Tag Archives: being a writer

To the Aspiring Writer: The Job Requirements

To the Aspiring Writer: The Job Requirements

I’ve been thinking lately about writers and the thought occurs to me that as writers, particularly aspiring writers who are not already getting paid for our work, we’ve really got it cush, yet we think we’ve got it tough.

As aspiring writers, we inadvertently sabotage ourselves, or at least hold our potential at bay, because we have both a wishful desire to get paid as a writer, and at the same time, we privately wonder why anybody would pay for our writing. What is profoundly insightful or insatiably intriguing to others, to us may seem commonplace. And we fall into the trap of thinking that if we thought of it, then anyone else can think of it too….so therefore our thoughts are not remarkable…and therefore our words are not worth money….and because they are not worth money, of course no one will pay for them. And voila! We’ve conveniently justified not writing. Because why bother anyway? Only people that are already getting paid for their writing, get paid for their writing, right? Wrong!

This is a classic case of a thought thread beginning with a statement of truth, but very quickly veering off track into a self-deluding lie, albeit one that tastes palatable and so therefore must be true. It’s too easy to assume because the seed of our thought started with a truth that the end conclusion will also be a truth. But that just isn’t the truth!

Herein lies the flaw: Just because anyone else can think of your same thought doesn’t mean they will, and even if they do, it doesn’t mean they will do anything with it, and even if they do do something with it, so what? Is your take on the same motif going to be EXACTLY the same as someone else’s? I hardly think so! But, by far, the biggest lie in this line of thinking is assuming that our thoughts are unremarkable and unworthy of monetary consideration because everyone else has the same thought potential as we do.

So that’s true: everyone else does have the same thought potential. But potential is where the truth ends. If we don’t turn that potential into writing that someone else can read, it remains just that–potential. And how much money do you think potential alone ever made anybody? Zero! Potential has to be turned into something. This is what distinguishes writers from thinkers. And the ‘something’ it gets turned into may or may not command money in the marketplace. But that doesn’t matter.

When you’re a writer (that’s not already getting paid for your writing), you can’t use whether or not your writing is going to get you paid as your impetus for starting to write in the first place. You just have to write and let your stuff get filtered thru the universal sieve of the marketplace. We all know that people get paid for crap writing all the time, but crap is subjective. If that crap is generating money for its author, then it is withstanding the test of the marketplace, period! The only difference is degree and as an aspiring writer, we can’t afford to concern ourselves with degrees; we should instead be concerned with breaking the barrier from not getting paid into getting paid, assuming of course that we are writing in the first place! And even after we break the barrier and start getting paid, degrees still really don’t matter, at least degrees relative to other writers. The only thing that matters is our results relative to our desires. And for promotion and marketing: they’re a numbers game. Promotion and marketing are a hedge, that’s it; nothing more, nothing less. We still have to write.

It’s like this: We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take, and as a writer we have to take the shots (i.e., write the stuff) regardless of what we think the outcome might be. One of two things is going to happen: We’re either going to produce stuff that people will pay for or we’re going to learn a hellava lot in the process, presumably about ourselves and about writing. And besides that, writing is an art and art works by working on its creator. The more we create (write), the better our (art) writing becomes. So who’s to stay that what we are writing now that no one is paying us for won’t pave the way for us to write something that someone will pay for?

The point is this: Write. Just write. Write regardless. Write with abandon. Whatever happens, it’s a win all the way around.

Money or no money, as writers, we have to be willing to put ourselves and our writing out there. It’s a requirement for the job!

P.S. Please excuse my several instances of prepositions at the end of sentences. If it makes you feel better, think of it as post-positioning instead of pre-positioning!

Meaningful Relationships at the Heart of a Fruitful Life

Meaningful Relationships at the Heart of a Fruitful Life

I just reviewed: ‘Without Notice: Life Can Change in a Moment’ by Bonnie Karpay on Amazon! The author, creator of the Relationship Quotient, very skillfully harnesses the power of story to illustrate what she calls the “5 C’s”, making them digestable, memorable and thus easier to actually apply in our lives and businesses.

A quick, easy, and compelling read, this is a realistic tale of divine transformation where we watch the main character slowly come to realize that his impossible situation is really a brilliant opportunity. For a debut novel, the author very skillfully lays a contrasting context by rendering the essence and energy signature of a character leading a house-of-cards life, so that when it falls apart in one cataclysmic event; it paves the wave for his healing, self-discovery, and ability to face his own truth.

Ultimately, in the end, it illustrates to the reader that meaningful relationships really are at the heart of a fruitful life.

Click here to take a look inside the book!

The Crux of Writer’s Block

The Crux of Writer’s Block

It seems like ‘writer’s block’ is more about having too many ideas, rather than not enough.

