NaNoWriMo: Day 7 (55,802)
Motivation Monday , NaNoWriMo / November 7, 2016

I have run into a wall… and it wasn’t all friendly-like. Sundays are traditionally a recharge day for me, but it’s NaNo. Recharge means I wrote a little over 4k, finished up the cover and formatting for The Wicked Witch of Whatever, and hit the shiny “publish” button. Today, I don’t want to write. And this is honestly the thing that will separate me from the pack when it come to the long-term. Because I’m going to sit my rather fluffy butt in the chair and write anyway. I may grouse. I may kill off Eric in new and exciting ways. I may even deny the Bobian (and myself) ice cream. But I’m going to write. Take a chill pill, those of you who just went all full-defensive.  There’s no judgement in this. The only writer I get to judge is myself. But I want to be a full-time Writer. (I also want to be a Real Person, but that’s a different blog post.) Are there writers who manage a good living without writing when they don’t want to? Absolutely. But there are more who make themselves write when they don’t want to, because the road to success isn’t paved…

Being Real
Motivation Monday / July 26, 2016

I am starting to see the effects of my ongoing experiment to be a Real Writer (and Real Person). First, I’ve acquired one of those day jobs. I like day jobs, as a general concept. It’s something new to do and it provides endless fodder for my writing. But it cuts into the writing time itself. I’ve tried getting up earlier. I’ve stopped rewatching Galavant on loop at night. I even do a little less housework. I’ve learned that I can’t get in huge word counts in any one day any longer, but who needs to do that anyway? By writing 1k-3k a day, I can finish a book in two months or less. Maybe it’s just because there are so many stories in my head trying to get out that I feel the pressure to write faster. I think being limited in my writing time actually improves my writing in the long run. Second, I’ve attempted some marketing. I attended an in-person convention (in disguise) and have actually pressed my books here and there. I’ve noticed that it works better when others put my book out there than when I do it myself, so if you want to get…

Monday Motivation: #BeTheLight
Motivation Monday / July 11, 2016

I’m a humor writer. This means I’m funny, all the time, upbeat, and smiling. Wrong. I’m a humor writer. This means I use humor to deal with the tougher things in life, whether it’s the pain of watching someone decline from Alzheimer’s or tough topics like divorce, abuse, and bullying. It means humor is my triage for life. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of real life stuff lately and I seem to have lost my ride back to the Figments world (who closed that plot hole?). That makes writing humor harder– and more necessary– than ever. You would think a humor writer would always have jokes on the tip of his tongue, but I’m a terrible joke teller. Two Figments walk into a bar. One ends up with an en-dash; the other an em-dash. Not very funny. My humor tends to be from life. But we need more humor out there, so I’m going to ask for your help. On 7/14 (that’s Thursday, for those who do dates flipped around as 14July), spread humor on social media. Funny cat videos (because who doesn’t like laughing at cats when they use up one of their nine lives?), personal anecdotes, or just…

Monday Motivation: Alice in Wonderland and Independence
Motivation Monday / July 4, 2016

Alright. For all of you who celebrate such things, Happy Independence Day if you’re an American. Happy “It’s Just Another Day at the Office” Day to everyone else. I’ll find a way to tie this in shortly. Really. On this date in 1862,  according to the great oracle Bing.com, Alice Liddell, 10, asks Charles Dodgson to tell her a story while they’re boating near Oxford, England. He weaves a tale of a bored little girl who suddenly finds herself down a rabbit hole. Dodgson will later publish ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland‘ under his pen name, Lewis Carroll. So what does that have to do with me (or you)? Alice in Wonderland was one of my inspirations to become a writer in the first place. The crazy cast of characters, the improbable (yet somehow believable) circumstances, and the wry, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor all appealed to me. Couple that with its ability to reach children and adults alike and I was hooked. Of course, the trick with any motivating work is to give tribute without plagiarism. It’s much like America getting its freedom from Great Britain: you keep some things from the Mother Country, but you work very hard at making…

Motivation Monday: Novel Structure

I’m currently plowing my way through KM Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel. There is a very good point early on that I want to address today: writers are afraid that structure will take the art out of their writing. There are writers who get away without consciously outlining their novels, including Stephen King. It seems to work okay for him. However, he’s also a prolific read and I’m sure he at least understands story structure. Story structure takes nothing away from art. Here are a few examples from other artforms: Architecture relies on buildings being structurally sound. Yet for every plain row house out there, there is a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright creation or an IM Pei glass pyramid. They both use structure; in fact, they have to understand it innately to create the buildings they do. But their structure only adds to their artistry. Michelangelo and da Vinci are both known to have studied human anatomy excessively to give their artwork more lifelike reality. They knew that the underlying structure of the human body is what influences the outward beauty. So why are writers so afraid that structure will destroy their art? “The three-act structure is intrinsic to the human brain’s model of…

Motivation Monday: Getting Past The First Chapter

I’m going to assume if you’re reading this you’ve taken me up on my challenge to write and publish an indie book. If you haven’t, go back and read the earlier posts first. I’m pretty sequential for a Figment. Doing things in order is always a good idea. You have an outline (or you’re humoring me and pretending). You know why you’re writing. You have a first chapter. And now… you’re bored. Or you think you’re blocked. Here’s my take on it: there is no such thing as Writer’s Block. Before I get a bunch of angry replies, let me clarify. People to get blocked, but it’s not truly writer’s block. Writer’s block is this mystical thing where your muse has deserted you. Sorry, cupcake. While there are real muses, they don’t cause writer’s block. Here are some reasons you can feel blocked, though: Your story is going in a dead-end direction. If your story isn’t making sense, your subconscious may be trying to tell you to turn it around. Break the rule about not editing and go back and find what isn’t working. If you can’t find it, get a trusted but brutally honest friend to tell you. You…

Motivation Monday: WHY Write a Book?

If you’ve been following along, we’ve worked on how to write, what to write about, and done an outline. (You did do your homework, right?) Before we go any further, though, you really  have to understand why you’re writing a book. There is no wrong reason for writing a book. None. But if you don’t know why you’re writing, you may go about it the wrong way. (Yes, there is a wrong way for you, just like there is a wrong way for me.) I’m writing a book to get down the stories my dad/mom/next-door-neighbor told me. If you’re not planning to publish (or you’re only planning to publish to adoring family and friends, then the format won’t matter as much. Good grammar may be optional. You can create your own cover and learn design or get one online for $5 (Fiverr.com). This is a labor of love, not a polished product. Enjoy the ride, but don’t stress over it. I’m writing a book because I love to write. I might publish, someday. Go as slowly as you want. You’re doing this for the story. This is where pantsers excel, just letting the story move them. If you eventually decide…