Coffee Dates: Myers Briggs

Good Morning, Creatives!

Does anyone else need caffeine this morning? I do. Maybe not a straight cup of coffee or espresso, but I would not say no to a few cups of black tea with a little cream and honey. Just to get my brain moving in the right direction.

But! The weekend is near, O people of the pen, so take heart! We’re going to make it through!

Now, before I ask this week’s question, I want to clarify that I do not think any sort of test can put people in a box. We are created as beautiful, infinite beings with endless potential and ability to change. Our minds and our choices are our own, and what we decide to do with them shapes our brains.

However, sometimes the tests are fun. Personally, they make me laugh, and sometimes it really is fun to read through the descriptions and snicker over how close they came.

So, that said, today’s question is all about personality types! According to the Myers Briggs test, what is yours?

My Process

I am an INFJ, which stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judgement. I have never been one to search too deeply into ‘societies definition’ of what that means, but for me, it means that I spend a great deal of time alone, I am incredibly empathetic and can almost always tell when someone is having an off-day—sometimes just by glancing across the room—and it takes me a very long time to connect with and trust someone.

I also have an enormous amount of patience for a long task, thus my writing career.

My Struggles Within That

I hate public events! Parties are the worst. Especially if I don’t have one person I can latch onto and dig into the deep parts of life with, instead of struggling through small talk. I hate talking about myself in job interviews and meet-and-greets, and I hate pitching my novels! But I do it. Because I am an adult, and I do things I don’t necessarily like to do.

Your Thoughts

What is your personality type? More than that, what do those four letters mean to you? Are you outgoing and the life of the party, but struggle to maintain lasting friendships? Do you write, but scream sometimes because you need human interaction? Do you, like me, HATE pitching your novel? Tell me about it in the comments!

A Writer’s Life: Rejection

I’m going to confess something.

My portfolio of rejection letters is still in the double digits. Under twenty, I think. Maybe even under fifteen.

Probably under fifteen.

Small potatoes, right? Of course, that’s not including the number of queries I’ve had go out that were simply . . . ignored. I actually had a mini celebration the first time my query letters started getting replies. They were rejections, but the agent/publisher at least took me seriously enough to say no instead of ignoring my existence completely.

A step forward, right?

Rejection

Unfortunately, it’s a step forward into learning to be okay with ‘no’. And, when my book has been the better part of my life in the last seven years, ‘no’ is hard to swallow.

Nothing stings like a rejection letter when what you’ve offered is your heart and soul.

Our books are important to us. We’ve put endless hours of work into them, slaved over ‘perfect’ sentences, and revised our query letter until it makes us want to scream with exasperation. We want a ‘yes, absolutely!’, not another ‘no’.

Unfortunately, ‘yes’ isn’t always an option. And no matter how many rejections we get, they always sting.

How To Make It Happen

Rejection is always a discouraging thing, and too often, it deflates whatever day it happens to arrive on. Writing after that feels particularly impossible, and it’s easy to waste the whole day—or week—in feeling dejected.

But rejections are also a necessary part of writing, and because they are so necessary, we have to learn how to deal with them in a way that’s not going to leave us drowning in discouragement. Part of it, of course, is developing a thick skin for criticism. The rest is having the right perspective about rejection and developing tools to keep yourself moving and encouraged.

I do it with two truths, three tricks, and one long breath.

Truth #1

It’s not us against them. Agents are not out to ruin your day. Publishers are not against you as a person. They are simply looking for the right books to move their own business and career forward. If something isn’t right for them, they’re going to pass on it—either because they themselves aren’t excited about it or because they don’t think they can sell it. They don’t hate you. They don’t hate your writing. This a business and they are making business-minded decisions.

As the author, you also need to need to view it as a business rather than a personal project. When you do, it will take a bit of the sting out.

Truth #2

The wrong agent/publisher is so, so much worse than no agent or publisher. You do not want someone working on selling your book who doesn’t love it or have a vision for it. If they don’t care, they won’t convince anyone else to care either.

