Strategies for Replenishing Your Writing Self

I met author Angela Quarles on various loops and totally connected with her chatty self. Then I found out her  debut novellette, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, featured a match-making djinn. How cool is that? Check out the cover:


And here's the blurb for BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It's granted. 

She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they're surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Amazon | B&N | ARe | BookStrand | trailer | goodreads | shelfari


Since I'm a bit biased towards djinns and since I have been helped by the good advice Angela dishes out during various discussions, I thought she'd be the perfect person to invite to the blog to share about her creative strategies. So, here's Angela...




Thank you for having me on here! What inspires me to keep going? I'm not sure! I think sheer forward momentum helps me, as I don't slow down enough to second guess, or wander off. I think there's several aspects to this question that writers face, and so I thought I'd break it down for how I handle my writing journey.

Burnt-out

When I've burnt myself out with deadlines and I have a spare weekend or week, I will treat myself to a computer game and allow myself to get completely immersed in that world and the game play. It's like a mind wipe for me (in a good way), like I'm wiping it clean so that I'm refreshed and can handle new input when I'm done.

Down about my writing

It's easy to get discouraged or down in this business. To think our writing sucks and we'll never get to the skill level we aspire to. Things that have helped me in the past is to review my journey so far, and my successes along the way, in order to remind myself this is a journey and that I can't expect to be where I want to be without this process. It also helps to look back on earlier examples of my writing to see that I have indeed improved. Looking at positive reviews and contest feedback helps too. I've also started journaling and so I can use it to review later.

Setbacks

When I come across a setback (rejections), I picture that I've just hit a solid wall along with many others on the same journey. Then I picture myself scaling it and getting to the other side so I can keep going. It also helps to know that many don't do this and they're milling around at that wall too afraid to climb over, etc, BUT I also make sure when I see someone else I know hit that wall that I lend a helping hand to help them over, whether it's words of encouragement or an offer to critique. The sad truth is, many writers give up way too early and don't keep going forward.

In need of general energy/replenishing

Reading has always been my favorite pastime, more than writing, and hardly a day goes by when I'm not reading, even if it's just at lunch or at bedtime. I still make time to read and this helps keep me relaxed. It also feeds my brain, especially non-fiction. Sometimes I've had it happen when I'm down about my writing and I read a totally awesome book I get even more discouraged and think I'll never get to that point, but then I remind myself it's a journey.

And that's how I stay positive and replenished. What about you? Do you have rituals? 

Show some blog love and leave comments & questions for Angela!

Want to know more about Angela?

Angela works at an independent bookstore and lives in an historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, AL, with her two matched gray cats, Darcy and Bingley. When she's not writing, she enjoys the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls and creating the occasional knitted scarf. She's had a varied career, including website programming and directing a small local history museum.
She's an admitted geek and is proud to be among the few but mighty Browncoats who watched Firefly the first night it aired. She was introduced to the wonderful world of science fiction by her father, by way of watching reruns of the original Star Trek in her tweens and later giving her a copy of Walter M. Miller Jr's A Canticle for Leibowitzas a teenager. She hasn't looked back since.

She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She was an exchange student to Finland in high school and studied abroad in Vienna one summer in college. She recently found representation with Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon, Assoc.

Find Angela here

website | blog | twitter | facebook

34 comments:

  1. Geek that I am, the story appeals to me! Best Luck Angela.
    :)
    Rose

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  2. Woot! So glad to have you visit Angela :) And thanks, Rose, for starting off the comments!

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    1. Thank you for having me! This is a very welcoming place!

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    2. TY! So glad you enjoyed my cyberhome :)

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  3. Good Morning Angela,
    I tell myself that Ernest Hemmingway had 500 rejections before he ever got published. He eventually romanced a female publisher. It may have been an editor See, you didn't even have to wine and dine your publisher. :) Book sounds wonderful. RT it.

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    1. Thanks Morgan! That's another great tip! I remember telling myself those stats too when I was querying, it does help!

