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Tag Archives: writing motivation

Book Writing, Editing, and Publishing

The Rogues stay busy. This fact gets chronicled often. We each work for a living, we each possess passions for writing, and we each strive to marry the two into a cohesive, workable life. Today, I am blogging five different sites as well as posting an article on HubPages.com. This, in addition to working with my incredible Office Administrator Cindy on four books-in-progress at ClearView Press Inc and two books-in-progress with the Rogues.

Jeff stays swamped these days with his work. I am amazed at the quantity of writing he manages to produce. Top notch writing at that. The Rogues currently swim in the ocean of editing. Our book, The Method Writers, nears completion. Each of us struggle to make time for our writing, and Jeff brings energy, ideas and commitment to finishing the project.

Nancy happens to be the most swamped person I know. She amazes me that she can even muster the energy to attack her days, much less be as productive as she is. Between her work, her writing business, her writing in general and The Method Writers, this lady shows me what work ethic and determination are all about. Nancy is an excellent editor, and the Rogues are truly blessed with her dedication to our group.

Bridget currently resides in Michigan until February. All we ‘southern’ Rogues miss her sorely and look forward to her return. Don’t think for a moment we are disconnected by distance. We Oovoo (meet online in video chat) each week. We use technology to keep our group and projects moving forward. Can you believe, busy as we all are, that we’re writing two, yes two books together, editing, and meeting weekly online. Bridget keeps us on track by taking meeting minutes. She just started doing this out of the blue, which has been a HUGE benefit to the group.

The Rogues are writing. We’re editing. We’ll soon be publishing. This all in addition to owning hectic lives. I write all this as encouragement to all writers who say they “don’t have time to write”. None of the Rogues have time to write – yet we do. We make time to write. So can you. Sacrifice something. TV time. Sleep. A couple games of Spider Solitaire. You can do it. I know you can, because the Rogues do.

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in The Rogues Gallery Writers

 

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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…

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

 

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Guardian Angel

We, the Rogues of course, have been excerpting pieces of stories from our book Writing is Easy. For those fiction readers out there, here’s a sampling of Guardian Angel, by Michael Ray King

Guardian Angel

When the time comes, pull the cord.

Freefall exhilarates.  Frightens.  Freefall delivers beauty and danger.  Jake licked his lips.  Skydiving dominated his heart like a medieval lord jealous for his lover.  Jake strangled the parachute cord in his right hand.

A roaring sea-rush of air surrounded him.  He plummeted, a vertical freight train, headed for mother Terra in an unplanned and certainly unorthodox flight.  A city dotted with rooftops and church steeples approached at an alarming pace.  Wouldn’t it be a hoot to be impaled by one of those suckers? he thought as he admired the heaven-pointed church-fingers.

Lights popped on like kernels of corn at critical mass as dusk handed off its remaining diffuse light to the night.  Faint smells wafted up from a thousand houses – apple pies, wood fires and lover’s scents mingled as one.  He flattened out, the resistance of air acting as invisible hands on his shoulders, abdomen, legs and feet, lifting him from the earth.  He glided and soared, his nose dividing air to his cheeks so that it flowed past his ears and roared its approval.  The knowledge that eagles feared him wrenched a maniacal laugh from his soul.

He ripped at the cord and the chute yanked him heavenward.  The world slowed down to a single moment in time – his descent, the movement of the early evening moon and his mind.  Nothing to do now but float back into oblivion and obscurity.  Unless he could maneuver over the lake and drown . . .

Everyone called Jake a junkie, but he had a secret that none of them could imagine – he could fly.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 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 Practice, Writing Preach

When a writer becomes embroiled in the grind of marketing and promoting one must do to be successful, often he/she finds a disconnect between what audiences are told and what the author does. Writers should strive to write every day. This is a basic mantra preached by many, followed by some.

Writers on the whole know and understand once they hit a writing groove, yanking their butt from behind the ‘board’ would be akin to pluck an elephant from a resting stance. The issue with that ‘groove’ becomes maintaining what you create. We all create rhythms, habits, in our lives only to stray from them as life dictates changes to us.

Writers tend to suffer many imagination ills like lack of self-confidence, lack of time, abundance of projects and not enough hands, self-imposed restrictions like writer’s block and the fateful, “who am I to think I can write?” deal killer. We work harder at denying our passion sometimes than pursuing it.

Writers also can fixate on perfection rather than completion. We fall into procrastination like its our comfy couch and we flee deadlines as though they’re a hoard of raging Mongols, Genghis Khan screaming as they bear down on us.

With all these psychological hurdles, realization when we don’t practice what we preach is just another feather in the quiver of arrows anxious to shoot us down. These demons, if you will, exist in our minds which make them our personal realities. There are no author police. No one goes behind us and arrests us for our stupidity. There are no knuckle cracking teachers to keep us on track.

Writers must self motivate. Yes, deadlines and money will carry a writer part-way there, but the gumption to get up and make a piece of writing happen wins the day every time. If writers spent more time convincing themselves they can achieve what they desire instead of finding reasons they cannot, productivity would increase exponentially.

I don’t want to hear, “I don’t have time.” The writer who states they have no time must either find their sacrifice point or muddle in obscurity and incomplete projects. The relevant reference to time is, “I’m not willing to sacrifice any more for my passion/obsession.” How many hours did you sleep? Four? Look at all the time wasted.

Sleep is necessary – most of the time. The point of this blog is to point out my own challenges and to shore up my dedication to moving forward in my writing career. Thankfully, the Rogues keep a positive support structure in place that encourages each of us to strive to become the writers each of us know we can be, even if too often we don’t practice what we preach.

I will endeavor to blog consistently twice a week. That’s my preachin’ I should be practicing. Along with writing every day. Along with marketing. Along with completing projects. No excuses, right?…

 

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