Natasha Raulerson

Managing Time

I’d always admired parents who wrote. They managed to figure out how to manage the chaos of family with the discipline of writing. I say discipline because any one who writes jfPxJj.gifknows discipline is involved. If you don’t take the time to write every day, even if it’s for five minutes, then time often gets away from you.

Cronus is sneaky like that. Making time slip through our fingers and before we know it, a month has gone by and that W.I.P. has gone wayward in whatever writing processor is used. Lost in the files of the computer. Forgotten in the wasteland of unfinished stories.

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By the time we get back to it, so much has changed that the story may not seem like something we ever wrote at all. It might feel foreign, like the concept has warped, or you just plain don’t like it anymore.

I’m a new mom. I thought, “Ha! I’ll still write every day. I can do this!”

Well, that goal did not happen in the first month and a half of my sons life. It’s hard! I admire those parents even more now. They’ve been doing it a lot longer, with more than one kid to boot.

I was still writing, it just wasn’t every day. Most of the time it’s been on my phone, a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph, and it was while my son was breastfeeding or sleeping in my arms.

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It might just be snippets, ideas, thoughts, or stuff I know I’ll trash later, but the point was, I wrote.

Now, I don’t have time managed to a ‘T’. I’m also editing, and paying clients come first.

My own words, however, have somewhat taken a back seat. My son is almost two months old now, and things are falling into a rhythm. Now, when he sleeps, I can write. I know people say to sleep when he does, but he’s getting pretty good about sleeping long stretches through the night. Those day naps give me time to do things around the house, work, and write in between.

Even if it’s five words, even if it’s one. I’m back to writing every day. Whether by hand, on my phone, or if I manage to sit at my computer to do something other than edits. Writing is my passion. It’s my dream, and if nothing else, I’m making sure to produce words every day to provide an example for my son.

I want him to follow his dreams no matter how hard it might be.

Leading by example. Managing time. It’s not easy, and I tip my hat to all those parents who have been doing it far longer and better than I.raw (1).gif

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Natasha Raulerson

Back To The Future – On Writer’s Block & Editing

Sometimes finding that next word or that next sentence isn’t so easy. This can happen 10k or 50k words into that work-in-progress. If you’re lucky, it never happens, but for the majority, there is always that moment that catches us. That makes it hard for fingers to brush over the keyboard in fluid movements. Instead, it’s jagged tap-a-taps before hitting the backspace key–and somewhere in between is usually the overwhelming urge to throw said keyboard out the window. Not that the sudden block is the keyboards fault, but let’s face it, keyboards probably get more abuse from writers than anyone else. Mine has so much wear and tear that the letters have worn off the keys, and honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t cracked the damn thing. The keyboard is the medium from which we transport our thoughts to the screen–and sometimes, we’re very, very mean to it when we can’t make the correlation.

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So, what can we do to not only keep the words flowing, but to maybe not beat up the poor, innocent, and too-often abused keyboard?

Well there are some tactics. Maybe pushing forward works for you. Writing crap upon crap until finally it gives way to the diamonds in the rough that make the story flow again. Most times those original craptastic words are deleted and rewritten later, but if that’s the method that works, then that’s the method that works.

I tend to be the person who stares and stares and stares and wonders why my fingers aren’t moving. Then I note twenty-minutes have passed and the most I’ve achieved is three words and being mesmerized by the cursor blinking on the page.

Realizing that this method is not helping me get any work done, I’ve opted to try something new.

GOING BACK TO THE FUTURE!

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So what does that mean in writer terms exactly? Well, I was listening to K.M. Weiland’s podcast and she mentioned that about every third of her manuscript she goes back and edits. She also mentioned that some authors get caught in a sort of loophole where they forever edit what they already have and never continue on. I used to be that writer, so going back to edit while writing makes me reluctant. I don’t want to fall in that loophole again.

However, when I can’t push forward, it makes me wonder if something has gone wrong in what I already wrote, or rather, in the past of my manuscript. How have I wound up struggling so hard to write that next line? Well, the only way to figure that out is to go to the past–or what I’ve already written in the world I’m working on. To read over what I already have and see if I need to change something, or, what’s more likely, I may have forgotten a detail that’s meant to push the plot forward. Weaving together a plot is pretty damn hard. So by going back and rereading what’s already there, details that are forgotten in the whirlwind of the rough draft pop back out, and things are remembered, thus I can change the future of my manuscript. Making notes in the sidebar (I have Scrivener) can definitely help the process of not over editing–something that may keep you stuck in the past.

Instead of adding the actual detail that may be needed to enhance a scene, jot a note down so when you’re going through your first round of revisions, you remember what you need to do. Sure, fix a misspelled word, or maybe add a bit of dialogue if it comes to you, but don’t DO all the actual editing–at least if you’re like me and will get caught in that forever-editing-loop instead of finishing the manuscript.

