Tag Archives: problems

Authors Answer 135 – Authors’ Biggest Failures

Everyone fails at something. I failed to post the Authors Answer for the last two weeks. But I was on a trip in Japan. Since we are talking about writing, authors tend to have plenty of failures, right? That’s what we’re talking about. How bad can it get?

Question 135 – What is your biggest writing failure?

H. Anthe Davis

If you mean the piece I did worst on, I’d say my Book 1. Even after years and years of development, I still feel like I pushed it out too early, with several issues still unresolved. I just really wanted to get it out there, and ignored some critique in order to do so. I’ve since gone back and amended that, and will be republishing the book soon, but I still wish I’d waited. If you mean my biggest writing failing, as in what I do badly… I think I try too much to end sections with zingers, and use too many over-complex sentences and dashes. I always go and cut some of that up when I do edits.

Paul B. Spence

I have a lot of ideas, and tend to start a lot of different projects at once. I’m not sure if it is a failure or a good thing. Let me explain: I have dozens of novels started. Some of them are in my head, others written down in part. Not finishing them before starting a new one is something of a failure. I’d like to get them all written eventually, I just keep coming up with more…

Jean Davis

Oh my, there are so many to pick from. Generally, I’d say it’s probably my lack of planning. It’s about a 50/50 whether that works out or not as my novel works in progress folder will attest to. While I’ve managed to turn a couple of those floundering projects around, there are a few others that I just plain have no idea how to fix/finish/rescue from their current state of massive suck. They started out as good ideas, but then fell apart. Does this mean I’ll take up planning to solve this failing? Maybe in baby steps, but I’m rather set in my ways.

D. T. Nova

Taking at least 5 years to finish one novel, I guess.

Otherwise I haven’t really done enough to have major successes or failures.

Beth Aman

Wow, this is a tough one. I​ wouldn’t say it’s a failure, necessarily – more of a learning process. I finally retired an old manuscript, realizing I had better stories to tell, better characters to create. But it was my first ​completed novel, and​ I had put so much work into editing and ‘perfecting’ it, so it was really hard to let go of it. Now, I somewhat regret that I spent so much time ​editing, ​writing query letters​,​ and worrying​ about publishing it, when I am now no longer trying to get it published.​ But honestly, I learned a ton from the whole process, so I don’t think I can call that a failure.​

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I don’t know if I’ve really done enough to consider any particular thing a “failure”, exactly. I submitted a story to a publisher once and was rejected, but I’d hardly call one rejection a failure. I entered NYC Midnight’s Short-Short Story Competition and got knocked out in the second round, but I was competing against lots of awesome writers and I did manage to make it through the first round, so I wouldn’t call that a failure either.

If I’m going to call any part of my writing career thus far a “failure”, I’d probably go with my self-marketing, or lack thereof. I find it extremely difficult to market and promote myself, and even when I do give it a go I’m really, really bad at it, and as a result my book sales thus far have been fairly abysmal. I’ve got some awesome reviews, and everyone who does read both of my available books tells me that they loved them, but I consistently fail to promote myself and actually get people finding the books.

Elizabeth Rhodes

This is uncomfortable for me to admit. Jasper was not as great as I’d hoped. And after taking another look at it, I’d decided it needed more work. I lost confidence in myself and haven’t done much since. I’m currently working on getting that creative energy back, but losing it in the first place definitely counts as my biggest failure.

C E Aylett

I honestly don’t know. I mean, I’m sure I have a back catalogue of poor stories form when I was starting out, but I wouldn’t call them failures if they were part of the learning process. I suppose I don’t think in terms of ‘failure’ — every time I do something to do with my writing, be that creating the story, submitting the story, having it critiqued, researching it, redrafting it, or whatever, I count it as progress.

Gregory S. Close

My biggest failure is not writing consistently. Despite all good intentions, I’m not producing word count. That’s the worst failure because even writing poorly at least provides something to edit/improve.

Eric Wood

My biggest writing failure is not writing. have a few ideas for some children’s books. Those ideas sit patiently waiting in a notebook. One has been there for a few years now. What’s holding me back? Fear of rejection? Fear of success? All of the above? I have been writing my blog, but zero fiction.

Jay Dee Archer

What can I say about this? I haven’t published anything yet, and my biggest failure is probably not writing enough. I need to be able to spend time writing without any interruptions. My inconsistency make it difficult for me to write anything that has flow. I really need to work on this.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what’s your biggest failure? Let us know in the comments section below.

