Hi everyone! I decided to pop in today to share some of my thoughts. Yesterday there was a massive Twitter pitch contest called #PitMad. Agents and editors search the hashtag, liking pitches that intrigue them, requesting to read more of the project.
I find these contests enjoyable, overall. It’s a chance to connect with fellow querying writers and read some pretty amazing pitches. The talent out there is outstanding 🙂 However, these pitch contests can be draining and deflating if you don’t get any likes. It’s kind of the same when you send out queries for a project and get rejected.
But that’s part of the deal with publishing. You’ll always face rejection, at every stage of your career.
I was driving home and thinking about publishing and querying in general, reflecting on the entire process. My mind started to wander, and I realized publishing is kind of like anything in life – if its something you care about and have passion for, you stick with it.
You keep showing up.
No matter if you feel disenchanted, discouraged, or frustrated. It’s a long race, not a sprint. Keep showing up to put in the work. Read craft novels, daydream about new story worlds, and get your hands on books of all genres.
If you need a mental health break, take some off and explore other ways to be creative. Always remember why you write.
For those of you who don’t know about Julia’s book, stick around ❤
The Artist’s Way
This is a creative writing method separated into 12 weeks. Julia writes about what creativity is and how to harness it. She suggests you read one chapter a week. There are a series of exercises you should complete along the way 🙂
Each day, write around three pages in a notebook. You don’t have to plan anything. Write whatever comes into your mind.
I picked up a notebook and reserved it for Morning Pages. I usually write these before I’m about to start work. I write down worries I have, bits of dialogue, or prayers. It’s a pure stream of consciousness.
Once a week, break your routine and take time for yourself. You might listen to music, go for a walk, explore ice caves or paint. Do something that allows you to relax and enjoy life.
Last weekend, I explored Cape Enrage. Wow! What a sight. Not only did I physically benefit from walking about, but I also came up with some new ideas for a short story.
I highly recommend both exercises.
Have Fun Writing
I hope you have a great rest of your week. In a month I’ll blog about my experience with The Artist’s Way.
What are you working on this month? I’d love to hear below ❤
Hi everyone! My apologies for missing yesterday’s submission post. Today, I have two opportunities to make up for the missed blog from yesterday.
Chicken Soup for the Soul is publishing stories about Running/Walking. They aredue December 15th.
Blue Mountain Arts seek poems for a poetry card contest due December 31st.
Keep reading to learn more about both!
Running for Good – and Walking Too!
Chicken Soup for the Soul is teaming up with Dean Karnazes. He is the Ultramarathoner. This book will be about walking, running, and how steps toward taking care of the body have many benefits.
The upcoming book title refers to how running and walking are good for one’s health. You can also run or walk for an important cause or issue, to raise awareness.
They seek true poems or stories of 1200 words or less. It can be about all aspects of running, walking, and raising awareness for a cause. Stories can be serious, heartwarming, or funny and quirky.
Read more about potential topics here! You can submit your story here. Remember, stories are due December 15th.
Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Card Contest
Want to write a poem for Blue Mountain Arts 33rd biannual poetry card contest? First prize is $350, second prize is $200, and third prize is $100. The winning poems will be displayed on their website.
Poems can be non-rhyming or rhyming. Blue Mountain Arts noted that non-rhyming poems read better. They suggest writing about real feelings or emotions and think about a particular person while you write.
Poems are judged based on uniqueness and originality. They seek English only entries, and you can submit as many poems as you’d like!
Poetry Contest Rules
Poems must be an original creation. The rights to the entries will remain the property of the author. You’ll give permission to Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. to display and publish your entry on the Web, electronically, if you win.
Winners will be contacted within 45 days of the deadline date 🙂 Remember, they are due December 31st. Read more here.
Hope you enjoy these two submission opportunities, friends ❤
“NICOLE BEA is a short story author, novelist, technical writer, and agent with Metamorphosis Literary who primarily focuses on writing contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace, most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists.
When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or responding to queries, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores & pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.”
Loie: Hi Nicole! It’s so great to have you here on the blog today. I’m excited to chat with you 😊 I love meeting Canadian YA authors. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
Can you share a little bit about your writing journey. When did you start writing, what do you write, and how did you get your agent?
Nicole: I started writing novels in January of 2017 after being diagnosed with clinical depression. I had always wanted to write a book growing up but never really knew how to go about it. Once I started to be treated, I decided to tackle my goal of writing a full-length novel. I’ve always loved young adult stories and thought that perhaps that would be a good place to start and I completed the first draft of my first book in about a month. It was such an exciting process and I found the ideas started flowing from that book very organically, and so I started my second book very shortly after, finishing that one in six weeks. Over the course of the year I wrote five teen fiction books!
I ended up querying my fifth book, FORGET ME NOT, in January of 2018 and was picked up by my agent, Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, in April of the same year. I was so happy to find someone who loved my story as much as I did and who was also willing to help me set some goals and teach me about the publishing industry, so it was immediately a great match.
Loie: Thank you for sharing ❤ That’s quite amazing that you wrote five novels in one year 🙂 ! Also, super encouraging that you found an agent after querying for a few months.
