Friday, March 25, 2011
I think social networks can be extremely helpful especially for writers. I like Facebook actually more than Twitter. Twitter makes me feel silly sometimes. I mean I like other people's tweets, but rarely my own. I feel foolish saying things like 'I'm going to sleep now, beddy byes' or quoting something that sounds as if it's come out of a fortune cookie.
I'll tell you what I don't like, particularly about Twitter. I hate when someone starts to follow me, I usually follow them back unless they tweet every five minutes about something they are pushing--too spammy.
What I positively detest is getting a direct message which says: CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE. DON'T MISS MY BLOG THIS WEEK, IT'S ABOUT WRITERS!
Well hello! I'm a writer too, a very hard working one and, please give me the courtesy of not hard selling yourself. I'll get there, on my own time in my own way. I love to re-tweet things too. Just Mr. and Mrs. Followers, please don't come on like gangbusters.
Facebook I love, it's a great diversion. I have made friends there that I genuinely like. I have a profile and an official author page. The author page permits me to promote my writing. I never like sending a message out to a zillion people to get them to buy something I've written, too hard sell for my taste. I like people to join my page on their own and to read my blog posts if it interests them.
Privacy issues got way out of hand when Ning was free. A lot of spammers used it for their purposes. Personally, I would gladly shoot to kill any and all spammers from 'why doncha see me on web cam' to 'buy canadian meds!' 'To my name is Gunga Bunga and I have been reading your profile. I think we can be great friends...'
I always think the next breath would be 'my father works in the bank of Whatta Lotta Noiyve' but he had a heart attack and cannot withdraw the 900 billion dollars he saved--so could you, (yada yada)...!
Privacy issues can be issues! You can make your profile private but when you're like me, trying to interest the entire planet in your novel, you don't and will run into annoying people.
So that's it really, yes I do think social networks work. I think though we should be discerning about them, exerting caution as in all things.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I had dozed off, again. It was becoming a habit – power napping, so someone had told me once. Still, when it happened, this time, I was ready. The onslaught of flashing lights appeared before me. Yet, despite my readiness, the psychedelic, whirling, swirling bustle of colour still challenged my senses. Each time it seemed the same, yet different; different enough to enthral me.
Was I becoming addicted?
Whatever “it” was, “it” drew me forward. I had no power to resist this inescapable fall though the rushing, gushing river of light. Addiction! “It” carried over the rock-strewn precipice of a white-water rapid. Only there was no river; no rapid…
And when I landed I still found need to pause for breath.
I was not waiting long. The gatekeeper had clearly seen my approach. Again, through the darkness that erupted before me, I sensed the movement. I knew that the blackness would only fade to a dark, impenetrable grey.
‘Hello,’ said the voice; the same squeaky, inquisitive voice as before; ‘…you again.’
You recognised me? I replied.
‘Not difficult, really… if you think about it.’
‘I don’t,’ I said.
‘Most visit here late at night – or in their lunch times at work. We don’t have too many like you.’
‘Like me? You mean my ability to stumble upon you during the middle of the evening.’
‘Yes. When others are either watching peak-time television – all that crap programming…’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘…or messing with their friends on Facebook, or whatever.’
‘Whatever. Those social networks… I’ve tried them.’
‘That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? said my squeaky voiced inquisitor.
‘I mean, they’re OK…’
‘I sense a but…’
‘I was right!’
‘But can anyone really have over a thousand friends? How does that work?’ I said. Then, when my inquisitor didn’t respond right away, ‘…it doesn’t for me.’
‘They can’t… work, I mean. Think about it. It’s a matter of control. And to be a little cynical about it… it’s no more than outsourced market segmentation. He or she who controls a network of contacts has the capacity to influence them. Or to sell that control. The internet is no more than a mesh of outsourced market segments sold on to the highest bidder. Have you ever thought about what you are doing when you sign up to a social network?’
‘Yes… giving away my privacy.’
