Smart, talented, hard working, warm, friendly, successful. Those are just a few words that could be used to describe Nicki Salcedo. She's one of those people for whom you want good things to happen and this year has been full of good things for Nicki. She was a Golden Heart Finalist at last summer's Romance Writers of America conference and this fall she sold her debut book, All Beautiful Things to Bell Bridge books. It will be released in 2013 and I can't wait to read it!
We're delighted to have Nicki blogging with us today. I hope you'll join me in giving her a very warm welcome to The Romance Dish!
Public Enemy Number One - Five
I was very honored when PJ asked me to contribute to The Romance Dish. I immediately went out and wrote something on my writing journey. Then I wrote something else. I wrote two more different pieces. Then I wrote nothing.
Here is the problem with me. Here’s the problem with some writers. I am my own worst enemy.
5 Things Writers Shouldn’t Do, but Do Anyway
|Nicki & Meg Cabot|
I am afraid of failure. That whole you are afraid you will succeed thing is a load of crap. I dream of succeeding. I’m afraid of failing. Quite honestly, I sometimes avoid the steps to be successful because I’m tired and lazy and procrastinate. I’m distracted. I eat cookies. I am not afraid of success, but I now accept failure. That is very different from being afraid of it. I just made failure my b!tch.
I say “Yes” to everything. I volunteer for stuff when I should be writing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a good book festival. I am rather amused by a good beer festival. I love writing organizations and conference. I don’t mind being the room mom. But then I exchange 16 emails explaining to another mother the type of plain white shirt our kids need for the Christmas pageant, and I remember the virtue of “No.”
I stay in my writing comfort zone. My characters like drinking warm milk and looking pensively out the window. Even if they want to have sex. Or fight zombies. Or disagree on which episode of Star Trek The Next Generation is the best one (I, Borg). Conflict is ugly. Controversy is dangerous. We must write things that make you feel uncomfortable. If you’re too embarrassed to show it to your mom or your pastor, maybe you’ve done something right.
|2012 Golden Heart finalists Nicki Harris Salcedo, Jean Willett and Laurie Green|
I have an unusually long commute to work. I write at night. Even though I get up at 7 o’clock in the morning, I usually don’t start writing until 10 o’clock at night. That means I get dressed, get four kids to school, go to work, skip lunch, do laundry, avoid cooking dinner, exchange precisely three words with my spouse, read some funny picture books to my kids, accidentally send two more work emails that turns into another hour of work, and then at 9:47 p.m. think, “I should write a few pages before bed.” Then it’s 1:15 a.m., and I don’t drink coffee. I finally go to sleep. In the morning, I have another 15 hour commute in front of me until my next writing time. Or I could wake up at 5 a.m. and boom: Commute zero, writing time two hours.
I’m self-conscious about my imagination. For goodness sake, my mother and my pastor are reading this. Maybe even my boss. What will happen if they find out that I write about S-E-X or Z-O-M-B-I-E-S? The world should only know that I drink warm cups of milk. They shouldn’t know the crazy inner workings of my mind. Or those people, my mom and my pastor, have known that the inner workings of my mind have been a little off since birth. All that worry for nothing.
The good news is that when I’m doing things wrong, I know it. I know I can adjust my bad behavior. I am not a cyborg yet. Thank you to The Romance Dish for letting me exercise my demons on the page, curse, and reference Flavor Flav. Happy reading and happy writing! Next time, I’ll have 5 things writers do right!
Do you have a bad habit? Do you have tips for staying focused when life gets the best of you?
It turns out Flavor Flav is still Public Enemy Number One. Nicki Salcedo has resigned herself to being Public Enemy Number Two. After the hobby of self-sabotage, Nicki likes being a mom. Her kids are 8, 7, 5, and almost 2. Her husband is a time lord. She gives people books whenever she has the chance. Her debut novel “All Beautiful Things” will be published by Bell Bridge Books in 2013. You can find Nicki on facebook, twitter, It’s Only A Novel, and 8headedhydra.com.
