Writer’s and their Window Dressing.

They gather in the field, each one of them finding something they hadn’t thought would be there.

Standing in the sun, the crisp air moving through the pasture, the scent of lilacs flows through.

The lilacs, like the people are window dressing for the start of a story, they are something to use, something to give the reader a taste of the future of the story.

Will the scent of lilacs be used later in the story? Will it ever come up again, who knows.

The story we tell, and the window dressing we use to invite readers into our story is what makes us writers. There are our tools.

The window dressing is only a peak, just as the field, whomever is in the field, the crisp air and the scent of lilacs is dressing.

Each of us use different things for window dressing, but it’s all window dressing.

Standing in the middle of the street, he waves his arm while another taxi flies past him.

The ledge he stands on suctions him to curb, the drop is hundreds of feet, but he still tries to get a taxi, even as another ignores him and flies by in a gust of air.

Depending on how you read the above, or whether you understand that the story is possibly science fiction, you see the story differently.

Each story is different because each writer is different.

Something you write may not be published when another writer’s work is, that’s just how it is, and genre doesn’t matter.

Our writing is ours; it belongs to no one else. We write because we’re writers.

What are you using for window dressing to pull readers in?

Writing and finding the Honey Pot

The laughter, pain and confusion of the day rolls by. We’re seething with what we’ve seen, but we put that away, stare at a blank screen and write.

Daily we see things, things which we’re sick about, confused about and sometimes, scared about.

When we see these things we could be worried about what it will do to us. Whether it may cause us mental harm or if, and this is a big if, whether it will affect our writing or on the off-chance, it may do things which could bring out the worst in us.

These are the moments we should be taking notes.

These are when our environment is giving us cues into the labyrinth of the world. This labyrinth hides many things, but sometimes it leads us to creativity, great wonderful ribbons of creativity filled with long writing sessions and awesomely incredible characters.

Our notes, whether written or jotted down in the folds of our grey matter, are the things which lead to the creative honey pot, and like Winnie the Pooh we should bury ourselves in the honey pot, finding every little piece of honey until we’re full.

The honey pot comes more with each time we take these notes, and it continues until we don’t need the notes anymore and we’re just experiencing the things around us, but our subconscious is taking notes, which will be unlocked in our writing session later.

Finding the honey pot, and getting our fingers into the warm, gooey wonderfulness keeps us writing every day.

Without the honey pot, we’re left with a blank page, nothing more.

The more we write, the more the honey pot comes into play and the less we realize we’re pulling from it, but afterward, when we’re reading our stories, that’s when the realization of the honey pot hits us.

It’s always there, but it comes more often when we’re writing regularly.

The best thing to do is get out, experience things, live and do the things you’ve wanted to do and never hold back from what you’ve wanted to do. Then you’re free to find the honey pot and it will appear when you least expect it.

Dig in, find the honey pot, take notes and write, and when you think you’ve written enough, write some more.

Writing is Believing

stacked books

Life is full of wonderful beautiful things. We know this through our discovery of the world around us.

We see them walking through a park, hear them at a concert and smell them at our favorite restaurant. Then why is it so hard to believe in our writing?

There are many reasons for our lack of belief. but the main ones I’ll list here, then I’ll make you believe.

  • We’ve been told by someone we trust that our writing is horrible.
  • We think there is some kind of magic those who’ve been published possess.
  • Your family doesn’t support you, this is the hardest to deal with.
  • You don’t believe in yourself.

Let’s begin with the First disbelief: It’s not that your writing is horrible, it may be that the person you’ve let read it doesn’t understand your story.

My wife doesn’t enjoy reading sci-fi or fantasy, she’ll read some of my stories and just stare at me. That’s how I know I need different eyes on the story than hers, because hers aren’t the correct lens to view the story and I have to find someone else.

You have to find someone who enjoys the same type of story you’re writing or there will be issues with whether they like it.

Second disbelief: There is no magic pill. There is nothing to change your writing from having grammar issues to not.

When I first started writing I bought a lot of books on writing. I did this because I believed in the myth that there was a magic pill or book to help me. What I learned is this, The only thing that will improve writing is to write. The more you write, and nearly more importantly read, the better your writing will be.

There is no magic book to help you. You can learn a lot from those books, but mostly you’ll only be frustrated and envious of the book’s author, which is never good.

Third disbelief: Having a support staff is wonderful, but sometimes there isn’t one.

