In some ways, we writers have the easiest jobs on the planet. We generally don't work outdoors in the elements. We get to be creative for large chunks of the day. And the wardrobe...hello, working in your pajamas all day, goodbye fitted khakis. And farewell annoying coworker who always, always eats fish for lunch. At his desk. Right next to yours.
Still, even writing for a living has its downsides. Besides not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, you also have to learn to take really good care of your body. Because a broken, burnt out body/psyche aren't going to help your career.
I was recently asked to write a guest post over at Writing and Wellness on this very topic: how to take care of your health while writing full-time. I shared some of the tips and tricks that I use and hope you'll get some benefits from them.
I'm sharing news from my writing studio (including a new book coming out soon!), a special giveaway for newsletter subscribers only, and a glimpse of our newest family member in this month's newsletter. You can read all about the January 2019 News here. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here and join in the fun...you also receive a #free short story when you sign up.
Exciting news! A handful readers will have the opportunity to read, Let the Dead Rest, before it's release date on 8/17/18.
Want to enter to win a spot on the Early Review Team? Just click the link and enter your email address. We'll let you know soon if you were selected or not. Thanks for your interest in J.P. Choquette's newest novel.
You know how you might envy someone who keeps an immaculate house, drives a big, shiny SUV, or has perfectly-behaved children? Well, I envy authors who outline.
Outlining? Not for me. No, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, a rebel. A true jump-in-with-both-feet type of girl. Which is fine and great in its way. Writing fiction is pretty much the only time that I "break the rules," and do things in an un-planned for fashion. It's fun to throw caution to the wind and write freely without thought of what might show up next on the page...until you're not sure what should show up next on the page. Or until the dreaded editing process begins.
Have I mentioned previously that I don't like the editing process much? It's true. Give me the freedom of the empty page and the energy that comes pouring out while I'm working on that messy and imperfect first draft. But then the editing starts and GAH! I want to run from my desk and hide, preferably with a tub of dairy-free ice cream in a room streaming Netflix.
I've just discovered a new way of outlining through, that doesn't hurt quite so much. I still do this after the first draft is written (I know, I'm weird but you've gotta go with what works) and use index cards to track the major points in the novel. Other writers are all high-tech with Scrivener, but I'm more of a Luddite. And that's OK.
I'm really enjoying this new system. Above, you'll see many of the cards spread out for "Pretty Poison," my seventh book (coming 2019). The blank cards at the end of the rows gave away the plot, so I had to flip them over.
Currently, I'm working from another set of index cards. These are helping me to better flesh out the main points in my sixth book, the Creepy Doll Book (*not it's real title). In honor of this book which will be coming out later this year, I thought it would be fun to go on a little Creepy Doll Field Trip. Here are some frightening dolls that I found while browsing the internet. Vote for your favorite in the comments!
If you aren't a newsletter subscriber, you may have missed today's big announcement: the winners of the (2) Amazon gift cards. Angela L., and Melissa B., were chosen at random from everyone who entered the "Sharing the LOVE" contest. Congrats, ladies! I'll get your gift cards out to you soon.
My Dream of Being an Author
"Did you always want to be an author?" People have asked me that question in recent years. The honest answer? No. But maybe not for the reasons you'd expect.
I dug out my "School Years" book today to see what I had aspired to be as an elementary student. You know, those funny little spiral-bound books where you glue a picture of yourself, along with the most important facts about yourself. Like, "best friends," and "hobbies," and of course the section for "what I want to be when I grow up."
While my book is somewhat ruined due to water damage, I could see a trend in my goals: a mother and a teacher (like my own mother). By about the sixth grade, I'd apparently lost interest in being a mother, and just wanted be a teacher. By high school I'd sworn off both. I was going to be a photojournalist for National Geographic who never married or had children...or a veterinarian.
As a kid though, no one ever suggested to me that I could be an author. In fact, the little boxes in the School Years book don't list that as a potential career. But I could have aspired to be a model, I guess, or an airline hostess (except I've never been thin or tall enough for either of those careers). Those options do have little boxes beside them.
Even though I've adored writing my whole life--starting with the stories I wrote in childhood, the "magazine" my friend and I created monthly, the embarrassing poetry I wrote in middle and high school and the constant, incessant journaling I've done since I can remember--no one ever said, "Hmm. Do you think you might like to write as your career?"
In fact, I never thought of writing as a way to make a living until 2007, when my oldest sister (who obviously knew something that the editors at "School Years" didn't), asked me why I didn't try freelance writing. Not as a hobby, but a job.
So, I did.
I had a writing business for nearly eight years and wrote hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, blog posts, website content for businesses and nonprofits, newsletters, four novels, and one non-fiction guide for writers.
I fell in love with writing novels
I'd love to tell you that once I wrote that first novel my path was set, the floodgates opened and the money and fame poured in. But that would be as fictionalized as my books.
In reality, it's been a long, slow, uphill climb. I nearly gave up completely due to a new, full-time job and the criticism of my books.
Thin skin + author = unhappy person.
Still, I've never given up on my dream. Someday, maybe five years from now or 10 or maybe 20, I want to make a living from my books. I can't imagine a better job than creating stories that transport readers. To bring readers to different times and places, and offer an adventure that they can take with them wherever they go? That's the best job in the world in my book.
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?