‘Too damn right, my friend… your privacy and your rights. You have something of value. You lot have your ability to influence others. And you just give it away. Philanthropists… that’s what you all are.’
‘Hypocrite,’ I announced. ‘… and I told you before, you are not my friend.’
‘And I told you, you are talking to me – and here, in this space, that gives me the right to call you a friend.’
I wasn’t going to win that one. A change of tack… ‘Are you smiling?’ I asked.
‘Cool,’ said squeaky, ‘you got that… here in the dark? I am impressed. Maybe you are not like the others.’
‘So, you hypocrite of a squeaky gatekeeper, what are you hiding down here? You still wanting me to join in? I tell you, social networks don’t work for me.’
‘We’re not a social network, they promise nothing in return for your soul… What are you? A writer? Yes, you are, aren’t you?’
‘What if I am?’
‘See, you think these networks are the answer to your dreams… You sell your soul to them… and what do you get? Bombarded by the uninterested and the uninteresting. It’s all “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours”. And there are a lot of back scratchers out there looking for an itch.’
‘Never suggested otherwise,’ said Squeaky.
I decided on attack. A challenge. ‘Go on,’ I started, ‘what’s different about this place? Aren’t you just after my details? You just want me to register somewhere… so you can sell them on? How do you handle privacy issues here?
‘No issue. And no, we just want your soul, David!’
“David”. I rocked back. The sound of hearing my own name squeaked by the unseen hypocritical cynic of a gatekeeper to – well, to God knows what – shook me. I’d been struck dumb. But, gradually, the power of speech returned.
‘How…,’ I was unsure how to respond. ‘How…,’ I stumbled with my words.
‘How did I know who you are?
‘Y y yyes,’ I stammered.
‘You don’t think you found this site by accident do you?’
Go on, you want to know what’s here, don’t you? Whether we can help you or not? You’re hooked! I can tell.
‘I still can’t see anything at all here, it’s too dark’
And suddenly, there it was again. The window opened in front of my eyes. The flash almost blinded me. The same loud unwelcome tune struck up, its discordant notes filling the air. The window beckoned me. It called me forward as the deafening music dulled my senses.
‘Go on,’ said squeaky ‘enter, you know you want to.’
But all I could think of was how the hell had they got my name. I stared in disbelief as my hand reached out. My fingers seemed to hover over the window. Then it was gone. The discordant tones silenced. Relief.
‘Then you’re no friend of mine.’
‘Too late, David, this is my world. Remember, you do not matter in my world, my friend! Do you have a Favourite?’
This was scary. I had not been prepared for this. More déjà vu. ‘I’m not going anywhere I don’t want to.’
‘You are here now. All friends have favourites,’ squeaky added. ‘Just click there, in that little box. Accept me as a friend and favourite. Forget about Facebook… sell your soul to me, David.’
I had to get out of there. How did I do it before… I struggled to remember. A dim source lit an otherwise meaningless swirling darkness. And, in the shade, there appeared the series of stepping stones again. They suddenly made sense. Buttons. Buttons to click on and explore this site further. No.
Déjà vu. I remembered. I took the step backward. Light replaced dark. I could see again. Gone was the dark impression – the absence of light. My focus returned and I could see my outstretched hand. I squeezed the mouse.
To be continued… ;)
Miss Part I?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It can alter even the most ardent routine. Some artists like Public Enemy have taken to only releasing their material online, believing that they’ll get faster responses than by the traditional routes. And, with so many leaks these days, whether its leaked songs or Wikileaks, it's trouble just keeping up sometimes.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Do social networks work for you? Yes, without a doubt.
How do you handle privacy issues? For me, it's pretty cut and dry - use a pen name and don't post personal stuff you don't want the world to know. But what if you don't have a pen name? Then things get trickier.