When I was writing short stories and angst ridden poems in my teens, I never showed them to anyone because I didn’t want to be judged by my peers, parents or teachers.

Unless it was for my writing class, no one saw it, not even a girlfriend. That last part was mostly from learning that those you date will use things you’ve told them against you in the harshest ways possible.

I didn’t have many friends in high school, and even less in middle school, but those I did have had no interest in my writings. Showing them to my parents would have been a one way ticket to a therapist’s office, not a good thing.

Fourth disbelief: Your lack of faith in yourself is always the thing which holds you back from doing so many things.

You worry about the consequences. About the after..

Look at what you do as if there were no After.

We should think about life as right now. What you’re doing right now, what you’re writing right now is the most important story in the world.

Remind yourself of this daily, either through meditation, prayer or notes pasted around your dwelling.

These subtle things will keep you wanting to do the things for you. They’ll remind you of a couple of things, 1, You’re important…2, What you write is important and 3, You’re important.

Finding yourself and not doing what the world wants is what makes each of us unique.

Keep being unique, never let anyone change that and keep writing…

 

 

Writers, put down the controller and write.

Each of us fall behind our goals.

We stay up too late playing video games, watching movies or we read later than we planned because the book was just that good.

With the invention of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others, we’re bound to get sidetracked from the things we need to get done.

This is why a plan of attack is necessary. You must have a plan or there is less possibility you will achieve your goals.

The first thing you should do is decide what you’re going to do tomorrow and do it. Follow a path that leads you away from the temptations I mentioned above.

I’m not saying to do away with the fun stuff and give up on the things you enjoy, everything in moderation.

But when faced with sitting down to write or playing another round of Wii Golf, put away the controller and write.

There is no other way to do it than to put the things away or have your spouse, other half or partner hide these things when you need to write. This is truly the only way to keep your mind on track.

Sometimes it’s necessary when you can’t keep your focus on what matters to have someone take over the reigns from you and control the things you can’t.

Once you’re able to take control, there will be no need for anyone else to.

Back to your morning and following a path.

You should have planned your day out the night before and if you have day job it is best to plan around that.

Once you have your plan for your day job, plan your day and your writing around that.

Once you have that, your day should go along without incident…

5 Things which can change your life and how they changed mine.

For most of my life, I’ve lived in the shallow end. I did only what I needed, I wouldn’t rock the boat and I never wanted to do the things which made me happy, I always did things which made those around me happy, or things I believed would make them proud.

Living that way taught me a few things:

  1. You can’t make others happy, regardless of how hard you try.
  2. You must to what makes you happy, to hell with everyone else.
  3. Your immediate family (which for me is my wife, kids and dog) are the ones who will support you no matter what.
  4. What you choose to do creatively can be the most important thing in your life and will give you more guidance than any book, speech of movie.
  5. You must find peace within yourself to do anything worthwhile creatively.

These five are the biggest things I’ve dealt with in my life and I’m going to go through them and tell you how I discovered the importance of each.

For Number One.

My biological dad has been out of my life for most of my adult life, this is a mutual thing and though I’ve tried and he’s tried, we can’t reach a point where we are amicable to each other.

When I was a kid I played soccer because my parents wanted me to, I was 4 and had no choice. When I was six, I started playing ice hockey, and though initially I did it because of my parents, I began to love the game and watching hockey, especially playoff hockey is a part of who I am today.

In my teens and toward my senior year in high school I wanted to do something which would make my dad proud, I enlisted in the Marines, and was discharged after failing tests in receiving.

I started college because I wanted to make him proud and it was my best way out of a bad situation, I failed at that too, completing only a year with poor academics.

When I moved to Las Vegas it was because I had no place to live as my biological dad and step-mom asked me to leave because of my relationship with my then girlfriend and present wife. Along with their not being happy with my relationship and my academics I left with my sister for Las Vegas, my girlfriend followed me to Vegas a month later.

I began writing again in 2001 after insistence from a friend and encouragement from my wife.

Initially I did because I wanted my dad again to be proud of me being published, but that never happened. After a reconciliation after my son’s birth in 2004 and eventual falling out, we didn’t talk until around 2009 when my daughter was born. That reconciliation like the previous one, didn’t end well and I’ve moved on.

I learned that my biological dad will never be satisfied with anything I do and the only person I should make proud of my achievements is myself.

For Number Two.

Along with the falling out I had with my biological dad, my sisters and a few other parts of the family stopped talking to me.

