January 2009 - Posts

The Sixth Sense Every Writer Wants
Friday, January 30, 2009 2:53 PM

I'm not talking about the sense that there is good story idea lurking about or the ability to sense what isn't working in your story. No, I'm not talking about the impeccable sense of timing that helps pace your story. Alright, I guess there are lots of "senses" a writer might want but what I'm getting at is that sense of accomplishment.

What writer doesn't long for that great feeling that comes with finishing your project or better yet, getting your work published? The weight of an unfinished task lifted from your shoulders, the feeling that you can treat yourself because of a job well done. The pride of being able to say, today I wrote and finished my story.

If you haven't felt this in a while I imagine you might feel a bit left out after that description so I have a suggestion for you. Maybe you're stuck on a series of stories and don't know how to finish them or don't feel like you have the time. Maybe you haven't been able to make yourself write lately or haven't had the time or maybe you're steadily trudging along on a novel but still a ways from finished. Whatever the case may be this is my suggestion to you because every writer should feel this and I think the buzz you get from that wonderful sense of accomplishment will help you with whatever your other projects are. It worked for me today so I hope I can pass it along.

Write a short short story. One page or less. Take the simplest premise you can think of right off the top of your head (a guy meets a girl, a woman gets stuck in traffic, lunch gone wrong) and go with it. If you don't know what I'm talking about read Hemingway's "A Very Short Story" and have at it!

Stop reading and go for it and then let me know how it turns out and if it made you feel a little good.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 2 comment(s)
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Self-publication and the Struggling Print Industry
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:58 PM

The print industry has seen its share of economic hardship but who wasn't with the present situation of the economy? However, print houses having been battling a decline in American readership for years now. Even though the National Endowment for the Arts reports this last year that more Americans are reading fiction, there are those that believe this is a blip in an overall trend and layoffs in the publication industry have been astronomical as companies try to cut costs.

This is a link to a New York Times article titled "Self-publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab:" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html?scp=1&sq=Self-Publishers%20Flourish%20as%20Writers%20Pay%20the%20Tab&st=cse

According to this article, the small corner of the print and publication industry that handles self-publication grew as much as 12% last year while the rest of the industry suffered. Is this cause for alarm that, as the article says, "The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them." I think not. People who write and people who read are one in the same to me. There may be far fewer people that get published in the traditional sense that those who read and the fact that less people are reading still remains (though I'm not willing to write off the recent uptake in fiction readership as a blip), all that the success of the self-publishing business means is that hard publication is now cheap and people who want to write their story and be able to put it on the bookshelf at home can. There may be a few anamolies of people who publish their own book and then shop it around to publishers or online book stores and find success but these cases are by far the exception. Most book stores won't touch a self-published book and not out of a loyalty to the traditional print industry or because they have their noses in the air but because a self-published book comes with an unknown author that had no advertising support, wasn't proofread and probably isn't worth a damn.

 What does this mean for people like me who want to get published and have their work taken seriously? The road ahead is tough and there is lots of competition, sure, but to be a professional writer means you get paid to write, not the other way around. As I said in "Advice from Professors and Professionals: Part I" don't ever pay to have someone read your writing and I think that extends to the self-publishing world. For me, this is no different than when my dad makes an album in iphoto and orders a hardbound book from apple. There's nothing wrong with it and it makes a fine gift but my dad isn't under the illusion he can shop that around to bookstores and try to have it sold alongside a collection by Annie Leibovitz.

 Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 2 comment(s)
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Ideas for Capturing Ideas: The Conundrum of What to Write
Monday, January 26, 2009 4:44 PM

