Scientology

I’ve spent all day dealing with getting my money back from The Church of Scientology. I ordered a “Life Repair” program from them by mistake. I thought I was ordering from Grant Cardone. Turns out Grant is a high level Scientologist. I can’t speak to others experiences with Scientology, but in my experience all they’ve been is annoying. I asked them to cancel and refund my order and all they do is tell me how Scientology is full of good people.

I have no problem believing Scientology is full of good people. Good people return money when an honest mistake. I’m hopeful one way or another I’ll get my money back. The lesson of the day, Trust my gut. If something feels wrong it probably is.

NEWS FLASH Grant Cardone is a Scientologist.

Apparently, it works for him and that’s great. In America we have the right to associate with whomever we choose. Inherent in that right is the right to refuse to associate with whomever we choose.

Tomorrow the blog returns to it’s normally scheduled programming. I’ll be doing a post on Kevin Hearne author of The Iron Druid Chronicles and the new Epic Fantasy A Plague of Giants See you then!

Streak Day 7

200 words no timer

 

Thank You Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is among my top five working fiction writers today. This is primarily because of his Dresden Files series which stands at 15 books, along with one anthology of short stories called Side Jobs.

What I’m about Jim is the way he writes his characters. Every character he writes (especially the bad guys) have some redeeming quality that makes you able to root for them if you are so inclined.

What I like most about Jim is his accessibility with fans. He has a LiveJournal where he discusses how he writes his books.

Jim’s writing teacher Debbie Chester actually wrote a book called the Fantasy Fiction Formula which expands on the lessons in his LiveJournal from the source that Jim got his knowledge.

If you’re a writer who needs to write outlines to get your work done I highly recommend that book.

Back in 2015 I gave Jim crap over twitter because I was having a medical crisis and I was afraid I wasn’t going to live to see the end of the series that I love so much.

He couldn’t have been nicer about it. Jim is one of those few examples where you meet your heroes and their nicer, more compassionate, and more supportive than you could have possibly imagined. Thanks for making my life better Jim.

While I still plan to wait until the entire series to buy future volumes, I have to say Jim is one of the best writers I know. And he inspires me to keep working at my craft so my stories are as entertaining as his have been.

If you want an excellent example of how to write a series that doesn’t get stale, and retread the same old ground, I highly recommend The Dresden Files

There are 3 major secrets to The Dresden Files success.

1. Jim employs the scene/sequel method in order to write his books.

2. Harry Dresden’s story has an ending. This allows the bad guys to get tougher, Harry to level up as necessary, and for the stories to remain interesting.

3. The characters are interesting. Things aren’t black and white, or simply good versus evil. Every character has a motivation behind what they’re doing.

Thanks Jim for all you do to entertain, inspire, and educate your audience about what it takes to be a successful professional storyteller. My life is better because you chose to tell their stories.

If You Want to Learn to Write like Jim Butcher Start with These Resources


The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Debbie Chester

Jim’s LiveJournal

Blowing Things up (how to write scenes)

And Making People Care about It (how to write sequels)
The Dresden Files

Side Jobs – an anthology of short stories set in the Dresden files universe.


Streak Day 6

413 words using Dragon with no timer

Robert Heinlein and Persistence

Robert Heinlein was born in Butler Missouri on July 7th, 1907 and he wrote fiction from 1939 until his death in 1988 at the age of 80. I’ve already talked about Heinlein’s business rules of writing twice on this blog, but I’ll list them again because it’s good practice.

Heinlein’s Business Rules of Writing

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order (and only if you agree with the editor)
4. You must put your book on the market
5. You must keep your book on the market until it sells.

Simple rules. Hard to follow. But that is the basis for being successful as a creative artist in the business world. If I’m successful it will be because Robert Heinlein laid the foundation for me almost 80 years ago.

Beyond Business Rules

In order to be successful as a long term fiction writer (i. e. write and publish fiction for longer than a decade.) you have to enjoy writing. In order to enjoy writing you have to enjoy reading. And Heinlein was the first writer I met that made me a fan of his writing. He wasn’t just a good Science Fiction writer. He was a good writer. And with his wide knowledge of human cultures and science, he was able to create characters and futures that were believable and relatable. He was able to make characters I could route for and wanted to be.

Interestingly for me, some of his oldest books stand the test of time best.

His best YA book is Have Space Suit Will Travel.

His best Adult Book is Stranger in a Strange Land

And his memoir on craft Grumbles From The Grave is a great read for indie authors. Again and again I am struck by his confidence as a writer, and his willingness to defend his art.

