Photo credit Andre Benz, Unsplash.com
Friends often send me texts: “I want to apply for this job, but I don’t fit the qualifications. Do you think I should go for it?”
That’s really similar to, “I want to write this book, but I don’t think anyone will take me seriously.”
A few years ago, I went to New York City for the first time (as an adult). I was there to celebrate my 10th anniversary with my amazing wife, and we were on our own dime. We couldn’t afford to take cabs, so it was time to learn to use the subway. We’d never done it before. Without asking anyone, we started trying to get around, checking maps and cross-referencing. Before long, we ended up in Brooklyn as we tried to hit Times Square.
For those who know New York, that’s a Super Subway Fuck Up™.
Continue reading I have no idea what I’m doing
I think of a lot of things in terms of flavor. Numbers, for example: I think 3 would taste like a cracker, 9 would be sweet and 5 seems kind of metallic. I’m not going to claim synesthesia, but I have natural associations that drive me in that direction.
I think these associations are a powerful tool to evaluate and improve your writing.
Continue reading Make a Meal of Your Novel
Disclaimer: Maybe I just don’t get it, and I’m willing to accept that.
“I’ve got the best job in the world. I craft universes. I create people and they tell me what they want. I’m a storyteller. I’m the bard in our global village.”
Sound familiar? You’ve probably heard it a dozen times, perhaps from some of your favorite storytellers/bards/creators/gods. I’m going to be straight with you folks here: I really dislike the spiritualization of writing.
Continue reading I’m a Magical Writer (and You’re Not)
When I was in middle school, I didn’t get along with my classmates. I was miserable, but relatively smart. I was bullied. I got in fights sometimes. I don’t know anyone who did well in middle school, but I really sucked.
Then, I learned about the math and science program at a boarding school in Birmingham. I studied, applied and got in, after a grueling set of exams and interviews. I was just so happy to be away from the horrible place I’d been living. I’d say I burned all of my bridges before I moved away, but I didn’t have any.
Once at the boarding school, however, I pissed away all the good things that had been given to me, and I failed out. Okay, so I withdrew before I could fail out, but that’s a technicality. Now, whenever I meet a scientist, I think, “I could’ve been one of you, if I wasn’t so lazy in high school.” I used to feel compelled to prove myself. Continue reading I’m scared of blowing it.
Shutting one’s mouth is more important than sheer craft.
Continue reading A Writer’s Most Important Skill: Listening
I love writing to music. I carefully curate my playlists for each book, for each mood. For example, I’m working on a space opera right now, and so I’ve selected several bits of electronica for intense scenes, for ambient scenes and sad scenes. I keep it carefully compartmentalized for emotional content. There’s no point in getting super amped-up if I’m supposed to be writing a quiet confessional. Likewise, sad piano music wouldn’t get me through a laser-strewn dogfight.
Continue reading Powerful Writing Music: Kaki King
Writers have enough difficulty without people calling them amateurs… and it’s just as bad to force a career discussion.
Continue reading Writing as a Hobby: Never Tell Me the Odds