You will actually have to learn how to use all those nifty privacy settings - like who can view which albums you post, who receives your writing related status updates or news on your kid's latest achievement at school. And here is a novel suggestion - stop playing games and allowing apps that steal and/or share your personal information.
Do you have a favorite? Yes, Facebook. Although, I have some friends who rave about Twitter and I know I need to use it more. I just don't have the time to master one more social tool. Sucks time from my writing and/or my general procrastination to write.
Since I mentioned time sucks, I have to say I never use the aforementioned Facebook apps and games. Did a little reading on that one and decided no thanks, I did not want a third party developer to have access to my information... just for a cute game or bling thingy.
"Friends" of C.J. on Facebook will notice several things:
1) There are almost no pictures of my children posted -- just one. It is the last picture taken of my nephew when he visited with us and it happened to be when he was seated with my kids. I didn't take a ton of pictures when he was here last because I was worried he was getting too old to tolerate his aunt hounding him with a camera, "Oh, you're going bowling with the kids? Here, take this and get some pictures."
2) I almost never mention my children in status updates or anything else. The stuff I do share is usually personal and always true.
3) Rarely do I mention my frustrations with my husband, because (although common) they are quite fleeting and to harp about them on Fb it would sound like we're on the verge of divorce or something. We're not, we're normal and he drives me crazy sometimes.
4) You'll never see me bitch about another writer. Not professional and I won't do it. Ages past, I mentioned a reviewer on Goodreads once who was a close friend of one of my competitors, who slammed my unpublished work during a contest... and later she bitched I sent my fans after her.
Since none of my FB friends ever emailed her or said anything about her, I can't say that anyone went after her. But, I learned that I should keep my mouth shut when I felt unjustly attacked in an biased "review" or blog posting. And yes, it just about killed me to do so. Good lesson to learn and I certainly see enough new writers commenting on reviews who need to learn the same hard truth.
5) Nothing nice to say? Then zip it! Never argue publicly -- whether it's Twitter, Facebook, or a comment on a blog post. It will never work out well. Considering I never shy away from a bully or confrontations, you can bet this one has been a hard one for me to swallow.
And now, I'll tell you something you all probably know about the Internet. Were you ever teased or bullied as a child?
Growing up outside Manhattan during my teenage years, living in the single most competitive metropolitan area I've ever been exposed to, taught me to not back down and to stand up for the underdog. I'd never been picked on or teased so much in my entire life until I moved north. Kids are cruel and it's a harsh reality learning to deal with narrow-minded bigots -- of whom, I found, there are many more north of the Mason-Dixon Line, than south of it.
Those angry hostile people aren't just near Manhattan and they didn't disappear as I grew older. They're online now and in social networks. It's a great tool, but it's also a great weapon for those who are mean-spirited and have an agenda. My advice is to learn how to make these networks work for you and cut yourself off immediately from anyone who may wish you harm.
You'll never change someone's opinion by arguing with them in an open forum and it's best if you don't say anything that can be twisted back on you later. Proceed with caution and wear your game face. But above all, you've got to be in it to win it, and social networking is here to stay. Learn to use it wisely so you can benefit from it.
How about you? What's your favorite social networking tool and why? Anyone have some twitter advice for me?
Friday, March 18, 2011
With that in mind, please continue reading this post, but treat what is written here as if it were one of those infamous “don’t let this happen to you” Army films.
As many of you may know, it took me twenty years to write the first novel. I went through all sorts of maturation, one aspect of which was learning as I went the importance of note-taking as well as the importance of the organization of said notes. Did I take any notes during this time? Absolutely. I just couldn’t begin to recap all of that after so many years and so many changes.
I wrote two drafts of the second novel in only eight months. I can explain the note taking on that one because it happened so quickly. There was a lot less time to get it wrong. On the other hand, the only type of things that I needed help keeping track of were character traits such as what color eyes someone had or their personality quirks. Since much of my writing is simply allowing the images to appear inside my head – with me only having to write them down -, I have simply had the blessing of not needing to jot down that many notes.
