Reflections on the Year

For me, December is always a time of looking back and reflecting on what I did well, and what I didn’t do so well. Perhaps that’s why I was so attracted to the idea of the Renew and Review Writing Challenge right away.

In my introspection, I’ve come across some ideas that I tend to structure my life around. After musing on this sticky note on my desk for a few days, I decided I’d share it.

Define success for yourself.

You will never be happy so long as

you’re trying to live up to someone else’s

definition of success.

You will only live long enough

to live out ONE person’s lifetime

of dreams.

They had better be yours.

Tell everybody else to go live 

their own dreams instead of hoping

you’ll have the courage

to do it for them.

Famous Novelists on Symbolism in Their Work and Whether or Not it was Intentional

Famous Novelists on Symbolism in Their Work and Whether or Not it was Intentional

I loved this article. I for one hated analysing a perfectly good novel to death in English class. There are some novels that I read in school that I actually enjoyed until we picked them apart with tweezers. Can we please stop destroying childrens’ budding love of reading before it has a chance to thrive?

As an author, I look at articles like these and wonder what kernels of extraneous “meaning” would be slapped onto my books if anyone were to analyse them. Such thoughts always lead to cringing and the need to go look at pictures of kittens.

25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing

25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing

This article is one I re-visit several times a year to remind myself of the big picture. It can be easy to get lost in bad habits, especially when one works for oneself. Writers, and artists in general, need to take ourselves seriously, and this list is something I find helps me to do just that.

In other news, I burned the midnight oil last night and got caught up on my NaNoWriMo. 73% done! Woo!

Tunes for Writing

Hi guys! At present, I have chapters 1 through 10 of Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy submitted back to my editor and things are looking great. I’m about ready to start posting some samples of the novel here for you to see if you’d like to read the rest when it comes out but I want to be absolutely sure that it’s as polished and nice as it can be. You know I wouldn’t give you crap to read!

Other than that little announcement, I’ve found a great resource for writing. It’s a site that lets you search for music playlists based on mood.

Stereomood.com seems to be rather new but I’ve already discovered its usefulness. All I have to do is type in the mood I want to set for the scene and it pops up a playlist of songs that people have tagged for that particular mood. 

I’m not about to throw away all my youtube playlists but I’m eager to see where this resource goes in the future. Take a crack at it. At worst, you’ll discover some cool new songs.

Milestones of Writing

I found a lovely little blog post I’d like to share with you here. It’s a post by Fiction Factor about word count in fiction writing and the benchmarks for each type of fiction. Take a browse over those numbers.

Now, the reason why I’ve linked this to you, is that I don’t like the idea of NaNoWriMo being a pass or fail, win or lose affair. A lot of people don’t write for NaNo because they know that the month is going to be too crazy for them to make the 50,000 word mark. Folks, I invite you to get that idea right out of your head.

If you don’t make the 50,000 word mark, do not consider yourself a failure. Instead of looking at what you didn’t do, look at what you did accomplish. If you only write, say, 8000 words, congratulate yourself! You wrote a novelette. Got really busy and only managed 2000 words? Well pat yourself on the back; you got out a short story! 

Look at these bench marks and celebrate each one. It doesn’t even matter if no one ever sees what you write this month. Practising your craft is never a waste of time. Ever.

Part of being an independent artist, or any manner of successful human being for that matter, is setting reasonable goals. So maybe this month is National Novelette Writing Month for you. So what? Write that novelette! Just don’t fall into the trap of “well I can’t do what everyone else is doing so I might as well not produce anything at all.” Write what you can and be proud of it. Now go make good art. Continue reading “Milestones of Writing”

A Glimpse of the Divine

Any sort of artistry is scary. Oftentimes, our society’s expectations of the tortured, starving artist become a self-fullfilling prophecy. Perhaps that’s why so many young creative minds are discouraged by well-meaning parents wanting to save their children from a life of misery, telling them: “You’ll never make a living off of that,” only to have them fall into the arts anyway as though some capricious hand of destiny were shoving them along their path. A path only made harder by parental disapproval.

Am I afraid? Absolutely. I’ve been working for years on a project with no guarantee of success, no matter how good it is. A disturbing number of artists were only discovered and recognized decades after their deaths. Too late to enjoy the electric surge that is the audience peering through their metaphorical window and glimpsing something amazing, and exclaiming over it.

But I can’t stop. You see, despite my fear, I must continue trying to wedge that window open. Hopefully, my muse will be there for the effort.

Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech

I keep this video on my bookmarks bar. One of my friends made me a beautiful cross-stitch of those three words and framed it; it hangs on the wall just behind my computer at eye-level. Whenever I lose the plot (in a book, or in life in general) I look up from the screen and remember what I’m doing, and why. I often finish blog entries or writers’ circle announcements with this iconic phrase.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend it. Even if it doesn’t do for you what it does for me, it’s some solid advice for all artists, be they literary or otherwise.

Have a most excellent day, and make good art.

14 Writers Handwrite Their Writing Advice on Their Hands

14 Writers Handwrite Their Writing Advice on Their Hands

As writers, the tools of our trade are always with us: our hands. Here’s some great gems of advice from authors about how to make good art.

The Art of Asking

I trust you.

I’ve had people, many of them friends of mine give me a pained expression, full of well-meaning worry for me and my livelihood, when I tell them I am self-publishing. I tell them that the book publishing industry has changed. It’s a brave new world full of new opportunities for artists to connect directly with their audiences.

Yes, it’s frightening to take that leap of faith and do something outside of long-standing tradition. I’m doing so, and Mz. Palmer’s TED talk here is precisely why.

I don’t want to connect with a publishing house. I want to connect with you. I don’t fancy giving 80% of my money to a middle-man to stand between my readers and myself. I want people to be able to enjoy a good fantasy novel for no more than three dollars and to be happy with that investment.

That’s why I have decided to put forward my art this way; I trust you.