‘I do hour long chunks and I call them word races.’

 

On the difficulty of writing:

‘It’s hideous sometimes and the first five minutes can be awful…’

 

 ‘The hardest stage I find is that end of the first draft structural edit’.

 

On rejection and the journey to publication:

‘Frankly, being rejected is hideous and you have months at the start where you lost faith that it will ever happen.’

On bad writing days:

‘Don’t beat yourself up too much, have a cream egg.’

Recommendations:

Cesca very kindly recommends my ‘Write Your Novel’ column on Novelicious.

The Bookshop Café FB group: ‘It’s lovely to be part of a group where people are just constantly discussing novels.’

Cesca’s own vlogs on writing and editing on The Writers & Artists site.

The beat sheet described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

The LOCK principle from James Scott Bell’s Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting and Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
On the importance of using primary sources for historical research: Nella Last’s diaries (Housewife, 49 etc)

Also in the show:

I give a small update on my own writing and reveal my plan to get The Language of Spells made into an audiobook!

I’m very excited to dip my toe in hybrid publishing. If all goes well, I will get The Secrets of Ghosts and The Garden Of Magic made, too. I’m using ACX which is a platform which connects people who own audio rights to books such as publishers and authors, with narrators and audiobook production companies.

I first heard about ACX via the wonderful Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn and I’ve also read Simon Whistler’s excellent guide to the subject Audiobooks for Indies.

I will keep you informed on the process as I go along!

Listener Question:

This month’s question comes from Jeanna Kunce (windhillbooks.com).

Do you feel it is important to be a part of any writers/artists associations? Aside from any conferences or networking benefits there may be, do you think you think it makes a difference simply having on your resume/submissions? Would it actually help someone get their foot in the door? Some people seem to feel it’s only your story that will get you published; others seem to feel that having that “badge” helps to make you seem more serious or professional. Thoughts?

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

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How To Write More Every Day And Enjoy It!

Remember That It'sFun!

Recently I completed a course on productivity taught by Dean Wesley Smith, a writer with forty years experience in the business.

Dean has published over a hundred novels and he blogs daily about his writing routine and life. He and his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, are passionate about helping other writers and they offer a huge amount of free information, as well as publishing ‘how to’ books.

One of the main insights was that the secret to writing prolifically is rooted in mindset.

On one level, I already knew this, but I hadn’t realised how much I was still expecting to be told to ‘buck up’ and work harder. I often beat myself up for being a lazy lump, and think that if only if I could be more disciplined, then everything would fall into place.

Yes, there are certain practical truths about productivity – the more time you spend writing, the more you will get done and, if you up your word count total per day, you will get more done per year – but the real crux of the matter  is how to accomplish those two things.

If you can change your mindset, your writing habits will follow.

Like anything worth doing, changing your negative beliefs and unhelpful thought patterns is not easy, but it is entirely under your control.

A key area is to keep writing fun.

Once you move from writing as a hobby to writing as your profession (or when you begin to begin to send your work out/take it seriously), this can be a challenge, but it’s essential to stay happy and productive.

Remind yourself of why you love doing this, of how good it feels to finish a story or to immerse yourself in your own fictional world.

Tell yourself that you are just playing – making up stories to amuse yourself. Ignore what comes after.

Feed your imagination with books and television and film and music and art – and enjoy it! Let yourself be swept away.

Write whatever you find interesting or fun – write what excites you.

And on that note, I’m off to have some fun!

(Sunday Times Bestselling author Miranda Dickinson spoke brilliantly about keeping things fun: The Worried Writer Episode #10).

 

 

 

 

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The Worried Writer Episode #15: A.J. Waines ‘I love deadlines’

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Alison Waines publishes fiction under the name A.J.Waines and has sold over 150,000 books worldwide. Last year, she topped the UK and Australian Kindle bestseller charts with her number one hit Girl On A Train, and was also awarded the Kindle KDP Top 20 ‘Most Read Author’ in the UK. Alison used to work as a psychotherapist before publishing her dark psychological crime fiction, and she is a hybrid author, straddling both traditional and self-publishing.

For more about Alison head to www.ajwaines.co.uk or find her on Twitter or Facebook.


The Self-Esteem Journal by Alison Waines
I’m giving away a copy of Alison’s non-fiction title, The Self-Esteem Journal, as I think it could be useful for those struggling with creative self-doubt, as well as more general lack of confidence.

To be in with a chance of winning, just leave a comment on this post, or send me an email (sarah (at) worriedwriter.com) with the subject ‘win’.*

In this episode, I give a personal writing update, as well as share the news about In The Light of What We See (it’s been a wonderful first month of publication, with 99 five-star reviews on Amazon, already – whoop!).

I also mention brain.fm which uses AI-generated music to promote focus, relaxation and sleep. Although initially sceptical, I have tried the ‘for focus’ music and it seem to improve my concentration.

I heard about brain.fm via Mark Dawson’s new podcast (which is excellent) – Self Publishing Formula.

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

 


Alison reveals what it was like when a high-profile thriller was released with a title which is almost-identical to her own (already published) book.

Alison describes her journey into both traditional and independent publishing and her experiences with both:

‘One of the nice things about being hybrid is that for some of the books I have complete control over everything and I really enjoy that.’

 

 

Alison’s writing process:

‘I love deadlines!’

‘Never leave at the end of a chapter or a scene… I always want to put something that just triggers where I am for the next time I am back at my desk.’

On marketing:

‘People should play to their strengths.’

On fear:

‘I always come back to that awful terror of I can’t do this.’

Alison’s Recommendations:


On Writing by Stephen King


Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg


The Artists Way Julia Cameron


Life Choices Life Changes Diana Glouberman

 

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening! 

*Giveaway is open internationally. Ends at midnight (GMT), 25th May 2016.

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