Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing to start the year well. Enjoy.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of defining your accomplishments by what other people did better. Someone climbed Mt Everest before you did, but by God, if you climb Mt Everest, you deserve a cookie. And “better” doesn’t mean “first”. “Better” may not even be what you think it is. Is it sales? Or critical acclaim? What? Go you and do what you need to do with your art because you need to do it.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you need to be first in line to be noticed. Who cares who drew the first comic on an iPad? Does anyone even remember? Of course not. Because that turns art into artifacts, and you’re not creating artifacts, you don’t need to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Comic Book Pages Drawn While Hanging Upside Down Like a Bat.

You’re trying to connect with your readers by telling stories that have meaning to you and to them. Believe in what you are doing and the rest will follow…or not.

And if you never get that acclaim or those big sales, well, you did something real. And artificially trying to make yourself a Special Snowflake forever because you did it FIRST isn’t real.

Just tell your story…Climb Mt Everest. It doesn’t matter if someone else got there first. It’s your journey.

Colleen Doran

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all… as long as you tell the truth… Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work… What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave.”

Stephen King

Write books, authors. Write stories. Channel your emotions, your fears, your vulnerabilities into your work. Swallow the hurt and give voice to a song. In your books, which is what you are here for in the first place. Everywhere else? Post about cats and beards and the cupcake you had instead of dinner. Better to be banal than a bitch. Because readers will flock to the cats and the cupcakes and possibly bring you baked goods and collars with your cover art as collars to singings. But they’ll get a front row seat to watch the bitch go down.

Every. Single. Time.

Heidi Culliman

You can focus on social media and platform-building and brand-making, and it will yield you SOME return, sure. But… drum roll please…

It won’t yield you nearly as much as just concentrating on writing as many awesome books as you can for invested, functional publishers.

When a publisher asks you, “What’s your platform?” consider turning that question around and asking the publisher about THEIRS.

(…)

Be the best writer you can be. Online, be the best version of yourself. Have fun, be kind, work hard, have empathy, and hope for luck.

If you’re building a platform to sell books, don’t. If you’re altering yourself to fit a brand, dont. (Unless you’re an asshole, I guess.)

This is also not to say writers shouldn’t promote their own books! You shoul! I follow writers and *want* to hear about new releases!

(But I aldo don’t want those writers to pummel me in the crotch with ceaseless sales pitches, either.)

Anyway. Yeah. Platforms and brands are not magical solutions, so do not make them your focus, Okay? Okay.

NOW LET’S ALL GET DRUNK.

Chuck Wendig

In a recent yoga class, my teacher talked about the difference between having fun and enjoying yourself. Fun, she said, was an activity you do to escape your routines. However, enjoyment is the act of finding happiness in your routines and responsibilities. Therefore, another element of a good hobby is that it becomes a part of your daily or weekly habits, instead of something you use to run away from your writing (or life). This is why drinking, drugs, gambling and social media are so dangerous. They can provide fun via instant gratification, but long-run they don’t bring us joy. Better then to focus on habits and hobbies that help us be more plugged in to our lives–ones that allow us to enjoy ourselves.

Jaye Wells

Random Friday


For lack of other randomness, I shall let random writers dispense random writerly wisdom… Enjoy these writers on writing! And publishing! And… all the best to all the writers out there!

I do not believe in the assumption in this business that feedback from anyone can really help you. That’s not how a writer learns, folks.

So going to a beginning writer workshop and listening to other beginners tell you what you did wrong is like going to a person who does your hair who never finished high school and ask them for legal advice. You would never do that, right?

So why ask other uninformed and ill-informed and beginning writers what is wrong with your story? The only answer you can possibly get is dangerous, likely wrong, and usually destructive to your belief in yourself and your art.

Just say no, as Nancy used to say.

Set up a networking group and learn craft from major professional writers and keep writing. Trust your own art. Believe in yourself.

A ton more fun that way.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

And that’s what I’ve been having the most trouble with these past two weeks. Once again, my brain has difficulty wrapping itself around the idea that there is more than one path to success in this new world.

I’m aware of it: Hell, I preach it here on the blog almost every week. But apparently, deep down, I’m still stuck in the (almost literal) ruts of my “upbringing” in traditional publishing. When I default for myself, I default to the One True Path idea—and I default hard.