    Fear not loyal readers, despite my title’s glowing example, alliteration is not my answer to the question Mary posed regarding getting ideas for stories. On January 18th she responded to my blog “On the Writing Side” with this question: “How do you come up with story ideas so easily? That is what I get stuck on.”
    First of all, there are dozens of books out there that have exercises and advice on how to get good ideas for your writing or overcome writers block. Skip ‘em. It’s a scam that preys upon the wanna be writers. Most will offer all the same advice and be over-priced. My sister got me one that was slightly different for Christmas that I liked well enough and have used several times, although I probably wouldn’t have bought it myself. Its called “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words” and filled with cool photographs and a variety of exercises that accompany each photo calling for you to write 1,000 words. Not bad, if you find it in the library I’d recommend checking it out but you can do the same thing with any book of pictures if you have the imagination to come up with your own prompt based on the photo.
    The best books to find inspiration for writing fiction though are other fiction books. The fact is you can’t be a writer and not an avid reader and as more than one creative writing instructor has told me, there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t worry about stealing. There is a famous quote that  goes “bad writers borrow, good writers steal.” So if you can’t figure out what to writer, read! Or watch a movie or see a play. Anything creative that might rub off on you. And if that fails and you happen to be in the bookstore, I’d recommend the madlibs before a book about writing.
    Kvona made the excellent suggestion of keeping an idea folder which I would like to echo. A journal will accomplish the same thing, however, it won’t just give you a place to keep the ideas you have from getting lost, the act of journaling is creative, just like madlibs are and you may find yourself coming up with story ideas as you write.
    You have to always be on the lookout for what you can use in your fiction. I come up with ideas while I’m driving, in the shower, eating, cooking, reading, playing, you name it, I’ve thought of a story idea while doing it. Don’t be afraid to use personal experiences in your fiction. I don’t care how autobiographical a story is or where the author got the idea. That’s a road full of dangerous and mostly useless supposition that I don’t care to venture down. Stealing ideas from your friend’s lives is also a good idea. Your friends and family are always telling you stories about something weird that happened to them at the supermarket or simply how their day was. These are stories, just not written down and formalized, but you’re the writer! If it’s worth telling and entertained people at party then hop to it and make it your own.
    Besides that, the only big ideas on how to get fresh work and new ideas out of yourself that I got from professors was go to an unfamiliar place to write like the park or a coffee shop or something. I had a poetry teacher that assigned the class to do that so I went up on the roof of where I worked and I think it produced an interesting enough poem.
    Those are my thoughts and I welcome as always comments and suggestions about what helped you or how you fare if you try any of these ideas. Don’t take the madlib suggestion lightly though, especially if you want to write comedy.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 4 comment(s)
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All Quiet on the Writing Front
Sunday, January 25, 2009 5:14 PM

I’d like to thank everyone who has read my blog and left comments thus far. I really appreciate it, not just because it helps me get ahead with the blogiversity contest, but because it gives me a reason to keep writing these. As someone who wants to see his work in publication it is obviously important to me share my thoughts with people and know that my work is being read. I have been continuing to write nearly everyday whether at home, the library, or during a break at work. Though I have several ideas for stories under way I’m only actively pursuing two stories at the moment and I’m thinking about where to submit them when I am done. One is about a summer camp so I’m considering submitting it to “Boy’s Life” (the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America) and other niche magazines that might publish a fiction work about camping. I’ve been advised that writing for a niche can be a very good idea if you have inside knowledge because the competition in these areas will be much smaller as opposed to when you submit general mainstream literature to mainstream magazines. Further, on the publication side, I’ve just sent two short stories out to magazines and I’m now waiting for responses.
My next post will be in response to Mary’s problem of coming up with story ideas. I’m also looking into the world of nonfiction because of the comments from kvona. While I write nonfiction articles for my internship with Rowland Publishing (“Tallahassee Magazine,” “850 Business Magazine of North Florida,” “Bay Life,” “Forgotten Coast,” “Emerald Coast”) and am happy to know that I will be published with several of those magazines in the near future I have a few ideas for nonfiction articles that I could shop elsewhere. I will have to do research about where to send those submissions as well as how to write a non-fiction query because I haven’t professionally been apart of that arena yet. I’ll be sure to keep all my readers up-to-date on this process.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 6 comment(s)
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Advice From Professionals and Professors: Part II: Writing and Editing
Friday, January 23, 2009 4:09 PM

