How to Avoid Writer’s Panic

dog

Your face when you look at your to do list.

What is Writer’s Panic, you may ask? Well, it starts when you realize you haven’t been writing as much as you should. Then it deepens when you realize you’re falling behind. Next you’re neglecting your side projects to the point where they don’t exist, and something completely unrelated to writing completely monopolizes your time.

Now, it might be a happy thing. You could have a baby or adopt a kitten or go on vacation, or there could be a death in the family or a stressful move to another city. Either way, once you settle back in, all you can do is sit there and think about how very, very far behind you are.

Having just had a quarter-life crisis of sorts, I am there. I have an unedited novel from two years ago that still needs finishing, for god’s sake. Follow these steps and you will be up and running in no time.

Step One:

Get over your Writer’s Block. I have a post on that here, and it basically boils down to forcing yourself to write. The easiest way I’ve found is to just write whatever I feel like it whether or not it’s any good. Just sit down in front of the computer and make words happen in some sort of logical order.

Step Two:

Create a list of everything you’ve been working on in the last year or so (or shorter/longer, depending on how long you’ve been away from things). Organize the list in groups of things that are nearly finished, things that you’ve just started, and things you absolutely want to finish.

Step Three:

Decide on what to start on first. Have a short story that just needs editing? The choice is clear. Do you have five half-finished novels and no idea which to start? Think of which one is going to be the easiest to write and which ones you would weep to see go unfinished.

Step Four:

Don’t set any hard deadlines. Until you’re back into the swing of things, deadlines will only make you worry more. You can maybe set goals such as “finish novel B this year” or “write every other day at least” but you have to find a relaxed balance where you can stretch your wings, as it were. It might take time for some people to get back into the groove of things and there’s no use in stressing yourself out when you don’t have to, especially when returning from any kind of stressful break. 

Ask family members and friends help for motivation if you need to. Activities like NaNoWriMo or writing groups can help motivate you without putting any real pressure on you. You just need to remember that writing is supposed to be fun, no matter how much the opposite can seem true sometimes.

To celebrate my return to blogging, I’ve put my book Wildflower Crown for free on Amazon! Click here to claim your copy for Kindle. (It will work on a regular computer too, just download the app!)

Thanks for reading 🙂

Excerpt from Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

© Charlotte Cyprus

Prologue

The woman kept to the shadows, avoiding the torches that lit the streets. A hood concealed her face and black cloth was thrown over the basket in her arms. Little whimpers came from the basket, but the woman shushed it, moving through the unfamiliar village slowly. She avoided the men walking home from the pub and went farther to the outskirts of town where there were smaller houses stuffed with squalling children.

Fog rose up from the ground in the cold night air. The streets were tracks of dirt that the recent rain had turned into mud, and it sucked at the woman’s boots as she struggled to keep herself unnoticed. A pitiful cry came from the basket in her arms. The woman paused to reach her hand in and stroke the baby’s cheek. She was rewarded with a happy gurgle.

The woman was caught off guard. She looked at the baby, so sweet and small and innocent. Had she gone far enough south? The king would be hunting her, she knew. It had been a foolish thing to take revenge on the king, but she hadn’t counted on getting pregnant. The baby’s father had no idea where they were, or that the baby existed, but it was for the best. The babe could live out an anonymous childhood away from the chaos of her own life.

A child’s cry rang out in the night, but it wasn’t her baby. The woman froze and listened hard to find where the noise was coming from. The child called out again, and the woman determined that it was the little house across the street. The roof was crumbling and the door was hanging at an angle. As the crying continued, a light was lit. The woman could see it through the shuttered window.

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Crafting the Perfect Kiss

Pucker up!

Pucker up!

I write romance. I read romance. I watch romance. I live romance. One of the biggest deals in romance is the first kiss, yet for the life of me I am not satisfied with the quality of the kissing scene in Wildflower Crown. I want them to be better than my previous novel, to set the stage for the rest of my books. I want to make women swoon! And men too, I guess, but I’m pretty sure they don’t swoon all that often.