So, this blog is really not for you. It’s for me. It’s a reminder that in this modern world there is no longer One True Path. There are as many new paths as there are writers. The internet has opened the world to all of us, and we can pursue the careers we want—or at least, the parts of the career we can manage.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

The main question I’ve been asking myself is this: What do I have control over? Or at least, what do I have the most control over? Where do I have choices, and how do those choices affect my success? Basically, the idea is that there are four main areas that a writer has the most control over that directly affect his or her success, each of these being a leg of the table:

  1. What you write
  2. How much you write
  3. How much you learn
  4. How you market

Rather than abstract terms like “content” and “productivity,” I prefer concrete words that are more actionable — which, of course, is a fairly abstract word, but we’ll let that pass for now. There are so many ways for a writer working today to spend his or her time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. These four legs are what I think constitutes a very sturdy table. If you are negligent in any of the legs, well, it can make your table pretty shaky after a while. A lot of writing with a poor marketing strategy often results in lackluster sales. A lot of learning without actually producing much — like the workshop junkie who goes to lots of classes but doesn’t actually write unless compelled to do so by a teacher — is equally out of whack.

Scott William Carter

 

I’ve decided that the next time a writer asks me for that one piece of advice I’d like to give every writer, I’m going to tell them this:

Buy a hat.

No, not because I have some milliner friends who need the support. But because writers, and particularly brand new beginning writers, need to understand the separation of church and state.

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

These two things have some links between them, but I’ll say it again:

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

When you have finished your book and it’s time to release it into the world, you must, must, must at that time take off your writing hat and put on your publishing or business hat.

Perhaps you have a pair of steampunk welding goggles instead. Or a leather workman’s apron.

Whatever metaphor or physical object works for you. For some writers, I actually would recommend that they go get a hat or something that reminds them of the difference.

I am not speaking to just indie writers here. Traditionally published writers need to make this same separation.

Writing isn’t the same as business.

Leah Cutter

 

When you’re just starting out, your craft is poor, and it’s endless frustration. You have amazing ideas that are never as good on paper as they are in your head.

Then, as you develop, you eventually get to the point where you can execute your ideas on paper about as well as you can see them in your head–and at that point, you start to feel pretty good about yourself.

But if you keep going, and keep improving your craft, you’ll eventually get to the point where the stuff that comes out on paper is SO much better than what it started out as in your head that you never *quite* believe that it came from you–and you can still improve from there.

That’s really what, for me, makes writing a total kick in the head.

– Stephen J. Cannell

Sunday Surprise


Since I skipped October, I might do double ration of writers on writing and words of wisdom this month! In the meantime, here’s today’s quotes! Have a great Sunday!

Even if authors did the imagination bit for free – it is gloriously exhilarating, I do love writing – there’s still the task of making it readable, and the grind of snagging all the typos. And there’s the admin around publishing  or indy publishing, and the complexities of being self-employed. If we were paid just for editing and admin, most of us would still get a pretty lousy hourly rate. We don’t want pity – we choose to pursue our vocations – but, just like microbrewers, craft bakers, chefs, musicians and anybody else trying to professionalise a passion – we do want to be treated fairly by those we serve.

M Harold Page

Those choices are personal. They’re about the kinds of careers we want. Some of us do want to sell just one book to a traditional publisher. As long as we’re honest about the reasons for it, then it’s a good choice. Some of us want to make a fortune at our writing. As long as we are willing to work hard at it, it’s a good choice. Some of us just want our work read by as many people as possible. As long as we’re willing to continually improve our storytelling craft, that’s a good choice too.
There are no bad choices—as long as we approach what we do with confidence and education. Know what you’re giving up to go traditional. Know how much work you’re taking on when you go indie.
Don’t accept someone else’s opinion as gospel (even [shudder!] mine). Make your own opinion.
And most important of all, don’t waste time living someone else’s dream. Live yours.
In order to do that, you need to know what your dream is. But once you’ve figured that out, believe in it. Work toward it. And own it.
It’s yours.
It may not be mine. It might not be your family’s. It’s yours.
Be proud of your dream. Be proud of the work you do. Be proud of your choices.
As long as you believe in yourself, the shamers can’t control you.
Be yourself—and I guarantee you that no matter what you choose to do, you will eventually succeed at it. Because you’re not doing it to impress someone else. You’re doing it for love.
And that’s the key to everything.
Kris Rusch

