The long, and painful road to success

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Alex Ovechkin, Captain of the Washington Capitals, an NHL Club based in the USA, lifts the Prestigious Stanley Cup, one of the most important sports trophies in the world.

I must admit, these past few days have been pure ecstasy for me. Especially today, June 12th, 2018 when the entire city of my hometown, Washington D.C. created a spectacle honoring the achievement of its hockey club, the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup, the holy grail of North American Hockey, that has been awarded to NHL champions since 1892. It was the first championship for the expectant Capitals, and the first major sports title for the Washington, D.C. area since 1992. The parade today made me think real hard about my own journey, especially where my writing career was concerned.

Why am I blogging about this? Well, if you think writing, or art for that matter, is connected with the Capitals’ first championship, you guessed correctly.

But the story would make little sense if I didn’t delve deeper into the Capitals’ once-turbulent playoff history. A past filled with so many tragic seasons where the club under performed in the playoffs despite high expectations. To make matters worse, every year when the playoffs rolled around almost always resulted in another premature exit at the hand of one of their rivals, thus adding another sad page to the club’s tortuous playoff mishaps.

Honestly, this team wasn’t even supposed to win a Championship, let alone make the playoffs. But this group of resilient players persevered, and managed to overcome the decades-long playoff failures that had plagued the club since the late 1980s.

This is where art, or writing for that matter, comes into play. You can write for many years, and wrack up an unhealthy load of rejections along the way. Just like the Capitals you can gain strength from your failures, instead of letting the failures define you.

It’s cliche to say it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, but the fact is that there is no greater teacher of life than the failures you encounter, and a team I have followed since I was a 13-year-old boy proved that to me.

So learn to accept failure as a healthy gauge that can be your compass to bigger and better things.

Just ask the Washington Capitals.

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How is life and Writing similar?

As a writer I get lots of feedback regarding my work. Take my debut novel for example: The Leopard Vanguard. Despite receiving top-notch reviews on both amazon & goodreads, many have complained about the “slow-start” and “difficult” beginning. I’m fully aware these days the diminishing attention-span that plagues most readers, if a book doesn’t grab their attention in the first few pages, it’s time to move on.

This is when I often tell them that they need to read on, to be patient, for once they get past the “difficult” beginning, they’re rewarded with a great middle and ending.

While I take into account every piece of advice, there are just some scenes or prologues that cannot be changed.

So how does this tie into life? Read on and I’ll gladly explain.

Let’s say you’re learning a new skill for the first time. Is it easy? Maybe, but for most of us we struggle with the task until we finally accomplish our goal, learning it, and then we flourish doing it, enjoying it in the process.

That’s how I see it.

If you’ve got a comment, I’d love to hear your feedback, whether you agree or disagree.

See you next time!

T.A. Uner

Summer Writing Advice for Writers

Just came back from my Summer Trip to Ocean City, MD and it did a world of good. Why? Because taking a trip from home to a different locale is always good for your writing.

Why?

See Below.

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Ale is proven to help writing. Just make sure you drink responsibly.

Ok the ale tasted great but that’s not what I meant. Taking trips to recharge the battery we call the brain is helpful. It helps release clogged up creativity which otherwise would not make it into our manuscripts.

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While at the pier, I thought about becoming a pirate. No seriously! There was a huge sea battle I was working on before I decided to take my summer trip.

It also helps if you can find a writing spot at the hotel you stay at. Someplace where you won’t get bothered much. It’s alright if there is some noise. It helps train your mind to block out noises when you’re writing and focus on the task at hand.

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As I looked out from my writing spot, I dreamed of words to come.

Where do you like to go write? And if so, why do you like going there. Chances are you don’t have to take a 3 hour drive like I did to find one. But, if you do, make the most of it.

 

 

Feedback needed

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I’ve been contemplating this idea in my head for quite some time now, so I thought I’d share it with everyone. I’m considering writing a self-help book for aspiring writers. It would also double as a self-improvement book on life as well, drawn from my past experiences in writing and personal life.

I’d appreciate any comments from anyone out there.

Thanks!

What is the secret to eternal happiness?

It’s been ages since I posted. But believe me, I’ve been working on myself and my writing, and, etc., etc.

Let me share a bit of wisdom with you. Something that I hope resonates within your soul and takes you to a whole new level.

Stay in the moment. Yep. That’s what I said. It’s a universal law that when you focus on yourself and the moment of time that you’re in, that life will reveal itself to you.

This goes for anything you want to accomplish. Try this. The next time you think about something bad that’s happened to you, return to the moment in time that you’re currently in. Close your eyes, breathe and focus on the here and now.

It’s alright if you don’t get it right the first time. This thing we call “time” is a tricky business. But, as you practice, what I am saying will start to make sense.

You’ll see that events in life that you thought were “bad” were really blessings in disguise. This is a power that has existed since the dawn of time, and the way to feed this positive vibe machine is to make sure that at least 90% of the thoughts in your head are positive ones.

Still not convinced? Alright. That’s ok, but if you’re looking for the Holy Grail of Happiness, it’s in the present. Not in the future, not in the past. Now.

