Don’t Wait to Get Picked, Pick Yourself

It’s been two years since I last blogged. But I haven’t stopped writing.

For the last few years, I have worked on my craft—grinding it out, finishing one new novel after another, editing each manuscript—toiling over every sentence until I was satisfied. Then I would send out queries and wait for literary agents to get back to me—hoping for one of them to believe in my stories as much as I, and my beta readers, believe in them. With every few rejections I would receive, there would be a spark of hope—agents asking for a partial or a full manuscript. And while I held my breath, I would fulfill each request with my fingers crossed. Soon, the replies would filter in, some automated and generic, some even complimenting my writing and my stories—yet all would end with different variations of saying no.

Despite all the hard work I had put into each manuscript, I was back to square one.

Feeling defeated once more, I would take a deep breath and accept the fact—as discouraging as it was, that this was all part of the process of finding an agent. At least based on my research, other people’s experiences, and the information I had gained from writing workshops and conferences. It wouldn’t take long until I would start working on a new story, while emotionally and mentally preparing myself for the next round of writing, editing, and querying.

A few weeks ago, while scanning thumbnails on YouTube, I noticed an interview from Behind the Brand with Brian Elliott called, Seth Godin: Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

I was intrigued. So, I clicked on it. Minutes later, everything made sense.

Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself. A line that lingered in my head for the rest of the day.

It was clear. By me following the same paradigm year after year, I was no longer pursuing my own goals. I was simply following someone else’s path—hoping and expecting for the same results.

Without me noticing—this way of thinking and pursuing had caused me to forget the one thing I had set out to do: Write my stories and share them with you.

While I stayed cooped up inside my writing box—with one click, people all over the world were sharing their craft, product, or idea through social media and other platforms—finding their audience, building their careers, joining communities, changing their lives and others, and never looking back. People who believe and trust in their dream or idea—enough to let it drive them forward, regardless if they would fail or not.

Seth Godin is right. Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

Follow your own path. Because just as we are all unique, each of our dreams are, too. There is no wrong or right way to achieve your dream. If one path does not work, do not give up.

Instead, move on and create your own opportunities.

I would love to get a literary agent. But it might not be in the cards right now. It’s time I fold this hand so I could get dealt a new one.

In 2012, I self-published my first novel, HIGH (A Caffeinated Love Story). To my loyal readers who have asked me through the years when my next novel is coming out—thank you for patiently waiting. I finally have an answer for you.

HEARTS AND ERRORS will release on January 19, 2019!

Beginning this week, excerpts from my upcoming novel and updates will be posted here and on my other social media accounts.

After all, this is all I ever wanted to do. To write my stories and share them with you.

 

 

7 Writing Quotes That Will Inspire You

Paris Notebook“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
—Elmore Leonard

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.
—Ray Bradbury, WD

“Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.”
—May Sarton

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”
—Ray Bradbury

12 Ways to Get Inspired When You’re Feeling Uninspired

12WaystoGetInspiredI recently went through a writer’s lull. I was trying to work on my second novel but for some reason, I couldn’t focus. I knew how I wanted to rewrite and edit the story, I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of the computer and do it. This went on for weeks and it was beginning to frustrate me. The ideas were all there, but somehow I wasn’t motivated.

Determined to get back on track, I changed my routines and tried new things. It worked.

If you’ve been feeling uninspired to write lately, here are 12 ways to get you back on track:

  1. Take a break. Working on the same manuscript for days or months can be daunting. Give it time to rest and go back to it a few days, a few weeks, or a few months later.
  2. Take a walk. Writing is sedentary. Get some fresh air and go for a nice long stroll to get your creative juices flowing again. Check out this article: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think
  3. Change where you write. If you usually write in the living room, try writing in the kitchen, or in the bedroom. If that doesn’t work, leave the house and try writing at a coffee shop, at a library, or at a park. A change of venue could do the trick.
  4. Change when you write. If you usually write in the mornings, try writing at night. And if you usually have a set time for writing, don’t have one. Instead of writing for three hours straight, try writing for just an hour and then take a break.
  5. Switch it up. If you find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen, try writing on a piece of paper. Get a notebook and a pen and start free writing. This always works for me.
  6. Listen to Music. And not just the same music you normally listen to. Change it up and try new genres.
  7. Watch a Movie. Pick your favorite blockbuster flick, or check out a new movie. Take advantage of your Netflix membership and explore old films, new films, foreign films, and independent films. Movies always help inspire me.
  8. Pack a bag and go somewhere. If you’re on a tight budget, taking a day off, or a little weekend getaway somewhere close by could be all you need. A nice vacation—short or long—will help you recharge.
  9. Write something else. Put the current manuscript aside and try writing a poem, a short story, or start a new novel. Then go back to the previous manuscript when you’re ready.
  10. Read a book or a magazine. You don’t have to read an entire book, unless you want to. Even reading a few pages could be enough to get you back on track. I’ve done this many times. Whenever I feel stuck, I flip through different books and read a few pages. Reading a beautifully written paragraph or dialogue is sometimes enough to inspire me to write again.
  11. Go back to your old notes. Remember the notes you wrote down on that napkin, or that notebook, or the one you typed up on your phone months ago? This is the time to read them over. There might be something there that could inspire you.
  12. Write. Sometimes the cure to feeling uninspired to write is to simply keep writing. Write anything. That anything could turn into something. It doesn’t have to be good…yet. Just write it. The whole idea is for you to start writing again. You can always edit later.