And, luckily, we have options today.
Very good options. Options where we can control everything that happens to us (within the limits of anyone’s ability to determine what happens to us in anything that resembles an artistic endeavor, anyway). We do not need to sign a deal that puts our creative control in someone else’s hands. And, to be blunt, any deal that stops a person from in good faith making the art they want to make is a dangerous deal, indeed.
Ron Collins

Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks.
As writers, we’re often our harshest critiques. That is certainly the case for me. I’m much harder on myself than I would ever be on someone else. For now, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m going to work on being kinder to myself. And I’m going to try to enjoy the process of writing instead of being so focused on the end result.
Tricia Drammeh

We’re all trespassers, and you know how we get away with it? Just by doing it! By committing. By hunkering down. By making it happen with effort and thought and by shuttling off our myriad neuroses and anxieties for some other day, some other situation, some other problem. Oh, you didn’t get that publishing deal you wanted? Or the agent? That sucks. It does! And it also doesn’t matter because that’s how this business goes, that’s how life is, that is is the cost of existing. Did you think every day would offer an eager line of people serving you up your wishes on shiny platters? Or did you expect that — gasp — it would take work and improvement and effort and iteration and reiteration? Because it does. It does require that. All things require that. Writing isn’t a hula hoop — you don’t just pick it up and give a couple hip-shimmies to get that motherfucker spinning. Writing is a complex act. It takes time and failure and more failure and a little success and a little luck and more failure and then REAL success and then hey oops more failure again.
Chuck Wendig

Random Friday


And since I’ve been busy writing, reading, editing, publishing and whatnot, I didn’t have time to do much else, therefore I shall leave you with these words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call themm for the weekend! Enjoy!

When things get tough, what can you do?

Focus on the positive feedback you’ve gotten in emails, in blog comments, on Facebook, and through other avenues.  Reminding yourself that people out there do like your work can really help you get through the rough patches of bad reviews and lack of sales.  If you have some writer friends you can talk to about the ups and downs of the business, you’ll remind yourself you’re not alone.  Sometimes it helps to know you’re not the only person going through the downside of this business.

Ultimately, though, it all boils down to whether you (as the writer) like the book?  Would you write the book again if given the chance?  If you enjoy the book, that book was worth writing, and it has value.

Ruth Ann Nordin

Living in Edinburgh, I know a fair few writers to talk to, and most of them are pretty ordinary middle aged folk who spend a lot of time at a screen. Some of us belong to weird-to-outsiders sub cultures – gamers, sword folk, bikers, tech-heads – but then we’re weird because of the subculture, not our writing. Like most vocations, ours requires drive and self-discipline, so there’s not really much room for scotch-bottle-wielding craziness in our day-to-day routine. And if our conversation is sometimes… specialised, it’s no different than if you listened in to some microbrewers talking shop… and our specialism is where the books come from, the books people read, which leads us to…

By definition, professional authors can’t possibly be all that weird because people read us. If books with minimal connection to modern reality were what sold, then Sumerian creation myths would top the charts.

M Harold Page

What do you love about the writing life?
I love the freedom of the lifestyle. On almost any given day, my schedule is my own. Being able to do what I do on my own time is hugely liberating.

More substantively, I love writing. It’s great to be able to do what I love. My definition of success is finding something you love so much you would pay to do it; and if you can get someone else to pay you for it, that’s success.

Barry Eisler

That’s what will happen with traditional publishing. It’s already happening. Blog after blog after blog appears at nearly the rate of one per week by writers who started indie and who went to traditional and who are now returning to indie for the control. Even more blogs appear from traditional writers who have become fed up with their treatment from their traditional publishing “partners” and are moving to indie.

Within the next five years, or maybe ten, as the word gets out (writers are slow on the uptake), traditional publishing will find itself in the same position as the Big 4 TV networks. The Big 5 traditional publishers will get the clueless and the one-shot wonders.

Writers who have actually learned business, writers who want money, control, and yes, eyeballs, will go indie (or start their own small press). It’s already happening, and it’s starting to speed up.

The publishing industry is probably where TV was in 2005.

Here’s the future, folks: The traditional publishers aren’t going away. But they are becoming irrelevant to anyone who cares about doing their very best work and getting paid the most for it.

And those eyeballs—well, they will find you. Just not in the first month.

We’re going back to word of mouth, which is always the best way to sell anything.

Kris Rusch

For those who are not writing all the time, who let their critical voice into their offices, who let what others say about their work into their offices, writing is a painful thing at times. So it is easier to focus on promotion of what you already have done.

