Musings from the Slush Pile With Julie Anne Lindsey

’ve ran across a lot of really awesome people, and culled an enormous amount of information from blogs. As I raided my brain – yes, I picture myself on the prow of a Viking ship, approaching my own gray matter – for more people I’d like to interview, it repeatedly offered up names of bloggers. And so, my readers, I give you the third series; Bloggers of Awesome. Yeah, it’s the BOA. Even more special - this is a WoW! Edition of the BOA - We're Ohio Writers! Yeah - cause we grow 'em here.

Today's guest is Julie Anne Lindsey, whose blog offers great advice, tips, and tricks for aspiring writers at all stages.  As an only child she always had plenty of time to people watch and make things up. When she didn’t think she could make a living at the latter, her love of people led her to a BA in Psychology instead. A few years and three kids later, she discovered the thrill of writing. Writing lets her harness her seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm and create something of value in the wake.

You run an excellent blog over at Musings From the Slush Pile.  What made you decide to take the approach you do on your blog?

I give all credit to my Hubsy. I started blogging last year to help me establish a web presence, but I had no idea what to talk about. I planned to use the blog to document my trials, successes and failures on the quest for publication, but who wants to read that? Hubsy said I spent so much time reading about the publishing industry and the craft of writing, I should blog about that stuff. I wasn’t sold on the idea. I thought it was pretty pretentious, but as it turns out, it’s convenient for others to find all that random writing information in one place. So, I crawl the net in search of writing wisdom, then I blog my brains out. It keeps me learning and accountable, plus I get to have fun, show my personality and talk about something I love. WINNING LOL

I know a lot of aspiring writers who are intimidated by the idea of blogging.  They want to, but they are worried it will cut into their (already precious) writing time.  How do you recommend one be both a successful blogger and writer?

Hmm. My approach is: Consume vats of coffee and stop sleeping. I mean sleeping? What’s THAT about? How am I supposed to get anything done if I’m sleeping? Psh. Right? Alright, that is what I do, but I don’t recommend it. I’ve lost serious brainpower this way.

Blogging takes 30 minutes or less per day if you stick to a basic 500 word post. If you have a couple hours once a week, say 9 or 10 pm till you faceplant on the keyboard for example, you can write up a week worth of posts and schedule them. OR post once a week. You don’t have to do it every day. There are no rules…that I know if you get a ticket or something, I plead blonde-at-heart.

You also do a lot of posting about books.  You're a big reader - do you set aside time for that?

For me reading and writing go in binges. I’ve spent months on end with my nose in a book, promising to definitely get back to writing as soon as I read one more title. Then there are times like now when I’m in writer mode and it’s going to take something really delish to pull me out. Actually, I can tell you what will do it. I saw a tweeter say she was reading the ARC of Sophie Jordan’s Vanish. Holy smokes I fell off the couch. I devoured the first in that series Firelight. I tweeted how jealous I was and she said she’d put it in the mail when she finished. SQUEEE! So it’s in the mail now and when it arrives, all word counts will halt until further notice. I am a greedy YA reader. I want it all and if I get the opportunity to read an awesome YA, my life stops. Wow, that sounds just super sad, but it’s still true. Ha!

Let's talk about your writing for a little bit.  What's your genre, or do you jump around?  What led you to this genre?

Hmm. I am a genre jumper. I know how amateurish that sounds to some agents and editors, but again-true anyway. For example, I have a contemporary YA mystery with an agent now. I also have two short sweet romance novellas coming in 2012. The first title, Bloom, will launch a new imprint from the Turquoise Morning Press. I’m hoping to turn those into a series for the line. *We shall see.* LOL Then I also have contracted a three book saga with kNight Romance Publishing. The Killer Confections Saga is a humorous women’s fiction series. The first book, Death by Chocolate, will be on shelves in August 2012. I write the stories who demand the most attention, I guess.

Do you use beta readers, and if so, where do you find them?

Absolutely! I always use beta readers. I run things a few chapters at a time through my critique group – which btw is made of awesome. I also have a few writer friends I met online who I trade pages with, plus I print things sometimes and give to my mother in law. She and her girlfriends love to read and they pass my pages around. Believe me, by the time I’m ready to submit something it’s been combed over. These guys catch every dot and tittle, and they will not allow any funny business in the plot. If something doesn’t line up or they don’t think it fits a character’s personality to do or say it…I will hear about it.  

What other websites / resources can you recommend for writers?

Twitter! I love twitter so much. I met my critique group on twitter. I met some of my closest friends on twitter. There are amazing hashtags I follow like #amwriting to see what other writers are up to or to pose a question to writers. I jump in on #askeditor anytime I see it happening. I love #YAlitchat to get the latest scoop on the YA biz. Hashtags are awesome. I tweet with some of my favorite YA authors and watch what publishers are saying. Also I tweet for the sake of tweeting. I love talking with people, especially people as excited about reading, writing and blogging as I am. I’ve even met betas like this by tweeting  a shout out to say “Hey, I have this manuscript. Anyone want to read it?” Twitter is an incredible resource for writers at any stage. Seriously, I could go on and on about all the ways twitter has improved my life as a writer J

Any words of inspiration for aspiring writers that aren't clichéd like the ones I give?

Oh, I’m definitely from the school of  “grab the bull by the horns.” If it is your dream to write, then DO IT. Do it do it do it DO IT! No one is ever going to chase your dreams for you. Never-ever-never. My grandma used to tell me “Can’t never could do anything.” It used to tick me off, but I get it now and I go for it. You should go for it, whatever “it” is to you. It’s yours to claim. But I guarantee you can’t claim it without a little effort.

Now, here’s a trick I use to keep me motivated and to put my crazy energy to good use. The toughest part of writing can be the waiting and the rejections. Believe me, both will never end. Even if you become the next Stephenie Meyer, you’re going to get rejected by someone, readers, other writers, reporters. Rejections keep coming. That’s life, crumbling cookie and all that. Also, the waaaaiting. Oh the waiting kiiiiillllls me. You wait to get an agent, wait for agent to edit, wait for agent to get requests by editors, wait for editors to accept, wait for your turn to work with the editor, wait for your cover art, wait for your release date, wait wait wait wait wait.

My advice for this is: keep writing. Instead of checking your email 10,000 times a day, write. Plot a new work. Start a new work. Enter shorts in contests, or anthologies. Write a novella for a small press. Guest blog around the web. Stay busy and the rejections don’t sting as much because there are all those positive things coming in, and the time will fly because you’re busy! Stay busy. Busy busy busy = good.

Thanks so much for having me today! I had a blast talking about my blog and writing and hopefully someone smiled. Thank you Mindy!!!