Advice like this can make a difference in your life, and turn mediocrity, into excellence. Does this mean perfection is possible? Never. But guess what, I’ve got news for you, it doesn’t matter so long as you’re in the moment. Seeking perfection only leads to more stress and unhappiness. Here’s a prime example: there were these fictional mechanical creatures in Star Trek called the Borg. Their one and only purpose was to achieve perfection, but all it did was turn them into monsters, and create havoc across the universe. I’m not saying perfection will turn you into a monster, but it will take you away from the present moment which is your friend.

Look. The only time you should be thinking about the past is to use the experience gained from the “negative” experience to make the right decision in the present. Then, the future will play itself out.

Make time your friend, and live the life you deserve.

Work versus fame

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Most of us have heard the phrase “it’s the journey, not the destination that shapes who we become.” It’s been repeated countless time to be considered cliche. So why write a blog post about it?

Simple. There’s a lot that goes into writing that is out of a writer’s control. Sales for instance.

With the indie author movement in full swing, gaining traction in publishing has become an ever bigger challenge, as countless books are released every day.

I’m not here to discourage anyone from entering the overflowing cup of would-be writers. But let’s face it, you’ve really got to take this as a journey in publishing, not a measure of payout for each book you release.

This was a problem I had trouble accepting when I first started my publishing journey over 3 years ago. I found out the hard way that folks weren’t going to be lining up to buy my books. After my harsh awakening, I made a pact with myself that I’d learn everything about the publishing business.

I invested in editors-this was another trying experience-and realized that not all editors are equal. You’ll meet some pretty crappy ones along the way too. But I kept at it and soon weeded out the bad ones.

Now is being a mega-author impossible as an indie writer?

Of course not. But let me tell you the truth,  it’s something I learned from speaking to many successful indie writers out there, and that’s  it takes a lot of luck to hit it big.

Many of you already know this, but to all the newbies out there, there’s no other way around it. It’s luck that plays a major part in discovery and bog sales numbers.

The good news is that there’s a way to increase your luck, it starts with publishing books, great books and getting them to market. But before you do that, never underestimate the power of an excellent editor and top-notch artwork for your book cover.

But seriously folks, money and fame is nice, and we’d all take it if offered the chance, but you know what’s even better than all that extraneous hoopla?

It’s the feeling you get when you get words down. Priceless!

 

Distractions & Discipline

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This post is for anyone whose writing time has been butchered by the various distractions that abound in daily life.

I know this for a fact because my next Historical Fantasy novel, The Leopard Apocalypse, was affected by distractions.

For months on end I was focused on building up my social media platform. And my writing took a back seat. Perhaps my intentions were noble, as social media marketing is prominent in today’s crowded literary market. And us writers always seem to seize the chance for shameless promotion. Even if it does cut into precious writing time.

So I came to a crossroads a few weeks ago, I’d take a hiatus, and knock myself out of reverie. And take one I did. Then, my writing got back on course.

Now I implore anyone out there who’s got distractions dragging their writing time down, to make a choice. Which is more important. Your showmanship? Or your writing?

For a dedicated writer, the choice is easy.

Expectations and you

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Do you have expectations? Sure you do. We all do. Expectations exist as markers for out success. In the materialistic hierarchy that we live in it’s easy to start comparisons between yourself and the guy or gal down the street.

But what about unreal expectations, and chasing success so hard that it becomes a task to take pleasure in other things? What do we do about that?

Well I’m glad you asked. If you’re trying to hard, then I’ve got news for you, you’re burdening yourself with added pressure. And comparing yourself to another’s success is just going to get you down. Sure there are some people out there who get motivated by knowing that they’re at the bottom and want to work their way up, but obsession with success and unrealistic expectations is not the mindset to subscribe to.

Of course it’s important to measure your success, but instead of worrying about others, why not try competing with yourself? It will take the edge off and make your chosen task at hand more enjoyable.

Compete with your former self. Figure out what it did wrong, and work on fixing that. This way your focus is more inward and free of unnecessary distractions.

Besides, worrying about what your rivals are doing is not the key to improving yourself, instead work on improving more each day by analyzing your mistakes and seeking out the right information to get you going in the right direction.

One fault every artist must avoid

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Ok this post is for all you artists out there: writers, painters, filmmakers, etc.

This is one thing you mustn’t ever do: expect success.

Success is elusive, and even if your product is flawless and holds substance it’s by no means guaranteed that you’ll strike it rich. Keep your expectations modest when placing your products on the market.

Learn from others in your field. Preferabley those who have achieved success and are happy to offer advice. This might help you bypass costly mistakes.

But with every endeavor hope and patience are the strongest tools in your arsenal. And make sure you’ve got plenty of both when taking that first big step.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing, and life. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will dance on his hands if you do.

A message to struggling Artists

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If you’ve struggled as an artist or in any other occupation this blog post is for you. Ok so you’re not doing so well in your desired profession, or maybe it’s a hobby that is not panning out into a full-blown gig; at least not yet. I have some advice for you, since I’ve been there before.

Take a break.

Find other interests, join a club, meet new people, it’s cliche but “live your life to the fullest.” Why? Because life is way too short to be putting your eggs in one basket. I know all you would be artists out there are wondering where I’m going with this but the truth is art should only be worked on when you’re in a positive frame of mind. It should be fun, expressive, and when you are at your best.

If you need help, there are plenty of support groups out there. Just google them and I’m sure you will find something.

Now do yourself a favor, and take it easy.

T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs about writing, self-publishing, and life. Please subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. He will dance on his hands if you do.