Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two things

First thing: The fundraiser I mentioned in my last blog post won't take place in April. It is in May.

Second thing: I am not going to be able to finish the Revisions book in time to submit it before this month is out. I have been madly working on it (and not doing much of anything else) and I just realized last night that it still needs so much more material. So I'm going to work on getting that material together. I need more interviews, more revision success stories and more "end-of-the-chapter" features. So hopefully I can get all of that together soon. At least the March deadline was a self-imposed deadline, and not one my publisher set. I feel bad, but I would rather submit a manuscript that is COMPLETE and one that I am proud of rather than one that is not complete.

I will continue to work on getting it ready every day. I just can't keep devoting as much time to that as I'd like to. My schedule has to change (again!) so my time to write is once again compromised. I will work on it where possible, though.

I still will NOT put my toddler into daycare just so I can work on my book, though.

Anyway, that's the news for now.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A different kind of March Madness

As much as I love the sport of basketball, "March Madness" in my home has nothing to do with it. March is usually a pretty busy month, and not just because of spring cleaning. This year, March has extra things going on -- particularly, writing-related things.

My plan was to submit the Revisions manuscript to the publisher this month. I didn't have an exact date, so I just decided on the 25th, since that is often the date I choose for a month a book is due. (Though with one book I turned in, that date was the 29th.) Maybe this is because my birthday (and my son's birthday) are both on the 25th of our birthday months. Nevertheless, it looks like I won't make it to the 25th this time, mainly because one of my sources needs extra time for the interview questions. (That is definitely worth waiting for!) So, March 31st it will be, then. No harm done.

I have been working on finalizing the manuscript. Editing it, formatting it, revising where needed and just making sure it has everything it's supposed to have. If I work on 25 pages a day every day, then the manuscript will be ready to go by the end of the month. (Still, I will try to work on more than 25 pages when possible. Say, on the weekends or if I have some free time should my husband take the children out for a while.)

I will be sad when this book project for the Revisions book will come to an end. Because of this book, I have "met" so many wonderful and knowledgeable people, and almost daily my inbox had new e-mails from them. It has been a great experience getting to know so many fellow writers and authors out there and I cherish this experience. I only hope that we will stay connected or at least in touch from time to time after this comes to an end.

I definitely want to get this project wrapped up, though, and not just because I want it to be ready in time for a spring release (in 2011). We are planning to move next month, and everyone who has experience with moving knows just how hectic and exhausting that can be. So I want to get this done before then so that I won't have to worry about it.

There is one more reason why I want to wrap this up by month's end. Next month, I will be participating in a fundraising campaign, for a charity helping women who have breast cancer. The fundraising campaign is to promote early detection of cancer, so I will be pretty busy with that, as well.

Which brings me to my next point. I am also going to try to finish editing and fixing up the deaf parenting book so that I can send this book off this month, as well.

And, finally, this month I'm submitting my children's book manuscript to another publisher.

So you can see how March has brought a little "madness" into my life. I do like to stay busy, however, and I hope I will be able to meet my goals for March so that I can work on other things. These projects have kept me away from the freelancing thing and the editing thing. And I feel bad I'm not bringing in as much extra money for the family that I would like to bring in. Lord knows we need it! (And, as it is, I am STILL trying to get paid for an old job that I did.) But as with many things, this, too, shall pass. After I'm done with these projects, I can focus on other things and hopefully start bringing that extra income in again. At least I did sell an article to SIGNews this month, and that's something.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Song titles in writing

Shortly after my newest poetry book came out, I Googled the title to see if it was on any other sites. It was still too early for any reviews of this book to be up, but I just wanted to see where else it was uploaded or discussed. Aside from my own mentions of the book on my sites, it was not anywhere else, but like I said, it was still too early to expect that. All the same, my search led me to a surprising discovery.

The first part of the title, “Love is Like a Rainbow,” is what I Googled. And I come to find out that there is a song with that same title! Very cool. I read the lyrics and liked how the song uses imagery to evoke the idea of a rainbow.

I didn’t know there was a song called “Love is Like a Rainbow.” The title is from a poem included in the collection, one which I wrote several years ago. I decided to use it as the title poem because it really spoke so strongly of how multi-layered and forgiving love can be. Rainbows symbolize a promise, just as love does.

What’s interesting is that I found out that there is a song with this title only after I had this book published. Usually, it’s the other way around. I usually get ideas for titles from songs, or I’ll go through songs to see if anything grabs me. My current writing book, which I am getting ready to submit, has the title WIP It. I decided on this after several brainstorming sessions. Those who know might recognize it as the same kind of title of a song called “Whip It.” I decided on this one because “WIP” stands for “work-in-progress” and because this is a book about revising your WIP’s, I felt it was the perfect fit.