Can you tell readers a little bit about Wattpad and why you decided to post your stories there? What’s your favorite thing about Wattpad?
Nicole: Wattpad is such a great community to be part of, especially for a new writer. There are so many ways to grow your writing and share your stories with others that I think it’s a fantastic way to learn more about writing. There are people on the platform who like all different genres, so the nice thing about that is you’ll be able to find a group of people to connect with who have similar interests.
I joined Wattpad about a year before I started writing full-length fiction, mainly as a reader and poster of micro-fiction. I ended up turning some of my Wattpad pieces into novellas that were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing and it was then I realized that maybe I had the potential to turn writing into something more than a casual hobby. Wattpad definitely helped engage me with a network of wonderful people who were all very helpful in giving me direction and answering inquiries.
Loie: Wattpad is amazing. I’ve read some incredible works on that site. My friend and mentor from #WriteMentor, MB Dalto, posts stories there 🙂 That’s really neat that some of your novellas were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing!
As a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literacy Agency, have you noticed anything with incoming manuscripts? What are some things that turn you away from a manuscript? Have you noticed any trends? What do you love seeing in a submission?
Nicole: I absolutely love reading submissions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve received some really creative content and it always amazes me what people can come up with and the depth and breadth of creativity. I’ve received all genres and sub-genres and have become really engaged with some things I would normally not have thought I’d interested in. That’s kind of an interesting part of being an agent is the exposure to all these projects.
Most submissions I receive are very well put together. That being said, it is important to ensure you have the basics down in your query. Please double-check to ensure the agent’s name is spelled correctly, that you’ve included contact information, and you are following the submission protocol. I also personally like to know why the author thinks we would be a good fit, but if you’re including this, please make sure it is a personalized statement and not just something generic that may not actually apply (for example, don’t say that you’re sending it along because of the agent’s interest in romance if they’ve indicated they don’t wish to receive romance).
Loie: Wow, that’s super insightful. Thanks for sharing. What is your favorite genre to write and why?
Nicole: I generally only write teen fiction, but I have dabbled in adult romance. I like to use my own experiences as a teenager as the basis for my books and some of my stories directly reflect things that have happened to me growing up. I find when I write about things that are based on real life, it allows me to process them in a different way, plus I get to maintain some sense of nostalgia. In particular cases, like with my story SKIN, I get to re-write endings to stories that may not have had positive conclusions.
Loie: Can you share how you edit your novels? Do you have a checklist you go through after completing a draft? Do you send to beta or critique readers?
Nicole: I edit as I write, paragraph by paragraph. Because of this it takes me a little bit longer to get my writing done, but I find it less stressful than trying to get all my thoughts down without reviewing them. As I’m writing my first draft, I post the chapters on Wattpad for my dedicated readers and take their comments into consideration when putting together my manuscript for submission. Once my draft is complete and I’ve reviewed the comments on Wattpad, I employ a selection of beta readers.
Loie: That’s a neat method 🙂 Cool! What are you reading at the moment?
Nicole: Nicholas Sparks – The Last Song
Jay Coles – Tyler Johnson Was Here
Lauren Spieller – Your Destination is on the Left
Loie: Ooooo, I have Your Destination is on the Left on my TBR list 🙂 What are you hoping to find in your inbox as a literary agent? Do you have a specific #MSWL? Any fairytale retellings or fantasy, contemporary, or YA stories you’d love to see in your inbox?
Nicole: My #MSWL is as follows (at least for now!):
Contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.
Loie: Awesome! Yay, Canada ❤ Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! So great chatting with you.
Do you want to nourish your creativity? Perhaps you feel blocked from time to time. Did you know that journaling regularly can help artists and creators? Keep reading to find out more!
Benefits of Journaling
Researchers have shown that the act of journaling is therapeutic. We often have a deluge of thoughts and ideas throughout the course of a day. By writing them down, we may gain insight about what we are thinking or feeling.
Notice trends in your creativity
When journaling about my writing progress, I might take note of the time of day I felt most productive or creative as a writer and why.
Learn more about yourself
This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but throughout the journaling process, I begin to see what upsets or energizes me. Maybe I will discover that I am at my best, creatively, in the early hours of the morning.
Clarifies jumbled thoughts
I have a lot of racing thoughts, so I find it super therapeutic to write them down. When I do this, I can make sense of the tangle in my head. This is calming and I feel ready to move onto creative writing.
Honestly, when I sit down to write in my journal, I just let my pen fly across the page. It may be a short entry, or it may be a longer entry. Sometimes I will sit down and end up writing a poem or short scene. Other times, I might grumble about how I feel or what I need to get done. If I journal in the morning, I write about any dreams I can still recall.
I even journal about the novel-writing process. After completing a chapter, I go back to my journal and discuss how it went. Sometimes, the practice of journaling about my novel helps unblock my mind if I’ve arrived at a deadend.
It’s best if you get into the habit of journaling twenty minutes a day. By sitting down and writing, you may surprise yourself by what appears in your notebook! Perhaps you will get a new idea for your latest work-in-progress or discover a solution to a problem you have.
If you want to learn more about the creative benefits of journaling, check out Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. She highly recommends writing Morning Pages.