Category Archives: On Writing

About business, reviews and taking s***t personally….

It’s been a tough week, not only for me but for some of my friends. My husband has been really sick, we’re trying to make a bunch of decisions while neither of us are feeling well, physically or emotionally, and we’re tired.It’s been tough and then this morning I got to my desk and I saw a review someone wrote regarding one of my books…

Ouch. It wasn’t pretty.

Being in business, specifically being in business lobbying, taught me a very valuable lesson that I’ve taken through to my writing career.

Don’t take “stuff” personally.

Men are so much better than this than woman are, we take everything to heart…frequently when its really not necessary. It’s hard not to do, especially when you feel like you are fighting an attack from all corners. Men are able to see differentiate the issues and say this is about the issue not about me and it’s a trait that I think woman can learn from men.

I’ve learned that a criticism from my editor or agent or a bad review is not about me, about who I am, it’s about my work. Two totally separate issues. Yes I put myself into my work but its not the sum total of who I am. Any issue to do with my work is not all about me.

And that’s hard to remember when I am feeling tired or my kids are sick or I’m fighting with my husband. It’s hard not to feel personally slapped when you are taking strain in other areas of your life.  When I am feeling fragile it’s really important for me to look at the issues clearly and separate them, to remind myself that the person criticizing my book does not know me and is judging what she is reading, not judging me. And there might be a million reasons why she didn’t like my book; it might have pushed a button for her, she might just think it’s a crap book. That’s okay. I made the choice to put the book out there in the world, I have to roll with the punches. In this case, it’s just business.

And her criticizing my book is no more a reflection on her as it is a reflection on me.

It’s just about the book. One book of sixteen. It’s just business.

It’s just about the book. It’s just business. Every time I say that the sting lessens. And I feel a little more free.

personally

Hugs

Joss

xxx

 

Advertisements

Flirting With the Forbidden- RT Top Pick and on reviews in general

I’m a fast writer and while I dive into every book I write with enthusiasm and fall in love every couple of months with my hero, there are some characters that just grab me by the heart and don’t let go.

Wild About the Man was like that for me and so was Flirting With the Forbidden. And when you put that much into a book, it’s nice when the reviews roll in. I appreciate every review I get, whether it’s a reader sending me a note on Facebook, a blogger, someone who took the time to leave a message of Goodreads. (Except for the man who recently told me that my book was beyond a reasonable level of stupid and where do authors come up with this crap. Guess he doesn’t like romance or my writing…anyway, I didn’t appreciate him much. LOL!)

But in terms of readership, the RT Book reviews are the biggest around so it’s nice exposure when you get a good review, better exposure when you get a Top Pick as Flirting With The Forbidden got in the April edition.

Here’s the  review

revieFWTF

Or click here http://digitalmag.rtbookreviews.com?shareKey=HsQGTF

But, and isn’t there always a but…it is just one person opinion, it is fleeting, it’s a nice affirmation (and affirmation is sooooo my love language) but it’s not what makes the world go around.  Awards, reviews, pats on the back are nice but you are only as good as the next book, the next story, the blood you are prepared to spill into your next work. (With apologies to Ernest Hemingway.)

The important stuff is are the connections you make with your readers, your fellow writers, being the best writer, friend, cheerleader for both your readers and your fellow writers you can be.

Keeping your sense of humour and a sense of perspective, keeping grounded and…real.

But, you know, I’ll take a good review over a ‘where do authors find this crap’ any day.

Have a happy day

Joss

xxx

9780373178964_LP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open water swimming, panic attacks and the connection to writing your novel

Chelmsford_581540906-423x317

Photo http://www.newcastleadvertiser.co.za

A couple of weeks ago I started swimming training again and yesterday I did my first open water swim since I was 16. It was a fun swim- 500m- and well within my capabilities as I’ve been swimming a kilometer or so most days in training. But you, know, I thought I would start off slow and thank goodness I did. I got into the muddy water, my face went under and boom! panic attack! My throat closed, my chest closed and every cell in my body said that this was a very bad idea. Bad, bad, terrible idea.

I’m not sure why I panicked; it could’ve been claustrophobia from the muddy water, it could’ve been the people…all I knew was that I couldn’t do this. I could not swim with my head above the water (which is seriously energy sapping) and yet I couldn’t give up…dilemma. Eventually I got my breathing under control, managed to get my face into the water and I focused on reaching the first buoy and by then I was in a rhythm and feeling strong. By the time I hit the second buoy I felt like I could carry on for a long while yet.

So (and this is especially for the people entering the Mills and Boon Tempted To Write competition) what’s the connection to writing? Well, I guess it’s writing past those first panicky chapters, resisting the urge to go back and start afresh, it’s about not giving up. It’s about reaching the end despite an ugly start…

Writing takes determination, you need to push through, you need to put your head down and just get the damn thing done. You need to swim/write your way through the mud and the waves and the person kicking you in your side. And then you have to have the guts to go back and do it all again on the second and the third drafts, getting better all the time.

The great thing about writing though, unlike finishing an open water swim, is that nobody takes a revolting photo of you exiting the water, hair plastered against your face, adjusting the top of your swimming costume. Eeep! *hides face in hands*

Best,

Joss

xxx

Modern Tempted Writing Competition!

Do you want to write contemporary romance for Mills and Boon? Do you want a chance to be published?

I’m going to be a judge for the upcoming Mills and Boon writing competition which is mega-exciting! And it’s an excuse to read….yay!

The competition is starting on the 20th January on the Mills and Boon FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/millsandboon

TemptedToWrite

TemptedToWrite2

TemptedToWrite3

Head on over there….now!!!!!

Joss

xxx

On Writing First Drafts….

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

I need to remember this!

Joss
xxx

The most amazing speech on writing…

I adore Kristen Higgins. I watched her speech at the RWA Awards luncheon and tears rolled down my face, from laughter and because she simply touched my heart.

If you’d like to know how I feel about writing, especially romance novels, I don’t need this blog…it’s all here in her speech. If you want to understand me and my writing life, watch this.

Utterly, utterly fabulous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxZBvtw28Xw&feature=youtu.be

 

Joss

xxx

 

How are you writing/working today?

How-are-you-writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

via. http://www.comicscareer.com/?p=881