See, I told you. Not the best role model, am I?
I am still a work in progress, however. I suppose that this is true for all of us. Even the established greats would probably admit this. In my case, I have only written two large works. With each one I showed remarkable growth. I moved from not giving outlining too much thought to suddenly penciling down each chapter, blow by blow. Although I marvel at those who have binders and shelves full of notes, outlines and the like, perhaps I may one day find myself there as well. I just don’t know.
Sometime this year I will begin work on the third novel in my vampire series. It is currently little more than a typed three page outline at this point, with the rest of what I foresee simply gestating inside my mind. Perhaps sometime later this year or early next I can begin revealing how much further I have matured.
Since I am in such poor shape and in desperate need of counseling, please enlighten me: How do you folks manage your writing projects? What are the big mistakes that writers make that you might be able to shed some light on? What have you learned from personal experience? I’d love to hear. Perhaps the next pupil that you will correct is me. As you can see from the photos, my notes are piled up on a shelf in my library. Heck! I don't even have a desk.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Quote: “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” – A. A. Milne
Quote: “One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system.” – Margo Kaufman
- my external hard drive (called J-drive on my computer).
- my filing cabinets (two tall, industrial size, one short and squat).
- my bookcases.
- a 24 hole mail slot case-rack-thing I have no idea the name of.
- Rubbermaid containers (various sizes and colors), magazine holders and trays.
- file folders – flat and accordion, in an array of colors – some with handles/locks.
- hard, three ring notebooks of various sizes.
- pocket folders (paper and plastic), report covers, and tabbed indexed dividers.
- my trusty Dymo label maker.
- An organized office – free from clutter - keeps my distractions down and my OCD at bay.
- An organized writing life keeps my brain from sweating the small, insignificant stuff and I feel I can focus more on writing than on searching.
- The ‘organizing’ and ‘cleaning’ aspects to my writing life are a way for me to take the ‘unbridled’ destructive energy that plagues bi-polar people and twist it into something useful for my career.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I may be a hypocrite when it comes to being organized. I always preach about how important it is to outline and plot and research and save copies of everything. But does that mean my desk and filing cabinet are in perfect order? Er... not exactly.
A third of my notes are in a notebook. Most of those are things I had to jot down in a hurry, or lists I made so I don't forget something, or scribbles of brainstorming, or a few nonsense doodles that came out during a mental block. In other words, no one could read my notebook front to back and make sense of it. Not even me.
An other third of my notes are typed up, printed out, and in a three-ring binder or folder. But even those are messy because I have a ton of them. They sit in a stack, all of them unlabeled so I have to open each one and peek inside to find the one I need. Brilliant, I know.
The final third of my notes are typed up and saved on my computer (with a second copy on my flash drive). These are the most organized of my notes. Every three months or so, I take the time to re-organize my saved documents. I delete stuff I don't need, print out stuff that would be easier to reference on a hard copy, and then re-arrange the rest.
As for my ideas - I assume this means ideas for new projects? Because ideas for current projects are scribbled in my notebook somewhere. Ideas for projects I haven't started on yet stay lodged in my brain.
Keeping novels organized is easy. I sketch and outline for those and save copies of everything on a folder on my computer (and flash drive). I have a folder for each book and short story I've ever worked on so I can always go back to it and pick up where I left off if I need to.
Um, okay, this post ended up much shorter and much more pointless than I anticipated. I don't really have a moral or thought-provoking ending for you. My stuff isn't in neat-freak perfect order, but I know where everything is. Is there a better method out there? Probably. Maybe one of the other Wicked Writers will elaborate on that.
