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!
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.
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?
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!
Well Summer is almost over (bummer, right?) and with that the hot, humid writing days.
Things are looking up for me. I recently got hired as a Technical Writer for a Defense Contractor and am looking forward to my first day at work this week.
But what about you? Now that summer is over what are your writing plans? Are you working on a short story, novella or novel? Is this your first work? Are you considering going the self-publishing route or traditional path by seeking a publisher/agent?
I’d like to hear from anyone.
Here’s to the end of summer and the beginning of a productive fall writing period!
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.
Well with Winter 2017-18 in the books, and Spring moving along, we can all start looking to Summer 2018. I’m now working on the Outline For the 4th and final book of my Leopard King Saga series, The Leopard Resurrection. In addition, I’ll soon begin the arduous process of edited Book 3, The Leopard Apocalypse.
Last month I earned my Business Communication Certification from Duke University and now I am taking another online course on Technical Writing. Whew! Just writing all that down was hard work. LOL.
So what are your Summer 2018 plans? Anything you’ve started working on or would like to begin? I’d love to hear from everyone in the comments section below.
Here’s to a strong Spring finish and a great transition into Summer!
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.
I’m happy to announce that after five long years of writing The Leopard Apocalypse, I’ve finally completed it.
What a relief! The journey I started back in October 2012 wrapped up only the other day. It was the most challenging book I’ve ever written, and definitely the longest. Clocking in at over 192 thousand words.
Editing will begin late-winter or early-spring 2018.
But I’m not here to gloat about my accomplishment. I hope that my experience writing The Leopard Apocalypse will inspire other budding writers out there to finish their own challenging works.
Of course, within the five years it took me to write this book, I had other writing projects that demanded my attention, but that didn’t take away from the challenge that The Leopard Apocalypse presented.
Anyway, 2017 is almost over. Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish you the best in your writing for 2018!