Alyssa Mayley

December Update

So, after my husband decided my website was too bare and went on a full-fledged attack to change every-little-thing—I’ve finally reclaimed my precious (still pretty bare) website and intend to spend a little time showing it some much needed TLC this week. Wish me luck!!

And in an attempt to prevent future advances I’m considering rearranging everything on his desk and in each drawer, possibly even building a Christmas scene with his tools and sewing little dresses for them…

I promise I really was just a little too busy with projects over the last few weeks, and I’m really hoping my progress continues well into the new year. Here is a quick run-down of some of them.

Bargain Hunter

I’m still doing an article or so every week for the Tuscarawas Bargain Hunter. On this journey, I had no intention of ever going into journalism because I always knew that fiction was where my heart resided and if someone told me that one day I would write for the paper, I probably would have laughed at them, but it’s been a really great experience and I’m so thankful I had a friend give my name when they were looking for new freelancers. (And for the editor decided to take a chance on me.)

Writing for this paper has really helped me in so many different ways. It forces me to get out from behind my computer and go out to talk to so many different people of varied ages and walks of life, and build new professional relationships with other members in my community.

It’s also taught me that non-fiction and fiction are really not that different, and there is no reason to be intimidated by branching out into different forms of writing, communicating with people that would have intimidated prior, and it is pretty awesome to have someone checking my work every week and pointing out grammar and punctuation mistakes I never picked up on before.

Press Release Writing

Out of everything I’ve done with writing, I would say the catalyst for becoming known for writing started with writing Press Releases. When the opportunity to write monthly press releases for the Tuscarawas County Writer’s Guild opened up, I nearly jumped out of my chair to be chosen to head it. It took another two months to actually be chosen to write them—I think they waited a period of time because I was so new to the group, but thankfully I was the only volunteer!

I love how much it has taught me, and how many different connections it sets up. I would suggest to any person considering a career in writing to start by finding a company or group that doesn’t put out press releases and ask to do it for them at no cost. You would get the experience and begin building your network, and they would get free press—a great win-win!

I’ll talk more about Press Releases in future posts because it really is a great opportunity to get your name out there and start building those connections!

Volunteering

I help out at the New Dawn Retirement Community. I still enjoy spending time with the residents and talk to them about their families, hobbies and current events.

Volunteering has been a huge part of my life after many years anticipating Halloween season so I could help out at the Wells Township Haunted House. When you take time to help out with a cause or just give a part of your day to someone who needs an extra hand, or just someone to talk to; I think you really discover a deep appreciation for the blessings in your own life and I appreciate being influenced by these people which impart great wisdom as well as humor.

Billy’s White Elephant Gift Exchange

I illustrated a few more pages for this story. I still have a few to go, but most of the remaining ones are not super detailed images. My goal was to focus on the super-detailed images first, and I’m super happy I stuck to my plan. I think there is only like two more spreads which will need a lot of work.

I am still working on the cover and have the arduous task of designing a bunch of different styles and layouts to figure out which will fit the story and age group the best. I even considered hosting a poll and get some of my Facebook follower’s to vote on which one should be used. I’ll know more about that in the next few weeks.

I am super happy to report the editor I hired to look over the story has given a few suggestions to make it better, and then granted their stamp of approval. I’m still battling with the desire to keep working with the words and improving it, but that is a never-ending war every writer wages with their stories…

The Lost Weregirl

I’ve put this project on the back-burner for now as I try to push out BWEGE first. I do have Critique Partners looking over it, pointing out any issues they find. I plan on getting back into the swing of things with it after the new year, so expect to start hearing more about this project in the next month or so.

Beta-Readers

I do a have few Beta-readers, but I am looking for more—like a lot more… It is a pretty in-depth process, since we go chapter-by-chapter and take extremely detailed notes after the reader finishes it while it’s fresh in their mind. If anyone is interested in playing an integral part in the process of raising a book baby into a full blown published novel, leave me a comment, or shoot me a message on Facebook or Twitter. (I intend to draft a strategic plan to comb Facebook for new Beta’s after the new year.)

Critique Partners

I am so glad I’ve found two Critique Partners that really helped me re-examine the flow of a few chapters in The Lost Weregirl. I can already see a few issues, and ways to improve it. I can’t wait to take some time (hopefully soon), to make those much needed changes.

I tried to get a weekly critiquing group going here in Dover/New Philly area, and I was completely surprised to find that even with the huge population of writer’s, not one person is looking to be in one right now. Perhaps I’m not asking in the right places? Till then, I’ll just keep plugging ahead by searching for C.P.’s online.

If your interested in swapping YA stories with me to help each other find those plot, pacing and character/scene issues, let me know and we will give it a shot.

Blog

I have been weighing which topics to focus on in my blog. Right now, I tend to update everyone on current projects or events that I attend, and I don’t think I’ll get away from that entirely, but I was thinking perhaps I will focus more on sharing information on networking for writers, or helpful tips I have learned along the way.

Writing has taken so much tenacity to break into because it isn’t like a normal job where you walk into a building and someone shows you the ropes and then you start doing it—gradually getting better with time or when someone swings around to show you a more efficient process. Nearly everything I’ve learned thus far has taken unwavering determination on my part. I’ve spent day and night over the course of years listening, learning and never letting anyone else tell me that I can’t or shouldn’t pursue this career. (And trust me, plenty of people have tried—and still do.)

After putting so much work into all of this, I feel like I have some useful information to share with budding writer’s, so they don’t have to struggle quite as much as I did in the beginning—especially in the area of networking with other writers. Another aspect that I’ve been tossing around is possibly starting to Vlog, but that is still just a small idea that I’m kicking around.

Website

Of course I want to get my website looking great and keep the ease of navigation, but do any of you have suggestions on ways to improve or add value to it? I’d love to hear what you think? Should I keep it pretty similar—just updated, or make some changes? Leave your comments in the box below!

One thought on “December Update

  1. It’s the busiest time of year, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t get to everything. You’ll have plenty of time after the holidays to catch up! Keep up the good work!!!

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