It’s a new year and there are some new Share Four Somethings topics. I’m excited about the change up and look forward to sharing some new things with you this year. If you’d like to join this monthly blog link up, find out the details over at HeatherGerwing.com.
This topic is the same, probably because it’s a fan favorite. Well, it’s one of my favorites at least. Last year I focused on my “something loved” being a tangible item readers could find themselves because there was also “something treasured” which focused on experiences. Treasured is gone, so this section is now open to whatever suits me best each month.
My something loved are a couple of Christmas gifts. If you follow me on Instagram, then you are well aware of my affinity for books, cats, and fun socks. My mom sent me a very appropriate t-shirt and my mother-in-law gifted me the cutest socks. I love them both and will wear them often.
Did you get any cool gifts for Christmas?
This replaces “something read (or said)” from last year. It will most likely be something that made me think, or that I found encouraging or inspiring.
“The biggest obstacle to great writing is the same for great living. It is to substitute a safer, lesser goal for the tough and exciting work you really ought to be doing.”
I found this quote in the devotional Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie (available Feb. 15). Each devotion, which is honest and relevant to the rhythms and challenges of life, ends with a blessing and a potential action step. The authors are very relatable and the acknowledgement that sometimes life is hard feels like a breath of fresh air.
I love following Morgan Harper Nichols on Instagram. She posts such encouraging and inspiring messages, usually written over her own watercolor creations. The quote above felt poignant to me because, as a perfectionist, my brain thinks in extremes – either I do everything right or I’m worthless. I need truths like the one above to give me proper perspective.
Is there a particular message that you need to remind yourself of frequently?
This topic is an opportunity for vulnerability. We’re supposed to share something that was challenging or resulted in failure. I both love and hate this topic. Hate because it forces me to reckon with my perfectionism and love because I want to face more things that are difficult but worthwhile. In fact, my 2022 word is Dare to encourage me to be bold and put myself and my work out there more.
With all of that in mind, Berkley Publishing had an open submission window that ended earlier this month. It was an invitation for unagented writers to submit a completed manuscript directly to them. I submitted a query for my first contemporary romance book. I have little hope that anything will come from it, but I have better odds than if I hadn’t submitted, right?
I’ve put out into the world that I have a goal of publishing my book this year. This means learning the world of self-publishing in case I don’t find an agent. Unfortunately, I hit a minor bump. I came up with a title that I loved and would allow the series I have planned (of at least three books) to have related titles. Recently, I learned that there’s a book coming out next month with the EXACT. SAME. TITLE. It momentarily devastated me. After moping for a day or two, I set my mind to coming up with a new title. Technically, I could keep it because book titles can’t be copyrighted, but mine would probably get lost in the book world being the second one out (and for all I know the other one will be a hit). So, I’m brainstorming and choosing to trust that everything will work out in the end. The good news is I haven’t yet paid for an official cover.
Have you had any recent setbacks or done something that made your heart beat faster out of fear?
This topic is sharing where progress is being made, possibly toward a larger goal, but any type of growth is an achievement.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the program Scrivener. I’m taking advantage of their 30-day free trial to determine whether it’s a program that will benefit me as a writer. It’s initially quite overwhelming because it has so many features. I went through the tutorial but it still felt like a lot. I talked to my Mastermind group about it, and turns out, they all use it. One member sent a link to a video to show you the basics in about twenty minutes, which helped me greatly. I finally took the plunge and jumped into using the program. And I love it. It’s amazingly helpful to work on two to four scenes simultaneously without switching between screens. I can insert research and links into the notes section of each scene or chapter with ease. I don’t yet have experience with how it works with a finished manuscript that’s ready to be uploaded into a book format because I’m still editing, but I’m confident it’ll be fairly user friendly.
I’m also trialing ProWritingAid. It’s editing software that offers suggestions for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure to strengthen your writing. It does more than that, but it’s challenging to explain. I’m overwhelmed at times, but I’ve found it extremely helpful as well.
It may seem silly to you that using a couple of programs would be an achievement, but it’s one more step on my way to becoming a published author. It’s an investment in myself, one more thing to prove my seriousness in being a writer.
What’s something that you are proud of from this past month?
Those are the new topics for 2022. Which one is your favorite?