An Ode To Stickin’ Around

Man in striped apron paints canvases in Bardolino
Eddy Klaus, Unsplash.com

I’ve been married for about thirteen years, been at the same company for nearly twelve, and pursuing the same art (writing) for twelve.

This may seem long or short depending on your perspective. All of those years in those areas of life have not been meadows filled with daffodils, but through the grace of God, mountains of encouragement from my writerly and non-writerly friends, I’ve stuck with them.

Recently, I wrote about how I haven’t been writing. How I’ve been uninspired and if I’m honest I felt that I wouldn’t miss much if I stopped. This would not be true but it’s how I felt.

This feeling has occurred multiple times with my art. But because of an awesome community and this nagging in my mind that just won’t go away I keep huffing and puffing along.

The reason I started writing again is twofold. One, because I want to publish a work of fiction. I have two books that I’ve been attempting to ship for a combined eight years. The second is because recently, I looked back at what has happened through the ups and downs of twelve years of chasing my craft.

I was astonished at their cumulative weight

Reading that list may have made you feel gross, like I was boasting, and I apologize. But what I wanted you to take away was that all of those mile markers happened because I stuck around.

There were failed starts, massive struggle, five kids being born (zero upon negative-infinity-absolute-zero hours of sleep) and all the while managing a full time job, and making sure that my wife and I have a strong marriage.

I wish life could be straightforward. I learn something, improve, and then move onto the next thing. But what I’ve come to understand is that sticking around for a while, staying in the game, and being downright stubbornly consistent can offer an opportunity to build a foundation then a first and second story and so on.

Are you thinking of stopping your art? I’d encourage you to keep working.

Who knows where you’ll be in twelve years?

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The Breathe Conference, Author Steven James, And Cutting Through The Woods

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Breathe Writers Conference. It was a great experience, presenting from the podium, having one-on-one meetings with aspiring writers, and connecting with publishing professionals.

Steven James was the keynote speaker. He has written numerous thrillers and the Writer’s Digest Book – Story Trumps Structure and he changed my perspective on writing.

He's the cool one on the right
He’s the cool one on the right

As writers, especially in the beginning, we find ourselves listening to rules or following methods that other established writers tell us are law.

Mr. James destroyed several of those for me and set me free to reach for something higher. He said that writing a great story should be our goal. Wonderful stories are better than following rules that others have laid down for us (hence his book Story Trumps Structure).

He also said writers are strange and he couldn’t be more right.

After all, who sits alone in a room wondering what would happen if we stabbed our protagonist in the back? Or for that matter, who lays down a gauntlet of torture chambers (figuratively, emotionally, and maybe physically) for imaginary people that they are quite fond of?

Writers do.

I was challenged to go deeper, to ask questions, and blaze my own trail. Be weird. Write for a good story, not for money, fame or fortune, or an aged writer who says I have to write THIS way.

What rules are you following now that may not be right for you?

No writing path is the same.

I hope you cut through the woods.

My Writing Update

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Jot Presentation and the organization that surrounds the conference. Not a lot of other writing time. Join me for this free conference in Three Rivers, MI on September 12th. If you have not signed up, please do so HERE. The sign up is for seats, not a charge. Again, the conference is absolutely free.

Next up is rounding out my Breathe Conference presentation on Worldbuilding. My books will have to wait, but I’ll submit a few short stories this week.

Photo Credit: mbshane via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: mbshane via Compfight cc

BLOGS FROM THIS WEEK

With any project or career we get to the point that we ask ourselves Should You Throw In The Towel Or Try Harder? check out this blog if you are struggling with this question.

Blogging can suck up our time. In the blog Can’t Find The Time To Blog? Create A Blog Checklist I discuss how I have shaved twenty minutes off my blogging time.

On the journey to our writing we can get tired. This post discusses what to do when we feel exhausted and need to rest Do You Ever Get Writer’s Burnout?

We all want more of something. More of life, from our spouse, from our bodies, from our careers and our books. In Laziness and Fear The Two Roadblocks To Our Dream I offer up ways to overcome and succeed in these areas.

Our blogs can invade our lives like vines. They can grow into dinner time, steal the portion of our day we use for our books, and become something we loath not love. In Creating Boundaries For Our Blogs I show you how to reign in this invasive platform.

What Music Gets You Writing talks about the music that helps you paint your scenes or gets you in the mood to write. Please share the steaming service you use or music you enjoy while composing your novel in the comments section on this post.

Write well this week. Take advantage of any spare scrap if time!