As for me, I'm off to work on Dark Heirloom some more. Have a great Monday. :-)
Friday, March 11, 2011
|Sydney Carton climbing the scaffold in 'A Tale of Two Cities.'|
I'll be honest with you. I don't stay with a book I don't care for. I've heard a writer can learn from reading a poorly written book. My reaction to that truthfully is I'm not interested. I would prefer to read some passages perhaps in order to learn what not to do, but I'm afraid that doesn't include reading the entire book. I mean I'd go off the deep end at some point. I'd not want to pick it up, etc.
With regard to wanting to 'write a note to an author' I'd choose to do this for the most positive of reasons.
A book comes to mind immediately that would warrant such a note. The note would concern one of the most unforgettable characters in the magnificent A Tale of Two Cities. Now, I'd have very much wanted to dash off a note to Charles Dickens about this book, particulary with regard to the character, Sydney Carton!
To have a man choose to die in another's place for the love of a woman, is profound!
Carton, a careless. bored man who cares about nothing happens to fall deeply in love with a young woman. The only problem is she is deeply in love already with a goodly man who happens to be an aristocrat in 18th Century France!
Written against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this is a tale indeed of two cities: Paris and London. But it is in Paris where our tale ends. It is in this great city that Dickens brings us face to face with Mme. Guillotine and the impending death of Mr. Carton.
I first read this in high school and have re-read it many times over the years. I wish I could have told Dickens how greatly it affected me. How I was never able to forget it.
So you see for me to feel I'd like to type a note (my handwriting is the pits) to an author means I'm reading a very special book. A book that has gripped me and affected me greatly, a book that is indeed talking to me--telling me things, perhaps even changing my values or at the very least if not changing them completely, making me think in ways I never thought before!
When reading Susan Hill, Daphne DuMaurier, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte or Anne Rice to name a few--I have found myself wishing I could tell them how much I was enjoying their stories.
To Anne Rice I'd say, oh Miss Rice! Thank you for writing thought-provoking horror. Horror that depends on a story and finely drawn characters for its power. Thank you for not writing about a giant slug that might have eaten all of Hoboken!
I want to read what I love. I want to savor the prose, feel the setting. I want to experience the story and the characters. I want to feel something. I want it to be worthwhile.
When reading Stephen King's Pet Sematary I fully understood the fear King must have had (in fact I read he was fearful) of one of his children being hit by a truck. I felt that fear and empathized completely.
With regard to that novel, who hasn't wished they could bring back someone they loved from death? Surely it is a fantasy we all share, short of actually plunging into some sort of hideous rite!
I'd say of course I'd love to write to tell the author of a book that has gripped me and affected me how very much I've enoyed it.
I think mainly I would say to each of the authors whose books I have enjoyed: thank you for writing this story, it's enriched my life. It's given me a greater understanding of humanity, of God, of love of all things that are worth thinking about. Yes, dear author! Thank you, indeed!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I hope you do not mind my lack of formality. Having read your writing I feel I have come to know something of you, or at least a little of how you think about certain things. Starting a letter “Dear Mr Larsson” sounds a little to prim for my liking.
I have just finished reading your Millennium Trilogy. I must say, you had me going there… in the past years, since I took to writing myself, I have hardly read three books, let alone a trilogy of three full books! And full they are too. Eighteen hundred and fifty pages altogether – at least in the edition I have read. It is probably just as well you had a publisher – I’d hate to have posted out self-published versions to all my friends and family. Just think of all that postage! If I wasn’t a Luddite, the physical weight of your masterpieces would be enough to tempt me into a acquiring a Kindle! But enough of technology.
I must say, in Lisbeth Salander, you have created one hell of a character – an enigma indeed! If only I had a photographic memory like hers, I could at least remember how to spell the words I use in my own writing without the need for a spell checker on my computer, or an over-large version of the Concise Oxford Dictionary taking up valuable space on my over-full desk. Still… Oh! for the life of a published author… But it must have been a pain for you with drafts of the three manuscripts, presumably on A4 paper, spread all over your desk as you kept track of the various and complex threads of the Millennium story. (Do they have A4 in Sweden?)
