When Writing Inhibits Writing and Mysteries are Locked Away

For the last six months I have been writing every day. Sadly, the writing has not been of my choosing as much of my day job is writing and editing others writing. Subsequently my desire to continue my creative works has diminished. 

Too much of a good thing right? When all i do is write and edit during the day, the last thing I want to do is continue it at home. In spite of this, the story in my head hasn't stopped, but goes on and on begging me to bring it to life. I wish I could tell you of the detail that dances through my head like a traveling butterfly, making its one attempt to bring new life before it returns to the soil. 

I, even in the busiest times, wave my little butterfly net and jump and run after the flickering thoughts that threaten to vanish. If I could only captured them on paper I would be able to share them with you, that is my purpose. It is like trying to describe a roller coaster to a blind person, something I have tried to do, how to relate not only the sight and sounds but the intense, euphoric, and exhilarating panic that knifes through me when the rails disappear from sight and my stomach falls. 

I want you the reader to know the story that I do, I think you would get a kick out of it.

Time = Opportunity

We live in a culture of instant gratification and chaotic speed. We stress when traffic causes us to lose five minutes of our precious time, we groan and sigh when a cashier has to call for help, we flip out when a plan dissolves (ok maybe just me). We as a country have led the world in the creation of new gadgets designed to make our lives easier yet busier.

1910 ish:

  • Travel was done predominately by foot, horse, or train.

  • Dialog was carried by handwritten letters, telegrams sent by DOT-DOT-DASH-DOT-DASH, rudimentary radio, or the age old mouth to ear approach.

  • The country had around 75 million inhabitants.

  • There were roughly 8,000 cars, 140 miles of paved roads, and the common speed limit in cities was 10 mph.

  • About 8% of households had phones.

  • The airplane was only on paper in its most infantile form.

  • TV was the theater (actual stage with people). One production per night.

  • The ocean was a barrier.

2010 ish:

  • Travel is conducted predominately by car and plane

  • Dialog is done through word of mouth, emails, letters, cell phones, blogs, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, the internet in general, satellite phones, TV, radio, etc.

  • Population of close to 300 million.

  • As of 2007 there were around 240,000,000 cars registered in the states, there are roughly 4 million miles of public road and 4 million miles of highway, and the common speed limit in cities is 36 mph.

  • Around 85% of Americans have cell service of some kind.

  • There are 22 CATEGORIES of aircraft.

  • TV is now a large and narrow box with better colors than real life and you have hundreds of channels and mainstream movie theaters show 2-30 different movies every week.

  • The ocean is a playground and something to fly over.

I could continue, microwave meals, instant coffee, dishwashers, elevators/escalators, pay-at-the-pump…we have steadily sped up our lives to the point that we can’t handle to wait, to sit and think, to listen. In our busy lives we hardly ever take the time to be with people and listen to them. We are living a movie with no dialog. It keeps the mind busy but does not completely satisfy.

Time after time I have heard stories of kids saying that the thing they appreciate most or desire most from their parents is time. All they ask is for the parent to tune attention from self to them for a few minutes and to enter their world. What does a child have to look forward to in life if they grow up with an energetic zombie as a parent? Going full speed, always moving on, moving on. I believe that if kids were given the ability to use remotes on their parents, the pause button would be worn down to nothing.

Time is truly the most precious commodity and we all control an equal portion of it. What will you do with yours? Will you take two seconds to say hello to your neighbor? Will you stop what you are doing and laugh at your child’s poorly articulated joke? Will you finally get back to writing that best selling book?

Review this!

I am afraid I may have hurtled myself headfirst into a 7-layer Pit of Despair. I just opened myself up to accept indie/self-published novels to read and review them. What was I thinking? I work twoish jobs, have three kids under five, and am writing my third fantasy novel. Oh and I try to blog once in a while. And I have three kids, including a baby…

Well, here is why I am doing it. In spite of the extra “work” and drain on time, I am forever indebted to those kind souls that have reviewed my own work and I want to give other striving authors the same small voice I have been given time and again. In our world of self-publishing, we authors know the painful truth. No matter how good your novel is, if no one knows it exists or if it is even worthy of reading the first pages, it will not succeed. Reviews are the gold bullion behind the cash that can and may one day begin to flow into the pockets of worthy writers.

To all you authors, please do yourself a favor and read other self-published work that fit the genres you have an interest in. Better yet, when and if you have the time, give feedback through a review. This not only expands your understanding of what is out there in your niche but it also sends a message that we are in this together as indie authors. Of course there will be times when you will not have many positive things to say about someone’s work. When this happens and you are determined to write a review, do the author of the book a favor. Send them the negative review before publicizing to the world and frame it with the positives. As a writer yourself, remember the blood, sweat and tears that poured from you over the years of struggle and give the other author some respect for actually completing their work. Do not take me wrong, I am not shy to describe the negatives when necessary, but I try to open my mind a bit and encourage those who may fit the target audience of the book more than me to try it out. I know I do not read much of the uber-successful genres like paranormal, etc, and just because the story or characters or writing style does not work with me, does not mean others would not like it. Bottom line, please to not write a review to tear down the author or their work, write the review to highlight the target audience and attempt to mix positive with the negative. Yes, we as authors are in competition for the attention, money, and adoration of the population, but we are also the largest group of like-minded and truly understanding folks, and the opportunity for support and encouragement is vast. 

To all those who read reviews and use them to know what novel to purchase or spend time reading, take all reviews with a grain of salt. Look for patterns. If a similar thing that piques your interest is stated again and again, there is probably more truth to it than if you only see the same tidbits in one or two. These patterns can be framed negatively or positively. Some people love to digest 800 page tomes that lay out every tiniest spec of information or detail of the world while others like more action filled or character oriented works at the cost of detail or page count.

My preferred method to choose whether or not to buy a book is to read the first few pages. Yes, I look at reviews, but I ultimately choose by sampling the product myself. Luckily these days many online sites give you the option to read the first pages or chapters of a given book. It’s free and only takes a few minutes of your time. You never know, you may read the two negative reviews of a book, disregard the free sample, and miss out on the next New York Times bestseller.

For all you readers: (Reviews = Increase in Sales, decent potential for success. No Reviews = Little to no Sales, barely existent potential for success). If you truly enjoy a novel, get some pleasure from it, please do the author the greatest favor you ever could, write a review, tell a friend. Do not for a second think that the author only needs the $0.99 you shelled out to get the book. If you give an author a dollar and do not publicly broadcast that you did so willingly, happily, and maybe would do so again, it does little more than give the author a jolt of encouragement that quickly turns to despair when that dollar remains single. A review does not have to be a couple paragraphs or a rundown of what the book was about. A single sentence and a star rating can be as powerful since many people and databases only look at the # of reviews, positive vs negative, to guide their buying habits. It takes an average reader a couple weeks to get through a book. Another five minutes is not asking for much.

Which is why I as an author myself am beginning this crazy endeavor to review other indie authors. I know the work that goes into these receptacles of passion.