Why artists should get out more.

As a writer I know the stereotypes that come with the territory. That writers need to be holed up in some dark room writing until our brains fall out of our heads.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, if you’re a writer or any other type of artist churning out work for fun or profit, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to go.

Easier said than done right? True, but let’s take baby steps folks. Finding a job that supports you that you love is the first thing. If the company you work for fosters social events then attend and find others that share your hobbies. Or join a meetup group and find folks there.

Being isolated may lead to more writing time, but not always the best quality writing. The best writing comes from interacting with the world itself, and imbuing your writing with the human condition.

And if you’re able to make a few extra friends and hobbies along the way, more power to you!

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The value of mentoring.

I’ll admit. I went throughout my writing career for years without a guide or mentor. Then through many personal errors, I learned the best way to gain a mentor was to show interest in other people’s work. The trick is not a superficial interest just to gleam information from someone more successful, but to LEARN.

As a writer, one can be considered an artist, so it’s important to find other artists, usually those who’ve been able to elevate their craft. This way you can learn from them and they can point out your mistakes. Last week I had the opportunity to visit a successful author and his wife. Just interacting with them was valuable in itself. They took time out of their schedule to help me see my mistakes so that I can elevate my craft. Not because my writing wasn’t good, but because it has the potential to be much better.

It’s also good to help others who aren’t as developed as you. You might ask why. Well it’s because you get the opportunity to teach them and help them learn from your mistakes. So it win-win for everyone, and you can’t beat that.

 

What made 2018 great for you?

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As we inch closer towards the end of another year, I can’t help but think of all the positive changes I made to improve myself. This was a year of transitions for me. When I finally took the big step to change the industry I worked in for my day job, and switch to a field I loved. If you guessed writing, then you’re correct.

I also was able to get a lot done for my upcoming novel The Leopard Apocalypse, and while there were some minor setbacks that delayed the publication of the book, I still hope to release it sometime next year, which, last I checked, will be here in less than two weeks.

So what did you accomplish in 2018 that you’re especially proud of? Did you make some personal changes to your life? Complete a big project that you’ve been working on? No accomplish is too small to mention. So long as if pushes you towards becoming a better person. And that to me is what being human is all about, being better than you once were.

As always, I welcome comments on my blog posts. Enjoy the rest of 2018. And work towards accomplishing more in 2019.

Using the holidays to improve yourself

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Happy Holidays! Those two words are even more powerful than you think. Most associate it with fussy shopping and unwanted stress in meeting those pesky relatives you’d rather not see, but the holidays can be so much more than that.
Really!

If you’re stressed out in your work life, or just at life in general, the holidays can be an excellent outlet. How? By realizing that life is full of letdowns and that stressing about it only makes it worse.

This attitude can help you rediscover your love affair with that dreaded word. Work. That’s right. Are you in an occupation you love? Great! If not, now may be the time to make that change.

The Holidays are a perfect time to use what spare moments you have to work on hobbies and special projects. These tend to give us that extra lift in life. Instead of worrying about what gift you need to get for Aunt Betsy or Cousin Ralphie, you can channel your attention into a hobby you’ve been neglecting.

For me it’s writing. For you it could be rock-climbing or volunteering to help those in need. These types of activities can also translate into win-win scenarios into your professional lives, as it adds richness to your life. It may be cliche, but helping others always translates into positive results for yourself.

So when you find yourself with some extra time during the Holidays, and need to recharge yourself, engage yourself in your hobby or giving back to society, and watch your confidence soar!

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.

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!