07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Practical Tips for Surviving the Road to Publication by Sarah Raplee

Hi, I'm Sarah Raplee, author of Paranormal  and Steampunk Romance.

In order to smooth your seemingly-endless trek to Author-dom, I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned The Hard Way.

Time Management Tips
If you must have a perfectly clean, quiet area to work, buy earplugs and go to the local library or coffee shop to write. 
I own a sign that says, “An immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life.” The writer’s corollary is, “An immaculate desk is the sign of a procrastinating writer.”
When writing in a coffee shop or other public place, never tell a stranger you are a writer. Chances are they will spend the next hour or two telling you all about the story they will never write, but you should. Or they will have written a story they want you to read and tell them if it’s any good. (Believe it or not, once someone gave me a notebook detailing a story they’d “thought up” that had an amazing plot, which unfortunately was already the plot of a bestselling author’s book.) 
Avoid eye contact to avoid conversations. If directly asked if you are a writer, LIE. It’s best to plan and rehearse the lie ahead of time, just in case this situation arises. "What, me? I'm working on a class assignment."
Never Leave Home Without…
(These are pretty self-explanatory.)
Spare mouse batteries
Your computer glasses
Your (fully charged) laptop or notebook computer
Eye drops
Pain reliever

Keeping Your Sanity Tips
Never leave your cat alone in your office. My cat steals shiny metallic objects like paperclips and thumb drives. He also loves to send cryptic messages to my friends (&*’7poitionnnn). Sometimes he decides to lay on my keyboard when I’ve left a document open (aszxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).He’s also been known to hold down the backspace key long enough to delete a half hour’s work.
Never leave your child alone on your computer. Your work is, to quote Golem, “Precioussss.” Treat it as such. Avoid unnecessary risks.
Never give your cat or your child your password. See above.
Always save frequently. There’s no terror greater than the panic of losing a day’s work. Sooner or later bad computer magic happens to every writer. Saving is like a protective spell.
Always back up your work frequently. Computers get hacked, infected by viruses, stolen, burned in house fires. See above and multiply the panic by a thousand.
Fail Safe
If you DO lose a chunk of your work, take a brief moment to feel terrified, but then DON’T PANIC! I once lost a whole chapter of a novel. I had no idea what happened to it. Searched and browsed but couldn’t locate the blasted thing anywhere. After a week, I bit the bullet and wrote the chapter a second time.
Fast forward three months. While accessing a research file folder, guess what I found? My original chapter! No idea how it ended up there. Out of curiosity, I compared the two versions of my chapter. They were nearly word-for-word identical! So if you lose some work and have to recreate it, chances are your second version will be very similar in awesomeness to your first.

I hope you find these tips helpful on your writer’s journey. Do you have a practical tip to share?


Maggie Lynch said...

Great list, Sarah, and it made me smile. Now get back to writing! Picture spaghetti whip snaking across the coast range to get you back to the novel.

Judith Ashley said...

Having had several of the above mishaps occur in my writing life, I can certainly commiserate.

My best tip is to celebrate what you've accomplished rather than belabor what is yet to do. So you only wrote 100 words this week instead of the 1000 you'd planned. It's still 100 words towards your goal and 100 words more than 0.

Totally agree with Maggie and the spaghetti whip! You are almost there and have readers waiting!!!

Sarah Raplee said...

I heard the snap of that spaguetti whip! Jumping to it!

Diana McCollum said...

Yes, we want to read your novel! And see it in print!! I find that I do better when I have to be accountable to someone. Joining the Goal Reporting Loop has me working to boost my word count. I slacked off this week because of company, but will work hard to catch up the last part of the week.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Diana!

Barb said...

I loved this. It was fun, funny and still informative.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Barb! Glad you enjoyed my post. :-)

Lauren James said...

I loved this. Lots of great tips - My favorite being not to give your password to your cat or your child. I'll remember not to let my dog get hold of mine lol