In a way, starting this blog is like starting a story; so, I hope my blog becomes a never-ending series instead of a short story. When it comes to fiction and creative nonfiction, there’s no limit on topics to write about—characters, plot, setting, point of view, dialogue, description. . . Since I know a lot about the craft of writing, you’d think I could leap into the blogosphere with no hesitation. It’s not that easy.
Before starting my blog, I had to ask myself, “What can I offer writers that they can’t find someplace else?” Unable to come up with an encouraging answer, I felt suffocated by self-doubt. I was finally able to deal with apprehension by taking the advice I read in a self-help book many years ago: “Face your fear and do what you need to do.”
Facing my fears head on, I said to myself, “Drunkespeare, no other person has your particular experiences or opinions. Some writers will relate to what you have to say, and others won’t; some will appreciate your suggestions, and others will find the help they need elsewhere. Your job is to do the best you can. So, get this blog up and running!”
(When talking to myself, I don’t really call myself Drunkespeare. I’m not that crazy. In fact, I don’t call myself by any name, since I’m the only person inside my skull, which usually makes it fairly easy to know who is talking to whom.)
Since you’ve read this far, you might be curious about can offer you. Besides helping writers solve their writing and publishing problems, I can also help them with writer’s life problems. Being a writer is an ongoing, two-part process. One part involves learning the necessary techniques to make your stories publishable; the other part involves preventing daily life from sabotaging your goals. Both parts are equally important. But sometimes one part requires more attention than the other; other times, the two can happen simultaneously.
Some of our most challenging obstacles are self-imposed; others creep in from the world around us. We’ve all have had problems with friends, kids, dogs, cats, TV, or social media taking up too much of our time. That’s life. We’ve all had problems figuring out what to discard and what to include in a story we’re working on. That’s writing. To be successful writers, we learn to keep temporary obstacles from becoming permanent barriers.
Now and then in posts and articles, I’ll offer suggestions for staying focused while dealing with shitty jobs, nosey friends, noisy neighbors, disappointed parents, significant others, insignificant others, addictive TV series, and other distractions. Our lack of commitment—or our lack of confidence—can turn minor distractions into major obstacles. But we can learn how to be more committed to our writing, and how to trust that we will complete and sell a story.
The writing process is demanding work. And being able to deal with daily distractions will not solve of our problems. On my About page I said that if you believe you’re a writer then you are one. Well, I had to rethink that: Let’s say you’ve won the Powerball lottery, or your reclusive aunt died and left 50 million to you instead of to her seven cats, and you move into a tropical beach house and hired bodyguards to keep greedy relatives from pestering you, writing your novel or memoir will still involve lots of hard work.
With sacks of money you can easily pay a ghost writer, as many celebrities do, but that will not make you a writer—no matter how many talk shows you go on to sell “my new book.” So, if you think being super rich will end your need to write, then you’re probably not a writer. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are super-rich, and they still have writing and life problems. Just sayin’.
Besides suggestions on dealing with life, I’ll offer information on the four essential stages of getting a story out of your imagination and into print:
Some writers consider getting published an essential stage of the writing process. I don’t share that opinion. Dealing with agents, acquisition editors, and publishers is a process unto itself. One of the best things I can offer you is suggestions on how to avoid mistakes I’ve made over the years. Knowing why I’ve made mistakes might never be useful to me—unless I invent a time machine—but my mistakes can keep you from having preventable regrets.
I earn from my successes, as well as from my unsuccessful attempts. And I’ve learned a lot from my positive relationships with agents, editors, and publishers. I know how to get an agent or editor’s attention. I’ll also offer information about publishing possibilities—print-on-demand, small press, ebooks. Being well-informed about publishing possibilities, and knowing what the publishing industry is looking for, can help you decide what’s best for you’re currently working on and what to write next.
Since this post has to end someplace, let it be here. I love to chat with writers and look forward to your comments.
Wishing you the best writing you can do.