Saturday, November 7, 2009

fear of the fear

I've had recent pause to consider that many upcoming writers are unable to place their name against their writing, preferring to use a pseudonym. There is no doubt it takes a fair amount of courage to claim your work. You probably fear you'll be judged. But you know what? It just doesn't matter. People will think what they'll think. You putting your name to your work is the major step to calling yourself a writer.

Fear is the highest 'cause of death' among the emerging writer's productive output today. It is common for the artistic soul to be troubled. Creativity seems set to stem from drama. But the notion behind all inability to accept and float through life's dramas, tribulations and torment, is that creativity will somehow provide sanity. And it will. Along with self-analysis. Commitment to belief of self-worth is well worth the effort. No matter your story, and we've all got 'em as you know, no matter your pain, loss, sins, or terrors, self-worth is the key. And nothing says 'I accept myself' like typing that byline upon the page.

If your work is good enough to publish, it's good enough to put your real name against it. Be proud of what you've carved from the pits. Pretty much, in life, it's all down to you to take your chances. The universe will provide, for sure, but you can just as easily walk on by if wish it. Trick is, don't. Grab on and do your thing, because I for one, can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who says I can't?

I'd like to digress a minute and talk a little about confidence. 

It's tough to put yourself out there and claim yourself a writer, or an editor. Or anything, really that's outside your comfort zone. Particularly when faced with the overwhelming successes of your peers. Everyone else seems to be more qualified, more published and more confident than you.

You can be worried about what people will think of you. You're wondering if they're thinking, 'Who the hell does she think she is?' It's daunting. Many great writers never make it, because they're afraid. Fear, among other things, is the killer of all creativity. 

Never let anybody tell you, 'You can't do it.' My philosophy is this, 'Think, therefore I am.' Words I live by. I mean, come on, what right do I have to tell you how to write, or edit? Well, I've learned a thing or two along the way. How to write, how to edit, and how to be my own person. 

I want to share this knowledge with you, so hopefully, you'll wind up with great work, self-confidence and the ability to move forward in your life. This blog is not just about writing and editing, it's also about you and what I can do to help you believe in yourself. Because that belief, my friends, is the greatest tool a creative person needs. 

There is always going to be doubt, fear, lack of confidence and procrastination to deal with. Point is, rise above it and high-kick it outta here! Often, we're the ones sabotaging ourselves. Don't do that anymore. Write what you want. Seek out a publisher. Say you're a writer. Believe you're a writer. Remember, just write. Don't worry about the mistakes, or being word perfect. Not right now, anyway. We can always fix it later.

This one, I'd like to end with an apt piece about perception. 


am here

how wary, you have not noticed?

my feet plant roots

my thoughts have focus to which i cleave

mine, is a provincial sphere


i desire anonymity not

despite your need to bury me, i exist

in the shadows, you placed

amorphous, i became

yet a revelation

i know

i am beauty

i am free

i am pain yes,

but i am alive

i am your son, autistic or not

and i am au fait with the word of love

call me Daniel, just once

i cannot speak

or, i would call you, Dad


Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to start?

People  often ask me, 'where do I start?' They have a story idea, but no clue where to begin. It's important to remember that you can always fix bad writing, you just can't fix NO writing. So, just write. What lands on the page is never what remains after you've completed a redraft, or ten. Get your character doing something. Remember to use your five senses (we'll go into those with more depth later), so the reader gets a sense of the where and when. Make sure you 'show don't tell'. Have your character touching, smelling, seeing, hearing and tasting everything around her. An example of sight, touch and sound:

'I head toward the light. Wind slaps sharp salt spray in my face as I trudge up the narrow path, eyes down, blinking away sand. I follow the mess of footprints. Minutes later, the path breaks ahead and I come out on the beach. Men stand in clusters; a hum of low conversation filters through the wind. I duck into my jacket collar; the cold is making my ears numb. I pass a group of reporters held back by yellow crime scene tape. Lot of people here. Maybe ten detectives shuffle on the spot to keep warm. A photographer pops in and around the scene, while the top office watch on from beneath thick woolen trench coats. Crime Scene dots the area with their white coveralls.'

Beginning any piece of writing is a stage I like to call the spew. It's where every adjective, adverb, clause and noun, known to man, spills out onto the page. Of course, you'll think it's pure brilliance. Until, that is, you read it again later. Don't panic. You need the spew. Without it, you'll never find the gems. In there, somewhere, is that one sentence that is quite possibly pure genius. 

As your word-count grows, so will your story. Around the three thousand mark, you'll need an outline. And this, is where your original idea gets pulled into shape. More on this next time.