He ended a relationship with a publisher (Scribners) rather than change his book (Starship Troopers) to suit the taste of his editor.

It seems strange to me that in this new age of indie publishing confidence is such a big deal. I think that might be because in order to be published in the past you needed to have a certain base level of confidence to break through the gatekeepers.

By breaking through those gatekeepers you had that base level of confidence and developed more as you honed your craft. In this indie world a writer has to give themselves permission to publish and not get the kind of commercial success they’re hoping for.

I’ve failed many, many times in my life. Most of the time it’s been truly demoralizing.

It seems to me the difference between success and failure is how you internalize failure.

Persistence seems to be the antidote. I wonder how someone develops the habit of persistence if it’s not already a habit? My guess is like with writing. You just act like you think a persistent person would act until one day you wake to find that you are in fact persistent. Until tomorrow.

Streak Day 5

506 words no timer

My Next Steps

I know I said today’s post was going to be about writers who’ve influenced me. The truth is the list is too long so I’ve decided to make it a series of blog posts on each of the individual writers.

Today I want to talk about the next steps in my writer career.

Heinlein’s Business Rules For Writers

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order (and only if you agree with your editor)
4. You must put it on the market.
5. You must keep it on the Market until it sells.

Every long term writer who makes a living with their writing follows this formula.

My Major Leak

My major leak is in Rule #2. And of course you can’t get very far if Rule #2 is where you fall off.

What I plan to do about it

I’m going to study and practice short story writing.

I have 4 volumes of Fiction River an anthology magazine put out by WMG publishing. The short stories these people write are very entertaining.

I’m going to read my 4 volumes. Pick out the stories that I like and then copy them into my word processor as if I was the original author. By practicing in this way I’ll give my subconscious permission to use the short story techniques that work for me as a reader.

I want to write 1,000,000 words over the next year to make myself eligible for the excellent professional development workshops available through WMG publishing.

In order to write 1 million words in a year I need to write 2800 fiction words per day. That’s very doable. The problem is I know what happens when I put too much on my plate. I end up getting nothing done then berating myself for being a loser, and that gets us nowhere.

I have a massive freelance project I’m committed to that I’m behind on because of my wisdom teeth. The first thing I have to do is clear the decks on that. After that’s done, I’ll be able to focus completely on my fiction writing.

I’m going to work on my fiction writing at least an hour a day. But I’m not going to announce any deadlines or publication schedule until after I clear the decks. I’ll keep doing these daily blog posts because I like doing them and I think they’re important to look back on in the future.

My next blog post will be about Robert Heinlein and what he taught me about writing.

Streak Day 4

420 words no timer

Writers Keep Writing

This has been a weird and wasted day. I’m putting this blog up because I want to continue my streak but this blog will be the only writing related thing I’ve accomplished today.

The thing is that doesn’t feel like a win to me. I want to be producing more in my life. I guess I am in a sense. This is the first time I’m doing a blog post when I don’t feel like it to continue a streak. That is kind of cool. I often wonder on days like this if I really want to be a writer. But when I do a gut level check it always feels like the answer is yes. And yet, here’s a day when I did nothing.

I don’t like these days even as I’m living through them I don’t like them. I wish it were as easy as just doing the work.

And there’s the problem. Writing as an art isn’t supposed to be work. When have you ever said I want to stop reading this book I enjoy?

That’s what writing a book is supposed to be. The author just having fun. Granted every author has points where they get stuck. The difference between writers and people who aspire to write is Writers Keep Writing

I’m going to go to bed, get up and start fresh tomorrow. Good night.

Streak day 3
200 words with a 10 minute timer

Keep Marketing out of your Writing

One thing I’ve learned in my year of intense study about becoming a career fiction writer is, if you want to be a long term career fiction writer, you can’t care what anyone thinks. You can’t worry about the market for your books. You write the best book you can, you publish it and move on.
There’s no other way to get better at writing.

I know Chris Fox talks a lot about writing to market, and I’ve taken literally every story outlining course you can imagine. I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars learning how story structure works.

What causes me to finish stories? Just writing until I get to the end.

Why do I have over 50 openings and 2 complete short stories for over a decade of time. Because I want to make enough money to support myself and live independently.

Putting that kind of strain on my creative voice chokes it into silence. Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love talks about this problem in her book on creativity Big Magic. She says she’s never depended on her writing to support her.

I’ve been so worried about making enough money to live independently that I have choked my creative voice into silence.

I had a similar problem this summer with an 11 day challenge I subjected myself to. I made the book too important.