Looking back, I think it was your plot that got me hooked. It was not the writing. I am sorry, but it may be a feature of the translation from Swedish to English – I’m not familiar with Reg’s work – but I do find the writing somewhat stilted. However, I do accept that it could, of course, be a function of my northern heritage. Or the fact that it appears to have been a UK edited American translation of your original Swedish… Now, there is potential for mixed messages, if ever there was! But, dear-o-dear, Stieg, did you really have to put a complete page-worth of shopping items from Ikea into the “The Girl Who Played with Fire”? For me – and I know this is wholly subjective – it was painful to read. It is bad enough that the interiors of many UK middle-class homes suffer from identikit Swedish-look decors, fuelled by the propensity of UK TV broadcasters to schedule make-over programmes that lack any sense of creativity and play on the lack of taste and mediocrity that are characteristic of the proletariat. But to have to read the names of items I have purposely avoided purchasing in the past, just did not do it for me.
I do like the idea of rogue departments of the security services being left out in the cold, forgotten and clearly up to no good. The clarity of this idea in the "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" is superb. Globally, there must be a whole darn mess of them, particularly in both the UK and the US. Your trilogy raises some interesting political and social questions which you clearly had in mind when writing it. Yet I think the conflation of the social and political elements across the series lends a somewhat schizophrenic air to the plot – particularly in the first novel – that I feel is compounded by the titles. I do think that some might wonder if the "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" had an earlier and less feminine title at its first draft. (Quickly Googles for info: Men who hate Women; my question is answered.)
Was the first novel always a part of a trilogy? Or did you find by the end of the manuscript that the girl you had merely introduced to help the hero – Blomkvist – in the first novel, took on a role bigger than initially envisaged and, like a juggernaut, the plot started to take on a significant momentum as it careered down the slope of your narrative arc? Knowing something of the penchant of publishers and editors to change the work of the “artist” writer (and that fact that you were clearly unable, for obvious and wholly unfortunate reasons, to argue any differently), are you happy that the choice of titles for the English language edition do justice to the concept you held for the series? For my part, the first novel would have made more sense to me if the title had been more reflective of your original choice.
If, as I have said, I find the writing a little off for me, why might I agree with the popular voice in congratulating you on the success of your series? Why might I be writing to you, today, to add my voice to the millions of other readers who have enjoyed your work? Well, if I may, I will make an observation drawn on someone you may well have met recently (or if not, you should look him up and have a chat with him!) Oscar Wilde once said that “Anybody can write a three-volumed novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.” (The Critic as an Artist.) Yet, he also said that “Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose.” (The Decay of Lying.) In the Millennium Trilogy, I feel that you have, indeed, moulded life for a purpose. Not “Anybody” could achieve such purpose and I thank you for demonstrating that. I think it is a shame that that purpose may well be obscured by its popularity – a product not of the artist but of the publishing industry.
My thoughts are with you.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
But I don't do it. Why? Well, for starters, who am I to judge them or their vision? Just because I didn't care for it does not mean others won't think it's the bees knees. I read a bestselling erotica ebook author this week and while her writing was well done, I did not care for some of the details she wove in.
You've read my descriptive sex prose and think that's the pot calling the kettle black?
No, not really. I may write some very racy, sometimes raunchy stuff, but at no point does my work read like a porn movie put into words. And yes, even though my work has been called porn (and smut) by a few, I know the difference because I actually watch porn. Perhaps, those people who called my work porn haven't ;-)
Since picking up the ebook bestseller I mentioned, I can now say I have also read very well written porn. Mistake me not, I thought it was porn and not erotica. But, let's clarify, that is only my opinion.
Case in point - our very first trip to a Hollywood Hustler (HH) store when we were in New Orleans in November. While completing my overpriced purchase, the cashier asked if I wanted a plain bag or a bag from their store. I laughed out loud. What the hell? I'm on Bourbon Street on a Saturday night at 10:30 and I'm worried what a stranger will think of an HH bag?