By reading through the past, new ideas pop to mind. New avenues to take, paths to carves, 10_21_15_alison_greatscottcharacters to enhance or create. You may get through one chapter or four before that “GREAT SCOTT!” moment hits and you’re jumping back to the future of your manuscript to work on that scene with renewed vigor–and a safely intact keyboard.

I’ve learned this method keeps my mind in the manuscript, makes the gears spin in regards to the what has happened as well as what needs to happen, and helps me come up with ideas of where to take it based on where I’ve already been–and just like Marty and Doc, sometimes I wind up finding a nugget that with a little tweaking, lets me change the future into something much better than I originally imagined.

At the very least, I’ve got some notes jotted for when I actually start the full editing process.

Give it a shot. If nothing else, your keyboard will thank you.

Natasha Raulerson

It’s An Author Thing: Mood Swings

Writing a novel is not easy. It comes with many parts, layers, plot, characterization, pacing, and more. It can come naturally, or it can be frustrating as hell. The layers may fall into

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Sometimes we might get the urge to print part or all of the story just so we can destroy it. 

place, or they might decide that they don’t fit into this particular jigsaw puzzle and opt to be a pain in the ass. Authors not only have to deal with problems in real life, but with the problems in the world they’re creating. So, yes, from time to time we might lose our shit.

 

It’s an author thing.

There may be days where we’re smiling, whistling, giddy even, because we’ve managed to write 2,000 plus words to finish a scene. A scene that we absolutely love. We celebrate with coffee or wine, maybe add some chocolate in there. It could be on Friday, so we break out the booze early, because it’s five o’clock somewhere. We celebrate, because it’s an accomplishment.

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Cheers to the days when writing comes easy and the characters do exactly what they’re supposed to do. 

It’s an author thing.

Saturday rolls around and when you wake up, the first thing you notice is your possible hangover. Try not to celebrate too hard next time.

There’s another problem though. As your brain was relaxing from the copious amounts of alcohol, you realize that the scene you wrote, may not actually be what the book needs. A thought dribbles in that there’s a better way to do it, or if you do it all the crazy consequences that could shift the entire plot of the book taking it in a direction you don’t want it to go.

Damn it!

That’s never fun. The two choices are to scrap the scene then and there or continue writing to see where it goes. Neither of which you want to do because it was time tumblr_lsx4ddf9ar1qafrh6consuming and yesterday it was perfect, but today–the problems have shown themselves.

It’s frustrating, and you’ve gone from happy-go-lucky to “disturb me while I’m trying to
fix this and I will end you.”

Staring, chin holding, hair pulling, eye rolling, and so many more things happen as you analyze the text, desperately trying to figure out what to do next. Your emotions are fluctuating up and down. When you think you’ve got an idea, victory is in sight, but then, you realize crying-gif-2the five different reasons it won’t work.

So, essentially, in less than 24 hours you’ve gone from happy, to hungover, to annoyed, to angry, to flabbergasted, to sad. All your confidence as a writer is gone. You wonder if you can make it in this business. It’s a roller coaster of tumultuous emotions from being overwhelmed, just because one scene is ruining the whole book.

Oh no, I’m not exaggerating. This happens. To multiple authors. Readers don’t get emotions from novels because we’re cold, uncaring robots. They get it because it took all those emotions just to write the book.

Just as all hope seems to be lost, and you’re hiding under your desk rocking back and forth, hair wild–and maybe just a little drool dribbling down your chin–epiphany strikes. You know just want to do to make the ()#&%#(*$&#( scene work. To make the story work.

You get up, clean up, and sit at your keyboard, fingers going to work. All the previous confidence you lost has now returned. You got this.

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It’s an author thing.

Natasha Raulerson

It’s an Author Thing: Don’t Piss Us Off

Let’s face it. Some people are just big giant bags of doucheholes. That’s putting it mildly.

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Once upon a time, there was this lady, who I dubbed the Evil B in 118. I had been walking my dog around the complex. She (my dog) had already done her business when we’d been farther out, as we come back, she stops to sniff some grass near the Evil B’s apartment. This lady then promptly bangs on her glass door, screaming at me like I’m eviscerating someone on full display.

I ignore her and move on. Start talking to another woman I know in the building who is also walking her dogs. Evil B comes around and proceeds to start screaming at me. My dog didn’t go to the bathroom on that patch of grass, and for the record, it also wasn’t the Evil B’s yard, as she so adamantly claimed.

It literally got to the point where she screamed that she saw her do it, and I screamed show-me-the-money-gif
back, ala Tom Cruise in  Jerry Maguire: “SHOW ME THE POOP!”

Which, of course, she couldn’t. Seriously, she harrasssed me every time she saw me for like a good year. I wouldn’t say anything to her and she would just start screaming at me.