Writer, not everyone loves the same books. Agents are readers too, and they have likes and dislikes. They don’t want to be working on a project that they aren’t passionate about, and you don’t want them working without passion.

If they so no, let it be, and be glad they didn’t agree reluctantly just to boost their numbers.

Three Tricks

  1. Celebrate the failures. This one sounds silly, but look at where you are. You’re querying! Hopefully, that means you have a polished manuscript and a competent knowledge of your own story. Every failure is only a step to success, so be thankful for the rejections. You’re that much closer to an acceptance.
  2. Don’t set all your hopes on one person. Yes, that one agent sounded perfect for what you wanted, or that one publisher would be exactly what you wanted. But there are so many agents and so many publishers. If you put all your hopes into that one person, you’re going to be crushed when they don’t see how perfect it would be and reject it.
  3. Try again. You only fail when you stop trying. Keep a few queries out all the time so that you always have a few hopes left. Rejections are less final and less fatal when you still have a few others to hope for.

One Long Breath

Writer, let it sting. Count to five, close your eyes, and let it hurt. A hope died, and it was painful. You are allowed to mourn for it, allowed to be sad, allowed to take a moment.

Then take one long deep breath and let it go.

Move on. There are other publishers, other agents, other magazines. You have more opportunities ahead of you, and you will find your niche. Dwelling on the rejections will end with discouragement, disillusionment, and dumped manuscripts. You have a place. Adjust where necessary, listen to feedback, and continue on.

Focus on that one long deep breath, and continue with your dream.

Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild.

What are some of the ways that you deal with rejection in your writing journey? Tell me about it in the comments, and stay tuned for next week, when we will be discussing waiting and how best to embrace it in your writing journey.

Coffee Dates: Favorites

Good Morning, Creatives!

How was the week? Anyone make it all the way through? I hope so, because I have such a fun question for you all this week, and it would be a shame to waste it on empty space because all of my friends got flattened by adult responsibilities.

So, here’s to hoping that didn’t happen.

This week’s question is about favorites! Writers have so many different caps they have to wear, but I personally would be lying if I didn’t have one or two that I favored above the rest.

My Process

Everyone has their own favorite part of the writing process! I personally love description and building new worlds out of pen and paper. I put on music, usually something from Two Steps From Hell, and give myself as much time as I need to explore the new surroundings and see everything I need to see before I try to put anything on paper. It’s an adventure every time, and it’s a huge part of what I love about writing. We writers get to visit such extraordinary places!

My Struggles Within That

I am a chronic overwriter! My editor is always despairing over it. I have to limit myself to only a few especially beautiful settings within a single book, when I would much rather explore every single room in the castles, every single dungeon, and every single deep wooded hollow I come across.

I’m learning to keep to the settings that really matter to the story, but sometimes I definitely run away with myself.

Your Thoughts

What is your favorite part of being a writer? Do you love your characters? Suspense? Stunning plot twists? Descriptions and intrigue? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Frustrations

Good Morning, Creatives!

Tomorrow’s the weekend! Anyone have any plans? Writing, adventuring, or just sleeping? (I’m mostly planning on sleeping, if at all possible.)

Since I need sleep (and I always do) this week’s question is about frustration. Which part of your writing journey frustrates you the most? What gets you really heated and annoyed with it for interrupting your story’s flow?

My Process

Writing can be so, so frustrating, and it’s never more frustrating for me than when I know I have limited time, I know I have a pile of work to get finished, and all I can do is stare at a blank screen or pound out wooden words that I can’t enjoy or savor at all.

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this, right?

If I’m honest, these moments crop up because my body and my brain need REST, and I am not very good at resting. I like to have my to-do list, finish my to-do list, and get a bit extra done for luck. Anyone with me in this?

My Struggles Within That

I cannot convince my poor tired brain to cooperate without taking proper care of it. Which irritates me. It makes sense, of course, and I know it makes sense, but I would rather it didn’t make sense and I was able to force out a few thousand words whenever I felt like it.

