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.