What Sort of Writer are You?

Little hummer takes a break

Recurring theme – someone asked me a question the other day: What are you working on now? I just stared. With a definite uncomfortable squirm in my chair, I responded, “Nothing.”

In another era, I wanted to be one of those women who had specific days when they did household tasks. You know the type – geez, you might be the type! Bathrooms on Monday, floors on Tuesday, dusting on Wednesday. I was more the madly try to clean up everything on the same day because company was coming woman. I could be seen running around in a state, dusting with one hand and pushing a wet rag with my foot over the dirty floor. Hoping for the best – cleaning with a lick and prayer, so to speak.

When I’m confronted with the question of what I’m currently working on and the answer is – nothing – I get a similar feeling. I want to be one of those writers who writes consistently. Like Stephen Leacock out in his boathouse every single day from eight until noon without fail. But I’m not. I’m the write until I drop and then fall into the doldrums believing that I will never write again type.

At the beginning of my master’s program, I read a book about writing your thesis or dissertation in fifteen minutes a day. It sounded wise but it was something I knew in my heart I could never accomplish.

My grandma used to say – You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. There is truth to the belief that one thing can’t be another no matter the effort put into transformation. I can no more write on a consistent and specific daily schedule than I could clean that way or create a dissertation in fifteen-minute blocks. It simply isn’t me.

When I’m not feeling uncomfortable with this state of affairs, I celebrate it. This is the fallow time. This is the gathering time. This is the time when impressions, ideas and connections incubate and grow until they burst forth in writing fury.

But there is still a part of me that feels like the sow’s ear and not the silk purse. What do you think? How do you manage your writing? Is it a daily, disciplined endeavour or is it an all out writing fury? And let me know how your garden is growing? Ours is doing not too bad Smile 

How is your garden growing

No Compass to Right–Stepping Out

Garden Chives - Bruce Witzel photo

Hodge Publishing’s Mari Howard, author of Baby, Baby and the Labyrinth Year (check out my Amazon review!), has read and reviewed the entire Crater Lake Series. Here’s her endorsement for the latest book’s Amazon page:

Gentle, compassionate storytelling, inclusive and character-led. ‘No Compass to Right’ is a compelling, warm, and delightful book. I loved it.

Hodge Publishing has provided a thorough and thoughtful critique of No Compass to Right over on their website under their – What we’re reading – section. The review contrasts the experience of reading my novel at the same time as Joanna Cannon’s, Goats and Sheep. In the case of this review, contrast definitely leads to depth. Many thanks. Please hop over and check the Hodge Publishing site.

Book Sale Table for Canada Day

Bruce had to pinch hit for me at a selling event in Port Alice on Canada Day. I was away in High River, Alberta with family. I think he did a super job with his table. He even provided a flowering plant and a baby pic of the missing author. Now that is dedication to a cause.

Home and Happy

Clematis in full bloom

Will you look at that clematis in full bloom right outside the kitchen door! Wow!

It’s been two weeks since I came home from my travels in southern Alberta. From the land of rolling fields of canola, rodeo broncs and shiny buckles, cowboy culture and prairie winds to my Vancouver Island, lakeside cabin. I had some wonderful time with kids and grandkids. Life is good.

Kristen and Me

Me and my lovely daughter, Kristen enjoying music in the park.

Canada Day Cuties

My Canada Day cuties – Emma and Brit.

High River rodeo

They’re wearing that Alberta look well – daughter – Kristen, son-in-law – Matt, and granddaughters – Emma and Brit.

So – enough of holiday antics. I thought I’d share a few highlights from the last couple of weeks at home.

Fresh Salad Greens

Fresh salad greens from the garden is a big treat! The lettuce, radishes, baby kale and chives make an attractive side dish.

Garden

Lots of work for the head gardener but it sure pays off.

Lower Garden

Vegetables aren’t the only thing in the garden these days.

Oh my, bear and Buddha

Bear and Buddha – east meets west Smile

Bear and apple tree cha, cha, cha Bear and apple tree – cha, cha, cha. For this dance the bear is definitely leading.

Bleeding Heart

The last of the Bleeding Heart in the woodland garden.

