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}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/19/2018

Eyes dry and vision blurry, I crane my stiff neck to peer up from my manuscript. I shape my sore, crooked fingers back into something resembling a human hand, and wipe dust from the lower right corner of the screen.

Can’t be. How could so much time have passed without a Friday Morning FYI?

Must. Fix. That.

***

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (been-revising-my-MS edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I decided to crawl out of my no-blogging hole to address something I keep hearing/reading: that creative people are bad at, well, everything that folks consider uncreative. You know the story…

“It’s okay, Cynthia. I never expected you to finish on time. You’re the creative type.”

“We can’t give that project to Scott. He just does creative stuff. He won’t be able to coordinate everything.”

“I’m not good at managing my time, or my money, or my life; I’m a creative. Wanna do shots?”

Utter nonsense.

Baring some life tragedy, I make my deadlines, for instance. Be it day job stuff or writing stuff, I get done on time. Just because someone can draw/paint/write/sculpt/design/make original music/act/dance/Photoshop (yes, I used Photoshop as a verb, move along) doesn’t disqualify them from effectively managing their time, carrying out defined processes, or meeting deadlines. That’s this week’s FYI:

To anyone working with creatives, please stop assuming we’re one-dimensional art monkeys who don’t know how to (or care to) tell time or have any other appreciable skills besides sleeping late. That’s silly.

To creatives who perpetuate this impression, please stop honoring only your creative side. You’re doing yourself (and the rest of us) a disservice. We’re more than an elegant turn of phrase, and understanding of color theory, and perfect pitch. Those things are pretty cool, though ūüėÄ

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/3/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (posting Saturday because reasons edition) Рmy chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Everybody knows artists are emotionally fickle people. I’m lucky in that I rarely feel the stab of doubt/fear/”I suck” writers frequently experience (not because I think I’m the¬†second coming of Hemingway or anything, I’m just thick-skinned), but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate hearing something positive about my writing. A good friend who’s reading my new book was very complimentary when I saw her last weekend, and another beta reader messaged me this last night:

“I straight missed my stop reading your book”

Obviously you could interpret that a few ways, but I’m going to take it as him saying he missed his stop because he was into what he was reading.¬†What a cool thing! (not that he missed his stop, but that he felt the need to tell me)¬†Let’s make that this week’s FYI:

Every so often, if you like what someone’s doing, tell them. That might rejuvenate them if they’re losing steam, pick them up if they’re feeling down, or simply act as reinforcement that they’re not wasting their time. In any event, they should appreciate it ūüôā

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 1/13/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (internal darkness edition for Friday the 13th) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week, I sent a story to some writer friends whose opinions I value. The responses were all positive, each picking up the cold and sinister vibe I was going for (serial killer-y goodness). One response was an observation on me, which is great to get, and made me think. It started:

“Sh!t, dude, you’re dark!”

Here’s the thing: I am dark (insert sinister laugh). I’m also very positive, light-hearted, and an all-around decent human being. I love ridiculous, over-the-top deaths in horror movies, and give to various charities. Seeing someone fall down makes me grin (unless they really hurt themselves, but by the time I learn that the grin is already grinned, if I’m honest), and I do yoga and meditate.¬†Like most people, I’m¬†multi-layered.¬†That brings us to this week’s FYI:

One of the great advantages to being an artist (yes, writers, you’re artists) is having an outlet to express all the sharp angles of you. If you keep hearing your characters all sound the same, you’re holding back. Maybe it’s fear of what people will think, or maybe you just don’t think you have “that” in you. Nonsense. We’re all capable of imagining (there’s the trick – going to places in your head is not the same as acting) joy/sadness/mania/horror/relief/loss/etc.. We just have to be willing to type it out and see where it goes.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 9/9/2016

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

On Saturday, I received a rejection for a short story that went far into the selection process, and¬†of which I’m quite proud. Not the biggest deal in the world as it was my first short story submission ever, and I¬†figure I get to keep all the fun characters and use them in more stories¬†(stay tuned), but for writers any rejection can be very disheartening.

Jump to Sunday where I spent six hours in yoga trainer training (no, not for research). In the late session, we were shown Crow, but before trying it, the trainer showed us how to roll in case we found ourselves falling forward. He went into the posture, tucked his head, leaned forward, rolled, and wound up in a sitting position. “Just roll,”¬†he said to a room full of people who had obviously never (or not recently) done that, and shrugged. “That’s it, just roll.”¬†As ideas/realizations normally do, ‘Just roll’ struck me like a bee sting, because that’s what I do with my writing rejections. That leads us to this week’s FYI¬†:

Every rejection, in writing and in life, can feel like a knife to the gut, but they’re not. They’re part of the learning/growing process, like all failures. Understand and accept that not everyone will love or even like everything you write, and that’s normal. Keep going until you find the right words for the right story for the right audience. Until then, just roll.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}