A Wilder Thought

I am having a major problem completing my novel.

I blame blogging and Jasinda Wilder.

Let’s tackle blogging first.  Some days, I really struggle to write anything worth posting.  It’s hard work.  It’s not fun.  And when it’s finished, I usually don’t like it.  On those days, it’s not that there’s a problem with the actual writing itself; grammatically speaking, it’s fine.

It’s just . .  . cold.  Flat.  Lifeless.  A well-written Wikipedia entry.

But then I have the days when everything flows.   I sit at the computer and zap! I’m just along for the ride.  It doesn’t feel like work at all.  It feels like play.  It’s fun.  My stories and essays write themselves, just borrowing my fingers on the keyboard to give them life.

I can feel my face flush with the exhilaration of knowing that I am creating something good.  I am writing things that I will later look at with awe and ask, “Did I really write that?”

Blogging has taught me that, while writing is a business that requires hard work and planning, it’s also something I don’t ever want to give up again.  And that some of my very best work is the stuff that comes out when I’m enjoying myself, not when I’m trying so hard.   And that lesson has made me doubt the work I have done so far on my own novel.

My novel isn’t fun.  I’ve spent two years fighting with it, and it’s still not finished. I’ve started to hate my main characters.  Part of me wants to put the whole damn thing away for a few months and take a break so I can write something fun, but the logical part of me knows I will never come back to it if I do.  I know that follow-through is not my strong suit, and that I tend to quit projects because of self-doubt and fear.

Besides, an agent wants to see it.  I can’t blow this opportunity!

Then there’s Jasinda Wilder.  She and her husband were facing foreclosure when they decided to write an erotic romance novel a la Fifty Shades of Grey. In less than thirty days, she did her market research, churned out and self-published Big Girls Do it Better, and sold more than 500 copies in the first day.   Since then, she has published several more, and according to CBS News, she now averages over $100,000 in sales per month.

I want to hate her.  I want to dismiss her as a talentless hack.   But I’ve read her books, and they’re pretty good.  Not always to my taste; I’m really not a fan of erotica, and my favorite romances tend to be the more chaste ones.  But she writes very well, and I have to say that she deserves the success she has found.

She also seems to be a very nice, down-to Earth person.

But.

If she can knock out book after book after book faster than the speed of light while I do everything but pour my blood on the page, then maybe I’m not meant to be a writer.  Should it really be this hard?

If it’s this hard, maybe it’s just not meant to be.

So I am asking my fellow writers for advice.  What do you do when self-doubt and frustration attack?  How do you keep from being jealous of writers like Jasinda Wilder, for whom it all seems to be so easy?

How do you know when it’s time to give up on a project or just keep pushing to break through the tough spots on your current one?

How do you convince yourself to finish something when it has stopped being fun?

It’s All About the Numbers

celebrate

My celebrations this week are rather small, but pretty big to me.

As of today, I have officially hit 1,000 views of my blog; I also hit the 100 mark with comments on my blog. That’s pretty small for some of you who get that much traffic on each post.  But for me, it’s kind of awesome.

I also finally noticed the little numbers at the bottom of each post.  Okay, so observation is not one of my more impressive skills.  I was shocked to see that some of my posts have been shared on Facebook a dozen times or more!  That really left me feeling somewhat gobsmacked, honestly.  People I don’t know have shared my stuff on their Facebook pages.

Wow.

Pretty cool.

Of course, some of the things I have written were awfully personal or opinionated.  Gah, I put my picture in one of them!  And to be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure I was wearing a bra in that picture.  Oh, dear.

I also shared links to my blog with my husband and with my mother-in-law this week.  Not easy.  My husband is a wonderful man who loves me, but he would rather gnaw off a cherished body part than give praise; his mother is someone whose opinion I respect deeply.  She is kind, but she is honest.

And I am nervous.

Is it odd that I am comfortable pouring out my heart to strangers – and their facebook pages, apparently – and yet I am terrified of sharing my writing with the people I know and love?

K.T.I.

The Big Guy has a term for certain people in his life:  Knob Twisting Idiots, or KTI’s.

As he explains it, a smart person will solve a problem by turning one knob or pressing one button at a time, gauging the results, and moving on to another knob or button, and so on until the problem is identified and can be repaired.   But a KTI will jump into a situation and fiddle with every possible knob, button and lever at the same time until something works, and will then be utterly bewildered as to just exactly which knob fixed what problem.

Yesterday, I behaved like a true KTI.  I fiddled with my blog.

Prior to yesterday, my all-time high for views on my blog was nineteen.  Not great, I know, but I was still proud of it.  I just wanted to do better.

So I did some research in ways to increase traffic.  I commented on some blogs that caught my eye.  I opened a Twitter account and shared a couple of my posts there.     I asked for feedback from the folks at Daily Press.   I shared a few posts on my Facebook page.  I narrowed the focus of my blog and I searched for other blogs with a similar focus, and then I started following the ones I thought I could learn from.

As a result, yesterday brought 114 views of my blog.  From nineteen to 114, in one day.

Woot-woot, I did something right.

But, er, what?

As an adult with ADHD, I have had to learn to be methodical about everything.  I get through my day with lists and self-imposed checkpoints to keep myself on track.  I have to have a routine for everything I do, or my days will just slip away into a frustrating mass of projects that are started and not finished.  I even set a timer to thirty-minute intervals to remind myself that i’m supposed to be doing something.

In short, I must be the exact opposite of a KTI.

So I’m not sure what possessed me to behave like one yesterday.  It would have been smarter to make one change each day or every other day in order to see what would be the most effective.  Oops.    I guess my next move is going to have to be to just sit back and watch what happens, see how things play out.

Lesson learned.

For now, anyway. Until the timer goes off or I find another shiny knob to twist.

By Any Other Name

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

I really struggled to come up with a good name for my blog.  I wanted something clever without being cutesy, easily identifiable as mine without being too obvious.

A Good One is a variation of my name:  A Goodwin.    A little on the cutesy side, but it’s also a nod to my Aunt Marian, who never tired of teasing me about my married name.    Every time the words “good one” came up in a conversation, Marian would wink at me and murmur “Goodwin!”

Not a particularly funny joke, but it was sort of a secret code between Marian and me.  She wasn’t always the world’s nicest person, and her influence on my life has probably been more negative than positive, but she’s only been gone for a few years and that loss still hurts.

I miss her.

She always referred to my in-laws as The Good Ones instead of the Goodwins, so my blog’s name is also a reminder of just how lucky I was to marry into this particular family.

Another reason for calling my blog A Good One is that it hints at my pen name:  A.J. Goode.  “A” comes from my first name, “Goode” is part of my last name, and “J” . . .

Well, the letter “J” stands for absolutely nothing.  It just sounds good there.