 I've often talked about how I try to write on a schedule. Something I've heard over and over again from professional writers is that you have to write everyday and it helps to write on a schedule. Everyone has to individually figure out when and where they work best. A former graduate student here at FSU told me once, and he had been published several times and was working on his first novel, that he wakes up very early every morning and writes for about an hour and then goes back to sleep for an hour and then wakes up again and repeats this process several times. He said it was a good way of gathering all the unconscious thoughts of your mind that come to the surface while you’re sleeping and use them in your writing. I know I couldn’t write like that because when I’m awake I don’t go back to sleep and when I’m asleep I don’t like to wake up. Also, when I get going on my writing I don’t want to stop. What I think this illustrates is that you should be willing to experiment to see how you write best and be willing to think out of the box and try perhaps outrageous sounding things. Though my method and recommendation to work in the library for a few hours as often as possible (which usually ends up being every other day) isn’t unconventional it works for me. If you don’t know what to do next try something different.
    This mantra, ‘try something different’ is applicable to many parts of your writing. When you don’t know what to do next in a story a professor of mine used to say, “the answer is always something.” Another fiction teacher I once had advised that “when you come across a dark path in a story that you don’t want to go down, you should probably go down it.” I think these are excellent pieces of advice that have certainly helped me to better my fiction and have helped in those times of “writer’s block.” I’m not sure I’ve ever really encountered a case of writer’s block where I was stopped for any long period of time, but I have been stuck, I think every writer has.
    When you’re getting started, don’t be afraid of a few conventions. Outlines are good and if they work for you, use them. You can also draw that big upside-down-check-mark graph that got shoved down most people’s throats since middle school. You know, at the beginning there is the inciting incident and the long ling going up represents rising action and the point at the top is the climax? Remember? Or were you too busy thinking about how you were going to feed your family in Oregon Trail once you got to the computer lab? Here is a hint: contribute to the mass slaughter of the American buffalo. Now get your head back in the game! Basically, a visual representation of your story such as a timeline or some other device is good to keep you on track while you write that first draft.
    Editing is an important part of the writing process. In the first part of this segment, I discussed at length the need to have any submission you make to a publisher be grammatically flawless but that’s only one part of editing. The first draft of your story is often far from the final one but editing can be hard. As I’ve noted before, its important to just get your first draft on paper as flawed as it may be and go back and edit when you can look at it as a whole. One particularly visual way of doing this was recommended to me by a fiction writer and a professor in a workshop was to print your story out and lay each page on the large surface such as a big table, your bed or the floor. This can help you get an idea of how much space of your story is dedicated to each scene as well as how much of your story is written in exposition and how much is in dialogue (typically you want to strike some balance between the two, but if your story leans heavily in favor of one, then you need to be aware of that and be sure it fits your particular story). This technique also allows you to physically move pages around and get an idea of how your story might read if one event occurred in a different place.
    Other ideas I’ve heard for a second or third draft include rewriting a scene or an entire story “from feel.” Don’t look at the other draft, just rewrite. Maybe you’ll come up with a good replacement just trying it again or maybe you’ll find a way of combining the two drafts into one workable piece. If you’re completely set on the point of view you are using, then try rewriting from another character’s perspective just to see how your story will look from another angle or to learn how a character thinks. Don’t do this if you’re not set on the point of view you’re using because you might be tempted to actually make the change and be torn with how you want to tell your story.
    Also, never underestimate the value of honest advice. Going through the Florida State creative writing program has certainly taught me that, having taking at least a half dozen workshops where I read and gave my opinion to students and received the same treatment in return. Don’t show it to people who will only be loving and supporting and give you a pat on the head (this usually means family and friends). Fortunately for me I made a lot of my friends in the creative writing department here so I can usually get one of them to share their honest, brutal opinions with me and I’ve got a sister or two that don’t usually pull punches. As an aspiring writer, it is vital that you find a group of people that you can show a draft to and get them to tell you what’s wrong with it, not just say ‘that’s nice sweetie.’ The more brutal the better.
    This entry became quite long but I hope it was at least in part useful to some. I left out a lot of methods for editing but I welcome comments if you have a particularly good idea or a method that has worked for you.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 4 comment(s)
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When Inspiration Strikes, Make Like the Empire and Strike Back
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 4:51 PM

I was recently walking home from class and, easily knowing the way after so much time here at FSU, I allowed my mind to wander. I couldn't recount my train of thought if you asked me to but I came up with an idea for a story. I was inspired to write. Many people who would not call themselves writers have had ideas for a movie or a novel but done nothing with them. Some dismiss these ideas and others dream about one day making that idea a reality and creating something real from it. I, a young man who likes to consider himself a writer, has had countless such ideas. Some I've forgotten for one reason or another and a few I've actually turned into something. But most of the ideas I've had end up in a limbo. I write them down in a fervor, sketching out a few quick notes before I forget and then move on with my day, usually telling myself that I'll come back to them later. I think many aspiring writers can confirm this: that doesn't often happen. I have more story ideas than I know what to do with and most just sit idling on my computer or in my "ideas folder." We've all heard the stereotype of the high school English teacher with the unfinished novel in his/her desk. So how do you keep from being that person or, if you are that person, how do you make the move from idea to page, from notes to novel, from outline to final draft?

When I had my brilliant idea the other day, I did exactly what I always do. I got home and wrote it down before I forgot it, but the very next second of free time I had (about an hour later after dinner) while I could still feel the energy from the electricity that is the lightning strike of inspiration I got up and wrote. I don't think I've ever went so quickly from notes to actually working on story so quickly. My advice then is simple, don't "let it sit" or "walk away and think about." Write your story now because if it doesn't happen now then it never will.

I write this blog entry having just worked more on that story I began the other day and I don't intend to let it get cold or stop until I'm done with the first draft. There is a time to let a story sit and think about the choices you've made and still need to make while writing, but that time is not before the first draft is complete. Though this entry interrupts a two part segment I'm doing on advice from professionals I think it fits in for two reasons. One: when inspiration strikes, stop what you're doing and write. Two: I once had the author Steve Almond guest teach one of my fiction workshops and when someone asked him about how long you should wait to write after getting the idea for a story his response was not at all. He said (and this isn't in quotes for a reason) if you wait at all you're more likely to be waiting for ever and that story will never get written because eventually you'll lose that spark that first made you want to write it, even if you have notes on what it was going to be about.

I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading and commenting and let Mary know that I am going to answer her question on how to come up with ideas. I know writing a blog about how I have so many ideas I can't write them all after she posed that question might seem a bit like taunting but I don't mean it that way and I will answer your question soon.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 8 comment(s)
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Advice from Professionals and Professors: Part I: Getting Published in a Magazine
Monday, January 19, 2009 3:12 PM

Particularly in response to a comment on one of my previous blog entries by kvona about a grammatical error I made (using the word ‘here’ instead of ‘hear’) I’d like to start this segment of advice on getting your work into magazines with something I’ve heard from every source but it simply can’t be emphasized enough: No grammatical mistakes on a submission! An editor sees one and they throw your submission out. But mister, what if my story is really good and it’s only one little insy-winsy typo? Ah, in that case…NO! Is this the pot calling the kettle black? My answer to that would be, “No clichés either!” In all seriousness, thanks for pointing it out, kvona. This is a blog that I’m doing in my spare time so I usually read it through just once after I initially type up an entry so I’m bound to miss things and fortunately the only consequence in this venue is I look a little dumb, being a writer who is writing about writing and then makes a writing mistake. I can only hope it won’t ruin my credibility, but this shows why it is important to proofread. You can’t catch everything with one quick read through and, with a work of fiction, you’re usually looking to fix a lot more than just typos when you’re editing. Moral of the story: don’t skimp on the editing process.
That is something a lot of people could tell you, but having studying under writers such as Elizabeth Stuckey-French (“Mermaids on the Moon”), Mark Winegardner (“The Godfather Returns"), Marcus Mota, Charles Henley, Erin Belieu ("Infanta") and others and having had the pleasure of talking to and seeing several guest lecturers while here at FSU, I hope I can relay a few more insightful and less common pieces of information to my readers.
Besides having a flawlessly proofread piece of work, common advice seems to be, read every day, write every day and submit as often as you can. You are going to get rejected a lot no matter what, don’t let it discourage you just keep trying.

With that said, let’s assume you have a short story written. I have a few. The first thing to do is find out what magazine you are going to submit to. I own a copy of The Writer’s Market a book that lists thousands of magazines, what kind of work they take, how much they pay, where to mail it to, etc. I’ve had professors recommend this publication and others lump it in with the dozens of books and programs out there that are scams. There is an entire industry built around people who want to get published and if you’re not smart they’ll drain money from you. However, I had at least one professor recommend the writer’s market so I picked it up and it has been helpful. Don’t just flip through and submit your work willy-nilly though. Another sensible piece of advice I’ve heard is only submit to magazines you’ve read or at the very least looked at once. This has been a difficult rule for me to follow and I’ll admit I’ve submitted to a few magazines after only browsing their online content and reading about them. Not a good idea and so far no luck. I can’t afford to buy sample copies but local libraries will carry some literary magazines, though, from what I’ve seen, they are more likely to carry only the bigger ‘zines that have more people reading them and more people submitting to them. These are going to be harder to get published in.

Don’t let that discourage you. I had a fiction professor recommend that you start by submitting your work to bigger magazines under the logic that you don’t want to find out that the New Yorker will take your story and pay you a thousand dollars after you’ve already committed it to the po-dunk review for twenty bucks. It may be a long shot but it only costs a stamp and doesn’t hurt to try.

