What’s Happening in 2017

Hello everyone.

The blog is on hiatus right now.

For the past two years I’ve used this blog to talk about…

  • Story Structure
  • Creativity
  • Novel Writing
  • Health/Inspiration/Motivation

Now it’s time for me to bring all that research to bear on my own novel. Book 1 of my fantasy series, Turtle Island, is still in the works.

I’ve been working with a professional developmental editor for the past 8 months. My novel is coming along, and in the meantime I’m getting a crash course in writing from someone who does what I want to do – someone who deals in words for a living. Most importantly, I’m getting direct feedback on my writing. Which is scary, and painful, and exactly what I need.

I still plan to have the novel published on Amazon in 2017. But because this is my first time going through the process, it’s hard for me to judge exactly what month I’ll be able to publish.

My blog hasn’t slowed to a halt because I don’t care about writing anymore; it’s just that, I’m trying to stop talking about writing and do the damn thing.

When I do re-start the blog, I’m actually considering doing it in the form of a podcast. In my podcast I plan to break down famous novels, especially fantasy trilogies and series like…The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman, Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. The podcast will be the result of some intense reading and studying I’ve done in preparation for my own fantasy trilogy. Because how better to learn than by taking notes from the greats?

 

But the podcast is not right now. Right now I’m in radio silence mode. Working my day job, day dreaming about writing during my day job, and coming home every evening to write.

So that’s where I’m at. When I’m back here next, I’ll be carrying a basket of good news.

 

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Inspiration Runs Dry: Wednesday, July 22nd

It’s all well and good to make goals, but you need inspiration and hard work to see those goals to fruition – and inspiration is a limited resource.

Inspiration is like a precious little cup of water, sitting on a lone table in the desert. The world of jobs, tasks, errands, and everyday life is conspiring every minute to blow that cup over. The fiery sun flies high and zaps your inspiration straight into the atmosphere. If you drink it, then you’re good, but only for a while.

You’ve gotta find ways to keep refilling your gas tank.

Personally, for writing inspiration, I keep a steady IV drip of podcasts streaming day and night through my ears and into my brain. Constantly hearing the success stories of other authors helps keep me tuned into the right frequency. Of course those success stories aren’t really going to help me become a writer, but they just might trick me into writing today, into believing I can do it, into taking another step forward.

I’ve got a friend that I meet with once a month. We discuss our goals. I can’t even describe how much this has helped keep me accountable. Even if I do a miserable job all month, I’ll bust my ass that last week just so I don’t look like a fool when it’s time to report.

I try to tell my wife what I’m working on. I tell my friends too. When I make my goals public, it’s kind of like outsourcing my inspiration. Now I’m not just inwardly motivated, but I have a whole new set of inspiration which has solely to do with keeping my promises. I am incredibly motivated and driven by what I think other people think about me. Everyone is – it’s our nature.

But all that aside, the key is to NOT rely on inspiration as much as possible. However I can ween myself OFF of inspiration is a good thing. I know how unreliable, how fleeting it is.

So I’m trying to build good habits. Habits are the best way to fortify my goals.

Once writing, or exercising, or gratitude, or optimism (or any healthy activity you can think of), once it becomes a habit, then you don’t have to think about it anymore. You just do it. And good habits build momentum over time; they accumulate interest like a good investment.

Life is way too precious to wait around with your fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

If the Inspiration Fairies decide to pay me a visit, then I’m grateful. Maybe they’ll pick me up and fly me out over the ocean and reveal the world’s miraculous secrets. If so I’ll be ready, eyes wide, taking notes. I’ll see whatever inspiration wants to show me. And when it’s over I’ll thank them to the moon and tip them like kings.

Maybe the fairies are on their way this very minute. And maybe they’re not. Either way, as for today, I’ve got work to do.

My Problem Is: Friday, July 10th

So here’s my problem.

I spend approximately 10 hours / week writing these blogs. Maybe 15 hours if I’m enjoying myself. Never less than 5.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is that I’m not writing as much “story” content as I’d like. I’m getting at least one short story finished each month. But I think that I could do more. And I want to write novels at the same time.

I want to be writing stories, every damn day, because that’s the only way to write better stories.

Every minute of every day counts. So when I think about 10 hours per week of blogging, or 40 hours per month, well that’s a lot of valuable hours. And maybe more of those should be spent writing stories instead of writing about writing stories.

Now I’ve been going 4 months of blogging 5 days a week. I’ve never missed a day and I’m proud of that. But what are goals worth if they’re not steering you in the right direction.

But I can’t just quit blogging. I can’t even just say, “OK, now I’ll cut back to two days a week.”

Because I’m afraid that, if I did that, it wouldn’t actually lead to more story writing. Maybe it would just lead to more Youtube Watching, or more Bike Riding, or more Sleeping in on Sundays.

So here’s my brilliant solution / compromise.

I’m going to keep posting 5 days a week. Only some of those posts will not be “nonfiction blogs”, they’ll be some kind of story, some kind of serial or ongoing fiction plot-line.

That way, I’ll keep the daily posting, which I like because it kicks my ass into producing every day whether I like it or not, but I’ll turn more of those hours into “story producing hours.”

***

Now that I’ve had the idea. I know this needs to happen. But I’m scared to do it. Because it will probably mean even more weekly work. It will mean I need to plot a full story arc (or two) before I can begin the first installment. And it will mean publishing more stories at a faster rate, which for me feels more high stakes than just a nonfiction blogpost.

So because I’m scared to start this, I’m gonna go ahead and say, “to begin at an undetermined date.”

So, hopefully in the next month of so… (that’s the anxiety talking again)

I’ll jump into a slightly different routine of… 1 short story per month. 2 blog posts per week about writing. And 3 installments of a short story series per week. Or something along those lines.

Obviously I’ve got a lot to figure out. But right now the idea feels right. More to come.

***

Have a fluffy, feathery weekend everyone!!