The Dangers of Rivalry

While many writers will insist rivalry among ourselves, “doesn’t really exist” it does. I’ve seen and been burnt out from it far too many times myself to deny it, 
I think the real question here is not if this issue exists, but rather the question, “When in the writing process does it start?” 
As former spelling bee champs and Olympic athletes will tell you, rivalry, whether ruthless or not, is part of the game, whether you physically sweat and toil in a track and field race, or feel pin drop silence as two kids face a stage in the final moments of the national spelling bee, where a clear head and fast instinct are paramount to victory.
For writers, especially novelists and short story writers, rivalry comes in three ways-
Books in our genre(s)
– Writers who specialize in our genre or niche markets
– Other demands for our reader’s time 
(Comics/Television/Video Games/Movies/Etc…)
To keep this post focused, today we’ll only focus on the first two rivals, other books in our genre, and writers who are well written and often loved in our chosen niche.
There are many dangers to letting a rivalry go to one’s head. Here are a few to watch yourself for-
– You can’t read in your genre anymore
– Hearing certain authors by name sends a shiver of envy and/infierority down your spine.
– You avoid certain authors like the plague if they write what you write, and are considered “The best” in your niche, and people already thing you’re emulating them, even when you know da** well you’re not!
– Critique partners who cite problems in your manuscript by using published authors as a quality yardstick.  

– Becoming enraged (Or at least annoyed) with being compared to certain authors just because your niche is the same.
It’s one thing to hear “You should work on your pacing” and another to hear “Try studying how X Published Author handles pacing.”
Now some writers find rivalry fuels their work in a good way.
For a lot of writers, myself included, the exact opposite is true, for the same reason why some writers love deadlines and others do not, but try to stay sane when they must meet them. 
These tussles of rivalry’s negative effects to my writing (or lack thereof) vs. adversity in spite of failure, are often how many of my sabbaticals from writing began. But after nearly a decade of this seesawing my development as a writer, I’m determined to take back control and not let the negative aspects of rivalry, however tangential, get in the way of my dreams and ambition, a promise to myself I have to keep, because life without writing in it is not an option.
Check back more to learn about the upsides to writer rivalry, and ways to channel the feelings of rivalry into something positive, both for your mood, and getting the story written in the end.
Ciao for now,
May the fantastic fauna be with you.

I’m Back! (No, really!)

It’s been a long hard road for me, and while it continues to be true, I’m ready to commit to T.A.A. again. To prove it, as I’ve faltered a few times, these are the topics you will see this week-

Tuesday-Wednesday 12/6/11-12/7/11
The Dangers of Rivalry
What happens when you let rivalry go to your head. How it steals your joy for writing, and reading, and things you can do to get back in balance.

You Really Should Read….(How NOT to be the Scrooge in your writer’s group)
Any writer who’s been critiqued will eventually get suggested they read a certain book or writer in hopes you’ll learn how to “fix” something in your own writing that’s not doing what it should, and you know it’s true, but it can still feel discouraging, even a little insulting, but you know it’s (usually) meant to be encouraging.

Before you go off on a rant (As I have sadly done) learn from my mistakes so you will stay on your writer friend(s) good side, address the problem, and still let the frustration out so you won’t be an emotional time bomb waiting to lay waste to your common sense, and anyone/anything else in its path.

Learn from “The Past” but write in “The Present”
It’s vital to read the books you wish to write yourself, but you also need to know how to apply the timeless lessons in books published in a time gone by. Hopefully what I’m learning the hard way will save you from having a far worse time of it.

Wednesday – 12/7/11 The World-building Wars
An ongoing series about ways to take some of the crazy out of crafting our fantasy worlds.
(Part 1: Welcome to the World – A checklist even plot-phobics can handle and have fun with.)

Thursday – 12/8/11New Giveaway!
Details and Entry info Thursday

Friday – 12/9/11 Flipside Café
There are two sides to every story, and multipal ways to apply the same craft advice. The weekly feature will go in-depth with craft advice you always hear, and examine another way to go about it, to keep it fresh, and keep you motivated to improve your craft and combat the “Been there, Re-Done that” complex.
(This week: When in doubt, Flesh it Out: A new way to approach “Show, don’t Tell.”)

Saturday and Sunday (TBA)

I may be a day or two late sometimes, but bare with me, I’m committed to getting back on track.

Lastly, I’ll talk about the things I learned from my difficult but necessary sabbatical(s) in a future “Letter from the Editor” but for now, just know while I’m still a bit shaky, I’ve missed interacting with those of you who’ve been so supportive and concerned for me in my string of sabbaticals from the blog. I will still stumble for some time, but it’s time to stop letting my life go by, and live it again.

Here’s to catching up to you on the ongoing road to living a better life.
Your Frazzled yet Fearless Literary Rat,



Sorry, I have the habit of being wishy-washy when life becomes such a living nightmare that being vague is the only way to NOT sound bratty, which those who know me get how hard I struggle with this, but onward to the point.

2011, in short, was not the leap forward I wanted it to be, it was yet another transitional year, with little “New” writing to show for it, and the reason is simple, fear made me do something stupid. Stop.

Why’d my writing decline so much? The reasons are too numerous to contain in a reasonable length, but it’s these two that are most important-

1. Belittling my “Best”
Anyone’s who been at this craft awhile knows what I’m talking about, even those who say “Writer’s block is a babyish excuse to not write” have times when you feel like there’s no middle ground between writing with regularity and submitting your best work. Freelancers/journalists with “deadlines” I’m talking to YOU.

2. Fun became a “Four-letter Word”
As writers, we always tell each other, and get told often how our best writing comes from being passionate about what we write, and exceptions to the rule aside, shoehorning market needs too tightly into our stories simply creates more problems than they solve.

Since most who read this blog want to published, this presents a minefield of confusion a contradictions, and part of my long hiatus comes from a transition I’m going through. Since I couldn’t find success with my first love, I experimented with other types of writing, and yet wasn’t getting any

I’m back, almost…

I won’t know until next Friday if I’m over my hiatus, but I have some news to share between now and Christmas Eve about what 2012 will bring, and will announce once its official. But expect more posts over the next few days, I’ve got a lot of ground to cover and exciting announcements that will hopefully make 2012 a happier time for old and new T.A.A. readers.

Be back tomorrow,