Find Your Tribe

Sorry I haven’t posted about anything other then my book launch over the past week or so. It has been a tornado. I fast paced, all-encompasing tornado.

Synchronicities have come into my life regarding the meeting of amazing people. I have thought a lot about if this tornado of self-promotion and marketing my book is worth it. I can always write for myself, never share anything, and hoard it like a treasure chest full of jewels. But like jewels, what good do they do sitting in a box that will age over time and eventually turn to dust?

But what if someone doesn’t like my jewels? What if what I write is crap?

The answer is Find Your Tribe.


It’s interesting, because when I began to push my toe into the world of writing and making author connections, I thought I had found my tribe. These, these are my people. This broad group of individuals, get me.

And yet…

There are families within tribes. They may be writing in a similar genre. They may have similar backgrounds. They may be in the exact stage of writing as you. Whichever the case, they should lift you. Families should lift one another, cheer each other on, and offer critical feedback when needed. Writing is a lonely business, so make deep, satisfying connections that can withstand the tornado.

When I had a couple projects under my belt (some that will never see the light of day), I began searching for a critique group, then more groups, then conferences, then a publisher. This was kind of like extended family for me. It was still my family tribe, but bigger.

Now the circle is extended to readers… Whoa, scary.

Now it becomes they find you. They are looking for a tribe that fits their needs. Some will not get you, some will even be mean. Accept it. If you don’t fit into their tribe, don’t worry. You have a family unit, remember?

My publisher has a closed group where us authors can go and receive support for bad reviews, where questions are answered quickly, and where a huge cheering section celebrates along with you.

If you don’t have a tribe, start small. Try to find a critique group that likes your work. There are many online groups. I’m sure there are some even in the city where you live.

Thank you for following me on this blog. See, we are part of the same tribe, you and I. 🙂

– Tara

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Women’s Contemporary Romance. Click here for a synopsis.

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Writer’s Block vs. Writer’s Resistance

Rarely do I suffer from writer’s block.

But this past weekend, I was self-diagnosed with an often extreme case of writer’s resistance.

Let me explain the difference between the two and how to overcome them.

This past weekend, I went to Comicon (so fun!) and listened to a panel of fellow authors. Many of the writing workshops were about overcoming Writer’s Block. The advise given was that when someone experiences writer’s block, it is usually your subconscious mind telling you that something within the story is not working.

*Go for a walk, clear your head, and give it a rest. Even meditate. By clearing our minds of all the chatter, whether it be from your characters or the internal critic, we become more open minded. And an open mind is a more imaginative mind.

*Write and think about the troublesome scene just before bed. Our amazing subconscious minds are problem solving for us, and while we sleep, answers to questions tend to work themselves out. I don’t know how many times I have woken upon in the morning with everything figured out. I even keep paper beside my bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night.

*Eliminate distractions. Unplug! Seriously turn off the phone and while you are writing, don’t have the internet on. I have become very adamant about this because, if there is a text or some other distraction, I’ve found that it’s an hour later before my story is flowing out of me again.

*Clean your workspace. This especially works for artists. I have an art room/office space. When it is cluttered, my mind is cluttered and it is hard for me to concentrate.

*Get inspired by other avenues of the creative process. Last weekend I went to a concert and something about the music and the atmosphere made my fingers itch to hurry home and write out a scene that I had been dreading earlier. Stroll through an art museum, go to a good movie, or buy a new music album.

*Although some authors don’t agree with me, I would say work on something else. The most impenetrable case of writers block that came to me, happened because of a rejection that was disheartening. I didn’t want to write, in fact, I doubted the whole process and shelfed that project for a long time. Another story began to bud and excitement came to me in small bursts. A new voice, a new story, and fresh characters! It was like I was meeting brand new friends. In turn, my excitement leaked into the writer’s block of my other work. Soon, the flood gates opened and I was ready to tackle it again.

Writer’s resistance on the other hand is something that plagues me, and probably always will. I find excuses to do other things instead of writing, especially when I am under pressure to edit or revise. When under a deadline, I suddenly decide to work on a DIY project, like the time I upscaled my lamps.


Or I’ll make a weird wreath out of Atlas pages.


Or I’ll start a new painting.


Or paint a concrete planter turquoise.


Or… well, the list goes on.

The thing is, I am much more then an author. We all are much more than one thing. To me, writer’s resistance is not bad. My subconscious mind is only telling me that I’ve done enough and balance must be found. I tend to lose myself in my writing and sometimes it can be hard to surface.

Here are some things that help with writer’s resistance.

*Have a friend or someone you need to answer to. Maybe time each other or do a competition to see how many words you can write in an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month (Nanowrimo).

*Stick to a schedule. Set aside a time that you can be in solitude and write.

As you can see, I don’t have many answers about writer’s resistance. It is important to listen to the cycles of our creative process. This week I haven’t been writing at all, but I have done five paintings and taught ten kids how to play guitar. Next week is another week and I am ready to tackle my stories head on again.

What are some ways you have overcome writer’s block or writer’s resistance? I’d love to hear about them.


The energy sucking “I”


The relation between writing novels and this article came to mind. (link above. Click on it, you’ll be glad you did) This “literary detective” has uncovered quite a few interesting studies while analyzing language. Although this article is about speech patterns and what words we use when sending letters to people, this could also be used in writing novels. Especially once we are in the querying stage and are trying to find an agent or home for our manuscript.

Here is an excerpt from the above article by Alix Spiegel:

Some of his most interesting work has to do with power dynamics. He says that by analyzing language you can easily tell who among two people has power in a relationship, and their relative social status.

“It’s amazingly simple,” Pennebaker says, “Listen to the relative use of the word “I.”

What you find is completely different from what most people would think. The person with the higher status uses the word “I” less.

Could this also apply to being a better writer??

This reminds me of filler words and a laundry list of character description, as one of my editors put it.

If you write in first person, avoid the overuse of “I”.

If you write in third person, avoid the overuse of “he” and “she”.

Here are a couple examples:

– Over usage of “I”

I looked down and saw the little pebbles I had been using to throw into the river, shake around my feet. It wasn’t much longer until I heard the roar of a train barrel toward me. I felt adrenaline pump through my veins as I realized I could either jump off the bridge into the river below, or I could sprint as fast as I could to the safety of solid ground. As I stood suspended in the air with a decision to make, I began to climb the railing. I had always been a really good swimmer. (Lame example, but it was whipped out in a short time.)

– Getting rid of “I” – although not completely. Don’t make it sound strange.

Little pebbles, gathered to throw in the river below, shook around my feet. The roar of a train engine split the peaceful sky as it barreled toward me. Adrenaline seared through my veins as I stood suspended in the air, paralyzed with a decision to make. Jump off the bridge into the river below, or sprint as fast as possible to the safety of solid ground? Gripping my fingers around the railing, I eyeballed the river below. There was no time — jumping was the only option.

A trick I’ve found is to squint my eyes at a page I have just written. For some reason the word “I” blares out at me. Try it on your work in progress and you will see.

To get rid of a million I’s or He’s or She’s in your writing, try combining sentences. Rework the sentence. By getting rid of these personal pronouns, we are showing and not telling. We are making our work stronger by letting the reader live in the scene and not being reminded what I, he, or she should feel or saw.

Thanks for stopping by!