Tag Archives: influence

Sex and Writing – Nobody Teaches You How to do it Well!

Isn’t writing a lot like sex? Think about it. For those of you struggling with the writing life, we are groomed to speak and write the ‘Queen’s English‘ throughout our school years, but who teaches us how to do it well (as in get published)? When we are young, we get the obligatory ‘sex talk’ and may even get sex ed in school, but again, who teaches us to do it well (as in get…well, you know…)?

I know, experience and repetition. But there are shortcuts to better writing getting published (and better sex for that matter, but not on this blog…) available to us today. We have a populace that is interconnected like no generation in the history of mankind. I can talk, face to face, with anyone in any country that has an internet connection – for free.

Ok, so the ‘for free’ statement is not totally accurate. There’s the cost of electricity, internet service, the computer and camera with which to connect, and probably a host of other insidious expenses. But from our perspective today, the call is free. We can speak as long as we like. Heck, my daughter talks with her friends, one from England and one in Las Vegas, at the same time on ooVoo (similar to Skype, only better in my opinion…).

Ok, so we can string a good story together, make it into a novel – then what? Yes, a plethora of publishing options that make even those of us in the industry shake our heads and go, “Huh?” Who teaches the novelist what to do with their craft?

No one. Who taught Don Juan or Cassanova (or their real life counterparts) how to make love? Many women that came before the notoriety, that’s who. For the writer, their first books teach what to do and what not to do and what can be done better.

Still, this is a very crazy way for people to learn, is it not? In this age where everything is available to everyone with internet connection, you would think there would be definitive teaching institutions who regale students with the proper steps in writing, publishing, marketing and promoting their books.

I see workshops all over the Master of Arts landscape. I also hear quite a bit about MFA grads struggling to make it in the writing world because of ego or too technical of a writing style.

One of the reasons publishing marketing and promoting is not well organized and taught in my humble opinion is that the creative muse flees rigid order in our most creative folk. Creativity needs to live and breathe in freedom and non-restriction. To create this environment, the writer must be able to reach a ‘peace’ in solitude where he or she can connect with their muse. Thus, writers often do not make good business decisions. Publishing, marketing and promotion are all business concepts.

Do you begin to see the difficulty in teaching this? To run the sex analogy again, some people like a soft touch, others a more assertive touch. The varying personalities of men and women deliver a range of sexual experience that can cover incredible differences and nuances. This means what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another. Finding that mate where everything works together well is important to us – and there is no way of ‘knowing’ this.

When we get our book to a finished product, we know it. Real scientific, eh? Your best writing comes when you let go – fear, critic, judge, peer pressure, bias, etc. But what happens once the mate has been selected (the book is written)? Most writers bumble their way through the publishing landscape, many getting fleeced along the way.

The suggestion here is that you consider forming a small focus writing group. That’s what the Rogues Gallery Writers are. We banded together and learn collectively. Writers should educate themselves. One of the best ways to do this is with three or four other people of like mind who need to learn as well. You accelerate your learning curve. We each look at the publishing process from slightly different angles. We share knowledge collected from our unique perspectives. We each then, have a baseline for making publishing, marketing and promotion decisions.

Do not go into writing thinking all you’re going to do is write. Realize this is a business. Hedge your bet with trusted writing partners who will walk through the crazy writing-life-landscape with you. You must be careful to select people who are of like mind, ie, focused on getting published. Stay away from people who are looking for a social hour or just in it for fun. Those folk should join their own respective groups of people. If you’re serious about getting published, find a few good people who feel the same and work together.The rewards are great!

For those of you wishing to continue the sex analogy, I stop here. I would not advocate where some of your minds are going…


Posted by on November 27, 2011 in The Rogues Gallery Writers


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Writing as Addiction

There is no doubt writing and authors possess a love-hate relationship. The love side can manifest in many ways. Satisfaction from creating something from nothing, release from voices that haunt a writer’s brain, heightened passion from going places emotionally one rarely dares to visit in life or many other aspects of writing that leave us feeling fulfilled.

The hate part tends to enter the equation on the more analytical side of writing – the fact of writing being a business, deadlines, frustrations at how the writing manifests itself, forcing yourself to ignore basic day-to-day chores or tasks that can make you look foolish in other people’s eyes and any number of stumbling blocks to making the writing happen in a manner you feel appropriate.

For those of us who stick with our dreams and passions, writing takes on characteristics of addiction. Once we hit a groove we feel invincible. We feel there is nothing to stop us from reaching untold heights and there is no downside. When we struggle to just get our blank page up on the screen or out of a notebook, we become the junkie craving a fix – especially if life has intruded and prevented us from scribbling or dibbling (my word for computerized scribbling – I know, this is an actual word already having to do with gardening, but when has that ever stopped the English language from promoting a new meaning – see the word ‘run’).

Every writer who sincerely pursues the craft must write. Consistency is preached but often neglected in a world where structure and analytics often squash or destroy creativity. Writers can be flighty and irresponsible, but they also create all the entertainment our species ingests on a daily basis. The appetite of consumers out-paces the ability of writers to produce. This is why you see so many reruns and rehashed plots.

The dedicated writer must write whether destitute or wealthy. Every writer struggles with similar bugaboos like time, block (always self-inflicted), muse, etc. Non-writers on one hand do not understand what writers call work and on the other they have no clue how writers create the pieces put out. Writers know when they are in the midst of their muse, no drug, no pleasure, no outside source of enjoyment can fulfill them like the passion of creation at their fingertips.

A writer’s fix becomes simple, not easy. Simply write that ‘true sentence’ as Hemingway put it. Create the story, novel, article, poem, etc. that moves the reader to another place of enlightenment whether it be emotional, intellectual or any other manner of insight. Writers desire to create words of power as much as readers desire to consume them. While we war against ourselves about what we sacrifice for our fix, just like any other addiction, we go back for more whenever we can. When we do, we hallucinate, we dream, we soar, we cry, we laugh, we crash, we die and we live.

Our hope is that our readers do all those things as well.


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Writing Under the Influence (of sleep deprivation)

There are times as a writer where you simply run out of brain gas. This fuel wells up from some unknown source, sometimes labeled ‘the Muse’. I find it amazing how much writing accomplishment can come from a simple splash of inspiration. Writers own the ability to extend their creation over weeks, months and years.

There are times, however, that rob a writer of his or her fuel and leave the poor sot a blubbering, bubble-headed mess. I just experienced such a writing moment. In the midst of writing an article for an online mag, I nodded off to sleep and woke up to absolute gibberish on my computer screen.

Not good for a writer on a deadline. So what do you think I do? Yes, I immediately run to WordPress and key this post. Am I a glutton for ridicule? I just screwed up and article in a royal manner and I rush pall mall into more writing?

Dedication. What can I say. I’m a Rogue and that is special. Rogues Gallery Writers know no defeat, only opportunity. I chose to look on these moments of waning lucidness as a challenge. Can I rejuvenate myself to create a much-needed blog post? Can I pull myself up and make something out of a mind containing nothing?

Only the readership knows for sure. If this post is not disjointed beyond all sense, take the time to comment and let me know my insanities have not progressed so far as to take reality completely out of my picture of life. In the meantime, keep writing…

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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in The Rogues Gallery Writers


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