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Those Who Are About to Write, I Salute You!
Imagine for a moment…you wake up in the morning, fix yourself a cup of coffee, and walk out to the shaded patio with your laptop to see how many copies of your latest fantasy novel have sold as you wave to your neighbors, who are rushing off to work. As you take those first few sips, you check out your creative writing blog to see that you have 700 new subscribers and over 100 new comments on your latest social media posts. If you’ve ever had a creative bone in your body, this describes the start of your dream day…but how do you get from where you are now to sitting in your bath robe (or not) and waving to your neighbors as they trip over the skateboard on another fantastic Monday morning? How do you turn your right brain into something tangible?
The Longest Journey Begins……
At the time of writing this blog, I’m one of those tripping over the skateboard on Monday mornings. With three kids and an 8 to 5, I wear my bus driver’s cap every morning and my chef’s hat every night. I spend my days working in the IT field, filled with thoughts and ideas about what my characters might be doing in chapter 3 or how they overcame that obstacle in chapter 5. But there are many times that I wonder…how does that transition look? At what point do I get to stop making a living at what I’m comfortable with and start making a living with in a pursuit of something greater? When does dream become reality? This blog is my way of chronicling my ‘adventure’ from professional IT guy to professional writer guy…my transition from an office on the second floor to an office on my back patio. Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do!
Slow and Steady
Arguably the most important tip I’ve learned in my brief writing history is that consistency is key. If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely find that it’s difficult to find time to write on a regular basis. Softball practice, gymnastics lessons, 30 minute commute to your ‘day job’…there’s always going to be things that take you away from what you really want to do…write. And more times than not, by the end of the day, you’re so exhausted from your exploits that percolating those creative juices is the last thing on your mind.
Someone once said, ‘you make time for what’s important’, so make sure that you’re setting your priorities in order!
Now, more than ever, Social Media has become the standard for communication and marketing. Gone are the days of seeking out a publisher and hoping you can find a book club to help you digest some of your ideas. Instead, one can self-publish as well as do their own marketing from the comforts of their own home. As a result, a sound understanding of the social media landscape will go a long way towards getting your name out there.
Instead, I propose you start small by writing several short stories. For instance, my ‘white whale’ project is obviously the Mists of Kel Doran series. As I plot it all out in my head, the number of books required to complete the saga grow higher and higher…last count I think I was up to 8. But how realistic is this? I’m a dreamer, for sure, but I also know my writing skills need honed in a big bad way. So to ‘sharpen my pencil’ in preparation for the big project, I’m writing several small short stories based in the same world. Introducing characters, history, and backstories for the MoKD series, I’ll get my feet wet by releasing small 7500 word snapshots of that world.
By doing this, I am able to practice my craft, establish my style, get the word out about what I’m doing, and maybe even gain a little following before the first book even drops. But most importantly, I’m building the confidence I need as a writer to pull off a project this massive in scale.
As a result, it can be very disconcerting when even the slightest criticism comes your way. Your sentences are too long, your descriptions are too dry, your plotlines are too flat…even if the critic’s intent was positive, it can sometimes rattle the cage of the novice writer. My advice, take it all with a grain of salt…but listen. While not all criticism is constructive, it is important to understand that most of it comes from a good place, even if it doesn’t always hit the mark. It’s true, you’ll never please everyone all of the time, and this shouldn’t by any means be a goal of yours…but to get feedback, constructive or otherwise, gives another voice to your writing and can be a valuable reporting platform, if used correctly.
All Good Things...
I know it’s cliché to assume, but I truly believe my project has merit and the potential to turn my dream into a reality…now it’s time to put my determination to the test and hope my skills as a writer carry me! Whether you’re with us for the Mists of Kel Doran series, my blogging style, or just want to root for the little guy, I hope you’ll stay with me and follow along on this journey. I know where my end-goal lies…to enter this wonderful world of freedom and creativity full-time BEFORE my kids leave for college, but even if that’s a little far-reaching for my abilities, I hope that maybe my attempts to do so can inspire others to reach for the same. After all, this goal isn’t unique…so here’s dreaming, here’s to writing, and here’s to opening the doors this wonderful craft can create!
Hello, my name is Scott...I'm a husband, father of 3, and work full-time in IT. If that's not enough on my plate, I'm also tackling the biggest 'creative' project of my lifetime, bringing Mists of Kel Doran to life. I hope you like what I'm trying to pull off and I truly appreciate all of those who have supported this dream of mine. Here's to following your heart and having the courage to put your ideas out there for the world to enjoy :)
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Mists of Kel Doran