How to make your dream a reality

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Dreams. We all have them. Some are big, some are realistic while others require years to bring to fruition. During these uncertain times in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic maybe some of us have put our dreams on hold. Others, despite obstacles, persevere by taking small steps towards their eventual goal.

And that’s the key word. Small. To make your dream(s) come true you need to look at the big picture piecemeal. Nothing momentous happens overnight, and anyone who thinks it does is only setting themselves up for a major letdown.

Right now I’ve been putting my fiction on hold. Why? Because I’ve invested my resources into gaining new skills which can help me find a better job and to a lesser extent, improve my fiction.

And by relegating my fiction I’m not postponing it, I’m only investing in a prerequisite step that will eventually get me to where I want to go. Until fiction pays the bills for any writer, they must find sustenance in the dreaded “day job.”

So what small steps are you taking to make your dream(s) a reality. Please feel free to post your comments.

Until next time.

Making life changes work for you

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It’s been a busy few months for me. With the Pandemic and Social Unrest in the background. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve gone this long without writing a blog post. Almost 3 months to be exact. Geez. Where do I start? Ohh, now I remember. Please read on…

I decided to focus on enriching myself and I left my job to go back to Graduate school to earn a certificate. Where does this leave my writing? Good question. I was working on the 2nd edition of The Leopard Apocalypse, the 3rd novel in my flagship Leopard King Saga series, and on the side I was writing the 4th book in the series, The Leopard Resurrection while starting on another YA project called The Cardinal Rule.

Sadly that’s all been put on hold. Graduate school demands time and financial investment. And getting the most out of my money is paramount in order to land an even better job.

So I wanted to discuss life changes with you, and steps you should take in the event an unexpected situation finds you.

1) Save money:
yes, it’s cliche but saving the majority of your paycheck, while being restrictive, it can help pay for unexpected surprises.

2)Have a support network: make sure to share the news with loved ones and trusted friends. Feeding off the positive energy from others boosts confidence and gives you forward momentum.

3)Stay positive: Can’t stress this one enough. You’ll find yourself stretched thin when something unexpected comes along that forces you miles out of your daily routine. But just remember, everything has a purpose and embrace the chaos by thinking on the bright side.

Anyways, that’s it for now. I look forward to posting another helpful blog post, and promise not to take this long between intervals. Stay safe everyone!

Coronavirus and the Writing Life

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As the planet battles the latent new virus known as COVID-19, I sit here wondering what the future holds. But, as a writer I am already accustomed to this anomalous feeling.

Writing itself is an unpredictable animal, and the current pandemic gripping the planet is a situation most newly-published writers find themselves at odds with. The energy-sapping questions begin making their way through their thoughts. What should I write about? Will my books ever sell? Will I ever be able to support myself on my writing? Then, once you get self-published, the constant checking of your amazon royalty figures can almost drive a newbie mad.

Like the Coronavirus and writing, both unpredictable in their own right, the only thing you can do is focus on doing your best, and ignoring the fear factor. Because, worrying about something you have no control over will simply ruin your quality of life, and take the fun out of anything.

So I say this to every new writer and human being. Be calm. Live every day to the best of your ability. Don’t fret over the virus that the news agencies are constantly blasting over the airwaves.

And get back to two things. Living, and writing.

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.