writing

To All The Writers

Today's Blog is To All The Writers...

Today is about ENCOURAGEMENT: I want you to know YOU CAN DO THIS.

Today is about PRAISE: You are good at what you do; primarily because you are DOING it.

Today is about FREEDOM: You are free to write whatever you want; it's YOUR world.

Today is about MAKING A MARK: Leave your mark, your voice, your signature...by YOUR words.


At last count, I just passed the 36,000 word mark on my latest novel SEDUCTION AT DAYBREAK. It's been a bit daunting, thus far.

Why?

Because I've never written a Murder Mystery before. I wasn't sure how they worked; I mean, I'd read enough, but until you sit down to write one--a original idea, it's harder than one thought.

I've also never written a book with a WOMAN PROTAGONIST before. But I gotta tell you; it's freakin' awesome. Guess I'm channeling my inner female side.

Likewise, I've never had to write a book whereby you have no idea who the ANTAGONIST is in the beginning of the book. It's a huge challenge, and has caused me to stretch my muscles.

By the way, not only do I have THREE thrillers, TWO family stories and ONE horror/pulp fiction to my credit, but besides this murder mystery, I'm working on two non-fiction books. One of those two books are about WRITING.

In this (coming) book, I will share my tricks & techniques on writing, writing fast, developing characters, crafting arresting dialogue and much more. I'll also share what I've learned about self-publishing; the Ins & Outs, the Dos & Don'ts, what to be prepared for, what to do without, and how Agents fit into this world. I think you'll like it.

Well, I've got to run. I have another 2500 to 3000 words to accomplish today, and as the saying goes, books don't write themselves.

So, as I was thinking about today's blog, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes. Yes, I have many, but these are several that hang with me. Perhaps you'll resonate with them, too.

Enjoy these quotes. Share with me (a) if you're a writer (or writer wanna-be), (b) which of these quotes you connected to (and share one of your favorites), and (c) tell me the story you want to tell...but perhaps have never had the guts (read: given yourself permission) to write.

Cheers!

#itellstories


On Simplicity in Writing ...

On being true to oneself and being respectful to protect our craft ...

A Truly Great Piece Of Advice ...

Painful, but true ...

Advice from one of the Masters of the craft ...

A great analogy ...

Bad vs. Good ...

On Being Brave ...

And perhaps the very best piece of advice for a writer ...

Now, Go Write Something!

Just write, dammit!

 - Photo credit belongs to my "wife-equivalent" Tammy whose support fuels my creative spirit.

I was sitting in Encinitas, CA yesterday, just outside San Diego, working on my latest novel #seductionatdaybreak, when I came upon a mental bump in the road. What was the bump, you ask?

Writer's Block? No. Story Failure? Hardly. Brain Fart? Likely.

That's when I got to thinking: Why am I, just like YOU, so hard on ourselves when it comes to our daily writing? Several thoughts came to mind; see if any hit you the same way.

We are afraid we suck.

So what if we suck? Do you think Hank Aaron gave up from swinging his bat the first time he tried to hit a home run? Do you think Michael Jordan, who he tried out for his high school varsity team but was cut because he wasn't tall enough, gave up right there? No. And, no. They kept practicing until they mastered their craft. 

Question: How Badly Do You Want To Master The Craft? 

Even when I started in Radio at the ripe age of 17, I sucked. Sure it was an "AM daytime station" with very little audience, and I played "beautiful music" on LP's, but that's what I really wanted, so I kept at it. Side note for another time: My childhood goal of hosting Morning Radio Shows in at least five of the Top Ten markets in America eventually came true. (Hint: LA, NYC, CHI, DET, PHIL)

Question: How Hard Will You Work To Become The Best? 

Point is: Practice Makes Better. I know the saying is 'practice makes perfect,' but what's "perfect?" Perfect to me is Really Very Good. Better yet; it's when I am personally satisfied that the piece is as good as I can make it. You ask another person; their opinion is different. I say, Whatever.

Who are you writing for?

Are you writing to get noticed? To get sponsored? To become one of the Biggest Bloggers on the planet? Are you writing just to get an agent, thinking they will do all the work later? Hope not, because that couldn't be further from the truth. Are you writing just to get published? What if it never happens. Do you find personal satisfaction with your work? Do you enjoy the creative process? Is that enough? Only YOU can answer this. For me, the joy is in the CREATION.

You're afraid you'll ever be good enough.