Happy writing!

Inspiration

Sometimes all it takes is that one perfect song to get you going—to get you writing that short story, or that novel. Other times it takes a good long stroll, or maybe a vacation, or last night’s dream to inspire you to write. But as writers, we must write even when we aren’t inspired to. Even on days when we think we don’t have time to write—we make time to write…anything. A sentence, a paragraph, a page, or a chapter. Because it is from writing every day that we are able to start a story and finish it.

I came across this short, but inspiring clip of authors sharing some invaluable advice on writing. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the video:

“Write a story for yourself.”
“Investigate on what your truths are and have faith in it.”
“Let the audience that’s meant to find it, find it.”
—Wally Lamb

“Write every day.”
—Diane Hammond

“When you have writer’s block—write. That’s how you unblock.”
“No book is written. Every book is re-written.”
—Ridley Pearson 

“Read. The more you read, the better you write. Write. Keep writing because the more you write, the better you write.”
—Anthony Horowitz

“Trust yourself. Write exactly what you think you want to write.”
—Lee Child

“If all else fails, just keep trying.”
—Graeme Base

“There’s one thing that all writers have, that you have…your voice.”
—Dennis Lehane

“Write what you know. Write what you believe in.”
—Robert Crais

Here is the link to the video:

Happy writing!

For the Little Kids

Last Thursday, I had my Children’s Books Launch Pajama Party at Folio Books in San Francisco. Children came dressed in their pajamas, including my five-year-old daughter, Sammy. My husband took pictures as I soaked in the experience.

At the beginning of the event, Martha, the store manager, introduced me to the lovely crowd. After greeting and thanking them for coming, I read three of my books, “Mr. Dinosaur is Hiding,” “Green Bird Loves to Count,” and “Goodnight World.” It was wonderful seeing the kids listening and participating.

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After the reading, I mingled with the crowd and gave away Sammy’s Books stickers. I also got to sign some books.

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About two years ago, I read a bedtime book to Sammy as part of our bedtime routine. As I was leaving her room that night, I suddenly got inspired to try and write a bedtime book for her. Without skipping a beat, I used my graphic design skills and my love for writing to make something I wasn’t sure I could even do. Soon, Sammy’s Books was born, and “Goodnight World” was published in December 2012.

I always knew I wanted to become a writer, but I never knew I would ever write, or even illustrate children’s books. But that’s how inspiration works. If you let it guide you and push you to explore a small or a big idea, or a small or a big dream, you allow yourself to discover something magical—you get to see what else you’re capable of.

So now, I don’t only love writing books for the “big kids”, but I also love writing books for the little kids too.

Thank you, Sammy, for always inspiring me.

All books are NOW AVAILABLE in ebook and paperback format on Amazon

For more pictures from the event, click here.

Happy Reading!

A Stroll

A stroll is not just a stroll. It’s an opportunity to unwind, to think, to see, and to feel. I like to take quiet walks in my favorite neighborhood—Noe Valley. Whenever I allow myself to look around, to stop and touch the leaves on the trees, to stare at the sky and listen to the birds chirping and the cars whisking by—I allow myself to appreciate the beauty around me.

I took my mom to Noe Valley the other day. We walked up and down the hills on a warm sunny day. We paused to look at all the unique houses surrounding us. We couldn’t help but wonder what they looked like inside. I thought maybe spotless—with modern furniture and white walls with giant paintings. Or maybe cluttered—with antique furniture and untouched china and trinkets that fill every window sill. Or maybe empty—with nothing but an old yellow couch, a broken bookshelf, and a stack of dusty books and magazines that lean against a giant window. I let my imagination run wild.

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Look at the beautiful lemon tree.
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A quaint little house.
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I love the yellow door.
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I love the red door.
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This one stood out.
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Just adorable.
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Beautiful.
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Each one unique.
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Lovely.
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So much character.
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Another red door.

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At the end of our stroll, I told my mom, “Every house has character. Every home has a story.” She agreed.

Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes you simply have to take a stroll to find it.

(Photos taken by Corey M. P.)

Just Do It

You have a cup of coffee. Drink it.
You have some time alone. Savor it.
You have a favorite song. Sing it.
You have a story to tell. Write it.
You have a dream. Chase it.
You have a life. Live it.

By Corey M. P.
©CoreyMP

Travel and Inspiration

I recently went on a short trip to London with my husband and my daughter. It was a pleasant experience except for the sleepless nights we had, due to my four-year-old daughter singing and talking to us in the middle of the night because she was jet lagged. As tired as I was, I couldn’t complain. It was actually entertaining. A new idea for a book even popped in my head during one of those nights. It was for a children’s chapter book.

As we explored the city and saw the sights, I continued to get more ideas and inspiration, which definitely made the trip even more memorable.

Visiting Westminster Abbey was an amazing experience, especially seeing the Poet’s Corner.
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I haven’t been able to do much work since we got back. My daughter is home for the summer so we’ve been quite busy. I’m still able to squeeze in some writing and editing here and there—not a lot, but definitely better than nothing at all.

How is your summer going?