I have seen a lot of writers in the last four years get all caught up in promotion and almost stop writing.

The one thing you really should have in your office on your wall if this is your problem is “Your Next Book Is Your Best Promotion.”

Very few people after the learning curve time get lost in production.

But wow can the focus get lost in promotion.

Dean Wesley Smith

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, writerly quotes, call them as you wish. Have a great Sunday!

Getting a book accepted for publication is, I’m sorry to say, the second easiest part of this business (the easiest part is writing the book. Sorry!). The truth is that an acceptance is just the first step in your career. To stay in the game you need to make smart business decisions, weigh your choices, partner with the right agent(s) and editor(s) for your work, and get business savvy. That means reading, understanding, and pushing back on your contracts.
These are the worlds and characters you built. Ensure they are doing what they need to do to power your career, instead of constraining it.
Kameron Hurley

One of the best reasons to write is because you have a story you’re dying to read that hasn’t been done yet.  But, you might find opposition when you decide to pursue writing this story.  (Even if you have a backlist already, people in your circle might not be supportive of the story you have in mind.  My family still won’t touch my romances.)  I would advise you to write the story anyway.  No one but you can write your story.  You will bring your own unique voice and twists to it that no one else can do.  That’s one of the beauties of working in a creative field.  Your story is as unique as your fingerprint.
Ruth Ann Nordin

We have very little data in this new world. Very little.
But we do have the reality that the audience for all of our books will renew every decade or so as new readers poor in.
And the niches and genres will shift and people’s tastes will change and fads will drive some books to the top and pull down others.
I know thinking about the renewal of your audience takes a long-term mindset. And most indie writers, because of the suddenness of this new world, don’t think long-term or even try.
But as this new world matures, some of us are thinking long-term.
So maybe if a book doesn’t sell well at the moment, maybe it will sell better in ten years as tastes and the audience renews.
Or maybe it will just sell a few hundred copies a year on average and in ten years have sold thousands total.
Audience renews.
I love this new world. Have I said that before?
Dean Wesley Smith

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words.

– Orhan Panmuk

Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, food for thought, whatever you want to call it, for your long hot summer! Enjoy!

But every morning I got up at 5am, sat in a coffee shop and wrote until I had to go to work (this routine changed over the course of 20 years, but that was what I did between 2004 when my son was born and 2013 when I quit). I wrote screenplays and books. Most will never be published or produced because they suck or they’re irrelevant now. I couldn’t get an agent. I couldn’t get a meeting. I couldn’t get a publisher to send a rejection in an SASE. I couldn’t get anyone to read even a few chapters.
But still, I plowed on. I tried to quit, but I’m stubborn like that.
I’m not mad about the years I spent trying to shake the literary tree. I’m pretty happy about them (in hindsight). We all come into this business armed with something. Rich spouse, years blogging, great contacts, a sharp eye for trends – whatever it is, we all have tools we can lean on.
I came armed with so much rejection that nothing any motherfucker said was going to get me to quit. I came with so much practice that I knew my process. I knew my strengths and my weaknesses inside and out.
Without those years of struggle, I probably would have quit publishing in 2012 when my mysteries started tanking. Instead, I reinvented myself again.
CD Reiss

Social media is PUSHING.
And today’s reader doesn’t buy things because the author pushed them.
As a reader, I want a book to pull me.
When I see a book’s name pop up again and again among people I trust, I want to read it.
When the cover is beautiful and the hook is compelling, I want to read it.
When I meet the author and they are gracious and kind and insightful, I want to read it.
When I listen in on a panel and like what I hear, I want to read it.
When I chat with someone on Twitter, and they make me laugh and add value to my life, I start to think that their book might add value, too.
None of those things are pushy.
None of them happen *to* me, uninvited.
I don’t want to be the object that is acted upon. I want to be the subject that makes a conscious decision, that feels a twinge of curiosity and discovers something amazing. I want to be the person who acts, not the person who is acted upon. I don’t want to be badgered and nagged and wheedled and urged and threatened and cajoled and whined at.
Delilah S. Dawson