With songs, it could be just one line that will inspire a writer to use it as their title, or it could be the title itself. Also, a writer may play with song titles, changing words or making their title similar to a song title. (This is common for humorous writing. For example, many spoof songs have been written that mimic actual songs, such as “We Didn’t Start Out Tired” based on Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” or Weird Al Yankovic’s “Like a Surgeon” spoofing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”)

It’s a great way to come up with ideas for stories or other things to write. It often happens with the writer seeking out that inspiration from songs or music, but the opposite can happen, as well. In my case, that’s exactly what happened with my poetry book. I can only wonder if I’ll come across songs that have the same title, or a line in the lyrics, that is the same as one of my future book or short story titles.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Last chance to get a free E-Book

If you want a free electronic copy of my book, BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents, this is your last chance to get it here: http://dmcwriter.tripod.com/id47.html

This is the last day it will be available for free. After today, the link will expire.

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL is not normally available as an E-book. You can order a print copy from Booklocker here:

The electronic copy is in PDF. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can use the link on that page to download it free.

Hurry! This isn't going to last! Once Read an E-Book Week ends, so does this special opportunity.

Happy reading!

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Finding time to write when you have children

Earlier today, I read a blog post in which an author commented she was able to get a lot of writing done on her novel because she dropped her kids off at church daycare. The author of the post wanted others to chime in on how they find time to write when you have children. I thought I would comment on that here.

Because I have a toddler at home, finding time to write has been challenging. Thankfully, he is still at the age where he naps, so I write during his naps. I also get up VERY early in the morning just so I can have anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to write. I also grab writing time while the baby is eating and while he is watching his favorite TV program (which is Caillou). Anytime he is distracted with playing with his toys, I'll pull out my notebook and start scribbling.

I alternate between my notebook and the computer. Having a notebook is extremely convenient, especially since I can use it to write in while in the car waiting for my oldest child to be released from school.

I used to be able to take my oldest child to a play center where she could play and do crafts for an hour. But now she's being "graduated" from that so she won't have that anymore -- and I won't have that extra time to write. Still, I write while she's in school, when she goes to a friend's house or when she is on outings with her dad.

Also, after the kids are asleep, that's another great (and common) window of time to write.

Though I know daycare would be great for the youngest child, I don't feel right putting him into daycare just so I can have time to write. I would probably be too stressed and miss him too much to focus on the writing!

I am not one of those parents that takes my child to practice and writes the whole time that I'm there. We writers DO need to live in the moment. I prefer to watch my child and cheer her on when she hits the ball or makes a basket. On top of this, she might get injured, and I would not have seen what had happened.

Additionally, I have found it is NOT possible to write when the baby is running about. He gets into EVERYTHING and climbs on everything. So I have had to stop writing while he's roaming about. I need to keep my attention on him until the next window of time appears.

So, to recap, I write:

*When the baby naps.

*Early in the morning.

*When the baby is eating (which takes about an hour -- he is not a fast eater!)

*When the baby is distracted by a favorite TV program that is on (movies work, too)

*After the children are asleep at night.

For older children:

*While they're in school. (The housework can wait. Really. It can.)

*While they are at a friend's house or out on a sleepover.

*When they are out with the other parent or even a relative.

*While they do homework.

Tools that make it all possible: A notebook, laptop, tape recorder, cell phone with email, patience.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Getting Ready for Read an E-Book Week

It's almost that time of year again!

Last year, I ran a blog series during Read an E-Book Week. This year, I'm doing something different: I'm going to participate with fellow authors and provide an E-copy of one of my books for free during the week. Yay!

After some serious thought, I decided to offer my book, BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents, as a free download during Read an E-Book Week. Yay! I don't want to play favorites with my books; 365 TIPS FOR WRITERS has gotten so much attention, and my latest poetry book is still a baby. I did consider other books.... Maybe Topiary Dreams, since availability of that title is so limited thanks to my inability to get an ISBN and bar code when it first came out, but I wanted something that could be as widely-promoted as possible. Something rated PG, and not PG-13 like that book is. I also considered Take My Hand, but thought it might not be so well received since it's heavily Christian. As to November's Child, yet another book with limited availability, I'd have to type up the whole thing then convert it to PDF because I lost the file some years back after a virus infected my computer and wiped out everything I had on it. I never retyped it from the book itself and right now I don't have enough time to do that. Maybe someday I will yet still do that. At least it will be available to purchase again!

So I think the Midnight Oil book is the better choice.

I'll be sure to give a heads-up when it's all set. I might have to buy more space for my Web site first and I want to put together a nifty page for it.

Meanwhile, I am curious if other authors I know are participating in Read an E-Book Week, as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts and news!

And if you're a subscriber to my newsletter, shoot me an e-mail and let me know! I will include your info in the special announcement. Yay!

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