May Links

How to Declutter Your Writing Ideas and Finish More Projects
Dana Sitar on how to get those unfinished projects sorted out and maybe finished.

But think about how many aha! moments you’ve had. How many brilliant stories you’ve conceived. How many shower thoughts you’ve scribbled into notebooks.

You can’t write them all.

But you feel a lingering duty to these unrealized ideas. They sit in the back of your mind like an anchor when you try to move on to the next project.

A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette
K.M. Weiland on beta reading.

A few weeks ago on Facebook, a reader asked if I’d written a post on beta reader etiquette. I hadn’t, so today I’m remedying that oversight. Because trading critiques is the time-honored mode of reimbursement between writers, most of us will end up wearing both the beta-reader hat and the being-beta-read hat more times than we can count. In the interest of keeping peace and patience amongst ourselves and, even more importantly, maximizing our helpfulness to one another, let’s consider ten bits of beta reader etiquette and eight bits of writerly etiquette in response.

HOW TO SURVIVE HARD KNOCKS U.: A Writer’s Guide
Anne R. Allen on the jungle full of peril awaiting writers and how to protect yourself.

They are not stupid and they often come in disguise. They call themselves agents, editors, publishers, review services, book packagers, convention organizers, cover designers, e-book formatters, promo sites.

They will cost you time, money, shred your ego and make you feel like an idiot. They will send you to drugs, drink or therapy. You’d hire a hit man if you dared but you don’t because you don’t feel like spending years in jail.

Metaphor Sex is the best!
Caroline Russomanno on All About Romance Blog about when something that;s not a sex scene is totally a sex scene.

I’m not talking about sex scenes written with metaphors (“velvet swords” and “moist flowers” and similarly purple terminology). I’m talking about a scene in which the two characters engage in a non-sexual activity as if it were sexual. They might be cooperating in a physical task like climbing, an intellectual one like negotiating, an artistic one like singing, and so forth.

Writers: When In Doubt, WWYL
Chuck Wendig on burnout and finding the magic of writing again.

But here’s my problem with that: those solutions are frequently temporary. It’s like, taking a vacation from a stressful job vents the stress in the short term, but as a long-term solution, it’s total pants. The stress returns. Vapor-lock settles back in. Burnout returns as a vengeful specter — you did not exorcize that hoary spirit, but rather, merely ran away from it and forced it to find you anew in a grim otherworldly game of MARCO POLO.

Seriously?
Rosalie Stanton on the controversy about Amazon’s returns policy and the excessive entitlement of certain people.

So, a few days ago, an author shared an alarming message she received from someone who claimed to be a reader and a fan. This person praised the author’s work, but said she had to return each of the books (ranging from $0.99 and $2.99) because they were too expensive. Furthermore, she would very much appreciate it if the author could make her books free from this point on.

When the author shared this message, the person lost her shit and followed up by stating that no one should have to pay for the stories that are in the author’s head.

How to Screw Up
KJ Charles on how to deal with it if you mess up badly and bring down the wrath of the internet.

A slightly misleading clickbait title there, because we can all screw up without assistance. We screw up by commission and omission. We forget, or erase; we don’t care, or do harm. We fail to listen, we fail to act. We say stupid things. Stupider than that. You know that thing you said twenty years ago that still comes into your mind at 3am and makes you sink your teeth into the pillow? Those. We write books or blog posts or emails or tweets that, in retrospect, make us wonder if we were high, or maybe possessed by whatever demon is wearing Donald Trump’s skin, or at least if we could use that as an excuse. We hurt people. We hurt ourselves. We say and do and write things that were meant to be funny or positive and turn out to be hurtful and stupid, stupid, why did I ever think that was a good idea? We fail.

“Pausing” Your Writing
Mitch Goth about when you need to take a writing break.

We are living in the era of the “write everyday” mentality. If you didn’t write something today, be it 100 words or 1000+, your day simply is not complete. A writer must always be writing. Always. How many of us achieve that goal all the time? Very few would say they do, and some of those people are definitely lying. So why should we continue to let this workhorse mentality control our motivations and writing life so much?

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