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson

If your books aren’t selling, there is only one piece of advice that is true, I’d say:
Keep writing. (…)
Survival is the most vital success an author can engineer for herself. Simply staying in the game — emotionally, mentally, productively — is huge. It counts for a lot and it is the way to a stable writing career. Again: this is a career of peaks and valleys. A lot of writers love the peaks but can’t hack the valleys. Learn to love the valleys for their ability to let you rethink and reframe your careers and give you a new peak to which you can look forward.
(…)
At the end of the day, the most fundamental advice is the same as it is for anybody: don’t get mired in drama, do your best work, sell it for what it’s worth, and try to improve with every iteration. Do not base that improvement purely on sales or reviews, because both of those are the result of a thousand wildly spinning compasses. Sometimes it’s on you, sometimes it’s on the publisher, sometimes it’s on the fates themselves. You control what you can control, which is the work. Write. Edit. Publish. Repeat. Survive. Look to a career that is not just the few books and the few years you’ve invested but is an ongoing carousel of the weird wonder that is a writing career.
Chuck Wendig

Every time you hear yourself whining, stop and step back. Remember that whining is not a business model.
Figure out if the solution is easy or hard.
Easy might simply mean that you have to stand up for yourself.
Hard might mean that what you want isn’t possible the way the industry stands now. The question then becomes do you fight to change the industry or do something different?
Indie publishing has made it possible to step out of the traditional system and be creative without all the strictures that traditional demands. The new world of publishing is freeing, but hard in its own way.
The new world of publishing is as brutal as any capitalistic system is. The people who succeed are those who keep fighting, not those who sit around whining. Yeah, the fight might take years.
If the fight is worthwhile, then do it.
And yeah, it’s okay to whine. In the confines of your own house, to your closest friends, but not on social media.
But when you step into the business arena, do so with confidence. Stand strong. Believe in yourself and all you can do.
If that sounds like it’s impossible, then maybe this business isn’t for you.
Kris Rusch

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, call them what you want. Enjoy and have a happy Sunday.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
William Faulkner

Here’s what I want: for writers to keep talking. To each other.
For writers to stop shouting their wares and start walking over to admire someone else’s cart.
For writers to RT ten other peoples’ articles and buy links before they pimp their own.
For writers to stop begging for reviews and start looking for books to review, or at least read and tweet about.
For writers at a con to stop building Fort MyBooks on the panel table and start actively engaging with the audience and each other, never beginning a single sentence with, “Well, in MY book…”
For writers to get a query rejection, file it away, forget about it, send out another query, close Twitter, and start writing the next book instead of chewing on that rejection for a week and letting it connect in any way with their own talent and self-worth.
For writers to take the money they were going to pay to enter a contest or buy Likes or print expensive swag and put it toward a writing conference where they’ll connect with other writers and receive constructive feedback about how to improve their writing or pitch.
For writers to take joy in the hungry, friendly, curious community around them and start looking for ways to give back, to lift others, to give the compliment that’s going to make someone else’s week.
The thing is, we shout the most and the hardest when we feel alone and unheard.
And you are not alone and unheard.
Stop shouting and start talking.
Listen, and you’ll be heard.
Delilah S. Dawson

We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories… And those that carry us forward, are dreams.
H.G. Wells

So I think I’m ending up with a prediction after all. 2016 will be the Year of the Writer.
Not because writers will suddenly become the darlings of the culture. (Wouldn’t that be weird?) But because the writers who have survived all the changes and have worked hard to publish in whatever way is best for them are now returning their attention to the very thing that got them started in the first place:
Telling stories.
What a great thing. Because…speaking as a reader now…that means we’ll have all kinds of marvelous, new, exciting books by 2017. Things writers have longed to write and either hadn’t had the time to write, the energy to write, or the courage to write.
It does take courage to write what you want. To follow your own creativity and see where it will lead you. To walk down a path that doesn’t exist yet.
So maybe I should modify my conclusion and call 2016 the Year of the Courageous Writer. Because we’ll be seeing a lot of courage in print this year.
And we’ll all benefit from it.
Kris Rusch

But as with any “overnight success” story, there is a lot more to it.
I think one of the hardest things for newbies to nail down is the right mentality. It’s part of the weird dichotomy that is our lot. We have to have incredible self-belief to write something and show it to other people in the first place, but we also have to have enough overarching self-doubt to hone our craft and polish our stories until they are ready for prime time.
Dave Gaughran

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pic. Here’s May batch. Have a great Sunday!