"Nah, you can use your bag, it not like you carry midget porn or something and I need to be embarrassed," I said.
"Actually, we do carry midget porn. But it's classic and very well done."
My point, in a round about way of explaining, is there will always be a market for stuff in erotica I would prefer not to read. Just like the huge market of the adult film industry will have thousands of titles I'd rather never, ever knew existed. Do I intend to write to the author and tell her I would have liked it better if she cut out such and such gross parts? No, I don't.
Perhaps she has a male dominated readership. Perhaps some chicks like the over the top fantasy scenarios that don't have any basis in my reality, and frankly have a bit of an ick factor for me. It's got to be floating someone's boat or it wouldn't be selling.
Back to my original statement from above -- who am I to judge? I can think of no other way to look at writing to an author with any type of criticism of their work. If it's an author I know well, I will point out typos, grammar, and plot inconsistencies if I have the time -- and if I know they would want to know and might fix the mistakes. I've also told them in emails the things I really like about their books.
But mostly, if I have good things to say, I will write a review -- even if I don't know the author. First and foremost I am a reader and if I liked something about a book, I will happily point it out for future readers. If I don't care for it and I don't know the author, I'll keep my damn mouth shut.
As an author, I will not always be able to make every reader happy. There will be those who hate my style, dislike my voice, can't stand my characters, and think my plot sucks. I accept this. But I hope with all my heart, if a reader dislikes my work to the point they'd say "hate", that they choose not to write to me and point out what they hated.
How about you? What would you do if you received hate mail regarding your work? Or have you ever sent a letter to an author that was borderline hostile?
Friday, March 4, 2011
This week’s topic was easy and, although I am only beginning to write it, I daresay that it will write itself. (Editor’s note: it did.)
For those of you who have come to know me, I hope you will not find this post to be repetitive. I have spoken about some of this before. For those of you who don’t know me very well, allow me to set it up.
I started writing late in life. That’s not exactly true. What I mean is I started writing when I was a kid, of course. However, it wasn’t until I had approached my forties that I began attempting to resurrect the novel writing that I had been doing before life, family and career began pushing it to the back-burner, as they say. I completed my novel about vampires unleashed in my hometown and then was blessed to find a publisher willing to climb out on a limb with me. Although it took essentially twenty years to write the first novel, I managed to write the first two drafts of the sequel in a mere eight months.
Since then, it has been a blur. A guest post in these hallowed pages soon became an invite to join as a regular. A review in a local magazine soon got me a job writing for another magazine. Add to this the posting I need to do for my own blog, as well as the help I give to another, and suddenly I’m juggling deadlines. Then, for everything that you are doing, you need to keep the gears of the PR machine greased. I do all of that on top of the eleven hours that I do at my day-job. Notice I have yet to say anything about my family or house and yard work.
So, why do I do it? Why do any of us do it? It’s two reasons, isn’t it?
We write because we have it in us. We were born with a talent to put words together in such a way that it compels others to want to read more. We tell stories with words, and not just any words, but grand ones. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way, am I? I would love to hear how others feel about it.
Another reason that we write is the potential. Stephen King used to write stories that no one but his immediate circle read. I heard that John Grisham gave his first novel away. That would have been A Time to Kill. Have you read it? It might be his best; certainly one of them. How about J.K. Rowling? Or Stephanie Meyer? Enter any author that you want onto this list. Heck, you can even add the names of newspaper columnists, play-writes, screenwriters and songwriters to that list of people who are now being paid to do what they do. Each and every one of them came from a place where no one was reading them. Who says that you and I are not next to that list?
