I’m Moving to a New Website!

Public Service Announcement

Attention, everyone! After some serious thought, I’ve decided that I am going to migrate over to WordPress.org as my primary website to showcase my work. The new URL is www.paganpoetess.com.

While many factors played into this decision, ultimately the fact that I’m branching out into podcasts has forced me to upgrade. I hope you will all check out my new podcast Talons and Tea Leaves, when it airs this coming December.

Thank you to all of my lovely followers and supporters who have encouraged me to keep writing! I hope to see you all again soon at my new website.

 

 

 

 

My First Hater!

Not everyone will love your writing. Writing is not a fixed constant like X in the equation X + 2 = 5. It is foolhardy to presume that everyone will fall in love with your work, and there will be some people who will be more vocal about their dislike than others.

For example, I share my poetry on certain Facebook groups. For my nature-related poetry, I like to share them with the many pagan/witchy groups of which I am a member. Of the tens of thousands of pagans that I reach through those groups , there is one person in particular who has consistently treated my poetry with thinly-veiled contempt.

He is the admin of one of the smaller pagan groups. When I started posting the poems of my Cartomancy series to his group, he made the comment that in the future I should ask an admin if I wanted to start a daily feature. I in turn asked him if he would like me to stop posting the poetry series, to which he replied no. If he had said yes, I would have respected his wishes. Yet rather than leave the matter alone, what seems to have happened is that he had resorted to little passive-aggressive jabs at my poetry every once in a while.

Ironically, while the admin dislikes my posts, the other members of the group love them. It has happened more than once where the admin has made a left-handed compliment or thinly-disguised criticism and the other members will come and comment how wonderful the poem is. Sometimes I wonder if the other members are truly focused on the poem, or they see the admin’s behavior and are trying to compensate for it with reassurance.

It doesn’t bother me so much that he dislikes my work, it’s the fact that he won’t take real ownership of his dislike and has stooped to petty tactics to vent his frustrations. He won’t just come out and say “I don’t like your pagan poetry. Get it off my page.” Probably because he knows to do so would not reflect favorably upon him with the other members, who enjoy my poetry sharing.

One of my theories is that this admin is a hard-core purist and does not approve of the way I promote newer versions of paganism through my poetry. What is even more amusing about this admin is that he has made posts encouraging people to participate more in the group, yet I am one of the members that posts daily and still he is not happy.

It is for the other members than I haven’t just left the group and blocked the admin. That and I don’t want to make it easy for the admin by leaving without him taking responsibility for his unnecessary attitude. I would stop sharing my poetry series if I was politely requested to do so. I won’t indulge bad behavior and give the impression that quietly chipping away at me will make me go away.

 

 

Why I’m Self-Publishing My First Book

Like many artists, I was often discouraged (sometimes lovingly, sometimes viciously) to play it safe at the nine-to-five job, to not waste my energy or time on creative pursuits. But finally, I decided that in 2019 I was going to take the plunge and write my first book. I currently have several novels in my head and even part of them on paper, but for my first book I decided that I would publish a poetry collection.

If I knew how easy it was to self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing or other self-publishing platforms, I would have gotten into it years ago. Disclaimer: I’m using the adjective “easy” quite loosely here. I’m not saying “easy” in the sense that self-publishing is itself easy. It takes work to ensure that a book is self-published well (editing, teaching oneself formatting and digital illustration if you don’t hire the labor out). I think the better word here is doable. For so long I didn’t think I could do it because I was confusing self-publishing with vanity publishing, that I would be out thousands of dollars without the support of a traditional publisher.

Like many have stated before me, I like the creative control that self-publishing permits. I also enjoy the lack of time restrains. If I want something done, I don’t have to wait on anyone but myself.

In some ways I wish I had started self-publishing earlier, yet at the same time I am glad I am only starting now as the stigma slowly fades away. Even now the judgment still persists, and it’s not just at the publishing houses, either. Authors are torn on whether it is worth taking self-publishing seriously. Here is a quote from someone in one of my writer Facebook groups who did not mince his words in regards to his opinion on indie authors.

Most self-published books are poorly edited, and are riddled with grammatical, continuity and layout errors. Dialogue punctuation is the biggest source of problems, which immediately tells me, despite what the author may claim, that the book has not been professionally edited. A lot of the time, an indie author will consider their own editing to be enough, yet when questioned on it many of them will claim it has been professionally edited (ie lie).

Qualified, experienced editors are worth the money, and as far as I can tell, virtually no independent authors will spend that money to get the editing they need. It baffles me that someone would spend years writing a book and then not care if it is polished, or at least of sufficient quality for publication.

 

The comments on this post were straight down the middle, with half happily agreeing and the other half being deeply offended. Myself personally, I’m not the type to condemn an entire style of publishing just because some people are looking for a quick-fix to their writing careers and thus do not put in the approriate effort. Part of my decision to self-publish was that with every self-published book that is done well, I hope the perception illustrated above will become less commonplace.

I think my opinion to not judge comes from my experience with fan fiction. If I began a fan fiction story that was starting to look bad, whether because of grammar or anything else, I would simply stop reading it and move on. This has happened more times than I can count in my decade-long experience with fan fiction. Yet I never became so incensed that I gave up on fan fiction entirely. There are some traditionally published books that I’ve picked and wondered, “How the hell did this get published?” And then there are fan-fictions so beautifully written that I still keep them on my computer, going back to them for reference.

Both realities are true, that self-publishing can be plagued with bad writing, and that traditional publishers can be too narrow-minded to take a chance on something new. Nowadays I feel no author should be shamed for choosing one path or the other. It just depends on what are the preferences and priorities of a given author.

 

 

How to Make Time for Writing

This is by far the biggest struggle I have as an aspiring writer…making time to write on top of all the other crap I have to do…and I don’t even have children yet! Writing is a time-consuming endeavor, and given my own personality type, it can be difficult squeezing it in with other life commitments.

While I do work hard, I’m not a workaholic. I’m not like my husband who can keep running on no gas and still achieve desirable results. I need my down time to recharge my batteries, otherwise I’ll start to crack and my productivity will take a nose-dive.It also doesn’t help that I live on the outskirts of my town. My home is in beautiful lake country and I would not trade it for anything else, but nature comes at the price of a longer commute.

This naturally makes it a challenge to schedule writing in between a full-time job and other adulting activities. Now, to be clear, I adore my job. It’s exactly what I went to school for. I want to continue pursuing that career. Only if I started making some serious dough would I consider writing as a full-time occupation. Otherwise, I intend to do what most writers do; have my day job and write on the side.

I know I can’t expect myself to write after I come home from work, especially when I use what little energy I have left to cook dinner. The alternative would be to wake up earlier to write, but I’ve tried to force myself awake to do homework in the morning and it just never works.

I guess this is why I’ve started slowly, setting aside my would-be novel and focusing instead on my poetry collection. Not that meaningful poetry isn’t hard to write, but the process can more easily be broken down into manageable increments. Then after that I can work up to scheduling a more involved writing project like a novel.

I can’t say that I’ve cracked the code yet; I’m still struggling to find the balance, but I hope that with time through self-actualization, I can devise a system that works best for me.