Bro, stop breaking the forth wall as she cleans your teeth.

Oh yeah baby clean those teeth.

My problem is that my scenes appear too mechanical. I struggle with balancing describing what is actually happening and not having it read as “insert Tab A into slot B.” Maybe I’m the only one who will notice it, in the end, but if I get it smooth enough that when the person who crafted (which would be me) it is absorbed into the scene then I know I will have done a good job.

"I'm so wet right now." "So am I."

“I’m so wet right now.” “So am I.”

However, when I try to veer away from the mechanical and go towards the metaphorical, I end up making it sound ridiculous. Maybe this would be a little more forgivable in modern romance, where at least you can say “Electricity shot through her,” but I find myself stuck on this one scene thinking, “What the hell do I write now?”

“He leaned in and kissed her. Their lips came together gently, like two pillows smashing together. Her lips were soft as if he was rubbing his face against one of the aforementioned pillows. Heat spread through him like someone had dropped boiling fondue on his chest then washed it off with very warm water.”

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Needless to say, the scene above will not be in the final draft, but I’ll be damned if you don’t read Wildflower Crown and think, “Oh well that was a nice kiss.” I’ve decided that to accomplish this, I won’t actually use the word “kiss” during the action. It was one of the many tips I found while Googling about, the best of which can be found here.

Love is Obsession?

I admit that at 20 years of age I am not worldly or experienced, nor have I read all the world of literature has to offer. However, it seems like recently, there is a new trend.

Obsession.

Now, obsession isn’t new. It’s been used before and I’ve read it portrayed accurately: as a character flaw.

I love my boyfriend. I am not obsessed with him. I don’t follow him around, go through his phone, or read through his emails. I don’t demand to be with him any second of the day or threaten bodily harm to anyone who touches him. That would not be sexy. That would be creepy.

Only… is it creepy? 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight, Apolonia, and Viper Game. These are all fairly new books that have not love, not romance, but obsession.

Christian Gray stalks Ana, buys her a new car without her permission, and doesn’t allow her to see her male friends.

Edward watches Bella while she sleeps in addition to all the creepy stuff E. L. James stole for 50 Shades.

In Apolonia, the main character is the interest of two boys, both of whom want to follow her around at all times.

Viper Games, a book I’m reading right now, has a main character who is genetically enhanced to be pretty and sexy, and the male lead threatens to kill his own best friends if they dare touch her. Literally, touch. As in, handshake. He tells her not to seduce another man or else she’ll be responsible for their deaths and he doesn’t want that.

*Sigh* Soooo romantic.

Do women want this? To be obsessed over? Is love no longer enough?

Obsession: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind

When a man obsessive over you, you are literally all he thinks about. There is no time for fun or games or work or personality, only you. That’s what the characters in these books are like and these books are flying off the shelves. What’s wrong with the market that this is what is selling? Is it something wrong with women? Have we been duped into believing that love isn’t enough, that we need fanatical devotion and obsession?

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a new trend, or just something I’m now picking up on?

50 Shades of Train Wreck

cxChristian and I dance around the Ball Room gracefully. By some grace of God, I don’t trip, even when Christian twirls me in a spin.

“Are you enjoying yourself, Mrs. Grey?” Christian asks, looking to his mother, who sits in the corner. Exhibitionism is his newest fetish. I hated it, at first, but because it was in our contract, I found that I couldn’t stop it from happening.

Mrs. Grey, of course, declines to answer. Christian made her sign a contract as well. She signed it, thinking highly of her son, knowing he would never trick her, but now she must not speak of what she sees, and she’s legally bound to endure our show. He’s so romantic like that, my Christian. So loving.

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Endless Sunshine

rain

Endless Sunshine

 © Bethany Hatheway

The rain seemed endless, clouds constantly rolling across and dumping buckets on our little town. Spring was always a rainy season, but this year was different. It’d been twelve days since we’d last seen the sun, and nine days since the last break in the drizzle. The sound of rain beating down on the roof had become the constant background noise to our lives. The creeks and rivers were overflowing their banks; back roads had become passable only by those wearing high-waders or those who owned a canoe. Many people’s houses were flooded, and those not living on a hill had fled to drier pastures.

