Friday Morning FYI – 3/8/2019

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/rants in short, easy-to-consume form.

“How do you come up with your ideas and stories?” is a question writers get all the time. There’s no checklist of ways, but this screenshot kind of sums it up:

Loneliness defined

My girlfriend is a scientist. In a wonderful speakeasy in Montreal this past weekend, halfway through mixed drink #2, I somehow set her off to talking about free radicals (seriously, I have no idea how that happened). After she said “Combustion is never complete”, a siren went off in my head, so I whipped out my phone to take notes. At “Free radicals are desperate to increase stability” I knew I had something, but not about chemistry or biology. See the title of my note?

And that happens to me all the time. I’m that writer who will die with fifty story ideas unwritten. But where does that come from? That’s this week’s FYI:

Storytellers are programmed to discover inspiration, and can find stories and twists in anything. It’s not witchcraft, and, to be honest, is exhausting, but every now and then the mundane world sparks something cool in our heads, like lonely free radicals looking for love. Where it goes from there is up in the air. It might end up being an analogy a character uses, the central theme of a novel, or just something fun to share with writer friends. What’s important is having an inspiration-seeking mindset.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

PS – If any of those bullets are inaccurate, don’t @ me, science people. It was a dark bar and my gf was talking fast. If an idea begs to be used, that’s what research is for 😀

 

Friday Morning FYI – 3/1/2019

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (I’m-in-Montreal-right-now-so-bonjour!-and-the-stupid-auto-publish-didn’t-work edition) – my chance to share observations/rants in short, easy-to-consume form.

I recently met a new writer who has put down a lot of words in a fairly short time. Those words aren’t all part of a single story, but could be arranged into an interesting narrative soaked through with cool, thought-provoking themes. More writing is needed to stitch everything together, which they were excited about and committed to doing. That made me think about what morphed into this week’s FYI:

I’m working on the final  three chapters of my latest novel. The key word there is ‘working’. There’s tons of fun sayings about writing, including ‘writing is rewriting’, ‘writing is stealing’, etc. In the end, it’s really just work. Regardless of what you’re writing you have to put fingertips to keys as much as you can (and can stand) or all you have is an idea. We’ve all got ideas, but we all don’t have finished first drafts. Get that draft done or, if it doesn’t excite you, move on to the next idea. Life’s too short to stare at something you have no desire to work on.

 

Thanks for reading.

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/22/2019

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (something-like-a-year-since-the-last-one-of-these edition) – my chance to share observations/rants in short, easy-to-consume form.

I recently had a short story published (*shameless self back pat* – won 1st place) in a new annual anthology competition called The Bould Awards. It’s a small thing in the grand scheme and came after years of submissions, but it let me create an Amazon author page, which is kind of cool.

That got me thinking about all the paths to publishing available to writers today. It used to be that you’d type out your work (good god, how did people write anything without BACKSPACE, Cut > Paste, etc.?), somehow get the name of a publishing agent, stick your work in a yellow envelope, hand it to a smiling neighborhood postman, and pray. Now we’ve got blogs and online profiles, email, content-formatting submission forms, Twitter contests, live-pitching at conferences, small press open calls, Wattpad, hybrid publishing, a hundred forms of self-publishing, etc. This is good and bad, of course. With availability comes opportunity, but also mountains of content for decision makers to weed through and for your work to be compared against. Still, what a world!

That brings us to this week’s FYI:

The only thing worse for your art than comparing your work/struggles/achievements to someone else’s is assuming there’s only one path to whatever you define as success. Everyone’s golden ring is different. If you have one book in you, there’s options. If you have ten books in you or a bunch of short stories or fifty pieces of flash fiction or a poetry collection, same answer. Don’t get hung up on someone else getting picked over you for a contest, writer friends around you landing agents or selling short stories, or whatever. Focus on you and your art, craft it as best you can, and learn from every new sentence/paragraph/page/chapter/story. In the end the most important thing is to persist along your path, not trace anyone else’s.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

#WDC18 – You Know the Drill

Here we are again, ya’ll, deep in the post con funk that is the week after the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in the greatest city in the world (don’t @ me, people from everywhere else, I didn’t come up with the nickname). This was lucky number five for me and, as always, it was a trip. New tips found, new writing depths explored, and new doubts over which to panic (I kid. *weeps*). Old friends and a metric ton of new ones, all there to get better at this insane make write words thing we does.

Maybe I should keep practicing.

Anyway, that brings us to my follow up post where I wax poetic about all the sessions I adored (like I did for past WDC cons here, here, here, aaaaaaaaand here). Let’s keep it tight this year, I think, yes? Simple day by day format, maybe? Okay, you convinced me.

Continue reading “#WDC18 – You Know the Drill”

Friday Morning (er, Saturday afternoon?) FYI – 2/9/2018

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Ass I write this, I realize I’m butting up against overwhelmed-ness. I’m finalizing my novel for querying, working on several other writerly projects, and have a mountain of day job stuff going on. I’ve also signed-on to teach goat yoga (not a typo) on weekends, have to get my condo ready to be rented, and will be doing a ton of submission reading for a writer contest starting soon.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of awesome. That’s this week’s FYI:

I believe if you don’t go to bed exhausted you’ve wasted some part of your day. Always better to have more to do than less. Leisure time is healthy, of course, but only after accomplishing something. I’m going to accomplish a lot in the next few months. Or fail. Either way, I’ll be able to look back and know I didn’t sit on my hands through any of it. That’s a reward in itself.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}