Having (written) said all of this, one might say that the answer is simple, but it isn’t. I’m approaching forty-two years old now. Before you begin to tell me that I’m not old or anything, and that I have plenty of time yet to make a second career out of writing (and I love you for it, by the way), I have a couple of other numbers for you: 21, 17 and 13. This June will be my 21st wedding anniversary. I married my wife, not my laptop and iPhone. She has gotten scant attention from me these past few years while I attempt to juggle a schedule that is far too demanding. Next is how old my firstborn will be this coming July. He’s driving now and is as accomplished as hell. He performs in plays, sings honor choir and plays in honor band. He was one of only sixteen to make the California All-State Jazz Choir. He’s starting to get a ton of mail from colleges far and wide. The last number is the age of my youngest son. He’s the sports kid. He’s my all-star in baseball and is now doing track, too. If I keep up this pace for another five years, I could potentially look up to find that both of them are grown men.
I’m going to take a hard look at this year and see what I can glean from it. I love to write and have tons more stories that I would like to see in print, even if I’m the only one reading them. People who have read my novel so far come up to me and tell me that they liked it. Just getting more people to hear of the novel is the difficult part, not to mention getting them to buy.
Unfortunately, I fear that I am going to have to schedule down soon. This year the second novel will see publication, but when am I going to find the time to begin writing the third one? As it is now, the only writing I’m doing is for PR – not fiction at all.
What keeps you guys motivated? I really want to know. Perhaps reading your comments will help me more clearly decide what I want to do. Or need to do.
Oh, and one more thing. You’ll notice that I didn’t post any photos this time. I just felt that the words should provide the pictures today.
It’s what we do. Right?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My sexual drive motivates me to be as passionate with my stories as I am to my lovers in bed. It is my WILL to pleasure all who read.
- Sexual Drive
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
So what motivates me to keep writing and not give up? Well, to answer that I have to take you back a few years to a sixteen year old girl trapped by alcohol and drug addiction. I couldn't function without a few vicodins or oxycodones to start the day, a few drinks after school (okay a lot of drinks) and more pills at night. The fact that I didn't stop my heart with this combination of chemicals is beyond me.
I should have died.
I wanted to die.
Yes, it's true. I wanted to die more than anything. I would wake up extremely mad I woke up at all. I tried to years to find the right concoction of drugs that would let me just slip away in my sleep. But I never found it.
I guess maybe I have a purpose to fulfill in this life. Perhaps I am destined for something. Who knows. All I know is that for about ten years, my soul was in total agony because of what I was doing to myself and the fact that I seemed immortal!
I don't want to scare you too much with the horror stories of those ten years. But let me just say I can tell you each moment where rightfully and scientifically I should have died. Besides the lethal drugs I was pumping steadily into my system, there was the fact I ran into traffic - on purpose. I purposefully walked into dangerous situations and fights hoping I would come out the loser (and in my mind, really, the winner...) I have more scars than I can count - one of which from a somewhat serious stab wound to my chest. The rest from doing things like, rock climbing with no safety equipment.
Obviously this story has a happy ending. I didn't die and I don't want to die anymore. I got into a recovery program, AA, and slowly began to put back the pieces of my life. It's been four and a half years since my last drink - four and half years since I last wanted to die.
So what motivates me to keep going and not quit? The fact that every day I have now is a miracle. Sometimes I feel I didn't earn this time because of the person I once was. I hurt people during those ten years I suffered - I hurt a lot of people. Each day is a blessing that I can't take for granted. I wasted ten years of my life because of my own selfishness and pain and I don't intend to waste another moment. I keep improving and learning and moving forward in a positive way.
I should have died long before I reached the age of 20. The first birthday I had after I sobered up I cried for most of the day. I never thought I would see the age of 23.
Like I said. I must have a destiny to fulfill. I have been blessed with friends who truly love and care about me, a husband who has stuck by my side for the last four and a half years, a beautiful son who adores me.
If I was to impart any knowledge to the readers out there it would be this. Don't waste your life. If you have dreams or things you want to do -- go do them NOW. Life is way too short to wait for "someday." And it's way too short to quit when things get tough.
I'll close with one of my favorite quotes: