What’s Your Motivation?

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Every few years, I find a new song (or playlist of songs) to usher my mind into the Wordsmith’s Closet; that secret place every writer enters when it’s time to get serious. For me, silence is not always golden, you see. I need music to help my mind concentrate just enough to relax and allow words to form written photos and sentences to form scenes.

Years ago, when I began writing, “Cannon in D” and “Fantasia on Greensleeves” were my tried and true tracks, often played on heavy rotation repeat while I churned paragraphs to pages. Over the years, I’ve taken to listening to Enya’s “Aniron“, Daft Punk’s “Solar Sailer” and Bobby McFerrin’s “Brief Eternity” to make the surrounding walls fall away and open the air into blank creativity, where the scenery is a mingle of the music and my imagination. Music moves me. People often ask, “How do you write some of your scenes?” It’s the music that motivates me.

2017 is here writers. Time to get serious. What motivates you? If you haven’t been motivated yet, what are you waiting for?

Just Checking In

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Hey!

How’s it going tonight, wordsmith? How’s the writing coming along? You are still working at it aren’t you?

Now hold on a second. I just saw that shift in your countenance. I’m not gonna sit here at this computer and listen to you make excuses for why you’ve decided to put your writing on hold for awhile. What happened to the passion of last week? Where’s the creativity?

Oh, I see. You’re one of those writers. You know; the, “I’m waiting for inspiration” type. Well…let me let you in on a little secret. If the greats wrote only when inspired, they would have never made their mark in the literary world. Don’t believe me? Write a letter to Stephen King and ask him. You may be surprised at what comes back. I’ll give you another example, closer to home. I don’t even feel like writing right now! It’s true! But, I’m writing to you to find out how your project is coming along because I don’t want to see you fail. At the end of the day, we writers really have to stick together and support one another.

Recently, my assigned marketing representative, at Xulon Press, told me, “People love to interact with people. The best thing you can do to promote your book is to get out there and show your face.” You know, I believe that’s true in our writing as well. People love to read good writing, even when it’s not so good. The key is to get your voice out there. Let the people know who you are, and what you care about. Hey, you may not get many comments, but you’re honing your skills.

Sometimes, I find that writing when I’m not in the mood to do so actually produces the type of stuff people really want to read. It’s real life. I’m just a guy working pay check-to-pay check, just like 90% of the unknown writers in the world. I’m just like you. But, I refuse to give up on this dream no matter how old I grow. I’m gonna ride this dream until the wheels fall off, or until it explodes and changes my life forever. I’m hoping and praying for the latter.

So check in, friend. Pick up your pencil; tap those keys; let your thumbs walk the touchscreen. Write! Tell me how your project is coming along. I’m rooting for you, so don’t give up!

The “ABC”s of the Simple Life of an Everday Writer

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This really is not an original idea. Why try and reinvent the wheel, when what you have is perfectly fine? The premise is simply enough: one takes every letter of the alphabet and writes a word starting with that letter. Then, one creates a post incorporating every letter written down. So then, let’s get started.

A Atlanta N Nobody
B Batting O Opposites
C Chiseled P Punish
D Dangerous Q Questions
E Exceptional R Right
F Future S Smith
G Games T Tales
H Home U Universe
I Instant V Vegetables
J Jersey W Wrong
K Kill X Xylophone
L Liar Y Yesterday
M Milk Z Zoo

So…my list is made up of some pretty basic words; nothing too fancy-shmancy. After all, I’m just a simple guy who never graduated from college. Now, allow me to tell you a short story of my life.

When I was a youngster, the world was my playground and imagination was my permanent home. Though I was a shy introvert, I harbored exceptional dreams for my future; dreams of success beyond measure. While I had no idea of how my plans would someday come to fruition, I didn’t bother to indulge in any questions that might kill the spirit of triumph within me.  When you’re young, anything is possible and the universe is obtainable.

“Someday, I’ll find myself signing books in New Jersey, Atlanta, San Diego, and Tampa Bay,” I used to think. Nobody could convince me otherwise. I was so sure that writing would take me places I’d never seen before. People would pay top dollar for my tales, and I would enjoy the benefits of a life spent earning a living doing what I loved.

That was my yesterday. Yeah…once upon a time, I could drink whole milk and eat vegetables without worrying about the consequences on my digestive system, too.  My today is much different. Unfortunately in the writing game, I am not batting 1000; not even close. Success as a writer has continued to elude me, giving room for doubt to set in, where exuberant confidence once took up residence in my heart.
“Man, whoever told you it would be easy is a liar,” I tell myself a lot these days. “That dreaming stuff is dangerous. Maybe we ought to focus on the realities of everyday life, Mr. Smith. No more daydreaming of instant success.”

Sometimes I think God has given Satan the green light to punish me with childish dreams that I can’t seem to turn off. That big dreaming kid I used to be and the cautious older man I am now are total opposites, but linked by the same hard headed dream.  Whether it’s right or wrong for my future, I can’t shake the fact that I’m supposed to write.

So I’ve come to accept the idea that maybe I will not become a successful writer, by the standards of the world. Hey, I accept the fact that I will never decide to learn how to play the xylophone, or take up bodybuilding to work on chiseled abs either. But, I think I can be happy by just writing for the Lord and affecting change in the lives of people around the world. If my writing can get them to at least think about Jesus and the after-life, then I can live with that.

Who’s got time for all the petty games associated with success anyway? Not this guy. I’ve seen the world of the rich and famous, up close. It’s a zoo! Most of those folks are so busy grinding, scheming and eating each other (figuratively speaking of course) for money, that peace is simply not an option. I think I’d rather be poor and content with my work for the Lord through the gift he’s given me, than to be filthy rich and miserable every day.