Tag Archives: writing

An Author’s Prayer

I want you to imagine for a moment a few feelings of excitement. Something that you can genuinely get excited about. Think, about how exciting it would be to have an entire novel outline laid out before you complete with chapter titles, synopsis, commentary, imagery, sensory and character reveal details. All thirty or so of those scenes all laid out, nice and neat … color coded and ready to have an interesting, insightful and fun story written for each one.

A story that will come easily and fluidly, because you take this moment to become introspective, and think about things that matter to you and how you live and the world around you. You incorporate things from your memories into the story. Things from your recent memories and your childhood. Things from yesterday. Things from today, and things that you dream about for your future. You find little lessons and morals … you incorporate them subtly and not so subtly into your story.

You make it fun, to imagine what your characters would do and say in those same situations. You know, that your beliefs are not always their beliefs, but you don’t care. They have their own minds and imaginations and biases. That’s what makes it all so fun. That’s what makes telling a story exciting.

Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if you have a moral or larger theme to get across. Sometimes you find yourself in the heat of the moment, and just want to relate a funny, violent, gross, heart-breaking, boring, pleasant, disastrous scene. That’s OK too, and your readers will love you for it. They’ll love you, because your being honest. Honest about yourself, and your view of the world, as seen through the eyes of many different characters.

Now, imagine what it’s like to have done a good days worth of writing. How happy that makes you feel on the inside. Knowing, that you put some good ideas out there … some shitty ones as well, but that’s OK. How else will your readers know the good ones are good, if you don’t have the shitty ones to compare them too. Think, about how good you’ll feel after a full week of writing and hitting your word counts every day. 5 days in a row … 10 days in a row … 100 … 1000 days in a row. Think about all the stories you’ll tell.

Now, think about how good it feels to hit that publish button on KDP. Think about that sense of wonder … how many will love it? How many will hate it? Everything seems new and possible when a story meets it’s readers. There will be thousands of people reading what you wrote. Thousands of people getting to peer into your mind, and understanding or disagreeing a little bit with your view of the world. That new novel could be a smash hit. It could be the best thing you’ve ever written, or the worst. To someone out there, I’m sure it will be both. That’s the excitement. That’s the fun. That’s life. But … the best part of all, is that you get to do it all over again, starting … NOW!

20 Seconds Of Insane Courage

https://www.flickr.com/photos/state_library_south_australia/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/state_library_south_australia/

Which means what?  I suppose, to everyone it could mean something different, but to me, it’s pretty obvious. It means, just get started. It means getting past the fear, and the indecision, and all the reasons for not doing whatever it is you need to do. Basically, for me that means stop thinking. Stop thinking, and just go. Leverage the momentum. Do you ever notice, that just so long as you can start doing something, that the thing; whatever that thing is takes over.  It’s like it has a mind of it’s own. It starts to fill your brain with ideas and suggestions … and for a change, they’re all positive. It’s like once you’re in the thing, your brain knows that the best possible solution to the problem, is to just figure out all the answers. Figure out all the possible plot moves. Figure out all the possible character emotions. Figure out all the twists.  Figure out how the overriding theme of the story can be enhanced by a clever turn of phrase or action on the part of a character … be them minor or major.

The best part of all this, is that it works for anything. It works for getting past the pain of working out. Of knowing, that the next set of 25 push-ups is going to hurt like hell, but not giving your brain the chance to think about it. That’s the problem, with having an over-active imagination … a writers brain. The longer you dwell on something, the more real it becomes. It’s an invaluable tool, when it comes to composing a scene. Being able to play a movie in my head, is what I do when taking my characters through a scene … or when they’re taking me through a scene. But, if you’re just trying to get through the next set of pushups, dips, and squats it’s not helpful.

I suppose, that’s the keys to being an artist. Being able to control your emotions, vision, and imagination for the appropriate moment. Sure, that’s not such an easy thing to do in the heat of a moment, but not every little decision in life has to be life or death dramatic. We may like to think that it is, but really, it isn’t. Grabbing the apple or the chocolate bar. Pushing one more squat out, or pushing the remote control for one more Netflix show. Going to bed, or playing one more round of Everquest. Those aren’t life and death decisions. They’re just everyday life moments. No need to be dramatic. No need to overthink them. No need to be afraid of them.

Summon up that courage … you know it’s never far away. It’s lurking there, just below the surface … just under the skin. Right next to fear and loathing and indecision. It’s a quiet little fella though. He doesn’t feel the need to make a lot of noise like the other annoying  fellas. He knows how strong he is. He knows none of the other stand a chance once you bring him forth. You just, need to remember that he’s there … waiting patiently. Summon the courage; insane or otherwise. It only takes 20 seconds.