Yahoo, I’m Getting Tired of This

Well, I think it’s time to change to Gmail. Yahoo was being especially difficult today. I was searching for several emails, and it became very clear that Yahoo Mail wasn’t cooperating. It was coming up with absolutely no search results for anything. This was just the last straw.

Back in 2004, someone invited me to Gmail, and I started using it. I used it until sometime in 2006, but never really got into it. And I don’t know why. I guess my Yahoo address was far more established, and I had no problems with it then. I eventually completely lost my Gmail address. But I liked how Gmail was set up.

Well, no more. I’m setting up a Gmail address and will start transitioning over to using that for all of my important accounts and business. Yahoo will continue to be used for subscriptions and accounts where I don’t really need to see the emails. I’ll also use it as a backup.

So, hello Gmail!

The First Real Day of School

This morning, I took my daughter to school. She went into the school by herself when the teachers came to let them in, and she did everything herself. I went home.

Less than three hours later, I went to pick up my daughter from school, and wasn’t exactly sure what we were supposed to do. Turns out we had to go to the classroom and stand outside. My daughter came out and told me that her classmate had a birthday and they all got a cupcake. She was also given goldfish crackers.

As I walked her home, she told me about her day. She didn’t get to play with playdough, but she got to colour and cut paper. She said her teacher got angry at her twice. First was when she took too long to wash her hands. She has this bad habit at home, too. She stands with the water just flowing over her hands and does nothing else. She knows how to wash her hands, but for some reason wastes water. She cried when she was told not to take so much time. Second, she put her finger in the pencil sharpener. She didn’t cut it, since the teacher stopped her. I wouldn’t say her teacher was angry, though.

There are so many things to do. I have to fill out and sign some forms, we may have to buy a shirt for her in her group’s colour, and we can order books for her. She’s going to have a full day field trip next month, too! But the thing that confuses me is tomorrow’s school assembly. It’s in the afternoon, but she’s a morning student. Is she supposed to go? I’ll have to ask tomorrow morning when I take her to school.

It’ll take some time to get used to her going to school and dealing with the correspondence with her teacher, making sure she’s reading a book every day, doing her weekly homework, and deciding whether we should buy her books and a school t-shirt. Lots to think about!

Authors Answer 6, the Video Edition – Writing Mistakes

In my continued bid to revise my old answers and put them on video, I present to you Authors Answer 6. The original question was:

Which mistake or bad habit in writing is the most difficult for you to stop doing?

My answer is mostly the same, but I elaborate more on it. Check it out.

Did you enjoy the thumbnail image at the beginning?

Let me know what problems you have when writing in the comments section below.

Windows 10 Internet Difficulties

As I type this on my iPhone, my sister is trying to resolve an issue with her newly upgraded Windows 10. It won’t recognize the network connection. She’s upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It’s a headache. Many solutions fail because the instructions provided fail to understand that she has no internet connection! So, she’s thinking about going back to Windows 7. 

I have yet to upgrade mine. I’m going from Windows 8.1, which has a lot more in common with Windows 10, so I shouldn’t have the same issues. I hope. 

Anyone have this problem?

Update: Restarting the modem and computer seemed to resolve it. However, some login information was lost. Oh well, it seems to work now. Next is my computer!

WordPress Now Difficult to Use With Firefox

Firefox has been increasingly difficult for me to use in the past few months. I am constantly getting errors saying Firefox cannot run scripts. So, today, as I’m trying to look at my WordPress stats, I got this:

javascripterror

Unresponsive script. It’s not only made the script unresponsive, but made Firefox unresponsive.

I’ve now switched to Chrome, which I’m using to post this.

Anyone else have issues with Firefox? Let me know in the comments below.

Yahoo Email Difficulties

My main email address is through Yahoo. I’ve been using it for years, but I’ve found I get so many emails on it, mostly from blogs I subscribe to, other accounts, and spam. I use it for searching for jobs, communicating with Authors Answer contributors, and more. But with so many emails coming in, I’m thinking it’s time to get a dedicated email address strictly for communication and my blog.

And then today, I noticed an important email was stuck in the spam folder, and I’ve been unable to move it to my inbox. Nothing I’ve tried works. Very strange.

