Monthly Archives: August 2013

Don’t stand still – Create!

I am – without a doubt – my own worst critic. I can go from thinking that what I have written is golden, to doubting its quality and ripping it to shreds in seconds. Not feeling like you are good enough, or that you are original enough, or that you are skilled enough, or that you are fast enough, etc., etc. is a poison that will ultimately prevent you from reaching any of your goals. You’ll turn what you love to do into a chore and start to fear failure. Eventually, you stop trying and you stand still.



If anyone else can relate to what I’m talking about, you know what it’s like to hate yourself for standing still, but continue to stay where you are because you fear failing. I have one piece of advice for you – tell your brain to shut up!  We allow our minds to take over and tell us we are wrong and not good enough, when we should be listening to our instincts and stop holding ourselves back.

One of the best things about writing a book with another writer is that you start to realize you DO have your own unique writing style, and that this is a GOOD thing 🙂 Julie has not only helped me to improve my writing skills over the years, by editing my work, increasing my vocabulary by introducing me to new words, and providing me with a few helpful tips, she has also helped me to realize that my style of writing is MY own. In fact, we don’t really write anything alike, which you will likely notice as you read our different posts.

A long time ago, way back in university, I once believed that her writing style was better than mine. Now I can happily tell you that I was wrong. Her style wasn’t better, it was different – it was hers.

So, what’s the point to this giant ramble? It’s to let you know that in my experience, writing skills can always be improved, but your creative style is a part of you. No one can teach it to you, you have to learn what it is for yourself. Don’t criticize or compare your creativity to someone else’s. Let it evolve and let others enjoy it.


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The Value of a Moment

Ever since this blog went up, all I can think about is writing here and getting the editing job going on the first draft of the Book. I have to admit that I was rather disappointed in myself when I decided to open up the most up-to-date version of the first draft, only to discover that it was dated April 2, 2010. That was the last time I worked on the manuscript???

If a book is a writer’s baby, I am one neglectful parent!julie campbell writer finding time

But I have an excuse! Are you ready for it? Here it is: I haven’t really had any time. Not very original, I know. I also know that this sounds like the same excuse that everyone else uses to put off things like exercising, cleaning the windows, going to the dentist, watching the Twilight movies, and other unpleasant dread-worthy tasks, but it’s really true.

I work 6 and a half days a week, every week. I spend many of my evenings after work writing new chapters of the book with Amanda. The half day that I have off is typically spent with my family. Any little moments in between are designated for cleaning, meal prep and eating, shopping, and other errands and chores.

Exciting, huh? Can you imagine that a lot of people wonder why writers and other artists are nuts? And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

You may be wondering why I don’t use my time in the evenings to edit the manuscript instead of writing new chapters to the story. It’s because when we get started with writing the new pieces, it’s usually around 9:30 at night. That’s a great hour to be creative, but a terrible time to have to try to focus on tiny details, grammar, and plot holes. I simply don’t have the brain power to look into the bitty little bothersome things after a full day of work, immediately before heading to bed.

While I do feel that I am a good writer (aiming for greatness, one of these days), I believe that I am, primarily, a storyteller. I love the use of words. I adore manipulating them to guide the thought and mental imagery of a reader. But I like to have it all done in one swift motion. Editing my own work brings me about as much joy as calculus homework did, back when I was in grade 13 (back when the 13th grade even existed in Ontario, for that matter!).

Even now, I’m taking a break from writing the Chinese horoscopes that I create every two weeks. Should I be telling people that I write daily Chinese horoscopes? Is it counter-productive to reveal that information when my contract is based on many people’s belief that horoscopes are real and written by psychics? Meh, too late now. At least mine are written more accurately and interestingly than the typical fortune that you can find online [she said, modestly].

That said, I guess my break’s done and I’d best get back to work. People are relying on my psychic connection to the stars and planets to guide them through their lives next month. I can’t let them down. Maybe I should write some free time into my own horoscope! How does this sound?

Lately, you have struggled to find enough time for yourself and for taking the necessary steps toward reaching the goals that are closest to your heart. However, your hard work and dedication to your career will grant you a sudden welcome window of time, today, that will give you the opportunity to progress in those areas with leaps and bounds. This will be only the beginning of your good fortune as you also enjoy the rewards of a winning lottery ticket.

I figured that while I was creating my own future, I may as well really go for it….too much?

Until that horoscope kicks in and gives me the dream life, I guess I’ll have to get back to completing my work and keeping my eyes open for extra time. Somehow I think that my chances of finding extra time are only just slightly better than finding that winning lottery ticket!


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What’s in a Name?