Rainy Garden Wednesday

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life – John Updike

Apple blossom in the rain

Apple blossoms in the rain – how beautiful is that?

Iris in the rain

Iris in full bloom.

Mountain Bluet

On the blue theme: Mountain Bluet.

Rhodo in the rain

Rhododendron kissed with rain drops.

Rainbow down the slide 3

I caught this rainbow slipping down a slide area on the mountain across the lake.

Rainbow down the slide

Summer is Just Around the Corner

What a view

The May long weekend has come and gone with it’s regular lake time antics. Anyone fancy a motorized barge complete with barbecue and dog. Looks like fun.

Motorized dock

Motorized dock 2

Alas, the weather was somewhat less lovely near the end of the weekend.

We spent the time gardening and enjoying our first real days of warmth. Me consulting the gardening maps and Bruce digging. Sounds like a nice division of labour, doesn’t it?

Garden Maps 2017 - Guenette photo

Digging man - Guenette photo

As we near the beginning of summer, I am so pleased to announce that the official work on the 4th book in the Crater Lake Series is done. The ebook for No Compass to Right is on pre-order through Amazon for release on June1st. A few days ago, I ordered the proof copy of the softcover. It is due to arrive in the first week of June. Fingers crossed, it will look as it should and I will be able to place a bulk order and start shuffling off copies of this new book to my list of waiting readers.

Large NCR release banner (2)

It feels strange to wake up and not have a long list of tasks related to No Compass to Right running through my mind. This book and I have been close buddies for four long months – creating, rewriting, editing, formatting and proof reading. It’s been quite a journey.

I plan now to take some time off. I’ll travel to visit kids and grandkids; I’ll putter in our garden; I’ll read novels written by other writers; I’ll enjoy posting on this blog and reading other blogs; and I’ll think about things unrelated to Crater Lake. In short, I’ll live my life and gather up new impressions and ideas for when the whole writing business starts up again.

Chard and Rhubarb

Here’s hoping your May long weekend was as relaxing as mine.

P1040369

Picture me sitting, sipping a coffee and reading a good book while the hummingbirds zip through the breezeway and the gentle breeze makes the chimes sway and sing.

Bad Reviews – How do you handle them?

Misty morning spiderweb - Guenette photo

Okay – let’s be honest, folks …if you’ve ever written anything that you let loose in the public realm, you’ve found out first hand that not everyone loves what you have struggled to produce. It proves that old maxim – you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you sure can’t please all the people, all the time.

Check out any of your favourite authors on Amazon – I mean the big-name favourites. They will have more than a few stinker reviews. Bad reviews are like taxes and death – inevitable.

So, how do you handle the one and two star reviews that really sting? I know of what I speak. Consider these recent reader opinions of Disappearing in Plain Sight:

Quit reading. Drag-you-drama, vile adults, helpless and hopeless teenagers. Too depressing. No desire to finish this story or follow the series.

Or what about this:

This reads like a first draft by a complete amateur … I tried. I couldn’t … if you told me this book was a high school student’s creative writing homework, I’d believe it.

Ouch! I thought of titling this post – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – after that one!

I read all my reviews … of course, I do. I share the one and two star ones with close friends and family who almost always give me a pep talk that ends with – ignore that review, the person is obviously a troll. I know that assessment is not true but a bruised ego will take comfort where it is to be found.

What I never do is interact with the reader who has given a less than salutary review. A good maxim here is: never explain, never apologize. I proceed from the belief that every review is some reader’s legitimate opinion and thus deserves to be respected. There’s a lot of books available through Amazon and a reader chose mine. This someone read, reacted and recorded his or her thoughts. That’s what the review system is for.

Listen up, now, because this part is important – not all bad reviews are written by people with axes to grind. Don’t take it personally. The best thing to do is accept legitimate criticism seriously and leave the rest.

I do my job when I create a story, do the work of rewriting, editing and formatting to the best of my ability so I can offer my novel to the public. Readers do their job by reading and sometimes sharing their opinions. The system works best when writers and readers stick to their jobs.

Let me know what you think.

Misty morning flowers - Guenette photo