So, I’m going to start up a new email address, but not with Yahoo. I’ll use it for all of my important communication. My question for you is this: Have you had any trouble with Yahoo recently? And how is Gmail? I used Gmail a long time ago when it was new, but stopped using it, since my Yahoo address was my main one. Let me know in the comments.

What Grammar Problems Do You Have When Writing?

English has some of the most difficult grammar of any language. There are so many rules, yet many exceptions to those rules. English breaks the rules often. Although it may not be the most difficult language, it is one of the most unusual languages. Why? Because it’s had influences from several languages and is more like the Frankenstein’s monster of languages.

Writers have to deal with English grammar when writing. Some are not experts at grammar, while others seem to have a wonderful way with the language. But what do you have difficulty with in writing?

In my case, I find that I use the passive voice too much. I use it correctly, but it’s not effective when writing fiction. It doesn’t have the feeling of action. The narrative must be active so the reader feels like they’re in the story along with the characters. I don’t have this problem as much now, but sometimes it creeps in.

What about you? When you write, what kind of grammar issues do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

Living With a Threenager

What’s a threenager? You know the terrible twos, right? Well, a threenager is someone who acts like a teenager, but is only three years old. That basically describes a three-year-old. They have attitude, but no control over their emotions. They are either happy or it’s the end of the world.

Here’s some of my three-year-old’s attitude.

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And she’s already demanding a driver’s license, while talking on a cell phone. Okay, so it’s a radio, not a cell phone.

20150820-162409-59049222.jpg

These pictures were taken on Sunday, and she had a lot of fun in the indoor playground. But after four hours, it was time to go. The world ended. Scream, cry, and run away. That’s what she did. When I picked her up, she kicked, struggled, and tried to get away. She did not want to leave at all. She still say she wants to go, and she wants to go now.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed posted a list of 23 Things All Parents Of Threenagers Understand. Let’s go through them and see how my daughter’s doing.

1. They’ve suddenly got OPINIONS…lots of them.

This is true. It’s mostly her telling us she doesn’t like something, though sometimes telling us what she likes. She knows what she likes, that’s for sure.

2. All hell breaks loose if you serve their food in a slightly different way.

Not so much, really. She’s actually pretty flexible with a lot of these things, but she often requests a certain number of breadsticks. They come in bags of six, and she says she wants three. I give her one. She gets upset. But you see, she usually eats parts of the three, takes the chocolate chips, and leaves chunks of bread from all three sticks.

3. Handling disappointment isn’t their thing.

Disappointment is too mild of a feeling. She doesn’t get disappointed. She goes ballistic.

4. Not even Jack Bauer could get them to tell you what happened at preschool.

This we don’t have much of a problem with. She offers the information without us asking. Just the other day, it was raining, so they couldn’t use the pool outside. She told me so. And she told me that she was playing with her friends, including their names.

5. “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Mama?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Dada?” “Why?”

She asks us why, definitely. She’s in that phase, but it isn’t so bad. I tell her why, and much of the time she takes the answer and doesn’t bombard me with “Why?”

6. They’ve probably wiped off one of your kisses.

Yup. She does that.

7. They often lose toys that they MUST. HAVE. RIGHT. NOW.

Not just toys. Clothes, too. Recently, we had to wash one of her favourite dresses, and she wanted to wear it as it was drying. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She needed to wear it now.

8. They’ve started to say sassy things like, “Are you kidding me?”

Not really. At least not in English.

9. They’re too small to walk at a decent pace, but too big to be carried.

Yes! She tends to take a long time to walk anywhere, and when she gets tired, she wants to be carried. She’s 15.5 kg now, and while it’s fine for a little while, she starts to feel too heavy.

10. They have no filter.

She says what she wants. If she gets punished, she tells everyone she got punished. She also walks up to complete strangers and introduces herself and my wife and I. She often tells us to be quiet, too.

11. They’re either recently potty trained or are potty training, which is awesome for you! (sarcasm)

Sigh. Just as I was starting this section, she took her diaper off and handed it to me. It was filled with pee. We have a deal with her. She stops peeing in her diaper or training pants, she can go to a swimming pool, waterslides, and Canada. She wants to go to them all very much. She knows how to use the toilet, she knows when to use the toilet, but she just gets lazy.

12. This little phrase can trigger a tantrum/meltdown: “It’s time to go.”

Yup. Happened on Sunday. It was a major meltdown. It happens every time we’re at a playground, too.