When it comes to naming children, parents have a huge decision on their hands.  Honestly, I’m not sure how they deal with the pressure.  I don’t have any kids, but I have named dozens of people in the Book (I’ve decided to just call it “Book” for the purposes of this blog, since the real title is still top secret!).

Naming fictional charactersI must say, coming up with the character names for individuals who are supposed to be from another world is a very challenging labour!  Not only have I tried extremely hard to make sure that the names of the characters seem to suit them in some way – by the way they sound, for example – but I also want them to be appealing and pronounceable.  If you think that’s not very difficult, then don’t forget the fact that I’m talking about a story taking place in another world.  This means that I can’t just call someone “Roberta” or “Peter”.

If anyone has ever told you that there is nothing left on Earth that is original, they were right!  If I string together any combination of sounds that seems to me is a highly unique but attractive name, the odds are that a simple Google search will pull up dozens of results from people (or their companies) who are halfway around the world, using that very same “unique” spelling.  It takes forever to come up with just the right sounds that won’t already be found on this planet!

When all is said and done, I’ve had to accept the fact that there will be times when – despite having taken great care to come up with the most original name and spelling that I can – there will be someone far away who has already had that name for many years (their whole lives, in fact), and that there’s nothing I can do about it.  I just hope that if they have the chance to read what I’ve written, they enjoy the way that their own special name has been used.

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A labour of love

Amanda GiassonGreetings!

For those of you who don’t know me, let me start by introducing myself. My name is Amanda Giasson and I’m a creative writer. For now, that’s all you really need to know about me. You’ll likely discover more about me in time if you continue to follow this blog. On the other hand, if you choose not to follow this blog, at least I haven’t wasted your time with a bunch of facts about myself that you may find truly insignificant, such as my love for the colour green.

If you’ve read the first post of my best friend and fellow writer-in-crime, Julie Campbell (which I highly recommend you read if you haven’t done so already), you should have a good idea why we created this blog and what it’s all about. If you don’t know, well, I’ll keep the gist of what I feel you need to know, short and sweet 🙂

We’re writing a book, a series of books actually. What began as a playful back-and-forth of creative writing during a rather boring history class in university over a decade ago, has evolved throughout the years into an awesome story. Writing, developing and growing this story has become – for me specifically – a labour of love . Writing this story with Julie has definitely been one of the highlights of my life, and I really believe that what we’ve created should no longer just be something we enjoy, but should be shared, so that others may enjoy it, as well.  After all, who doesn’t like a good story?

Although we have completed the rough draft of the first book, the actual finished product is still in the works. You’ll have to bear with us and have patience, but I’m confident you’ll find it worth the wait!   Until the big day, we’ll continue to post updates about our writing progress and about anything else that we feel you may find interesting, useful – or at the very least – amusing.

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with us 🙂

Bye for now!

P.S. For those of you wondering – Yes, the first book in our series does have a name. No, I’m not going to reveal it at this time 😉

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Getting Started (for real, this time!)

Julie Campbell writer authorHello all!  If you know me (Julie Campbell), you’ve been hearing about this amazing one-day bestselling book that Amanda Giasson and I have been writing since we first met in university, many, many moons ago.

We haven’t finished the manuscript for the first book, yet, despite the fact that the book series has an estimated 100,000+ pages of rough draft that is already written!

After feeling rather blue about our lack of progress in the manuscript effort, we decided that what we both need is a good swift kick in the rear-end.  So that’s what we’ve done, figuratively speaking.  We’ve created a blog that will allow us to stay motivated enough to go back over the awesome (no, really!) material that we created over ten years ago, and finish the manuscript for the first book of a series that we both strongly, passionately believe is a fantastic story with a very unique style.

So here we are!  We hope you’ll enjoy taking the journey toward what will (more than likely) be self publication, one day, with a lot of online and social media marketing (look out, Facebook friends!).

I plan to use this space to share the experience of writing the book in a very honest and hopefully interesting way.  I’ll let you know about my progress, struggles, and victories.  One day, this will also be the place where Amanda and I will make some of the first announcements about how you can get your own copy.  That might not be for some time, but at least you’ll be the first to know!

Right now, I’m very excited about the fact that we have come up with a title for both the series and the first three individual book titles.  We had been holding onto a working title for a number of years (required for a failed grant attempt – let’s never speak of that again), but neither of us were in love with it.  Our current title (which is a closely guarded secret, of course) is, in my opinion, fantastic!  I adore it and I can’t wait to see it on print and e-books!

I would love to keep writing, here, but I have to get back to work.  That’s the problem with being a fiction writer – it doesn’t pay much until you’re published (and even then…)!

See you soon!

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