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What makes a writer?

November 14, 2014 Leave a comment
writer There are many things that I’ve heard over the years that define what a writer is. I’d never considered myself a writer because I’d never been published. That’s changed now, but so has my definition of a writer.

The defining quality of a writer isn’t being published, it’s attitude.

If you can make time to have a coffee, you can make time to write. Do it. Do it every day. Ass in seat, hands on keyboard. Don’t worry about a visit from your muse, chain that bitch down and make her work for you.

Don’t worry about quality in your first draft. Get it down. Once it’s down take the scalpel to it. Once it’s in shape, get feedback from your peers. Grow a thick skin. Rinse. Repeat.

Learn. There are lots of smart people giving you feedback. Don’t try to fix everything at once, do it one lesson at a time and make each lesson a habit.

Write what you want to write, not what you think will sell. If you aren’t passionate about your story, how are you going to make your readers feel something you don’t?

Why are you still reading? Go write something.

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Writing Tip: Exposition

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Chuck Wendig (http://terribleminds.com) has a great post regarding how to handle exposition.  As a writer, you can’t avoid exposition, but you have to handle it correctly.

Warning: Contains adult language

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/08/09/25-ways-to-make-exposition-your-bitch/

Categories: Writing

Writing Advice

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”

– John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

Categories: Writing

The Best Writing Quote Ever!

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.

Got others to share? Include them in the comments.

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100 Words a Day

March 1, 2011 1 comment

100 Words per Day ChallengeAfter months of dedicated procrastination, it’s time to get back to some writing.  Rather than outlining an epic tale or attempting to flesh out the ideas for a short story (both of which I accomplish by leaning back in my favourite recliner with my eyes closed), I have decided to keep my expectations low.  It’s worked for my wife, so it should work for me.

The challenge: 100 words a day.

That shouldn’t be a problem for a garrulous galoot like myself – except for that danged propensity toward procrastination. Heck, some tweets approach the 100 word mark.  Even this meager post exceeds the 100 word mark and it only took me a few minutes to bang out.  I am hoping that by actually publishing the challenge and pretending that someone will actually read this, I will be shamed into abandoning my procrastinating ways.  It isn’t the amount of words written that is important, it is the fact that I can develop a habit of daily writing.

I will be posting here semi- regularly with updates as to how the challenge is going.  Feel free to join me in the challenge, I would like the company.

Categories: Writing

Rejections: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

First, my apologies to Adam Savage for stealing his line.

I received another rejection letter for a short story that I have written (one that I am particularly fond of) and have had a few people comment that rejections must really sting.  Well, I haven’t been writing long enough to achieve a large pile of rejections, but I have lived long enough (and sarcastically enough) to collect a lot of first-hand knowledge about rejection.

Most writers view rejections as something to be feared and avoided.  I don’t think they can be avoided. If your writing hasn’t been rejected, chances are your Mom is the only one who has been reading it.

You shouldn’t fear rejection letters, at the very least they are a sign that you’re willing to step up and put your writing out there. I’ve talked to a lot of authors who are going to publish something “some day”.  Make today the day and send out your work in progress, even J.K. Rowling collected a number of rejections before a publisher decided to give Harry Potter a chance.

If you’re lucky enough to get a personal rejection letter, view it as a learning experience.  I have been lucky enough to have a few editors take the time to give me a good idea of why my work was being rejected.  This gives me very valuable feedback on what editors are looking for and what I need to work on.  Nothing feels better than getting a rejection letter from an editor, working on your craft some more and then getting a story published in the same market that previously rejected you.

Rejections are part of the business, take them in stride and try not to take them personally.  Make sure that you send out only your best quality work and make sure you research who you’re sending that work to.  Above all, remember that selection is still a personal preference.  One editor may not like your work, but the next one may have nothing but praise.  The only way to find out is to put your work out there.

Categories: Writing

Ebooks in CS5 with Jason Hoppe

For an author who wants to get his or her work out there, we have to learn an awful lot beyond story, style, and grammar.  It is tough to get published and the world of publishing is changing. I am not going to pretend that I have experienced it first-hand (hopefully, I will sooner or later), but some of my author friends have. Just trying to keep up with their schedules of blog tours, twitter updates and online interviews for promotion is tiring.  Even with all that work, there seems to be small return for the amount of effort and time.

Many authors find it impossible to even find a publisher, so they self-publish. They manage the resources to produce online and print copies of their books and then go through the never-ending process of marketing and promoting their work.

I can write moderately well. To produce any sort of copy that would look like a professionally published work would be well beyond my artistic and geekly capabilities. I can’t even colour inside the lines.

I was pointed to a great course by Jason Hoppe entitled: Creating eBooks and PDFs with CS5 (Creative Suite 5) which looks to solve a huge dilemma for me: How would I produce something that looks professionally laid out? It is a 10 week course which, I hope, will lead me through the creation process in a simple and straight forward manner (since I have never used CS5 before). I have a lot of confidence in the material since my wife has taken a similar course on Photography and I ‘sat-in’ while she attended. The presenters are professional and really know what they are talking about – and they keep the course interactive with their online audience.  They ‘get’ how the Internet works.

The courses are unique in that they are free to attend while they are filming them and, if you cannot attend all the viewings or you want to have a reference afterwards, you can purchase the final edited product once it is complete. I think that this is a wonderful way to promote the material and get a great targeted audience for the final product.

The course begins July 28, 2010 and runs for 10 weeks. I hope to see some of you there.

Categories: Writing