Morning Pages Entry – July 25, 2014

Yesterday was good. Today will be even better. Yesterday was over 3000 words writing in a good frame of mind. Today, I will do even better. Not to put too much pressure on, but I will do better. Either more words or better words. Either will work for me. That’s something to look forward to for sure. That is, the day when I no longer worry about getting a fixed number of words out there, but actually concentrate on the quality of the words. And, that’s not something you can ever stop getting better at. I think, that even the great ones struggled with that. The writing every day, will become habit. At least a thousand words … even on weekends, and not counting this morning pages. While these will always get done, and they don’t take me that long to do, it would seem unfair to include these words. So, I was also thinking, that I should start doing some micro plotting while I’m writing these pages, just to get things flowing, I will have to give that some thought here. Nothing is springing to mind at the moment, but figuring out where to go next with Chaz now having seen a mutation take place before his eyes could be interesting. I was think, that the room would be flooded with a basic controlling drug, so that the General could case the girl to do harm to herself. The girl zombie, that is, that just underwent a transformation into an almost normal human. Maybe, she could do something that scares them a bit, but in a non threatening way. Which causes the General to control her into turning onto herself. That wouldn’t make the General look totally like a psychopath in the process, since that’s not really my intention. I’m looking for bad guys, that are not totally bad, but are more complex. Like bad guys in real life, that believe what they are doing is good, and totally justifable in their own mind … like a psychopath I suppose. Then of course, the General could go on a bit about how having a whole troop of controllable freaks would actually be better for the humans. It would be like having slaves they could do whatever they wanted with. They could fight in armies, or do your dishes. Whatever you needed them to do. The question with going that way, is does it tip my hand too early with where I want the series to go. Probably not. You were going there in the epilogue anyways, so why not suggest at it earlier now. That still works I believe. I read some comments yesterday on the Kindling FB page, which were sort of promising. He was talking about how the zombie crowd will read just about anything. That they were ravenous readers (ha … just like the freaks they enjoy reading about). That’s a cool thought. I do hope they are reavenous, and that my series starts to pick up. And it becomes popular with the crowd of readers. This is a genre, that still has a lot of legs in it, I suspect. Kindle Unlimited is an interesting twist on the whole kindle marketing thing. Early indications are showing, that it’s having positive results for those with books enrolled into it. Something like 15 of the top 100 paid books on Amazon where in KU when it started, and only about a week into it, and it appears that something like 45 of the top 100 are now KU books. Of course, with the first 30 days free in the program, there could be a lot of looky-loos that are just taking advantage of the 30 days, and won’t sign up for real. I should likely throw a book into that ring. Maybe that boating book I was starting to put together. I should finish that one up, and throw it in to see what happens. Could be sort of cool. I liked the cover I had for it too. I am in boating season now, and it would be sort of fun to throw that one into the ring, just for the hell of it. Maybe, I could get it beefed up enough for Emily to look at it. If I can get my word count up that is. Not to worry, I will get there. I’m sure I could have gotten to 5K yesterday, with a little more focus. I was organizing a bit too much yesterday. If I can get to 2500, before we head with with wayne and joyce for lunch today that would be good. Let’s get going.

TIGERBLOOD: yep DAILYMOOD: good LOCATION: boat bayfield WORDSWRITTEN: 3000+ PUSHUPS: 2:15 wall sit TODO: write, lunch in zurich TV: friday night lights BOOK: none GAME: none EXERCISE: none WEIGHT: 170 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: none DINNER: big ass salad with shish ka bob meat SNACKS: orange, apple, blueberries, 2 lara bars, 2 naked bars ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 1:00 AWAKE: 7:30

 

Morning Pages Entry – July 24, 2014

I think I learned something yesterday, about doing these pages, and how important they are to me. Or perhaps, how important writing is to me. I tried to put off writing the pages, until I had some novel pages written. Hoping, that perhaps I’d focus more on the novel then the morning pages. But, I ended up digging myself deeper and deeper mentally into a refusal to write anything. I wrote about it yesterday, about how entrenched I become with putting something off. I’ve been like that for a long time … as long as I can remember. It’s like I build up this big mental barrier, that grows day by day. The longer I don’t do something, the harder it becomes every day to not do that thing. I remember distinctly realizing that thing about myself back in grade 8 over doing some sort of math homework. I just became mentally entrenched with procrastinating on the work, and refused to do it. I do it with filing taxes every year … right now, I still haven’t filled my taxes, that were supposed to be done in April, and it’s now the middle of July. And, when I do something like that, I feel horrible for not getting whatever it is I’m supposed to do done, but I just keep building that barrier higher and higher. Putting off the morning journal yesterday, didn’t help. It just made matters worse, and I kept finding other ways to procrastinate on it. Eventually later in the afternoon, I finally relented, and let myself write some morning pages. Actually, what else I really did, was go back and reread some of my morning pages that I was going to repost to my blog, and it was scary how the particular pages I read echoed my feelings of yesterday. They were written again from another day (back around last December), when I was fighting the same sort of barrier for procrastination. But I always seemed to find a way in my morning pages, to get optimistic by the end of the pages. I’d always write, something to try and lift myself out of the ditch I’d thrown myself into, and encourage myself to write. I read through and posted like 4 days of pages, and they were all the same kind of stuff really. Get off your butt, or more like in your chair on your butt and write your ass off. It’s what I really need to do. Get writing. And they worked. They finally got me writing yesterday. Not a lot, just a little over 1000 words, but hell, at least I got the words onto the page. That’s a victory in my book, and today, we’re going to shoot again for that 5000 words before noon. That elusive grail of getting a lot of books done, and that is that magical 5K words before noon, like I did a few months ago for a week. I really did that not so long ago. I really wrote 25000 words in 5 working days. It’s what I need to do to be happy and successful with this work. What I need to do, is to make it habit forming. I need to write consistently … at least 1000 words every day for at least 30 days. Then, and only then, will this become a habit. You need to write every day. You need to get that engrained into your psyche, so that this stupid friggin mental barrier of writing procrastination never raises it’s friggin ugly head ever again in my presence. That’s the only way to get around this shit. Like how, now I’m totally addicted to writing these morning pages. That’s where you need to take your novel writing to. It doesn’t matter, if it’s a holiday or Christmas, or a wedding, or a funeral, or whatever the hell else is going on in your life. You need to be doing some writing. You may need to get to the point, where you have multiple books on the go at the same time, so when stuff like editing one book you can still be putting down fresh words in another. It’s not just about the writing. It’s therapy for me. It’s good for me. I need to put the words on the page to feel better about myself. I don’t know whta it is, but there’s just something about putting the words down onto the page, and having my fingers fly over the keyboard, that makes me happier. It’s like breathing … if I don’t do it, then I feel sick … so go write … write for love.