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.
Madeleine L’Engle

2016
This year, I’m boiling my resolutions down to the essence:
WRITE.
It’s so easy to get caught up in different aspects of a writing career. I’ve had phases where I tried to help other writers, started my own company, blogged, collaborated, fought the publishing world, evangelized, experimented, promoted, tried to figure things out, and spent a whole lot of time doing stuff other than writing.
I’m happy I did all that. But it has taken me away from the thing I like most.
I might be a blogger, and a teacher, and an innovator, and a pundit. But first and foremost, I’m a writer.
And writers write.
So for 2016, I’m going to write more than I’ve ever written before. I’m going to finish those stories I’ve put aside, I’m going to break new ground, and I’m going to get back to my roots. I’ve spent a lot of time tending to my career. And for good reason. A backlist is a garden that needs attention to grow and prosper.
But now I’m going to spend the lion’s share of my time planting more seeds.
I’m looking for 2016 to be my most productive year ever.
Joe Konrath

There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as you’re doing it.
There’s no timetable, as long as you’re taking the time.
Nobody can tell you how you do it. They can only tell you how they do it or what illusions they hold about the process — illusions that often wither under actual implementation.
They can offer suggestions. And you are free to take them, hold them up in the light, and see if there is anything there of value. And if there isn’t? Then you can fling it into the trash compactor on the detention level where it will be ogled and eaten by the one-eyed Dianoga.
That’s not to say there aren’t people you should listen to — a good editor or agent, a trusted friend, a beloved author. But even there, you want to find people who will clarify and improve your process and your work — not substitute it with something that isn’t really yours.
So, in 2016, I advise you to give your middle fingers a proper workout and elevate them accordingly to any who would diminish who you are, what you make, or how you make it. You don’t need to wall yourself off from it, but you also don’t need to be a sweater hanging on the clothesline, either. Get some tooth around that nerve.
Know who you are. Learn your process. Find your way. And don’t let anyone else define who you are as a creator, as an artist, as a writing writer who motherfucking writes.
Chuck Wendig

Repeat after me:
I can do this. So I do.
That confidence has to exist long before the first sale. That confidence, that willingness to say I can do this needs to exist when the writer first turns on their computer or first puts a pen to paper.
The confidence, the belief in one’s self and one’s work, has to be the core of every writer.
Yes, yes, I know, we’re all insecure. As I’ve told my writing students, we’re all a combination of extreme confidence and horrid insecurity. After all, the impulse to write—the belief that we have something to say that others will listen to—takes confidence. Extreme confidence.
Kris Rusch

To survive, you must tell stories.
Umberto Eco From The Island of the Day Before

Sunday Surprise


Either this or nothing… so words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pick! Have a great Sunday! 🙂

And my plan looks a little something like this:
I try to figure out what my next year looks like.
And the year after that.
Then, five years.
Then, ten years.
This isn’t just about what books I want to write. It’s about where I want to be in my career. It’s about what kind of money I hope to be making, how I might evolve myself as an author, what sassy dance moves I might perform if I am ever mistakenly given an award. Really, you can have nearly any goal you’d like, reasonable or not — “I want to be published by Rangdom Panguinhaus. I want a short story published in Corklin’s Literary Salon. I would like to write a comic book or a video game or the marketing copy for a sex toy company. I would also like to quit my full-time job, be a bestseller, and have a trained marmoset to fetch me my feather and quill every morning!”
(Note: it’s better to have goals you can control rather than goals you can’t.)
(Note: it’s still fun to mentally identify goals about things you can’t control anyway.)
Chuck Wendig

Tust me, folks, I am not immune from this in the slightest. When I realize that one of my books or series is selling better than others, and yet I am firing up a book that is in the poor-selling series, I hear myself ask that question.
How I get around it is tell that tiny part of my critical voice that is trying to stop me that maybe this book in this lower-selling series will be the one that explodes. That answers the question, “What’s the point.”
And makes the critical voice crawl away whimpering.
But realize, I’ve been doing this a very long time, I never read reviews of my work, and I do not follow any sales numbers or bestseller lists. Yet this still creeps in at times because one of the wonderful things we have about this new world is immediate information on sales.
A real double-edged sword if I have ever seen one.
Dean Wesley Smith

