January 24, 2015

So You Want to be a Writer?

      

Chickens Reading Stavewood
Photo by Stephen and Bonnie Moore

    
      Well hello! It's nice you've come by to visit. I like the fact that you're here to see what I'm up to and I truly enjoy all of the messages and emails and all the hits I get at this blog. Everyone who knows me knows I read them all. I'm often asked how I can do all that and still have time to put out a weekly blog and regular novel. Some people tell me how much they love to write. Some ask for advice on their own novels and what is my "secret to success". Some send me partially written works they can't seem to finish and ask what they should do to get their book completed. I don't have answers for everyone, but I'll share what works for me.

      Maybe you have that next great novel in you somewhere or that powerful memoir tucked away inside of your heart and mind. Many people want to write. The hard part is getting it done. Recently someone sent me a link to a site that has a gadget that will turn off the notifications on your computer so you can focus and they asked if I used it. Sorry, but nope, there is no easy fix. Like anything, it's all up to you.

      I know what works for me and it is not a gadget. It's pure focus. Here are a few pointers that might help you get your novel written, or your studying finished or maybe even help you find a bit of time for a hot bath or nice cup of tea. Decide what you want and make it happen. The power for success or failure is all in your hands.

  • Decide what you really love. The world is full of exciting and attractive adventures that beckon the creativity in all of us. With so many choices how can you decide? For me the answer has always been to try anything and everything. Don't be afraid of something just because it's new. Embrace it. Immerse yourself and discover the joys it has to offer. But be prepared to apply yourself too. Success isn't achieved without some measure of work . If you feel that the rewards are worth the effort then you're on to something. Stick with it. But don't fool yourself either. If your new passion slowly turns into a dreary responsibility that drags you away from other things that make you happier then move on and let it go. 
  • Do what you love.  I love to write. It's an escape to a perfect world. Why would I not do everything possible to enjoy that? No time spent crushing candies or watching TV should rob that from me, or you either. If you love TV that's great. But remember you shouldn't wonder after binge watching six hours of TV shows, why you didn't do what you really wanted.
  • Find some motivation. I like money. I make money writing. I make it here and when anyone buys my books. It's certainly no get-rich-quick method but it pays. It didn't pay when I wrote my first novel but I stayed focused in that hope and I wrote. As a result it changed my life and I can say I am a successful, professionally published author. Just typing that gives me chills.
  • Block it all out. I wear headphones and/or play instrumental music while I write. It does not shut out the world entirely but it pulls in my focus. I never have my email, messengers or any games etc. set on notifications. When I work I work and when I play I play. Shut off every alert and leave the cell phone out of the room or turn it off.  
  • Put yourself in the right environment. I recently watched a film where the handsome author took his lovely apple pad out onto the dock at his beach house to write. It's a nice idea but I have never found it to work. If you're at the beach or a coffee house then your mind is probably not where you are in your story. Close the office door and put on some music that's appropriate to your story's setting.
  • Keep a schedule. When you work a job you have hours. If you love writing give it the same consideration. Make a separate schedule for socializing, networking and phone calls. Good friends who support your success will understand and wait to hear from you. I do have days where I have meetings with my publisher and other responsibilities but on most days I write. If you love it, live it. 
  • Get into the Zone. I always reread the last chapter or two of my project when working on a novel. It puts my mind and heart back into the story and helps shut out the real world. Once I get into the zone I become lost there and it is hard for me to stop for anything. Should I have an interruption it can take time from what I love. Is it a welcome break? If the break is more inviting, enjoy it, but don't kid yourself if it eats up your writing time.

      For the record, I don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, stories, poetry or any other writing. If you send them to me I won't read them or even open the attachments. I'm not a publisher or an editor and I'm not looking to partner or co-author any works. My publisher is very strict about this and I understand the reasons. I'm happy to help you out in other ways whenever I can. Thanks!

Now on to life and thanks again for coming!



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