Tag Archive: writing priorities


Agent Representation Declaration

The only excuse (not reason) that I can offer for not blogging in two months is that I haven’t really been focusing on writing or blogging, which means that I haven’t been thinking of things to blog about. At one point I was contemplating putting my writing/blogging aside while I focused on getting my financial house in order, but then I figured that was just an excuse, not a reason, to be lazy. A few days ago I actually starting thinking about things to blog about, so I have several posts for the next few weeks and I plan on thinking of more. So, onward The Soliloquy Suites goes once more!

I know at one point I had talked about wanting to self-publish my first novel (which I realize I haven’t actually blogged about yet) but I’ve decided that it might not be a bad idea to keep looking for an agent. I think what turned me off about traditional publishing were are all of the horror stories I’ve heard about massive changes being made to an author’s work that they didn’t approve of, authors having to give up certain privileges and rights with their work and authors having horrible book covers that they hate. It’s possible that I can have a similar experience with traditional publishing.

But it’s also possible that I can have a wonderful experience with traditional publishing.

Since I feel like my novel Furious can also work as a graphic novel, I think it would be wise if I could find an agent who represents both novels and graphic novels/comic books, or at least has connections in the graphic novel/comic book industry. I recently read a blog post from Rachelle Gardner where she wrote about how writers should be open to new and unexpected opportunities and not be so rigid about the path that they take for their career (number 3 on her list). Since I would like to write graphic novel scripts one day, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Furious was introduced to the world in the form of a graphic novel instead of a regular novel like I’d originally planned.

Another reason that I’ve decided to keep looking for an agent is that I know that it will take a while for me to save up money for an editor, cover design, e-book formatting and the like. In the meantime, I could still be sending queries out to agents to at least get an idea of how likely it is that my novel will be something that people gravitate toward. Even though I might get nothing but rejection letters, I can at least know what works with the novel and what doesn’t.

If I’m open and honest with myself and my agent (when/if I get one) about my fears and hesitations with the publishing process I’ll be much better off and will be better prepared to deal with the results, no matter how good or…unfortunate they might be. There are now so many paths to publication a writer can choose, both tested/traditional and untested/unconventional. At the end of the day all that matters is getting your work out there, doing the best that you can, and being happy with the results. I don’t want to waste any more time than I already have trying to decide which road to take when I can take them all at the same time and end up at the same destination.

So what are some of your fears and concerns with self-publishing and traditional publishing? Are you willing to take the risks and accept the consequences with either for the sake of your career?

Next Post: I’ll finally introduce you to my first novel, Furious.

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The Writing Dead

I know it’s been months since I’ve updated this blog, and I honestly don’t have any reason other than I haven’t really been writing anything new lately. I wanted this blog to be about my personal perspective on writing, so I didn’t want to bore you with details about my life that are unrelated to writing. But I will say that I’ve been doing more freelance writing to keep up with my lavish lifestyle, a.k.a. pay my taxes and try to handle my finances like the adult that I’m reluctantly becoming.

That’s it, now back to writing.

Since I posted last, I’ve been doing a final revision of Fury Us: Thus Spoke which is coming along quite well. I’ve also recently joined Critique Circle so that I can get some actual feedback on my novel and strengthen my revisions and overall writing. It’s also nice to critique the writing of others because it will help me to read my writing with a more focused eye.

I’ve also made the decision to start off as a self-published writer. While I haven’t been posting on my own blog, I have been reading the blogs of other writers. Mainly Joe Konrath (who often includes insights from bestselling author Barry Eisler), Rachelle Gardner and Anne R. Allen. It’s mainly my man Joe who has opened my eyes to the reality of traditional publishing and how much power authors give up for so little in return. While I’m not saying that I never want to be traditionally published, I am saying that I’d like to have more control over the first few years of my writing career and learn what works for me personally. I want to do a lot with my career, and I might not have the freedom to do everything that I want to do if I’m tied up through a contract.

You can now find me here on Tumblr. I’ll mainly be using it as a place to share some of the creative things I’m into, such as singing, music and of course writing. This blog is more of the professional (at least I hope it’s professional) side of me while Tumblr is more for the creative  side of me. If you use Tumblr I’d love to hear your input about how to get more use out of it as a writer. I don’t know if I’m going overboard with social media, but I figure there’s no harm in testing everything out to see how it fits.

Next up on the writing agenda is to enter more contests and try to get published in magazines and e-zines more in an effort to continue building an audience and my personal brand while also polishing my professional chops. I heard about a website called Readwave where authors share short stories. I figure this is a good place to get feedback while getting a feel for what it will be like for me as a self-published author. I’m actually quite excited about it!

So that’s where I’ve been and where I’m heading. I’ll honestly try to do better about posting more, I think right now I’m just figuring things out about the future of my career, myself and trying to find the balance between it all. Hope you all have been doing well!

