Today I am pleased to welcome author Pamela Samuels Young, author of the fantastic thriller Buying Time, to Psychotic State. Welcome, Pamela!
Digging Out of a Writing Slump by Pamela Samuels Young
You’ve been working on your novel for months, maybe even years, and lately you feel more discouraged than ever. Perhaps it’s the disappointment of not having finished the book yet. Maybe you don’t know where to go next with your story. Or it’s possible that you’re just physically and emotional drained from all the time and effort you’ve poured into this dream. I’ve been there!
Occasionally falling into a writing slump isn’t reason for alarm. What’s important is that you don’t stay there too long. Here are five tips for re-energizing yourself when you feel like giving up.
■ Read Inspirational Stories About Writing and Writers
Take a writing break and read about successful writers who weathered the storm. Here are two excellent books to get you started:
Knit Together: Discovery God’s Pattern for Your Life by Debbie Macomber.
This book was such an inspiration to me. Macomber, a best selling writer with more than 100 million books in print, openly shares her story of writing rejection. Once you read about her writing journey, you’ll close the book anxious to get back to your own novel.
Rotten Reviews & Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard.
This book shares the rejection letters and stinging reviews received by many successful and prolific writers, from Stephen King to Upton Sinclair to James Joyce and more. You’ll scratch your head at the discouraging rejection letters these wonderful writers received. They didn’t give up, and you shouldn’t either.
■ Don’t Strive for Perfect Prose
Many new writers think that everything that flows from their fingertips must be golden. Hence, if they write a few pages that don’t sound worthy of a Pulitzer, they’re disappointed. Forget about writing a perfect prose right out of the box. The most important part of writing is rewriting. Just concentrate on finishing your first draft. Then revise until you’re pleased with the final product.
■ Set a Writing Goal
Make a commitment to write a set number of pages per week. Can you commit to writing 10 or 15 pages per week? Or perhaps writing three hours a day or three days a week works better for you. Whatever goal you set, make sure it’s realistic. Start out small and once you get into the flow of things, increase your goal. And if you fall short one week, don’t beat yourself up. There’s always next week.
■ Start a Writer’s Group
Put the word out that you’re looking to start a writer’s group. Tell friends, family members and colleagues that you’re looking for three or four serious writers who would like to build a supportive writing environment for themselves and other writers. You’ll probably have a lot of interest in the beginning, but only the serious writers will be around for the long haul. Establish a regular meeting time (at least once a month) and require at least two members to produce work for the group to critique each month.
■ Think About Your Story
Most people assume that if you’re not putting words on paper, then you’re not “writing.” I don’t feel that way. The next time you’re taking a long walk, standing in a grocery store line, or stuck in traffic, use the time to mull over your story. Think about your characters or your plot. Imagine your protagonist having a conversation. Think about how you might describe a room. Challenge yourself to invent a predicament that creates conflict for your character. If you come up with some great ideas, don’t forget to write them down.
BUYING TIME BY PAMELA SAMUELS YOUNG - IN STORES NOW!
Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer. But just when he's about to hit rock bottom, he stumbles upon a business with the potential to solve all of his problems.
In Waverly's new line of work, he comes to the aid of people in desperate need of cash. But there's a catch. His clients must be terminally ill and willing to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they can collect a dime. Waverly then finds investors eager to advance them thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker's fee for himself—in exchange for a significant return on their investment once the clients take their last breath.
The stakes get higher when Waverly brokers the policy of the cancer-stricken wife of Lawrence Erickson, a high-powered lawyer who's bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General. When Waverly's clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.
ABOUT AUTHOR PAMELA SAMUELS YOUNG
Corporate attorney Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. Fed up with never seeing women or people of color depicted as savvy, hot shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton native decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, Pamela accomplished her ambitious goal by rising at four in the morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing and even spending her vacation time glued to her laptop for ten or more hours a day. The Essence magazine bestselling author now has four fast-paced legal thrillers to show for her efforts.
Pamela’s debut novel, Every Reasonable Doubt (February 2006), won the Black Expressions Book Club’s Fiction Writing Contest, received an honorable mention in the SEAK Legal Fiction Writing Competition and was a finalist for USA Book News’ Best Books of 2006 awards in the mystery, suspense and thriller category. Her second novel, In Firm Pursuit (January 2007) was honored by Romantic Times magazine as a finalist for Best African-American Novel of 2007. Murder on the Down Low (September 2008), Pamela’s third release, was an “Editor’s Pick” by Black Expressions magazine and a finalist for the 2009 African-American Literary Awards in the mystery category. Pamela then published her first stand-alone novel, Buying Time (November 2009). The Black Caucus of the American Library Association honored Buying Time with its 2010 Fiction Award, calling the book "a captivating, suspenseful thriller." Her short story, Setup, was selected for the 2006 Sisters in Crime anthology, LAndmarked for Murder.
Pamela has achieved a successful writing career while working as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for a major corporation in Southern California. Prior to that, she served as Employment Law Counsel for Raytheon Company and spent several years with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP in Los Angeles. A former journalist, Pamela began her broadcasting career as a production assistant at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, where she was quickly promoted to news writer. To escape the brutal Detroit winters, she returned home to Los Angeles and worked at KCBS-TV as a news writer and associate producer..
A former Coro Foundation Fellow, Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She received her law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and was formerly an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands’ School of Business. Pamela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is the Fiction Expert for BizyMoms.com.
Pamela is a frequent speaker on the topics of discrimination law, writing and pursuing your passion. She is married and lives in the Los Angeles area. To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com/.
To read my review of Buying Time, go HERE.
Thank you, Pamela, for stopping by my blog today and taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Best of luck with Buying Time and your upcoming projects!
For my readers: Are any of you struggling writers? How long have you been working on your novel/screenplay? Do you follow Pamela's advice and have a set schedule for your writing? If so, how many hours per day or week, or how many pages, do you aim for?
I have been writing since I was eight. I always have a story in my head (some might call that "voices", ahem) and while I am not currently working on my long overdue novel (due to an upcoming cross country move), I do plan on setting myself up with a schedule of writing each day, Monday thru Friday, once the move is complete.
I'd love to hear what my fellow writers think!