The main thing to do with writing is to have fun.

The key to guaranteed success as a writer is to write a lot of books, publish them, and write more. Every new book you write will advertise your other books.

Streak 2 days
15 wpm with a 20 minute timer

Relaunching My Blog

I’m relaunching my blog. I decided to keep most of my blog posts from the past so that I can read them and see how far I’ve come.

I’ve been studying how to make a living as an independent author seriously for the last year. To date, I have one short story that I don’t intend to publish under my own name because it’s too personal. I may publish it under a pen name. I haven’t decided that yet.

What I’ve always wanted to do is to create a blog that actually shows someone going from “rags to riches.”

I’ve been studying success gurus since 2005. I’ve read Think and Grow Rich. I’ve listened to Tony Robbins Personal Power. I’ve listened to his Get the Edge program. I’ve sought out most major productivity and success gurus that have a national recognition. Nothing has stuck with me so far.

That means I’m perfectly positioned to do what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to blog about my journey from hobbyist writer to professional author. I’m going to blog every day to establish a writing streak.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to write at least 200 words every day of fiction. When I publish I will let everyone know here.

If you’d like to join my email list you can do so on the right side of my blog. I email it when I have major life events or when I publish a book.

An Update

At the end of August I found out I have an infected wisdom tooth. All my wisdom teeth need to come out. So I’m putting a pause on my fiction writing until November 1st. I don’t know how long it will take me to recover from this surgery. Every surgery is different. But I should be my new normal by November 1st. So that’s when I plan on working on fiction again.

A Plan Designed For Where I am Right Now

I wanted to post on this blog yesterday, but too much happened.

I broke my toilet and had to have a new toilet installed, and it was my birthday. Written like that it doesn’t seem like a lot but it was.

I finally figured out why I am not where I want to be in my author career. It’s because I’ve been trying to follow the plans of others to create my success. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about success, it’s that everybody’s path to success is different.

This is as true for artists as it is for entrepreneurs. So it’s no wonder that everything that I have tried up until this point hasn’t worked, because I focused so much on working someone else’s plan that I didn’t develop my own.

I’ve rectified that. I have a rough plan of my own that I’m going to follow. This plan will change as circumstances develop, but it’s a plan that I designed for myself given my experience over the last three years.

My Rough Plan

I plan to publish my first novel on September 14 and a novel every month after that. I know that seems ambitious to some of my readers, especially considering that I have yet to finish a novel. But it’s very doable.

LET’S DO SOME MATH

First of all, I’m assuming I work 22 days a month on my writing eight hours a day. This allows me to take weekends off, and it also allows for leeway if I decide not to take weekends off. I’m also assuming an eight hour workday when I know I can work 10.

In all my previous plans, I’ve never given myself breathing room the problem with that is that mentally I’m always stressed because I always feel like I’m behind.

So…

22 x 8 = 176 hours

My production process will go like this: 100 hours to produce my first draft of this months novel. Then I give it to my first reader, and my cover designer. So, producing my first draft will take me two weeks. That will give my first reader two weeks to read and return my novel, and while my first reader is reading it my cover designer can create a cover for me to use.

I told some people I’d be posting here on a weekly basis. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t do well trying to write in public. Some authors have been very successful at it (Harlan Ellison springs to mind) but honestly it’s just not for me. So, I’ll post here when I have something to post about the progress of my work, but I won’t be posting on a regular basis, because it hinders my creative process.

Thanks for all your support.

If you want to be notified when I post something feel free to join my mailing list and I will be sure to email you when I update this blog.

Restarting My Writing Habit

I’m restarting my fiction writing habit today.

I promised my friends that I would have a rough draft ready for them by August 12. I definitely have the number of hours to produce the rough draft necessary.

The danger of doing something like this for the creative voice is that you make the book more important than it actually is.

Writing is a skill that’s developed over time, and with practice. This means that every book you write is at once going to be the worst book you write, and the best book you are capable of in that moment. And one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I’m surrounded by people who think I have talent as a writer and who see my writing as something important. And I’ve already figured out that my biggest problem is that I care what people think way too much.

The only way to be successfully creative, in my limited experience is:

1. Enjoy the experience of creating.
2. Create like nobody’s watching.

The truth is this book is just practice. And so is every book I’ll write in the future.

I’ll have to keep reminding myself that until it sinks in. I’ll post again this evening when I have totals to share.

Daily fiction — 00 new words
blog posts — approx. 200 new words
novel creation stage: Outlining
novel deadline: August 11th, 2017
blog streak 1 day