Take care out there

New Year, New Chances

There’s a sense of healing, a sense of redemption and a sense of reflection when we arrive at the beginning and the end of a year. It’s almost like reaching the end of a chapter of a book and pausing for a moment to reflect on what we’ve read up until this point before continuing on. What is it exactly that makes us wait until the end of the year to be the most reflective and to start to change and rearrange the way that we live our lives? Why not do it in the middle of the week, the middle of the month or in the middle of spring? Perhaps there’s something about 365 days of trying our best to stick to a new commitment. Perhaps when the ball drops in Times Square we drop our bad habits and hang-ups along with it. Whatever it is, I say journey onward toward the new year, toward the new you.

This year I plan on being a better me. I know that I’m capable of doing so much more in my life if I simply stop being afraid of what may happen and stop being lazy. If current events have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know when or how we’ll be snatched away from the grip of life. I don’t want to die knowing that I could have made more of an effort to become published, more of an effort to write more, more of an effort to really explore the ideas buzzing in my head throughout the day. How many great stories and great authors have remained in the shadows of obscurity all because they were afraid to put themselves and their work out there or too lazy to truly apply themselves to their writing? I don’t want that to be said about me, and I don’t want to go to bed thinking that I wasted another day.

This year I want to work on having more of my stories published while continuing to blog and build up an audience. I also plan on continuing my search for an agent even though I’m still on the fence about becoming traditionally published. If my agent can’t get me a book deal, then maybe she or he can at least help me start my career through another medium. I would like to write comic book scripts, TV/movie scripts and video game scripts. Maybe the agent who can’t find me a book publisher will be able to find me a TV show to write for.

I’m almost finished with the final chapter of my novel and I’m ready to devote more time to my serial story Dark on the Rock over at JukePop Serials. I’m really excited about where the story is going. To think it originally started out as just an experiment. Hopefully it will help with my exposure and efforts to build a platform.

I think it’s best if I quantify my goals rather than simply state them. That way I’ll have a bullseye to aim for rather than a target. Hitting a target is easy, but hitting the bullseye requires work. (Feel free to use that quote as long as you credit me. 🙂 ) I’m going to have at least six short stories published and send out ten to 15 query letters to agents. The first draft of my novel will be finished by January 15th and I’m going to devote more time to Dark on the Rock. I also want to do more with my freelance writing. It’s always nice to have a job you like, and even better to have a job that you like and that you’re good at doing.

Alright, another 365-day long journey has begun…well less now that it’s the third, but you know what I mean.

What are your writing goals for 2013 and why do you think it is that most people wait until the new year to make major changes in their lives as opposed to starting the next day/week/month?

 

While I’ve always been a fan of music, I love it even more when there’s a message in the lyrics that apply to my life. A group of London DJs and producers called Bugz in the Attic have a song titled “Consequences.” The song is basically about keeping up with your current progress, not lagging behind or going too slow lest you pay the consequences.

I feel like this is something that especially applies to writers. We all know what it feels like when you spend several days in a row churning out pages and pages of material. Creativity is flowing and you feel better knowing you’re making progress and start to feel more like a professional writer and less like someone who only thinks or talks about writing. Then something happens and you go a few days without writing anything. Before you know it, it’s been a week since you’ve even opened the file on your WIP, and that feeling of accomplishment you once had fizzles down to nothing.

Trust me, I know how life gets in the way, but if you were once able to work on your novel, short story or screenplay for several days in a row, you can do it again. Even if your schedule becomes hectic, there’s surely a way you can cram in ten minutes here and ten minutes there. While every second counts, you have to make an effort to make it count. If you don’t keep up with your new writing level, you may pay the consequences. Consequences such as that feeling of emptiness you get when you haven’t written or done anything productive in a while, that feeling of taking three steps forward and stumbling three and a half back. You also run the risk of ruining a serious writing streak. You get your brain used to pumping out several words or pages every day or every other day and then you suddenly stop, slamming you mind into a brick wall. I’ve been working on my novel for the past few days, and I’ve been in nothing but a good mood.

Keep up with the writing spirit and let it have its way. You don’t have to write every day, but try to at least think of ideas and scenes for your story. Always keep a notepad and pen nearby to jot down ideas or use a phone app to keep notes. You’ll find that simply thinking about your story will get you excited. Think of writing like exercise. At first it’s grueling and your muscles protest, but if you keep up with it your body will eventually grow accustomed to it and you’ll be able to do more repetitions, go longer without taking a break and you might even start to look forward to exercising. If you suddenly stop, you run the risk of seeing all of that progress disappear every time you look in the mirror or go up a flight of stairs.

Don’t be afraid of doing more, of being more. And don’t be afraid that your writing streak is just a fluke that will wear off in a few days. Even when you don’t feel productive or creative, you can still study the craft of writing. That way, when another writing streak comes back around you won’t be struggling with scene, dialogue, tone or character arcs.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with “Consequences” by Bugz in the Attic.