13. Bedtime is drama, and they’ll do anything to avoid it.

If we force her to go to bed, she won’t stay. She will only go to bed on her own terms, which is only when she is sleepy. She usually falls asleep around 9 or 10 pm, but any earlier, and she won’t do it.

14. Once bedtime starts, it is — how should we put this — a process.

The process has changed many times over her short life. When she was still using a crib, she would only fall asleep if she was holding our hand. Now, she will only go to sleep if she’s sleepy, and that’s the only time she’ll brush her teeth, as well. At least she knows how to do that now. Any deviation from this makes it impossible to get her to sleep.

15. Getting a threenager out the door takes forever.

Actually, we don’t have this problem. She likes going out, and she’s the first to the door with her shoes on.

Short intermission.

Back to number 7. She wants to blow bubbles outside right now. It’s raining. She’s upset that it’s raining, but still demands to go out to blow bubbles.

End intermission.

16. Despite their epic slowness, they’re also epically impatient.

Absolutely. It takes forever to get her to do many things, but then when she wants something, she wants it now. She wants to go to Canada right now, actually. Every day, she demands to go to Canada.

17. They will say, “I’m tired!” when you ask them to do anything.

Not really. She’ll do things if we ask her to do them, but when she doesn’t want to do it, she just flat out refuses. “No.” She only uses the “I’m tired!” excuse when she doesn’t want to walk.

18. They’re guaranteed to frustrate you when eating at a restaurant.

Worst place for us to go! I love eating food in restaurants, but when we have our daughter there, she usually makes a mess. Last time we went with her, she poured a full cup of orange juice over her clothes. And she had to go home like that. Sticky. Ugh. And she’ll often ask for something from the menu, then refuse to eat half of it, wanting whatever we have.

19. They’re maddeningly stubborn and insist, “I do it myself!”

Absolutely. This is what she wants to do by herself now: put on her shoes, put on her clothes, dry herself after a bath/shower, use the toilet, wash her hands, put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and so on. The toothpaste thing would turn into a disaster. She doesn’t get to do that.

20. That is, when they’re not begging you to do it for them.

She often comes to me to get me to do her puzzles for her, as well as draw something instead of her. Sometimes, she hands me her spoon or fork and wants me to feed her. I guess she’s still a baby at times.

21. They’re scared of a lot of things.

She’s scared of bugs (sometimes) and heights (if she can’t hold on to me). Not much does scare her.

22. They have very specific ideas on how they want to look.

She likes to choose her clothes, but she often chooses clothes that are too hot for summer. She also likes to have her hair done in a certain way. It’s either Anna, Elsa, Ika Musume (it’s an anime, English title is Squid Girl), or Precure (another anime, Pretty Cure).

23. They’ve become firmly anti-nap.

She rarely has a nap now. When she falls asleep at 5pm, she sleeps all night. She doesn’t wake up from that nap. And just as I was typing this, she fell asleep. It’s almost 6pm. I’ll see if I can get her to wake up later.

I’d like to add one more to this list.

24. The only way to get them to do anything is through bribery.

Want her to sit down on the bus? Candy. Want her to sit down in her stroller to be a counterweight for all the shopping we did? Toy. Want her to use the toilet? Pool, waterslides, and Canada. No matter what we try, we can’t get her to cooperate unless we bribe her.

Anyone with kids have similar experiences?

Life Isn’t Always Fair

Some things aren’t fair. Everyone goes through things like these. You know, you just stare at yourself in the mirror and nitpick at every little thing you see that’s out of the ordinary. Or you stand there debating about what to do next, and none of the options seem particularly appealing. Here are some things I’ve gone through lately.

Why is there more hair around my right nipple than my left? Why do I always get itchy the moment I start washing dishes? Why is it that when I take my phone out of my pocket, it’s upside-down about once a week? Why do birds fly away the very moment I want to take a picture? Why does it rain when I don’t have an umbrella and it doesn’t rain when I bring one?

One time, while I was walking, my phone recorded a video in my pocket. But I couldn’t see anything. My pocket deserves its 15 minutes of fame. Why did there have to be no light? So unfair! I mean, just look!

My pen is being totally unfair. I get refills, then they stop working after a couple weeks. I use my phone, and as I’m using it, a wi-fi signal is detected and used, but on the lowest level, so what I was viewing suddenly stops, and I have to turn off wi-fi and reload the page. And just the other day, Windows moved one of the files on my desktop from the right side to the left.

Life is so unfair.