Nicki is one of my favorite people in the world and there are not enough adjectives to describe how wonderful she is. She is also my critique partner and a brilliant writer. Can't wait to see her book in print and I want to see the zombie book. Nicki, I share your inability to say no. Love this post.ReplyDelete
Marilyn, you are my hero. I am learning to say no. I don't like it, but I'm learning. Yes is so nice and easy. The flip side is that you don't get anything done for yourself. Yes to writing, no to laundry! Thank you for stopping by.ReplyDelete
Morning, Nicki! Thanks so much for blogging with us today.ReplyDelete
Saying "no." That's a tough one. It took me many long years to learn that lesson but I've finally mastered it. Well, almost mastered it. I still slip now and then but, for the most part, I'm pretty good. ;-)
Can't wait to read your book!
PJ, Thank you for the invite. Do you see how long my commute was today? What a doozy! 12 hours later and I'm ready to chat! I hope to make you proud.Delete
I hear you on the distractions. I have no children to feed...well...I have 2 baby cats but once you fill their bowls their good for 24 hours. I have no problem saying no and yet I too still find myself not putting words to page till late in the day.
I also think you're a lovely person and was amzed two years ago at M&M when you greeted me by name! I didn't even have on a name tag!
All Beautiful Things sounds great and can't wait to read it!
Joan said, I have no problem saying no and yet I too still find myself not putting words to page till late in the day.Delete
Procrastination is my middle name. If I'd stop thinking about things and just do them, I would get so much more accomplished! ;-)
The more I say "yes" the more I forget. My memory is shot these days, but I always remember you! Conferences are a wonderful way to connect with people I don't see all year.
PJ, I don't consider procrastination a "Don't". If it were a "Don't" I'd never get any laundry done. :)
Good morning, sweet Nicki! I, too, can't wait to read your book when it is released to the world!ReplyDelete
Like you and the others, I tend to say "Yes" a lot. I guess I do it in the hopes of not hurting anyone's feelings. But then I realize that sometimes people say "No" to me and I'm cool with that. Perhaps that is something I need to work on... lol
Also, I need to let go sometimes and try harder to not be in control of everything (around the house). That usually means too many thing are on my plate at any given time. Wow, I haven't really thought about that. You're great therapy, Nicki! Ha!Delete
Today we start the NO therapy group. Having too much control is like saying yes a thousand time. I'm okay with giving up control. Most days I look like a wild woman, so do my kids, and house. I pick my battles. Now when I say yes it is something I really want to do!Delete
Ha! Saying NO is a virtue. We all need to remember that! Although, please say Yes when I ask you to do things for me. :)ReplyDelete
LOL! So we're promoting selective "no's", Jennifer?Delete
When McQuiston say jump, I say how high. I've been recruited into her army. She is a writing ninja.Delete
I am with Jennifer, saying NO is a virtue.. And one I am slowy coming to aquire... It's hard, but some people just have to be told NO...ReplyDelete
It's not an easy lesson to learn, Kathleen.Delete
Kathleen, when I had my first kid one of the nurses in the hospital said, "The first thing you are going to have to learn is to say no." It was only later that I realized she didn't mean say No to my kids. She meant saying No to all the adults!Delete
Nicki, we've never met, but we have so many mutual friends who have said such wonderful things about you that I feel as if I know you. Congratulations on your debut! I'm a big fan of Belle/Bell Bridge Books, mostly because they have published so many books I've loved but partly because I'm a bit of a Southern chauvinist. :)ReplyDelete
I'm also a world class procrastinator, AND I have difficulty saying no. As a freelance writer, I find it especially difficult to say no to writing projects that come with a guranteed check in order to spend more time on fiction that carries no such guarantees. But I'm trying.
Janga, I'm so glad you don't say no to me very often. ;-)Delete
I hope you have the opportunity to meet Nicki in Atlanta next summer. She's one of the special ones.
Let's be serious ladies. Where are we going to eat next summer? We need one silly dining adventure during RWA. And I'll have a car. And I'll know the secret places...Delete
Now back to business. Thanks, Janga! My mom pays people $20 a month to say nice things about me. My day job is awesome. I love it. It pays the bills, and has nothing to do with fiction writing. I can't say no to surviving, but the writing stuff makes me happy money or no money. Love your blog. Thank you so much for stopping by!
