When I am at a computer for long stretches of time, I tend to get snack-ish.
It’s a guarantee. I will crave sugar and chocolate and chips and soda and everything unhealthy I can imagine. When I used to work in an office, I gained ten pounds in a year (which may not seem like a lot, but I run half-marathons and have maintained the same weight for about a decade.)
Writers Have to Combat Food Cravings
I find the same issue when writing. Constant food equals weight gain…which makes me bitter and unhappy. To drown my sorrows, I turn to food. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, to combat my food cravings, I… (drum roll please)… well, I got nothing. No crystal clear, beautiful solution yet. It’s a work in progress.
Every day is a challenge. I make small changes, like bringing a water bottle to my desk with me, so when I start rummaging around drawers for something, my water is right there, sending me subconscious messages to drink.
Or, the same thing that anyone on a diet is told, I simply force myself not to buy snack food when I’m at the grocery store. Celery and cheese or carrots with ranch dressing can be perfect substitutes for me when I get in the hungry tiger mood, but they keep me feeling physically healthy which helps me have a clear mind in order to write.
One Angry Review and My World Crumbles
The biggest challenge of being a writer is the emotional toll it takes.
I’ve never been a person who takes criticism well (eg: in grade three I was chatting with a friend and the teacher told me stop talking… I felt guilty about it for weeks), and so having my words and ideas picked apart by people who don’t know me or how I intended them, always upsets me.
I understand why certain celebrities say they don’t ever Google themselves. It can be really difficult to deal with people who only want to state the negative, and at times, verbally attack you as the author.
My book can have hundreds of five and four star reviews, but I get a single one star angry review and my entire world crumbles in. Not to sound like a totally pathetic, stereotypical female, but one of my first negative reviews made me cry…fetal position, sobbing, you get the picture.
I Try to Spread the Love Now
I cope with this emotional roller-coaster by not reading reviews. It takes all my self-control to not check them, but it’s something I’ve had to do. Like an addict, I’m all or nothing, so, since I can’t handle it, I’m cut off.
I also try to spread love more now. I used to be a casual critic. If I didn’t like a book or movie, I had no problem pointing out all the flaws to my friends or anyone who cared. Now? I make an effort to shut up in most cases. Just because I hated it doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it for someone else.
The old adage of “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will break my heart” is so true and I try to find the good now. If only more people would do the same.
Writing Gave Me an Outlet
I started writing because I needed an outlet. I was stuck in a dead-end job, bored to death and in a department full of computer techie men…a.k.a not people to giggle and chat with on lunch breaks.
So, on my lunches and in evenings, I would write. My characters became my work buddies because I’d think about them and what they were doing when I got especially frustrated in the office. I know this sounds weird, but I swear I’m not delusional!
Finally, after I quit that job, and my social life got much more agreeable, I continued writing because by then the characters had almost become alive. Their stories demanded to be told, so I wrote.
After my first novel, I thought I’d be done for a while, but soon a new character appeared and I felt the same urgency to get her down on paper. The same thing happened the third time. Now I’m in between. I haven’t had another flash of insight yet, so I’m putting writing on hold for a bit and focusing on my boys and will see what happens in the future.
Advice for a Young Writer: Keep Going
There are a lot of hard things about being an author. Getting published in 2014 is not as easy as Anne of Green Gables made it seem back in the 1900s. Agents and resumes and cover letters and all kinds of details that you never think about make getting published very frustrating.
Then once you land a publishing contract, editing is hard. Your perfect story suddenly has a million things wrong with it and you make changes and add and cut and it is hard work. It makes it better in the end, but during the editing process there were a million times I wanted to scream in frustration!
And there is dealing with negative reviews once you finish and the book is out. You put your soul on display for others to view and judge and it is very challenging.
But, keep going. That’s my advice. Suck it up and keep trying. Like anything worthwhile in life, being a writer takes effort, but it is worth it. You have become immortal.
* * *
Whitney Boyd is a cold-weather-hating yet hockey loving Canadian, author of three women’s fiction novels. A mom to two hyper little boys and a very overweight puppy, she enjoys running, reading, cooking and eating chocolate (not always in that order). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and is working on her post Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. This is a picture of her and her father at one of their half marathons.
In the Stars: Charlotte ‘Charley’ Southard’s life has hit rock bottom. She is fired from her job at a top law firm in Calgary, she hasn’t had a lasting relationship in years and a recent incident with a declined credit card at the grocery store has just brought her over the edge.
Charley just knows that everything was better when she was with Drew, the popular football player she dated for two years back at university. All her troubles began when they broke up after graduation. So with the help of her best friends, Josh and Heather, Charley sets out to track down the old boyfriend from her past.
But what if Drew is married? What if he doesn’t remember her? And just how far will she have to go to find the love of her life? Not to mention, what if he’s not the Prince Charming she remembers?
In a fast trip to Victoria, British Columbia, Charley Southard discovers the truth about “the one that got away,” along with realizing a few unexpected things about herself in the process.
Available at Amazon.
Iced Romance: Kennedy Carter has the perfect life. It includes an engagement to an NHL celebrity all-star, a Vera Wang wedding dress, and more money than she could ever spend. But when Kennedy learns that her fiance Todd is cheating on her, she’s ready to leave the glamour and glitz behind.
She escapes to Orlando, Florida with a plan to rebuild her life while staying hidden from a country obsessed with celebrity scandals. The real world however, is tougher than she expected. Suddenly Kennedy has to deal with cockroaches, creepy alarm salesmen, and waiting tables… along with David, a gorgeous new love interest.
But what happens when the past refuses to stay hidden? When the truth of her background catches up to her, Kennedy must finally decide who she is, what she wants and where she really belongs.
Available at Amazon.
Tanned, Toned, and Totally Faking It: MIKAYLA: Cute Canadian college girl turned world-famous, super- sexy pop-star practically overnight. And still figuring out if she belongs in this celebrity wonderland.
JORDAN: The only genuine guy in all of L.A. Law student, and extremely attractive. Also happens to hate the Hollywood celebrity scene.
MATT: Stupid, lying, money-loving ex-boyfriend trying to get back into Mikayla’s life and ruin every hope she has with Jordan.
KURT: Personal trainer, confidant and only true friend Mikayla has in Hollywood. Questionable fashion sense included.
CHERYL: Completely psychotic manager.
The next three months? Happily ever after with Jordan. Or social and career ruin with no hope of ever finding true love . . . .
Available at Amazon.