This Story is Beneath You

A confused fan searches for one of my books
Almost two years ago I started my 6th novel. Plotting and planning, then writing like mad. Research, plot adjustments, pondering, and more writing like mad.

Somewhere along the way, it crashed.

More precisely, I crashed.

Flashback to Success

On November 11th of 2011 I released 6 books simultaneously. (11/11/11, get it?) In the previous 6 months I’d written (or compiled) 4 books and co-authored 2 more, all books about business philosophy and process.

I switched to fiction. Finally followed up my first Irish adventure novel with a second, then started another series, and a third.

It was like driving a Lamborghini steamroller.

Then, I got some professional advice.

… more … “This Story is Beneath You”

Write Drunk. Edit Sober. Is That Right?

Apparently Wednesday comes a day late this week. Still sorting this new posting schedule. Glad you’re here.

Papa H famously said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”

Just to be totally clear that I’m not advocating alcohol abuse, the point is that made by Gustave Flaubert in a letter to Gertrude Tennant (her daughter Dorothy married the explorer Henry Stanley.)

Flaubert wrote Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres.

Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

solid old tree in the wild weather

There is a natural balance between order and chaos. You will have a certain amount of each in life, in your personality, in your art. … more … “Write Drunk. Edit Sober. Is That Right?”

Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing

pick that shovelEmotional writing connects with readers. But you’re not going to produce it simply by trying harder or longer. You can’t will yourself to an emotional outpouring. I’d like to chat more about ways to increase the amperage in our writing, but I’d like to be sure you understand that “trying harder” isn’t one of them.

Here’s your homework: read any or all of these fine articles on the limitations of willpower, and understand that this is how your brain is wired, not some failure on your part. While these articles are, in general, talking about persistence, problem-solving, and self-control, the principles affect your efforts to produce emotionally evocative prose.

… more … “Willpower Won’t Power Emotional Writing”

Why Do You Write?

A Long, Hard Look - a Chandleresque cozyPressfield nails it again. Today’s post is about finding why, about asking yourself why you write, what you expect to happen.

And it’s about letting go of the stuff you simply cannot control.

He suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Was this a worthy effort?
  • Did it call upon you to give more than you believed you had in you?
  • Did you conduct yourself honorably in the enterprise?
  • Did you give it all you had?
  • Did you succeed according to your own standards, the measures that only you know and only you can define?

I intend to market A Long, Hard Look as well as I can.

I intend to accept whatever level of commercial success it achieves, because I can answer “yes” to those 5 questions, and that’s what matters.

Why You Need a $2 Wooden Pencil

Palomino Blackwing 602.

Can you imagine a pencil so glorious it has a first, middle, and last name? For $2 each, I guess they should.

To put that price into perspective, for those of you who think hey that’s half as much as a cup of coffee, the dozen yellow Dixon Ticonderoga pencils you shoved into your kid’s backpack at the start of the school year cost fourteen cents each. That dozen cost less than a single Blackwing 602.

But read the reviews.

… more … “Why You Need a $2 Wooden Pencil”