Good enough? In whose eyes? Who defines "good?" And is what they do (write/build/teach/etc.) "good" in your eyes? What if you simply "get a hoot" from writing? Maybe that's enough.

That's already been done before.

I know, I know...NOTHING is original anymore. True, but look at E. L. JAMES' FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Her grammar, punctuation and over-used cliches leave much to be desired. Does she care, as he driver backs her Escalade up to the bank where they offload all her money? NO! She felt a void and filled it, and continues to fill it. Read: The insatiable desire for more naughtiness.

Question: What If "They" End Up Loving Exactly What You Love To Write?

Do you think Nicholas Sparks worries about being a guy who's sweet, sappy love stories are original? Do you think he concerns himself with things like: What if they don't like it...What if they've heard something like this before...What if get tired of sweet, wholesome stories. NO! He just loves to write. And I'm sure he loves having them all turned into Hollywood Movies!

It’s All Been Done Before.
— Everyone

Your friends & family won't like it (or write a review).

Big deal. SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE will like it. And they will be the ones to buy, read & review. Note to self: Don't hang your hopes on friends/family to post a review for you. While I don't have the perfect answer for this, I'll just assume either (1) they don't want to hurt your feelings if they don't like it, (2) they're worried they aren't good at writing reviews, or my personal favorite, (3) they're "too busy."  Whatever.

My Bottom Line.

Write for the FUN of it. If you find any PLEASURE at all in writing, DO IT! Write for the PRACTICE of it, because you know if you put in the time, you'll get better. And who knows, eventually you'll be writing for the PROFIT of it, as people start lining up to buy & read your latest work.

You can’t be a writer, if you don’t put your butt in the chair. It takes Seat Time!
— me

Whether you write part-time, full-time, as a hobby, as a freelancer, or as "someone else," just be sure you're doing it because you ENJOY THE CREATIVE PROCESS.

#writeon

Officially withdrawn from NaNoWriMo

WHY? The answer is easy, and has two parts:

(1) I've proven to myself that I can write a 50,000 novel in just 30 days. If you don't believe me, check out my last two November entries: LUCKY STRIKES and BEHIND THE 8 BALL. The MOST IMPORTANT Lesson to learn here is that, in my opinion, #NaNoWriMo teaches you to see IF you have the Discipline. I have the discipline. I write pretty much every day. Some days, I'll scribble out 500 to 1,000 words; others, I'll bang out 2,500 to 3,000 words.

What Writing Takes Is: SEAT TIME

Well, a healthy dose of self-discipline, tenacity, courage, patience and freedom to create. But that's for another, longer blog.

(2) With my latest book, KNUCKLE DOWN, I learned some very, very important things about myself. 

  1. Good stuff takes time. It's like a really good spaghetti sauce. I make mine from scratch. It includes: tomatoes (locally, or imported from Italy, if possible), sausages (pork and lamb), fresh garlic, thyme, oregano, fresh cracked peppers, the best EVO I can find...okay, that recipe? Another time...
  2. Proper research ups the ante. I like to interject just enough research (like a good sauce; see above) to let you know that I know what I'm talking about, but not so much as to distract you from the story...
  3. Strong support from your partner. I know, it sounds simple. But let me tell you, if you don't have the (loving) support from your (life) partner then when (a) the shit hits the fan, (b) the bills need paying, (c) tensions run high, as patience runs low...etc., then you're just up the creek with less than a full-length paddle (feel free to insert any other tasty analogy here)...
  4. Spend the dime for a good cover. Yes, it's true, we DO judge the book by it. Shitty covers get sketchy eyeball time...
  5. Spend the dime for a good editor. Okay, so there are a few mistakes I made in this book that both I and my editor (hey, I was on a budget) missed, but moving forward, I will go this extra mile. (I love you, Editor Scott!)...
  6. Take a little extra time to LIVE & BREATH with the CHARACTERS & LOCATIONS and, best of all, ENJOY THE PROCESS. Pretty much says it all, right?

In closing, I'm backing out of NaNoWriMo. And for those of you who know me, know I am NOT a quitter, and that stopping short of a goal is something which will gnaw at me for weeks (if not months) to come, but I feel it's best for my latest work.

What is my latest book, you ask?

SEDUCTION AT DAYBREAK - Is a MYSTERY with a FEMALE LEAD who is a DETECTIVE and the story is set in LOS ANGELES.

Thus far, I have written none of the above (mystery/female protag/detective/LA), so I'm anxious to see what happens next. And you can look for #seductionatdaybreak to be released sometime in early 2017.

Cheers and #writeon