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  4. Love a djinn story! Looking forward to reading it

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    1. Lol, me too! We could start a djinni-us Club ;D

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  5. I just discovered Firefly on Netflicks! Better late than never, right? LOL! I love it!

    Wonderful post, Angela! When I come up against that brick wall I usually call one of my critique partners, whine and then brainstorm my way out. It really helps to have a friend there who not only understands what you're going through but who can laugh and joke with you, too!

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    1. Like Naima, I loved the brick wall analogy. How you hit and keep going, and stop to help other friends up and over. Loved that.

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    2. Yay, a new Browncoat recruit!! I agree wholeheartedly. Our journey would be sooooo much harder without our writer friends who KNOW what it's like and can help us, with whatever we need, whether it's either a kick in the tuckus, a shoulder, a high five, a reality check, or to get us smiling again.

      Re: Brick wall-- It's apt too because man does it hurt when you smack into it headlong and you can be a bit dazed and bruised. But it is only as tall as you make it...

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    3. Also, I should add, did you see the Firefly "easter egg" in my author photo? :)

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    4. Lol! Now I did :) Love Firefly...

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  6. I heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips say that everytime she's writing a book she thinks its the worst thing she's ever written. Thinking about that helps when I'm doing my first draft. Reading also helps. Great post, Angela. I tweeted.

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    1. Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing...I guess the doubt never goes away, but is part of the process.

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    2. I remember hearing Neil Effing Gaiman saying the same thing once, which helped me too. He said that every book, at about 2/3 in, he calls his agent in a panic and informs her it sucks donkey balls, and the agent, used to it, talks him from the ledge...

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  7. Totally love how you redirect Angela, and keep moving on--that's the whole thing. No matter what keep moving forward.

    For me to re-energize--talk to a c.p., find a book, take a nap, watch a movie. Or make a pot of tea (and coming from a coffee person like me that's huge) I think its all about just refocusing and grounding yourself.

    LOVE that you work at an independent bookstore, how very cool :)

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    1. You've summed it up so well--yep, however we can refocus and ground ourselves is the way to go!

      (I love working at an indie bookstore too!)

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  8. I've found that oftentimes, just a few days away from the computer...and I come back with renew vigor!!! Getting away, can be so freeing!

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    1. Sometimes a break, some distance, is the best solution. It helps me calm down and not be as panicky about the story. Thanks for sharing Tess!

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    2. This is a good tip too! I found this true when I did web programming. If I couldn't think of a solution, I'd walk away, take a break, and let my mind go to other things, and boom, the answer would present itself...

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  9. I agree with the writing tactic to cure all that ails you. Nothing like diving into a book and remembering why we do what we do to get the writing juices flowing. :)

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    1. I so agree Sarah! I love writing at the library, surrounded by books. Every time I start flagging, I look around and tell myself "All those authors finished their books."

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    2. So true Sara! Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Sometimes writers need to put one project aside for a bit, and the ideas just pop up when they least expect it.

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    1. Hey Angela! Good to see you :) And you're right. Sometimes ideas just need to slow cook. The end results are always a delight.

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  11. I love these suggestions. It's so important to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves. To non-writers, it looks like we're just staring out the window, or typing on a keyboard. But it is very draining work. :)

    When I get discouraged, it's usually because I'm looking too far forward, to where I *want* to be. That's when it's good to look back, to see where I've been, and how far I've traveled. It also helps to have encouraging friends, like Angela. :)

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    1. Ah, ya nailed it Donna! That's when I get discouraged too, when I get ahead of myself and start wondering what the hell am I doing, who do I think I am even attempting to write, LOL. And Donna's been there for me a number of times!! {{hugs}}

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  12. Thanks for visiting everyone! And thanks for a great post & discussion, Angela! It was a pleasure to have you as a guest :)

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  13. Awesome tips! I totally needed these. :)

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  14. I read this article and its give me many ways for writing and this article also tell us how to explain topic thanks for share it professional proofreading .

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