Saturday, January 15, 2011

Self-Help Books

While I do believe that some personal issues can be solved by self-help books, I have to admit that learning to write cannot be solved by any self-help books.

For every one of you out there looking for the end-all, be-all book to magically make you a successful doesn't exist.

Some of you are probably ready to close my blog right now, infuriated by my indignant words toward all those who strove to help us in our quest toward greatness.  Let me say this, in defense of all those writers who have sacrificed their time and energy to write "how to write" books.  There are some great writing advice books out there.  On the top of my list, as well as many others' lists, I would imagine, is "On Writing" by Stephen King.  King's book is well-written, full of useful advice, and inspiring to boot.

No matter how good this book, or any other writing manual, may be, it is only a manual.  Reading a book is not writing a book.  I've spent more than my fair share of my hard-earned money looking for the magical advice from authors who have been there, and got out of the funk and onto the printed page.  I've got at least eight different "how to become a successful writer" books on my bookshelf.  Not one of them has gotten me published.

Here's my advice for those contemplating a purchase of a "how-to" writing book:  Go ahead and buy it.  Read it like you've never read a book before.  Glean every useful tidbit you can get, and then, once you've finished reading it, put it away and never touch it again.  Use your newfound knowledge to fill a blank page with words.  Then, fill another page.  Simply put...write.

No amount of reading will ever make you a successful writer.  The only way to become successful at writing is to write, and write excessively.  Write anything.  Start a blog, like this one.  Create a journal.  Do anything that puts words on the blank page.  Believe me, you'll thank me later.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Novelist in Training

Hello out there, everyone!  I'd be willing to bet that there are exactly zero people reading this post right now.  And that's okay.

I'm one of those guys who resists change like the plague, and ends up joining the movement just as it begins to become uncool.  I've been looking at different blogs for a long time now, and I kept telling myself that all they are is a time drain.  This one most likely will be, too.

So, you ask...why am I writing this blog?

Simply put, I'm a novelist in training.  I've spent the past nine years since my college graduating telling people I'm a writer, while the only writing I've done since I left the university was for work or random journal entries.  While writing for these reasons is okay, I have no passion to write reports, and no one will ever read my journal posts.  I'm ready for the big-time, and you'll all be here to watch me, step by step, and I create my first full-length novel.

I've had ideas bouncing through my mind for years, some better than others.  (Some are just horrible.)  I've had mainstream fiction ideas, science fiction ideas, and fantasy ideas.  Unfortunately, I've forgotten 99% of my best ideas, too.  My mind isn't as sharp as it was ten years ago, and I'm afraid it won't be getting any better as I get older.

My desire is to create a fantasy novel that is inspiring, original, and coherent.  Any novel can be one of these things, and a decent novel is at least two of these things, but making a fantasy novel all three requires a serious commitment of time, energy, and elbow grease.  I have finally planted my butt to the chair, so it's type to crack my fingers and fly.

I welcome all support and feedback (positive and negative), as I take my first steps forward toward becoming an accomplished writer.  Please feel free to comment, and don't be afraid to be harsh.  If I can't take criticism here, I certainly can't market a new novel.

Thanks for all the support, and I look forward to bringing you along on my journey!
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