I'll have a car too, Nicki. And I adore secret places! Do they have amazing Reuben sandwiches? :)Delete
We have to find something Southern and save the Reuben for NYC. Thumbs Up is my favorite ATL diner. Why am I thinking about lunch 8 months from now? Thanks again for having me!Delete
Hey there my fellow Firebird lady. You totally stole my heart this summer, I hope you know that. And I have no idea how you keep so many balls in the air. Saying NO is the best thing I think I've ever learned to do. Oh so liberating! And now that you have honest-to-goodness deadlines, you'd better learn to say it more often! (I know from whence I speak.)ReplyDelete
Can't wait to read your books!
Terri said, You totally stole my heart this summer.Delete
This does not surprise me at all.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Firebirds, they are the 2012 class of Golden Heart Finalists. We have three on the blog today: Nicki, Terri and Romily!Delete
Terri, do not tell anyone this. It will ruin my reputation. I like people. My husband will appreciate the balls in the air comment. I will let them down easy. I love deadlines. Otherwise I'd meander!Delete
PJ, I am a proud Firebird! McQuiston is one and if I don't mention that she will make me do pushups.
Sorry, Jenni! Blame it on my fuzzy, I-have-a-cold, brain.Delete
I love this. Such a good post, Nicki!! Lately, I've been good about making myself come to the computer, but nothing comes out. Seriously. It's takes, like, two hours to get 300 words. Makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs :)ReplyDelete
Hi Romily! Thanks for dropping by!Delete
Readers, Romily was the 2012 Golden Heart Winner for Young Adult Romance. Watch for her debut book in the fall of 2013!
Another Don't is eye-gouging. Please note: Knocking your head against wall is totally appropriate. More dramatic, less bodily fluids.Delete
I'm so sick of waiting for these darn books by McQ and Romily. They are really going to set the world on fire. Another Don't, but it must be done at times.
I tend to procastinate and even knowing this, I still do it. I'm trying to curb it and even if I am more productive under pressure I want to feel more relaxed and less rushed.ReplyDelete
I'm the same way, Na. I try. I really do. I'm just not very successful. ;-)Delete
Na, I've found that when the words are ready, I can't procrastinate. Best feeling in the world. Besides sleep. These feelings happen so rarely!Delete
I think saying no is learned the older I get. When younger I wanted everyone to like me and never said no but now I try to really only say yes because it's something I want to do or feel I really should. Bad habits include being a collector (ummm pack rat lol). I collect lots of books, cups, and cats lol. I stay focused by reading every night to not stress and stop worrying about things.ReplyDelete
I've gotten much better at the pack rat thing. Well, except for books but I don't consider that a problem. :)Delete
I used to say yes to see what I can do. I know pretty well what I'm good at and what I need to avoid these days. As for worry, I am a professional worrier. I put worrying in the category of things I'm good at. I try to only worry about the things I can change. Can't worry about lassoing the moon. Well, I could, I'm just not going to! :) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Nicki, congrats on your sale! I do have bad habits. I tend to space out and unpredictable times--nothing biological, just a distractability thing. And I'm a pack rat. I"m sure whatever I throw away will be the thing I absolutely, positively require the next week. I try to think beyond next week to "will I really care about this in a year?" And to focus when I'm around people.ReplyDelete
Nancy, congrats on your sale. Loving your book so much! I'd never have guessed you for a pack rat. My dream is to be a minimalist. I hate stuff. With 4 kids it's insane what comes into the house daily. I want to live like the reception area of a dentist's office. Seriously. Swear I'd focus better that way.ReplyDelete
Nicki, thanks so much for blogging with us today! My cold and I are crawling into bed now. Yes, I know it's only 9:30 but I don't care. I want my pillow and my blankie.ReplyDelete
This is great, Nicki! I always love listening to you speak or reading what you write. You are incredibly honest and that alone helps inspire all of us. Can't wait to read your book. Wonder if it will have S-E-X or Z-O-M-B-I-E-S? :)ReplyDelete
Tami, thanks for stopping by. Trying to work in the W-A-R-M-M-I-L-K into the next book.Delete