Never stop learning, never stop reaching forward for new creative skills. This world is full of media, so don’t rest on your laurels. Both because you can get bored, and because your audience can get bored. And boredom is the biggest sin of creating entertainment.
Got it? Good.
Now, with that disclaimer out of the way: I have a relatively different bit of advice to offer regarding how one can keep learning creative skills. Most go for reading more fiction, reading craft books, attending seminars, or workshops, or classes, or (my favorite) just writing a ton. And yeah: do that.
Do that now. Do that sort of thing routinely.
But, as another way to increase skill: may I suggest writing outside your genre and/or medium? Continue reading
There’s a thing known by those of us who have written a novel. And, it’s a controversial thing. Not something widely shouted, or thrown into the cosmos for all to hear. But, it is true: no matter how hard to believe. And, you may get mad at me for saying this, but, here’s the gist: writing, making art, creating stuff, is often a little boring.
It’s taxing. It’s hard. Art takes a long time—and with no guarantee that the result will be any good. Continue reading
My head is swirling today—I’m going through the overload that comes with consuming too much good media. And it is making me have trouble coming up with a topic to talk about and write about.
Now, to be clear, I am not “blocked.”
I have too many ideas right now. I want to talk about the future, and the world, and art, and getting ideas for writing. I want to write ten books and then go on several podcasts.
But, as these sorts of things go with actual life, I have things that need doing. So, I decided to fall back on something simple, something I understand on an intuitive level when it comes to making art.
And that is creating disturbing things. Continue reading
I’ve talked about how if you want to write fast, you must remove your need to self-correct. How you must not be an editor and a writer at the same time. How self-editing is the enemy of work speed.
I’ve said this many, many times, both online and in person. Continue reading
Life is weird. You already knew that. But if you are a writer, you owe it to yourself to make it weirder. Go out of your way and end up in the strangest situations you can manage. Most people already say to “take a chance,” to “expand your horizons,” and any other of those cookie-cutter platitudes.
But no, that is not what I am telling you to do: not specifically. I am telling you that as a writer, you might be so blessed as to be a weird magnet, and if you’re not, you should act like you are. Because you are one of the few types of people who can take such raw material and do something better with it than occasionally entertaining dinner guests. Continue reading
“Bobby, tell the doctor what you said to me.”
“…I had…have, voices in my head. They talk to each other.”
“Is that all?”
“No… no. I can’t help but listen to people secretly, and I try to remember how they said things. I see random parts of things I don’t really understand. Actions, faces…that sort of stuff. Like a scene from a movie. I don’t always know what they mean.” Continue reading
Upon looking over a bunch of stories, I figured something out which kind of makes me get what I am trying to do with my writing, and what causes some of my shortfalls.
And that is, I like stories around an idea.
Now, I don’t mean that as an implication that stories often don’t have an idea behind them; I mean different stories have different priorities. Continue reading
Three of my favorite shows of all time: Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. What do these all have in common? Well: they’re damn clever.
And, as I’ve mentioned before, I try to pull off the same sort of clever stuff in my work to the detriment of my actual story. But, this is my counterargument to myself, to that article I wrote. Can you really blame me for idolizing that aspect of media when I keep seeing someone (or rather groups of show staff) pull it off like it was effortless whenever I bother to sit down in front of a television? Continue reading
(Originally posted January 17th, 2015)
For everyone who wants to be a writer, I present the honest answers to all of your questions:
What are writers?
People who write words, preferably ones that chain together to mean something.
Can I become a writer?
Who can be a writer?
Anyone. Continue reading
It’s hard for me to tell a simple story. Goes against all of what I like about media. I love the intricacies of a complex narrative. For a story to be engaging to me, at least on a level which makes me openly happy, I need my brain tied up in knots trying to work things out—to piece together the parts. This doesn’t mean I like confusing stories, but it does mean I’m drawn to multi-layered ones. Stories with startling turns, with underlying concepts, with social and political commentary, and creative symbolism, and this…this is a problem. Continue reading
Well, they are both art forms. They both revolve around creating a communication, though only one ends in literal digestion. But I mean beyond that.
I’ve been around this blogging thing for a few years now, and occasionally I’ll come across cooking related posts from a blog predominately focused on writing. And for a while, I found that strange. I know people can have, must have, other interests outside of the written word, but it is almost always cooking they bring up on their blogs. Not an eclectic mix of things. Sure there are some outliers, but the amount of culinary fixation was odd.
Not anymore. Because as I cook more and more, I see how the act of making food is like writing in so many ways. Continue reading
Sometimes we all need a kick in the pants. Pure motivational yelling. This article is for that time. Use when needed.
The joy and the fury of creation is one you are not prepared for, but you are born for it. Let me tell you this, it is more than you know, and it pays not enough, and there is never enough time.
And you will find the more you do, the more there is to do. And you will find you can give your life to it. And you will find it will sweep you out and make your eyes tired and the world finds you odd and too far out to understand.
And it is glorious. And let me help you get there. Continue reading
So, currently, I am in a position where I am allowed to be a full-time writer. I hope to maintain this. I dream to maintain this. But it is not easy. Not at all. I don’t mean that as a complaint. I like this. I love this. I talk about work all the time. I think about it even during breaks—because it’s too much fun.
The old saying turns out to be true. Platitudes are accurate—but don’t tell you what it takes to make them work.
And the short answer is work. And the long answer is me telling you some of the things you need to do if you want to manage to survive the full-time experience. Continue reading
Seventy-eight pages left. Out of 517. I don’t even know how I managed it. Well, I mean, I do: slow and steady. 11ish pages a day. But still: wow.
So, yeah, as an update to the last “Building A Book” article, I am now deep into doing the physical copy revisions. I’ve had one red pen throughout the whole thing and scribbled all sorts of instructions to myself. Continue reading
Sometimes these posts are just as much for me in the future as they are for you guys.
This is one of those.
Because I know I will meet moments where I need a little pep talk, and thus I will store that pep talk in the one place I know I’ll find it.
And if it helps other artists out there, well, all the better. Continue reading