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I’ll keep writing anyway!

I'll also keep taking pictures!

I’ll also keep taking pictures!

I can’t quit my day job because I have student loans to repay. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I have one friend who thinks I’m going to sell millions of copies of my books (unrealistic) but basically everyone else just says “meh” when I say I’ve already published one book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

The attitude today seems to be that anyone can write a novel. Oh well. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I’ve only reached a handful of people with my blog, and even fewer with my book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I might not be the next big hit, or even a hidden gem among writers. I might just be average. I’ll keep writing anyway.

My books aren’t some literary explosion of genius, they’re just meant to entertain. I’ll keep writing anyway!

There’s no daily reward for my work. I don’t save lives or change people’s outlook on life. Each word can sometimes be a struggle, and I don’t see the fruits of my labor until months after I write that first word. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I don’t have a writing nook. I don’t have scheduled writing hours that I can write. I don’t have a ritual, I don’t have time to write some days, and sometimes I feel like the real world has sucked out all of my writing energy. I’ll keep writing anyway!

My professors are not amused. Too biased. Too personal. Try to be serious. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I can’t write everything I want without giving up my real life. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I need to keep my apartment clean and make time for my boyfriend. I can’t skip showering to write, and I need to eat at some point. Sleep, too. I’ll keep writing anyway!

Life will go on. I’ll keep writing anyway!

 

A reaction to this post (check it out!)

Kiss of The Fey – The Meaning Behind The Title

Originally, Kiss of The Fey was called Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Why? Because I didn’t have any better ideas. Xenos was literally made of ice and Johara had a fiery passion. It all fit, right? However, I decided that the title didn’t really work with the book. It was too cliché, I felt, and it just didn’t convey the message that I wanted to get across. It was just a bit too literal and silly.

After tons of different titles were scribbled down and rejected, I decided on Kiss of The Fey. There are a few reason, all of them fairly obvious once you think about it.

  1. The literal kiss. Xenos kisses Johara, which wakes her up. However, Xenos isn’t a fairy. He’s not magical. Why is his kiss in the title? Well, if you look up the word “fey”, the Scottish definition is “marked by a foreboding of death or calamity.” That fits very nicely, doesn’t it?
  2. The figurative kiss. Going with what people typically assume when they hear “fey,” the fairy Kasmira “kissed” both Johara and Xenos with her magic. Without it, we wouldn’t have had much of a story, so it’s a pretty important part.

It’s not a very exciting explanation, nothing secretive that involves spies or explosions, but there you go. The meaning behind the title.

-Charlotte Cyprus

My Bookshelf: The Bride

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Title: The Bride

Series: The Boss, Book #3

Author: Abigail Barnette

Genre: BDSM Erotica/ Romance

Amazon Summary:
“After a tumultuous year, Sophie Scaife’s relationship with her boyfriend and Dom, billionaire media mogul Neil Elwood, is hotter and happier than ever. His sizzling Dominant side pushes Sophie to new and challenging heights of submission and erotic exploration as she follows her Sir’s every whim. But with his daughter’s impending wedding and a milestone birthday turning Neil’s thoughts toward settling down, Sophie faces a much different future than she’d planned.

Caught in a conflict between her new wealth and her desire for independence, Sophie fears she’s becoming just another Fifth Avenue trophy wife. With her fashion journalism career over and her new effort as a writer uninspiring, Sophie has to work harder than ever to prove her intentions to Neil’s family and friends.

Sophie isn’t the only one struggling to adapt to her new lifestyle. When private jets and designer labels threaten her bond with Holli, Sophie finds herself walking a fine line between the world she now inhabits and the past—and people—she fears she’s left behind. After a shocking revelation divides her loyalties, Sophie is in danger of losing her best friend or fracturing the trust of the man she loves.”

My Summary:
There are like 16 or so weddings ’bout to go down, lots of fighting (or maybe I just perceived it that way, but there was 1 or 2 serious arguments), a terrifying mention of barnyard animals… okay, maybe you should stick to the legit summary to know what’s going on. In three words: Hot kinky sex.