This taught a great lesson: Your family will not be there when you need them, and you must do only which satisfies yourself and ignore what everyone says about you.

I’ve since reconnected with my sisters and those other parts of my family and they are some of my greatest supports now. I don’t know how I could have dealt with my grandfather’s funeral without all of them!

For Number Three.

When others gave up on me for falsehoods they were told, my wife stood by me, and without her by my side the last sixteen years, I’m not sure I could have handled everything as well as I have.

For Number Four.

When I began writing again, I read books, watched documentaries and began following creatively gifted people on social media. I learned they are as clueless as the rest of us when it comes to how they got published or why they’re successful in their art.

Neil Gaiman said it best in his commencement speech, “Sometimes people get hired, because they get hired.” Which is the best example of how artists, writers and actors make it in their fields.

Neil Gaiman and others worry that they’ve perpetrated to some crime in their success and worry that their will come a time when someone will show up and take everything away.

I choose to write for myself, not because doing it for anyone else didn’t give me the results I wanted, but because I like to see the stories which come out and I enjoy coming up with the ideas, characters and worlds which come out so wonderfully on the page.

For Number Five.

Through all the things I’ve dealt with in my life, my parents divorce when I was eight, going to 11 different school and having to adjust to each, being discharged from the Marines, family giving up on me and being estranged from my biological dad, I no longer carry any resentment toward my family, my biological dad or anyone else.

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I learned this year that dwelling on anything never helps and that meditation and living for yourself and doing the things which matter to you are the most important things you can do in your life.

Your life is your own, no one else can live your life, no one can write your stories.

Your entitled to the life you want, and don’t let anyone, anyone tell you different.

The Pool and the Pen

I learned to escape in middle school, first it was the pool class we had, then it was writing.
I was bullied in middle school and the pool was the only retreat I had. None of the bullies had that class, and because of that I felt at home in the water.

I felt as if I was meant to be in the water, not just as an escape, but that it was something I should embrace, and I did for a long time, but I haven’t been a pool in years, not for lack of desire, but for lack of access.

Just after I got used to the pool I started writing, only for myself out of fear. I started filling notebooks and would use money I’d gained from doing chores for notebooks.
These notebooks are lost now and though I wish I’d retained them for myself. I’ve thought about them recently, only because I’ve begun feeling out of water again.

I’ve started writing more—a lot more—and because of it I’ve been thinking about when I’d sit up writing in bed, only the light from outside to fuel my frenzied scribbling.

There were a lot of stories in those notebooks which I don’t remember, a few poems too.

When life got out of control I had the pool and writing, both of which have always given me the comfort of escaping my life.
The pool was a physical escape from the troubles I faced in the halls of the middle school.
Writing has always been my mental escape, my way of getting my mind off the things that distracted me from living.

Today things are distracting me which I’m trying to control, but like middle school the writing, much like the meditation I practice, keeps me grounded in the now and makes my life complete, at least in my mind.

The reality of life is nothing is ever as perfect as we want it to be, not our writing, our personal lives or the relationships we have with our family and friends.

With perfection we’d have nothing to write about.

With the troubles of daily life, we keep our heads down in our laptops, notebooks and PC’s.
Writing is an escape from reality that I need, without it I know I wouldn’t have made it through middle school, without the pool I know I wouldn’t have gone home every day in a good frame of mind.

Without the pool and the pen I’m not sure where I’d be today.

2014: Rebirth of Your Writing

A few weeks ago I talked about, “The minutes you have left”, with the new year, there come resolutions; something I don’t believe in.

I do believe in a fresh start, which is what New Year’s is supposed to be about, not this whole thing about changing who you are. Be who you are, love the person you are, but make a fresh start with your writing.

If you’ve been struggling to get words out, write something for yourself and see where it takes you. Quite likely you’ll enjoy the ride more and may want to camp there for a while.

Once you’ve started your new journey, you’ll discover you’ve found something you like; writing for yourself does that quite well.

The year comes with great hope for our projects.

We hope for that breakthrough project. We hoped for it last year, but last year wasn’t this year and we’re going to kick that book’s ass.

With a new year comes new vigor, motivation and hope.

Our hope is to do better than last year.

Make a plan to have that book done within in the first four months. Set aside a time to write, Live your life and enjoy the journey, it’s your journey after all and no one can take it for you, so enjoy your writing the way you did as a child when you told that first story to your friends.

Because it’s a new year, find the time, make the time and write like your minutes are running out, because they are.