Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Writing: Discipline

I suffered from writer's block for more than 15 years before I wrote my first book. Those days were very frustrating, and at times, downright difficult. I'd start writing and then, wham! The words would stop and I couldn't seem to get them back. But once I started writing my first manuscript in earnest, my muse came to me (on a sunny Monday morning in March 2004. It's a day I'll always remember!) and has been my good friend ever since.

Even though I don't suffer from writer's block the way I used to, there are days when my muse says she's tired and needs a break! So, what do I do when that happens?...I still write! Don't get me wrong, I never force writing because that's a recipe for disaster. But in order to complete a novel-length manuscript (75-85k words. Mine are usually 95-100k words) you have to buckle down and exercise a fair amount of discipline.

Writing a novel requires a great deal of discipline, stamina, and dedication. The only way to finish a book is to write as much as you can. Even if I don't write a new scene, I go back over what I've already written, and when I do that I always end up adding more words to the pages and making what I've already penned even better. Essentially, writing is re-writing.

The discipline involved in completing a book isn't easy. Going from a blank screen to one filled with over 350 pages requires hours and hours of uninterrupted time each day, month, and year, if you want to maintain a career as a writer. A good way to make sure you write each day, or at least work on your manuscript, is to schedule an appointment. Just as you would schedule a hair appointment, dental office visit, or a workout at the gym, you have to schedule writing time. You have to treat your writing as a necessary appointment that you can't miss. However you decide to organize your time, find what works for you and make it a part of your routine, so that writing becomes a habit!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Interview with China Ball

Each month I will feature interviews with a diverse group of authors here on Trice's World. Some will be New York Times bestsellers, while others may be just starting out. If I can keep up with the pace I'd love to feature several each month. But for now, seeing as though I'm getting back into the swing of things, I'll start off by taking it slow, one author at a time.

First up, is China Ball!

China Ball is the author of four novels with her fifth book to be released in March 2013.  China released her debut novel Eleven Months of Hell in 2008.  China Ball was invited by the NAACP Image Awards to participate as a nominee for best debut novel in the 2009 Awards show and was invited back for her second and third novels.  China Ball hails from Richmond, Virginia, served the United States Navy for 9 ½ years, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations from Norfolk State University.  She went on to receive her Master of Science degree in Public Administration.  She resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her fiancĂ© and son.

Hi China! Thanks so much for agreeing to interview with me, I really appreciate your time and I'm sure the readers do, too! Let's jump right in with questions.

1.     What prompted you to write your first book, and looking back, if there was one thing you could change about that book what would it be, if any?

I come from a family of story tellers who loved to read.  I began writing when I was three years old when my mother gave me a piece of paper and a crayon to entertain me, and it was love at first sight.  I use to tell my fiancĂ© several stories of my life experiences and he prodded me into writing my first book.  He felt it would be a story to benefit people who had gone through what my story entailed.  The one thing I would change is one chapter that was 41 pages.  I would have shorten it or make it into 2 or 3 chapters.

2.     The current climate in the publishing industry is very precarious and filled with lots of changes. What do you see as the biggest change in the industry since you published your first book?

When I first published my first book, there were a plethora of book events to market and sell your book and readers were anxious to get new books.  The biggest change came when the e-book was introduced to the market.  It took off by storm and now readers would much rather read their books electronically for the convenience rather than taking a book.

3.     You've published five books in five years, which is a major accomplishment. How do you balance your time so you can write, market, promote, and publish your books?

Writing is my passion.  Writing relieves my stress and lets me express the things I’ve thought and imagined.  On days when it has been especially challenging, my relief comes from writing.  Sometimes I use my lunch break to write, I take mini vacations to write, and on the weekends or my days off I market and promote my books. 

4.    What aspect of writing do you like most and what part of it do you like least?
As most authors would say, I love the writing and creating.  What I like least is the business side, invoicing, and competition with other authors for the readers’ attention.

5.     There's a saying, "I wish I knew then what I know now." As it relates to publishing, what is one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you started your literary career?

I wish I had known the publishing industry was going to suffer as the years moved on.

6.     Are you working on any new projects? If so, please do share!

My next novel to be released in March 2013 is the sequel to my fourth book I AM Vanessa, which is titled No Analysis Needed.   I am currently working on Tessa Don’t Take No Mess which will be released in September 2013.

7.     Thanks so much for your time, China! I'm sure readers and writers alike will benefit from your insight after reading this interview. Please tell the readers how they can find out more about you and your books?

Readers and interested people can visit my website at http://www.chinaballauthor.com/.  I welcome them to visit and join me on Facebook and Twitter.  My books can be purchased on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Nook , Smashwords and my website.