Cheers (possible spoilers):

  • The sex was lovely, as always.
  • I really liked that she pointed out the whole Neil-is-bisexual-so-he-could-love-men-as-well thing. It was just a good point.
  • The plot was okay, not nearly as compelling as the first book in my opinion.

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I know it’s kinda the point, but TOO MANY WEDDINGS. Not all 25(or so, forget their ages but they’re all the same)-year-olds need to be married. I feel like the book set a deadline on when it was acceptable for women to be married.
  • The fight with Holli was drawn out too much, I think. Especially when she ended up confessing that she knew the whole time that it wasn’t Sophie who got her fired. Like I would’ve never talked to Holli again for being such an irrational bitch. That’s an abusive relationship right there.
  • It just wasn’t as strong as the first two books. I think the author mentioned that it was supposed to be this book and the next book combined in one but there was too much material so she ended up stretching the plot a little thin rather than cramming too much in there together.
  • The handbag. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Would I recommend it?:
Still yes. While not as strong as the other books in the series, it was still a fun read. Lots of sex and all that jazz. There’s also a bonus scene between Neil and Emir at the end (though if you want to read that without buying it just look up “The Hook Up”, it’s free).

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bride-Boss-Abigail-Barnette-ebook/dp/B00J8QG7BI

Author’s Blog:

http://jennytrout.com/

My Bookshelf: The Girlfriend

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Title: The Girlfriend

Series: The Boss, Book #2

Author: Abigail Barnette

Genre: BDSM Erotica/ Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Unemployed, blacklisted, and pregnant, Sophie Scaife’s life is totally upside down. Her relationship with publishing magnate Neil Elwood is on the rocks. Her best friend’s career is igniting. And Sophie is afraid she’ll make one of the toughest decisions of her life alone…

When a devastating diagnosis forces Neil to return to London, Sophie throws caution to the wind to follow her heart across the Atlantic. Keeping a scorching D/s affair as red-hot in sickness as it was in health is a challenge, even for two lovers as inventive as Sophie and Neil. But Sophie is more than willing to try anything her Sir commands, and their fantasies of control become a welcome refuge from the daily stress of illness.

While Neil’s wealth and privilege make adjusting to her new situation easier, Sophie finds herself rebuilding her life around an uncertain future. And while both of them face the changes between them head-on, they’re all too aware that their happiness may be fleeting—and Sophie could lose Neil forever.”

My Summary:
Cancer. The illness is cancer. Spoiler alert, they tell you right away. The couple you loved from The Boss is now struggling to face real-world problems and recognize that they care about much more than just having kinky sex.

Cheers:

  • Very good handling of cancer and how it affects your loved ones.
  • Fun to read. I just enjoyed the plot and enjoyed reading it through.
  • To make up for less sex, there’s lots of love. It’s more emotional in this book. Made me want to snuggle my boyfriend.
  • The sex is hotter. Just trust me, it is.
  •  I love how the pregnancy is handled. Again, how 50 Shades of Grey could have handled things and not made it an absolutely terrible plot device.

Jeers:

  • I really should have been studying for my Biopsychology exam this entire time but I was like no, I’ll just keep reading this, it’ll be fine. It will not be fine. I am going to fail.
  • Not as sexy as the first book. There is puking and chemo mouth sores and not as much sex. In my opinion, the story still works, but it’s worth noting for those looking for a less serious more sexy book.
  • I had to keep irrationally checking on my boyfriend to make sure all was well because I am terrified of cancer.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, yes, yes. Myself and none of my loved ones have never gone through cancer, thank goodness, but this seems like an incredibly accurate view of the struggle to remain a normal couple when cancer rears its ugly head. Bonus: There isn’t a cliff-hanger. You don’t need to read the next book (which I will review when I get around to buying it) to feel complete.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Girlfriend-Boss-Abigail-Barnette-ebook/dp/B00EN0NAB4

Author’s Blog:

http://jennytrout.com/