I think the ‘block’ is more about the paralysis that results from having too many thoughts, than it is about being lost in the black void of nothingness.

The real challenge, it seems, is more of a sorting-thru-all-this-great-stuff problem, than it is a finding-new-content problem.

Willingness Helps Steer Clear of Black Hole

Willingness Helps Steer Clear of Black Hole

Again, I’ve had a lapse in writing and I can tell it in my mind and body. I have that messy feeling that comes with the territory. In part, this is because it’s been so long since I’ve spent much time writing and this, in turn, is because I’ve been completely consumed (and am still recovering) from a HU-MON-GOUS first annual event that I produced recently—that’s my day job.

I vacillate between being energized and deeply exhausted, creatively inspired and being blocked. In reading about Resistance in Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, I am learning just how elusively cunning Resistance really is. I’ve heard invisible thoughts saying things like,

‘Nobody cares about what you have to say.’

‘Everything that’s worth saying, somebody’s already said it.’

‘Writing is a waste of time. You’ve got way bigger priorities right now.’

‘It’s been so long now since you’ve posted anything, you’ve lost all your momentum.’

Even as I write this, what I’m writing feels stupid.

And here’s a real whopper, ‘If you were really going to write, you’d have already started; so apparently it’s not THAT important to you really.’

So F YOU, Resistance! I’m writing, even if it’s crappy. And I do have other priorities right now, but that doesn’t mean writing ISN’T a priority! Writing is always nourishingly therapeutic for me and if I’m not willing to take action on things that replenish me, how can I expect to have any surplus for anyone else? If I don’t do the things necessary and essential for me to feel full and vibrant (as opposed to depleted), I am destined for the black hole of self-serving, self-absorbed, self-righteous, self-pity and self-loathing. Yuk! No thanks, I’ll pass! And ‘passing’ requires effort against the grain of Resistance.

Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love

So I just finished watching Eat Pray Love, the movie adapted from the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. It finally came out on Netflix! I cried and laughed and loved and felt loved all within the 2 hour and 20 minutes space of the movie and now I feel compelled to write. That’s how it works for me, I suppose; something causes me to drop into my heart and I want to write….need to write. Maybe it’s because she is a writer and I’ve read the book, but I doubt it. I think it’s more just because I’m a writer.

I forget that occasionally. I get busy with life and forget that about myself. That writing is one of the things I want to do most; that I feel like I was born to do. Writing makes me feel like I’m contributing to the world.

There are seven things in life that really make my heart sing, that which you might call my passions: 1) writing, duh!; 2) reading, I read lots of different types of books, but find that always having a good fiction book going helps me feel more balanced; 3) playing pool, I actually aspire to go pro; 4) riding (and working on, we call that “wrenching”, motorcycles), I’m fond of the long-distance brand of motorcycle therapy; 5) studying, learning and speaking Spanish; 6) photography; and 7) travel, it’s no accident that I can do all of these things while traveling! I like and enjoy lots of other things, but none more than these seven; these rise far and above all other possible activities.

I go thru spurts and dry spells with all of them. Currently, I’ve been indulging my love for the game of pool one night a week. Yes, I know a girl that wants to go pro has to play a helleva lot more than one night a week and, quite frankly, I’m kinda tired of hearing it. Has anyone ever said out loud that it’s really a whipping to be constantly reminded of your potential by others? Don’t do that! It creates barriers. I know why we do it. We do that to those we love precisely because we love them, and it makes us happy to think about them fulfilling their greatest potential. But what if we focused on tending to the fulfillment of our own potential, instead? Then we wouldn’t have to focus on someone else’s as a distraction for our own. We inspire people to seek and indulge their greatest potential by supporting them; allowing them time and space; by loving them as they are, not as we want them to be; and certainly not by minding their business and painting their picture for them or by telling them what they already know.

See, here’s the thing about passions. They are things we feel deeply about and that satisfy a place in our souls for which nothing else will suffice. By definition, they are soul work. I can work out the messiness of my life on a pool table in the same way I can by writing or riding my motorcycle. I get perspective. I have aha’s! Life is one big analogy, but we can’t digest and relate to “one big analogy”. So we have passions. Passions help us relate and see our world and our problems thru a different lens; they give us perspective.

When I’ve made a mess on the pool table because I didn’t play good shape, I’ve got to play it like it lies. And when I stretch myself to formulate a plan to approach a “low probability of success” situation (of my own making), I get reminded that the point was not so much about the success or failure of the immediate next shot as it is about the strategy of the entire game. Life is one big game and our passions give us bite-size games as altars upon which we can learn our life’s lessons….if we’re paying attention.