Dealing with unproductive moments

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It’s been ages since I posted, having missed January completely I thought I’d finally make my first blog entry in 2020.

The subject today is unproductive nuances. Have you ever felt like doing something and yet have struggled to create it? Whether it’s writing or creating any type of art for that matter? I admit, the past few days have been rough for me as I’ve been dealing with a lack of energy, causing my writing output to decline substantially. The answer has been to push through. Easier said than done, but so far, it’s been working. After all, a small output is better than no output. Right?

In my opinion though, it sometimes helps when you take a break from it all and do something else. Whether it’s exercising, doing other work, or even reading.

So what do you do when you’re facing adversity in creating something artsy? I welcome any comments.

Until next time.

 

A Look back. And a Look Ahead.

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It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s been far too long since I last wrote anything on this blog. In the meantime, I felt, on the eve of my vacation down to Florida tomorrow, I’d write something I hope will be useful.

As for my trip to Florida, it will be my first time back in the sunshine state since early 2003. You probably don’t know this but the last time I ventured down to Florida was in August 2002. Fresh off my college graduation, I felt I would test the waters and find employment there, much like I’m doing now. Except this was one year after 9-11, and having moved to Orlando against the better judgement of my peers, I quickly found that my presumed new home was nothing more than an oasis of underpaying jobs and dead-end interviews.

7 months later, and with my savings extinguished, I found myself heading back home to Northern Virginia with my proverbial tail between my legs. My dreams of living in a year-round warm wonderland crushed between the jaws of a metaphoric Florida Gator.

So what is the moral of this story you ask? Especially on Christmas Eve? Well folks, 2020 is nearly here. If you do one thing, make it this: try to make the best decisions that will help you in the long run. Don’t make decisions with your emotions. Instead, sit down and discuss major lifestyle changes with trusted friends and family. If you do make a move, make sure it’s for the best.

Anyways, that’s all for now. See you next year/decade! I leave you with this friendly Florida Alligator image.

How to make time work for you

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As a professional writer I have many balancing acts to maintain in my daily life. There is my day writing job life which I get paid to write and edit and then there is my hobby writing (novelist)life.

For you it might be the same, or most likely not. But we all can agree that with competing priorities, stress has a way of creeping up on us and threatening to derail our mental focus.

The best way around this of course is mindfulness, the art of focusing on your current priority without dwelling on the past for worrying about the future. For example, if you’ve got that novel/project that’s itching to get out you don’t want to work on it during your day job. For starters, it’s unethical and also your company is not paying you to do your hobby on their time. So to create enough time to write, or whatever form of art you’re into, might I suggest the following things:

1) Create a schedule for personal project(s) that revolves around your daily work schedule.

2)Ask around. Twitter and other forms of social media are great places to connect with others who share your passions. Tweet a question, and some of your followers are bound to respond.

3)Don’t get stressed if you can’t find time to create. Instead work around it by seeing when you can create time for your personal projects.

These are just suggestions. Use them as a framework to find what works best for you. I wish you all the best.

T.A. Uner

Independent vs. Traditional Publishing

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The other day on twitter a fellow writer was tweeting about how one of his co-workers was critical of his writing status. “When are you going to become a real writer?” he had asked. Implying that independent publishing was an also-ran in the publishing world.

I responded by telling him to ignore such an ignorant comment, for it was made by someone who knows nothing about publishing.

Independent publishing has done wonders for so many writers who otherwise would’ve found themselves forgotten by the gatekeepers.

In the past ten years it has seen a massive influx in sales, and many independent published writers that I know have outsold traditionally published writers.

What does this mean for you and me?

It means that the stigma that was once associated with independent publishing is gone.

So the next time someone tells you you’re not a “real” writer just because your book isn’t published by a big press, make sure you set them straight.

Or better yet, just ignore them.

Finding a job that defines you.

It’s a tough one. Some of us love our jobs while others are just using them to get that all-important paycheck. So what’s a professional to do?

I’ll admit it, I’m lucky. I work for a company that values my writing and editing skills, I use it to motivate me when I come home to write/edit my fiction.

But what about those folks who don’t have a job they love?

Fortunately, there’s an answer. And it’s so easy, anyone can do it!

Work for it. Wherever you are in life, find a way to transition yourself from where you are to where you want to be. Take classes, get certifications. It’s time-consuming and hard work but whoever said this would be easy.  In this world of instant gratifications that’s a tall order for some, but not if you really want it.

When you go after something worthwhile, the challenges are going to pop up whether you like it or not. If they don’t, then you’re not trying hard enough.

I flunked out on my initial Business Writing test. Yes. But I took it again and guess what? I passed with a B.

So listen to your heart. What kind of job out there will make you happy? Knowing what you want is the first step to getting it. It’s cliche but so very true.

Then ask yourself if you’re willing to put up with the struggle to get it. If the answer is yes, then you’re on your way to a new future.

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!

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 influences you?

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As a writer I get asked this question a lot: “What influences you?” Well many things actually: family, upbringing, favorite shows, etc.

In my experiences, most of the writers I know were influenced the most during their childhood. These experiences, combined with other occurrences along the way helped shape their writing skills.

I would say whatever influences you to write, allows you to bring forth your best writing, since it comes from your true self. For example if you’re sarcastic, comedy might be your thing, or if you were exposed to reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy, you’d write within this genre. Exceptions due occur, and by no means is my statement set in stone.

So what is your passion? And what has influenced you the most in your life?

Making the most of Winter Writing.

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With some of us living in cold climes, winter can really get us down. I’ve already been hit with half a foot of snow, with more on the way. In the past this would be a one-way ticket to depressive thoughts of cabin fever. But as a writer it’s important to see the benefits of inclement weather.

For example, for years I let the weather, an external force, influence my inner-self. The best part of myself where authentic writing comes from. As years went by, and I slowly matured, I began to think less of the external conditions, and focus more on what my imagination had to offer.

This same approach works best with everything else in life, not just your writing. Because if you’ve already got yourself down from something that has nothing to do with who you really are, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.

Enjoy the rest of your January, and use inclement weather time to crank out your best work!

When adversity strikes Authors

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As many of you know, I’ve been working on my latest novel, The Leopard Apocalypse, which is the 3rd and penultimate novel in the Leopard King Saga, my flagship Historical Fantasy series.

I’m coming to the very end of editing, and nearing the stage where I send the book out for beta-reading before sending the final work to an editor to polish off the book and make suggestions.

Normally this would be a happy time for any author. Especially for a novel that is close to 200K words and has taken half a decade to complete.

But adversity struck last week when I realized my funds for interior artwork and editing services was not adequate to continue.

It’s a major problem, and will undoubtedly cause delays. I still have hope of publication in early to mid 2019.

So what do you do when you’re nearing the finish line, only to be slowed down by inadequate funds?

Well, the only thing to do is remain calm, and try and do as much work you can to move the editing process along, even if that means the interior map and editing stages may have to take a back seat.

So for now, I’m in a jam, but like all setbacks, it’s only temporary.

Do you have a story you’d like to share about an issue that has delayed a project when you were so closed to completion? If so, I’d like to hear about your experiences in the comments section.

See you next time!