Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taking the Time

I was reading Patrick Rothfuss blog about a week ago and he hit on a theme that I find is sometimes overlooked by those of us trying hard to get our stories out there. The idea is that often times we restrict ourselves from anything that would seem like play or fun.

I know myself I have agonized about how often I am at the computer getting work done. I try to push myself to be doing something, anything, at all moments that could push me forward in my career as an author. Now there is nothing wrong with this, I feel that the field I have chosen to be apart of is a hard one. If I were to be lazy about my pursuit of readers and publishers, not only would I not deserve them, but I would also probably not be successful in finding and or keeping them.

Having said that life doesn't stop and wait for me to find the right time to enjoy it. I think it is important to remember that most of what goes into our writing is our life experience. Yes some of the things we read influence us or even movies or some other medium of entertainment, but the bulk comes from what we lived. No one writes about heartache like those who have been through it. The same goes for anything else you may want to write about. I think it is very important that we enjoy what we have around us while we look forward to the what's ahead.

Writers are dreamers, we sometimes live in a world that others can only glimpse through the words we put on a page. It can be lonely at times and the longing that comes with searching for your readers can be as heart breaking as a lost love. I can only say this your writing is only as good as you are, go enjoy yourself, find an adventure. The words aren't going anywhere trust me the madness that is being a writer won't let them.

Anyway, hope everyone has a great weekend and as always have fun and keep writing.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why are you a writer?

Today while taking my kids to school my son randomly asked from the back seat, "Dad, why do you want to be a writer?" This sort of stunned me because while I have been writing since before he was born he had never asked me that before. Trying to get them to school in time and not being a morning person I gave him a short answer, "Because I like to tell stories, it makes me happy." We talk  a good bit on rides to and from school and I enjoy having conversations with them because they can be quite insightful. Proving this true my son then asked, "But what made you want to be a writer?" I must admit the answer didn't pop right into my head.

I remembered being a teenager and first getting a Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman book. It wasn't one of their dragon lance, but Dragon Wing from their Death Gate Cycle series. This of course led me to the Dragon Lance books which led to me creating my first world and writing my first real story.

Of course I knew that wasn't where it started, if I thought back further I remembered my love of comic books. I remembered spending hours nearly everyday with my two best friends making characters and giving them stories and drawing them. I can still remember at the time wanting nothing more than to walk into a comic shop and see something on the shelf I had written.

Both of these could be great reasons to tell my son as to why I wanted to become a writer. Still as I thought on it I knew it went back even further than that. My mother read to me as a child I know because I own one of the books she used to read me, it was one of the Golden Books: The Saggy Baggy Elephant. Just a little book about an elephant who didn't feel like he fit in. See my father had left before I was born and I grew up with a sister who had a different father than me and though this is not an uncommon story there were times where I did feel like I didn't fit in or have a place. 

Another person who was hugely influential in my life was my Godmother. I called her Mamma Donna, I can recall clearly going to stay with her over summer breaks. It was a place of my own where I was special. She used to read Charlotte's Web to me when I went to sleep. She helped run a private school in New Orleans so as I got older I was able to ransack the school's library. I remember devouring books like Treasure Island and White Fang. Then I found C.S. Lewis, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. In those books I found friends and learned lessons. I got to escape and feel all ranges of emotion. My imagination was opened wide. 

The ride from my home to my kid's school isn't a particularly long one so all of this remembrance happened in just a few moments and not wanting to leave my son's question unanswered I tried to cram it all into a few poignant sentences. As we came to a stop I saw him nod his head at my story and he opened the car to go into the school building. I watched as he and his sister left the car. I told them I loved them and as I usually do in the mornings when I take them asked ever so cleverly for them to learn something. It was a small thing his question. Simply a brief moment of, at most, an interest in his father or at least a mild curiosity as to why I did what I do with my time. For me though it was something truly special. 

It let me go back to those moments in my life. Like when my mother used all of her energy to fill the role of two parents and still took the time to read to me. Of the last time I saw my Godmother at my sister's wedding. She spent her time watching a few children, some of which were her grand kids. I got too see new people benefiting from having a Mamma Donna. Of my two friends who didn't care if it was silly to run around yelling out hero catchphrases and spend hours and hours off in an imaginary world. To go back to the moments I fell back into a fantasy world and loved it so much I created something for myself that I still work in to this day.

These stories and others like them, of great moments and people in my life showed me something about myself as a writer. They showed me that this isn't something I thought would be cool to do one day. It isn't something I thought I could make some money at or get some attention through. No, what that little question showed me was that as corny or fluffy and maybe even a little cliched as it may sound, writing isn't something I do, it's who I am.

Anyway, what is it that makes you a writer, or a painter or an accountant or whatever it is you truly are? Finding that out may bring a smile to your face when things get hard, as always have fun and keep writing.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Laptop

Well Spring is almost here and as is normal for this time of year—taxes came in. We tend to do okay with our taxes so that when they come in we can get a few things in order and maybe get something extra we have been wanting throughout the year, but didn't have the coin to splurge on it.

For me that was a laptop. I used to only write on them, but one year I got my desktop and never went back. I enjoy my writing space(AKA : Nerd Station), it is great to have a place to go where I know work is supposed to get done. The problem I found is sometimes it wasn't an ideal place to be, if my wife was home and busy doing something that meant the kids were in and out or the dogs were running around. This would give the little two year old in my head something else to focus on instead of getting words to page.

So I decided to take my extra spending money and get a small laptop, nothing fancy, just something I can take where ever and write on. I have to say for my writing career it was the smartest thing I have done in a long time. I still write at my desktop, but the ability to go sit on the back porch and listen to the wind moving through the trees or find some secluded area in a house full of people where I can delve into a story, is priceless.

So far total writing done on the new computer is just over 30,000 words, and I have had it about a month. There is a freedom in saying where I get to write that appeals to that rebellious toddler that sometimes lives in a writer's mind. I am hoping to have a second story finished(at least first draft) in the next two months at this rate and I can't be happier.

In other news I have looked a lot into self publishing and after the recent interview I saw with R. A. Salvatore on Sword and Laser— which I recommend a watch— I am thinking for my first book self publishing may be the rout for me. With the way the publishing world is going and the ease of access to eBooks and print to order a first time author has a good chance of getting out there if their work is good enough and I feel mine is.

Anyway as always have fun and keep writing.

Sword & Laser link :Here