Because I am impatient.

So, instead, when I start staring blankly at a screen, I am learning to take a pause, take a minute, and just rest. Read a good book, lie back and close my eyes, or just stare out the window for a while.

Someday, I’ll convince myself to do this on a regular basis.

Your Thoughts

What is one of your biggest frustrations while you’re writing? What steps have you taken/would you like to take to counter that frustration? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Genre

Good Morning, Creatives!

Who else needs coffee today? I do. I need a caffeine drip into my veins just to keep me going. Too much coffee (or black tea) knocks out my creativity, but so does falling asleep at my desk.

There’s a balance to this, right? There’s got to be a balance.

Balance (in our writing) is the theme of this week’s question, because this week, we are talking about genres! What genre do you write in? Have you been able to keep your books to one or maybe two genres? Or do some of your stories get away from you and end up a little unbalanced?

My Process

I love writing in so many different genres. I have a biography under my belt, non-fiction articles, five full-length fantasy novels, and a scattering of children’s fiction and short stories in way too many genres to count. Some of them are so undefined that I haven’t bothered even trying to put a label on them.

Still, in the end, my heart always comes back to fantasy. There’s something about the creativity and the whimsical side to it that pulls me along. I love it for the mystery and discovery in it, and no matter what I write, that will always be my first love.

My Struggles Within That

Keeping my brain focused! Genres are hard, and at some point (if you’re pitching to an agent or a publisher) you do want to be able to define them with one or two simple phrases. Having a list of ten genres that you hit in the same book could very well get you a hard pass from anyone you pitch to… so I try to keep my ideas sorted into the right baskets. As far as I can, anyway.

Your Thoughts

What genres do you love to write in? What gets you excited and passionate and eager to explore the places you’re writing about, even when it’s not your ‘typical’ writing time? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Characters

Good Morning, Creatives!

You made it through the week! Congratulations, you’ve done amazingly well! *Throws glitter and confetti in celebration.*

Seriously though, congratulations for making it through another week and holding onto your commitments as a writer. The world needs writers, and it especially needs writers who are passionate about their stories and about characters. Which leads to my question for this week . . . how do you get to know your characters? How do you come up with them? Do you meet them in the street? In daydreams? Or are they only there to people your amazing worlds?

My Process

I am terribly picky about my characters. Horribly. I like them to live and breathe, and I detest wooden statues. When I first began writing, I would sit down and do long questionnaires for my characters and know all about their little peculiarities.

Now . . . now I like to get to know them the way I get to know my friends. With time.

My Struggles Within That

I can’t come up with characters quickly! They need time to emerge and bloom a bit, and if I don’t give them that time, they end up flat and belligerent. Also, it’s far too easy for a new character who was in no way planned to waltz in and steal my heart and way too much of my attention.

Your Thoughts

How do you get to know and develop your characters? Do they come to you fully formed, names and all, or do you have to build them bit by bit? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Music

Good Morning, Creatives!

Anyone else make it all the way to Friday this week? I feel like I crawled in like a man out of the desert. If you see an oasis anywhere nearby, I’d love directions.

I’m kidding.

But it does feel like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

This week’s question is about music, because I am always, always fascinated by how music affects the creative process. It seems to change from person to person, but I have met so, so many writers who tell me that music is a large part of their process!

My Process

Music is my escape. It’s my creative spark and what I always run back to when I have a plot hole. I listen to everything and anything, and if you happen to ask what I’ve got going in my headphones at any given moment, be prepared to be answered with anything from Mongolian rock to Christian rap to Josh Groban.

My Struggles Within That

I run out of songs! I listen to my favorites over and over again, but I am always on the lookout for new music. When I do run out of new music—rather sadly—it’s hard not to keep my ideas from drying up or becoming repetitive.

Your Thoughts

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Any recommendations for a constantly searching addict? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!