On one site, an anonymous commenter took me to task for the use of the word “artist.” He hated it in the context of writing. (I have no idea why.)
I admit: that stunned me. I’m a writer. That’s who I am. As a writer, I am both a craftsperson and an artist. I constantly strive to get better. I produce the best work I possibly can, and I always feel like I’m dancing on the head of a pin, trying to get something right.
Not the “right” of the marketplace. But the kind of right that Stephen King refers to in his introduction to Bazaar of Bad Dreams [Scribner, 2015, p. 2]:
I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, a soul-deep fear that I will be unable to bridge the gap between a great idea and the realization of that idea’s potential. What that comes down to, in plain English, is that the finished product never seems quite as good as the splendid idea that rose from the subconscious one day, along with the excited thought, Ah, man! I gotta write this right away!
Honestly, the “right” that King defines here—getting it right as in realizing its potential—is the kind of thing an artist and a craftsperson cares about. The best way to write an idea is personal. Only King knows what that splendid idea actually was, and what he was trying to capture. Just like I’m the only one who knows what I’m trying to capture when I write some of my splendid ideas.
Kris Rusch

To everyone who is new to publishing and living the indie writing lifestyle: It’s not possible to do it all. I will say it again for myself so that I can remember this and not get myself in the mess I was in. I cannot do everything. I need to rest, eat, relax and connect with those around me. I can’t be plugged in all the time writing and then working at my day job. I learned a hard lesson this year. Yes, I love writing and want to write more books, but they can’t happen as fast as I would like and that’s okay. In fact, that’s better than okay. It’s normal and I’m perfectly fine with that.
Ron Vitale

The greatest writers have persistence.
– Gina Nahai

Random Friday


Since I gave up on the challenge that should have ended today (started April 1, end should have been April 8) and spring is killing me (cool mornings hot lunch times, gaaaaaah), I thought I’d just sort of pass. About Kaylyn update, I’m about 17K in and the plot keeps changing under me, so I don’t think I’ll manage to finish it by the weekend, but hopefully by next week yes.

Just an announcement for a reading Friday. Grab this bundle while you can, it’s shorter reads (between 10K and 35K I’m told) that can keep you company when you have a short trip. And now I’m leaving you with the words of others – words of wisdom, writers on writing, call them what you want. I’m already tired from typing this, so I better use my energies to take Kaylyn to her next destination. Have a great weekend!

***

Things change in this industry every day.  If you’re like me, you probably find it bewildering at times.  But take heart.  Some things never change.  The most important thing that will never change is that books are magical containers for delivering stories and knowledge.  You create magic.
The industry will change – players will go out of business and others will rise and fall and rise again – but books will always remain.  Authors will always remain.  You are the captain of your personal adventure in publishing, and the course you chart is rife with opportunity.
(…)
Luck plays a factor as well, but only for those who implement best practices first.  Best practices prepare you to capture lightning in a bottle when luck strikes.  Luck strikes all the time.  It’s word of mouth.  It’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook mention or a review that recommends your book.
The books you have in you are important. Your books are important to the future of book culture and humanity.  Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from putting your book out into the world.

Mark Coker

But if you want a career as a writer, if you don’t want to have a day job, if you only want to write, then it seems to me the safest path to take is the indie path. You’ll have more opportunity. You can work hard and publish a lot and make money doing so.
Will every indie writer make six-figures per year? Hell, no. Nor will every traditionally published writer. But what this particular Author Earnings report shows is that if you want the chance of making six-figures or more per year with your writing, the best publishing path is indie.
(Provided you continue to learn your craft, are a damn fine storyteller, have excellent covers, do the right amount of marketing… and on and on and on.)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I made a comment at some point over the last few days that bothered a number of people. I said I could always tell if a person was going to make it. I did not mean in their storytelling skills. I meant in their drive and persistence.
Anyone can learn how to tell a good story. Persistence over years is impossible to teach.

Making choices to write is always a key indicator. How often do you make the choice to write when others are doing something that sounds like fun?
Dean Wesley Smith

(On getting to the typewriter)… “For me, a lot of times the real barrier to get to work – to get to the typewriter or the word processor – comes before I get there. I had one of those days today where I thought to myself: “I’m not sure if I can do this.” I have a lot of days like that. I think it’s kind of funny really, that people think: “Well, you’re Stephen King, that doesn’t happen to you,” as if I wasn’t really the same as everybody else.”

Stephen King

In the past year, I’ve had so many friends feel burned out. Tapped out. Done. Finished. Writing became this chore that they had to do to keep up with… what? Financial obligations. Reader expectations. Personal goals….

When I start to get burned out, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough creative time. It’s because I’m focusing on the publishing and selling aspects of this business and not on the writing parts. I NEED the writing. It’s still my most-fun-thing. My escape. My happy place.

Elizabeth Hunter

%d bloggers like this: