Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ten Word Writing Challenge.

I don’t remember where I heard this, but not long ago someone mentioned a 10-word writing challenge. Like you are probably doing right now, I thought, “What good is a 10-word writing challenge?” I can write the first sentence that pops into my head and, boom, I’m outta here. Sunday is never a good writing day for me. Between church services, dinner with the family, and work—and my Sunday afternoon nap if all goes as planned—I have little time left to write anything. Even 10 words. This past Sunday I didn’t get home from work until nearly 10 p.m. I definitely wasn’t in the mood to write. But I’ve been doing so well lately putting words on paper I thought I’d give the 10-word challenge a try. Just 10 words in my current WIP. No pressure. No matter how tired I was I could certainly master 10 lousy—or not so lousy—words. As expected my 10 words ended up 297. The whole point is discipline. If I can muster the strength to open my doc and write 10 words, why not hang around a while and do a few more? Or a few hundred more? Try it the next time you’re tired, busy, distracted or plain sick to death of that blinking cursor. Make up your mind you’re going to write 10 words and just see where you end up. Happy Writing.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Just shut up & write

I can't believe how quickly the last couple of years have gone. A demanding job--two of them actually, plus a part-time one--have really cut into my writing time. But who cares about that? Excuses, really. We all have them. Jobs. Kids. Obligations. Aging parents. A personal life. Blah. Blah. Blah. Who cares? Our job is to shut up and write. The changes over the past two years in my personal life are nothing compared to the overwhelming, roller coaster, whirlwind changes in the publishing industry. The last time I updated this blog--Lord, forgive me--little was being said about e-books. Only a few friends owned e-readers. We writers were still courting the big publishing houses. So much has changed. I still can't wrap my brain around it all. But I'm not going to waste time on this post about seeking publication or if you should go Indie or hold out for that elusive contract with the Big 6 or try Amazon KDP with your new release? The point of this blog is to prove that you can write a novel. If all the changes in the industry and programs like Smashwords & CreateSpace haven't convinced you to just shut up and write your novel, I don't know what will. It's possible now for anyone to publish a novel--and make money at it. But we have to write it first. And it better be absolutely fabulous.
So what's stopping you? You have a story inside you or you wouldn't be reading this. You probably have several. In the last week I've thought of 3 new projects I'd love to have on the market by the end of the year. January is one of the biggest selling months for e-books because everyone is loading up the new devices they got for Christmas. If we're going to be ready to capitalize on that, we need to shut up and write. I know you're busy. You can barely find a moment to think, let alone work on your novel. But make a commitment today. Even if you aren't reading this post in real time, commit right here, right now to how many words you are going to add to your novel today. 10? 100? 1000? 5000? No goal is too small. You don't have to impress me or keep up with anyone else. Throw out a number and then check back and let the rest of us know how you did. Accountability leads to productivity. Set a goal, just for today, then shut up and write.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Attitude Makes the Difference

Last time here I posted about Ambition. Hopefully I got you thinking about what you want, why you want it, and if you’re willing to pay the price to get it.

Ambition is the key ingredient necessary in answering these questions. Chances are if you’re reading this blog, your chief ambition is to write a novel or polish that novel enough to get it published. Even thinking about writing a novel requires more ambition than 95% of the world possesses. But you have the desire, you’ve counted the cost, and you’re ready to do whatever it takes to attain your goals.

What matters now is ATTITUDE.
"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task, which more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome." William James

Our attitude is the only thing we have control over. Positive or Negative. Success or Failure.

We all face doubts—artists and those in the entertainment industry possibly more than any other group. Think of all those amazing, talented, tortured souls before us who committed suicide or drowned their doubts and demons in the bottle. This is a tough, tough industry. It is not for the faint of heart.

Our attitudes determine our actions. Are you pumped or pitiful? Pestering or empowering? Bothering people or blessing them?

The best way to check your attitude is to measure other people’s reaction to you. Do friends come to you for advice and encouragement? Do they avoid sitting next to you at parties? Are you a giver or a taker? If friends must continually prop you up and feed your ego to keep your engines firing, your probably need an attitude adjustment.

A good or bad attitude doesn’t only affect those around you. It affects how much effort and zeal you put toward reaching your goals. If you approach your goals with the attitude that you don’t have time or a supportive spouse or whatever else is holding you back, then you probably won’t accomplish much.

So how’s your attitude? Are you determined to give your dreams everything you’ve got? Or are you going to wait to see what the economy does or how your mother-in-law reacts to another of your silly pipe dreams?

If you suspect you have an attitude problem, you probably need to rekindle your passion. The best way to do that is to surround yourself with people you wish to emulate. If you haven’t already, join some writing groups, online and in your local area. Follow some encouraging blogs online (like this one, I hope). Nurture positive relationships that have nothing to do with what you want. The world is bigger than ourselves after all.

“You’ve got to give something to get something.” Billy Blanks—Taebo creator and fitness instructor

Next time we’ll talk about taking ACTION. All the best laid plans in the world won’t do any good if you don’t have a plan of action and the tenacity of a pit bull to stick with it.