So, I did what I do best. I took her character archetype and put it one of my books. Granted, this was my first failed book, but creating Evil B as a fictional character, making her an evil, crazy person with the likeness of hair and dress as the real person was very therapeutic. It made me smile to know, that even if she didn’t know, she would be immortalized in a novel based on the way she treated me.

Yes, we do that.

It’s an author thing.

3e7d00892fa8a33b3129a1633346ef94Pissing an author off runs the risk of finding your character likeness in a book. They won’t
have your name, and there will be enough subtle differences that it’s not actually you, but the basic archetype is there. We don’t have to add boils or grotesque features, because most times, the personality is enough to make the character ugly.

It’s really great fodder for our books, so sometimes, even as pissed off as we are, we should be thanking the doucheholes of the world for giving us so much to work with.

Well, nah. I don’t think we’d actually do that.

The moral of the story: Be careful who you piss off. You might find that our revenge immortalizes you in history in a way you would rather not be remembered.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

It’s an author thing.

Natasha Raulerson

It’s An Author Thing

Sometimes, right in the middle of a manuscript, the Muse will pack up her suitcase and book it on the first flight out. It’s annoying, tedious, and now you’re stuck, staring at a manuscript that you not only have no idea what to do with, but also the urge to write it is just gone.

It's An Author Thing

To be blunt–it’s a pain in the ass.

It’s an author thing.

All the negative thoughts start rolling out.

“This manuscript sucks.”

“Ugh, I hate writing it!”

“I should just start over.”

“I should scrap the whole damn thing.”

It's An Author ThingWell no, don’t do that. Writing is hard. Sometimes we all get to the point where we want to find a way to dismantle the manuscript, burn it, and scatter it’s ashes far away where we’ll never be reminded of it again. That doesn’t mean we should do it.

Part of being an author means working through the stuff that has us going to an extra kickboxing class just to punch something. Sure, half the time we’re imagining the bag as a character’s face, but hey, at least it’s good cardio. Hopefully, it will also help you clear your head to get past that hurdle.

Sometimes we do have to scrap part or the whole and start over, but don’t give up on it. The words don’t always come easy. We have to fight for them. Make them work for our story.  Part of the author life is crying about how the manuscript isn’t coming together when the deadline is looming large and oppressing right over there on the horizon. Tears plop into a large glass of whiskey while your significant other gives you sidelong glances and awkward pats because they have no idea how to console you.

It’s an author thing.

It's An Author Thing

Most people who aren’t author’s don’t understand.

You can’t give up when it gets hard, or you’ll never finish a manuscript. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when the words just flow. The manuscript is doing great, and it’s clear the Muse has popped up again. Sometimes though, we just can’t rely on that muse sitting next to us channeling all the creative juices through us. Sometimes we have to bust our ass.

So when that happens, don’t get too frustrated. Know that we all go through it. Vent to another author. Kick something. Write something down and tear it up. Don’t set anything on fire because I’m so not responsible if you burn your house down.

Just remember, we get it. It sucks. It’s hard.–but we got your back.

It’s an author thing.

Natasha Raulerson

Raulerson Editorial

Well hello everyone! I hope that your Monday is being an awesome one! This post is to announce the grand opening of RAULERSON EDITORIAL. That’s right, I’ve started up my freelance editing business. I’ve had plenty of experience being a CP, Beta Reader, a Pitch Wars Mentor, Agented Author, Query Kombat Judge, Fiction Editor, and more. So, now I’m branching out and putting all that experience to good use.

GrandOpening

I have several different packages and if you sign up for my NEWSLETTER you’ll get promotional material from time to time, as well of updates on my own work. As you can see right now, there is a Grand Opening Special for this week only. I’m happy to talk with you about your expectations and goals. Click on the image above for more information.

I hope to hear from you soon! Happy Monday everyone!

#8 Terrible Titles

Never judge a book by it’s cover. A lot of people still do. If the title doesn’t call to them or they don’t like the cover art, they may well continue perusing the shelves. That’s all subjective, but taking the time to come up with a decent title for your book will definitely give you an edge when someone is searching for a book, but have no idea what they want to read. A good title, will at least (hopefully) have someone pulling the book off the shelf to read the blurb on the back.

The most awesome Kathy Palm tagged me for the terrible title blog hop. Not only is she a fantabulous writer, but I’m lucky to have her as one of my CP partners. Kathy is great with layering novels and short stories to make sure everything is where it should be. She’s got an eye for detail and a thirst for magic. Not to mention a twisted and dark imagination which I love!

Ahem.

So. Blog Hop. Right.

I have to pick one of my manuscripts and randomly pick out words to play the bad title. Eight times I must do this! Eight times I must laugh, cringe, or say–OH MY GOD WHAT KIND OF TITLE IS THAT?!

Bad Title #1: Old Cannery So not the image I want to be immediately in the readers head. At least not for this book. 😀

Without Further Ado

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