TIGERBLOOD: nope DAILYMOOD: procrastinating hell LOCATION: bayfield boat WORDSWRITTEN: 1003 PUSHUPS: 2 minutes plank TODO: write TV: friday night lights BOOK: none GAME: none EXERCISE: short walk WEIGHT: 170 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: orange, apple, blueberries, 3 lara bars, 2 naked bars ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 11:30 AWAKE: 7:15

 

Morning Pages Entry – July 22, 2014

Remember to keep in mind your vision. Remember what kind of day is a perfect day for you. One, where you wake up ta 6am, from a good 7 hours sleep. One where you have 5k words of writing down by 10am. One where your writing leaves you energized for the rest of the day. One where you know you have all the hard work done early, and you can spend the rest of the day, doing all the things that you worry about when your not getting your writing done. Think about how good it feels, to have your fingers flying over the keyboard, and how cathartic a release you have, when those words your putting down on the page, come from your heart … like your expressing ideas you have about the human condition, and how important that is to you, to have those ideas out in the wild and free for others to read, ponder and muse about. That’s my idea of a perfect day. Where the hard stuff, is done by 10am, instead of maybe just getting started. Like, today is going to be. You need to focus on what’s important in your life, and not let other things distract, worry, scare you … most of them are out of your control, or will never happen. Their inconsequential, and irrelevant. You need to find your niche, and dig into your writing. That needs to be a place you can inhabit and feel nourished by having spent time there. Your writing, needs to take a little bit of this feel. This feeling of bliss, and escape, and that what your doing is not perfect, but it is good enough, and it will take you to where you want to be, if you believe for just a little bit longer. Your in a good place … all the pieces are there for you to take advantage of things, you just have to do what you know (and believe) will work. Writing is a beautiful thing, and the culmination of a life’s ambitions … albeit not one that was even known to me, the one person that needed to know it. So, I’m one of those people, that comes to things later in life. I’ve always sort of felt that way, so why not with this. It started with not getting my drivers license till two years after I was allowed to. It came with not going to college till three years after the rest of my class did. It comes with being late to girlfriends. I’ve always felt, I was just born a little bit too early. So maybe perhaps that’s the case with writing. Speaking of being born too early, here’s a little brain ditty, that just came into my head, and likely deserves a place in my journal. My earliest conscious memory. I mean, when I was little, the furthest back in my brain, that I can go and remember something. That something was a feeling, that it was my decision to be born (to become) anything I wanted. Anything. Anyone. I don’t remember so much mulling over choices, or even making a choice, but I do remember HAVING a choice. It goes back so far, that I believed for the longest while (and maybe still now), that this processing of making a choice of who I would be took place in the womb … or earlier. I know sort of strange … but also remember, I was very young, when I came to this conclusion. Young, and likely more open minded about things. Not so constrained, by a life of people telling me I can’t do things, or I shouldn’t do things, or being convinced about what was not possible. Life can beat you down sometimes, and take you down a path not entirely of your choosing. So, let’s just say, that my earliest memory was correct … that it was 100% true and possible. That would mean, that right now … today, that I can decide that I am going to be a writer. If I can in my earliest recollection, believe that I can be anything I want to be, then why not have that thing be a writer? The timing is right, the feeling is right, and I want to do the work. I just need to beat all the fears that go with it back with a big stick. Back into the dungeons, and sewers, and mouse halls they ventured from. Out of my head and back to the pits of hell they came from.

TIGERBLOOD: some DAILYMOOD: aprehensive LOCATION: bayfied boat WORDSWRITTEN: none PUSHUPS: some wall sits TODO: write TV: none BOOK: none GAME: none EXERCISE: walk on beach WEIGHT: 170 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: orange, grapes, apple, lara bar, naked bar ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 3am AWAKE: 8am