Take care out there.

What are some ways that you try to keep a writing streak constant? 

Forging My Own Path

First off, I want to apologize for my lack of updates and for not keeping to my posting schedule. I’m sure you all know how life has a way of getting in the way of things. Part of my funk is that I’ve been having trouble coming up with things to post about, and the other is that I’ve just been lazy. Thankfully, I can be quite hard on myself and won’t allow myself to stray too far from my path for too long.

Now, on to this week’s post.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I see myself in five years, ten years, twenty years. I’d like to think that I’ll be a successfully published author who also writes comic book scripts on the side and maybe help with screenplays and the occasional video game script. I have no idea how or when all of that will come to pass, but there’s one word in that sentence that really sticks out in my mind.

Successfully

What is a successful writer? One who is on the NYT bestseller list, goes on book tours, has several novels published and is well-known in the writing community? Or is a successful writer one who takes comfort and pride in the choices and progress that they’ve made no matter how meager they might be?

It’s easy to get our definition of success tangled up with the general idea of success. And that’s especially true when we’re constantly bombarded with images and headlines about authors who make millions of dollars and can churn out multiple novels in a year. We think of that as a success even though we don’t know what those authors had to give up or what they had to do to get where they are. I’m not saying that every successful person has had to give up a part of themselves to get where they are, but I am saying that we have to look past the dollars and glossy book covers to see what truly makes an author a success.

Even more importantly, we have to discover our very own, very personal definition of success. And that’s something that I’m slowly but surely doing every day. As my dad always says, “all we can do is take it one day at a time.” Taking it one day at a time is hard for me since I meticulously plan things out and analyze past events. I’m either too focused on the future or scrutinizing the past that I forget to simply be in the present moment. And that’s probably another reason that I haven’t been keeping to a writing schedule.

I want to be a writer. I want to be a happy writer. I want to be a successful writer. But more importantly than all of those things are that I want to be me. Not John Grisham, Stephen King, Alexandre Dumas, Charlie Huston or Jim Butcher. Just O’Brian Gunn. All of them are great examples of what can be accomplished with words and ideas, but none of them can tell my story just as I can’t tell theirs.

So what’s my definition of success?

Being the best me that I can possibly be. I hope you’ll do the same.

What’s your definition of success and how do you plan on making that definition manifest?

Take care out there.

P.S. You can now check out some of my superhero themed flash fiction at Super Flash Fiction! “In-xperienced” and “Lies My Heroes Told Me”

Devil’s Webground

 

I haven’t been feeding my child of creativity lately because my child of responsibility has been crying loudly, endlessly. As I was discussing with Diem Burden on Twitter, I hate it how life gets in the way of writing. And that’s especially true when you feel that writing is your life. Writers are also friends, fathers, employees, bosses, businesspeople, advertising agents and tax payers. While we would like nothing more than to put up a force field to block all of that out and simply write, we simply can’t.

I hate that I have to neglect my work-in-progress for my job, but I also hate having a zero balance in my bank account. And that’s what it’s all about really, balance. Sometimes that balance is a daily thing, sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly. While I would really like to work on something creative every day, I realize that sometimes I have to put aside the writing that makes me happy for the writing that makes me money. My novel isn’t making me any money yet, but my freelance writing is, and that’s something that I have to live with whether I like it or not. Sure I could say the hell with making money, but I like having a place to stay, food to eat and new books to read. In order to have all of that, I have to be bringing in money. While I have faith that I will make a luxurious living as a published author, I realize the hard truth that it may take a while for that to happen. In the meantime, I still have bills to pay.

Something else that I feel I’ve been investing too much time in, unnecessarily this time, is the Internet. I know that this is something that all writers deal with. These days it’s important to have an online presence in order to build up your platform and audience. But spending time online is a piece of the puzzle we have to fit in with the other pieces juuust right. Twitter, Facebook, blogging and all of the other social media gems are no doubt valuable, but they have to be done in moderation. After all, you won’t have anything to promote on all of those platforms if you don’t set aside the time to write. Just as you won’t have anywhere to sit down and write if you get evicted from your apartment for not paying the rent…ok, so you can go to a coffeeshop to write, but you won’t have money to buy coffee!

I guess what it all comes down to is prioritizing. Even if I don’t work on my novel every day, I can still write down ideas and at least outline a scene or chapter. Even if I don’t have something insightful to say on Twitter every hour, there are plenty of people who do and I can share their information, information that could inspire a blog post.

Writers are so busy moving, thinking, churning and reading that we forget to be…still…and…just…be. Just because you aren’t moving doesn’t mean that you aren’t going anywhere. Simply because you can’t feel the Earth move doesn’t mean that we all aren’t hurling across space. There’s no shame in having priorities, but there is shame in having skewed priorities and warped perceptions.

Take care out there.