That reminds me, never pay to have your work read. You’re a professional. If you have some money and feel like going against some tough odds you could enter some fiction contests and sometimes the fee you pay gets you a subscription to a magazine, but I’ve chosen not to go this route. Actually my bank account choose for me, there was this whole issue with it not having any money it.

So, you’ve read a magazine, you’ve got a short story that you think is the sort of thing they might publish, and you’re ready to submit. First thing to do is type up a cover letter. Now don’t get too fancy here. Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that a cover letter is primarily a tracking device for the magazine to contact you. This is not like a cover letter for when you’re trying to get a job. In that case, it is my understanding that a cover letter is a way for you to express yourself and show who you truly are outside the strict bounds of your resume. Not so with submitting to a magazine. Short and sweet is the way to go. “My name is ­­­_____. Please consider for publication in your magazine my ­­­_____ word short story ‘____.’” You can mention what you do if it’s relevant and if you’ve been published before or if you feel like getting your nose dirty, that you really like their magazine, but keep it short and make sure you put your name address, phone number, and e-mail on there. Then include your story, fold it up, address your envelope, drop it in the mail and wait.

One good thing about the Writer’s Market is that it tells you whether a magazine accepts simultaneous submissions (it’s okay with you sending a story to them and another magazine at the same time) and how long it takes for them to get back to. The last round of submissions I sent out was to three magazines that paid really well, accepted simultaneous submissions and allegedly got back to you pretty quickly about whether they wanted it or not. My reasoning was that I wanted to get several lures in the water, start with the high rollers just as one of my professors suggested, and get results quickly because if they were negative (which they all were) I could submit somewhere else.

This is just a compilation of what I’ve learned from reading, my own attempts and talking to several professionals. I invite comments if you think I’ve been doing something wrong, if I’ve forgotten something, you have a suggestion of your own, or your own story on trying to get your worked published.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 5 comment(s)
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On the Writing Side
Saturday, January 17, 2009 1:10 AM

As an update on how my personal writing is going I've found success yet again with my technique of going to the library and writing there. I hadn't been feeling motivated to write at all since my return to college after winter break, although that is in part because I was settling into the new semester schedule, but also probably because I just hadn't worked on anything in so long, but as soon as I got started I found it difficult to stop. The first day, I read notes I'd made and slowly started working and before I knew it, it was time to go and I'd written the first scene. A few hours after I got back from the library, I wrote a little more at home. I've got a good start (several pages) on a story that a few days ago was just an outline I had made weeks before. The sense of accomplishment is invigorating and has got me in the right mind set again. The write mind set.

Since I started up again story ideas have been coming to me constantly (finding things to write about was never a problem for me) and I want to find time to write even more and fortunately, my success at the library has bred success at home. Being able to write at home is admittedly more convenient, particularly for those sudden light bulb attacks of inspiration where you have to get your ideas down right then and there. I'm going to try to stay on a schedule with going to the library several times a week (particularly those days when I'm not writing at work or school in any large amounts or creative ways). Now that I have momentum, it's vital I don't lose it. There is so much for me still to work on as ideas continue to come to me and as I work on the many inspirations I have that, as of yet, have not come to fruition.

As always I'd love to hear your comments, particularly this time on how you keep momentum in your writing or stay on schedule, whatever your work may be.

Until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 4 comment(s)
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On the Publishing Side
Friday, January 16, 2009 10:15 AM

 While the effort continues to write more material, a stage I hope many will find interesting, I will be using the work I’ve completed to chronicle a different, most likely more difficult aspect of fiction writing. Getting your work published. Were this a cooking show, this would be the part where I set aside the mixing bowl for a minute and pull the finished dish out of the fake oven. Ta-da!
    I presently have two fiction pieces that I’ve been shopping around to magazines Both are very short stories and both are very different in style and form. “Aside from the War” has only been sent to one magazine, however, “Mustang” has been sent to several literary publications, all of whom have declined. So, where do I go from here? The consensus among everyone I’ve talked to has been to just keep on trucking and that success in this field seldom comes easy or quick.
    So, in this thread of the blog, I’ll be endeavoring to publish these two pieces and whatever else is produced on the writing side. My next feature will be called “Advice from Professionals and Professors” and will no doubt be vastly more insightful than this one.
    For now though, if you have been trying to get published and thus far failed, keep trying. I recently conducted an interview with a Senior VP of a bank for my internship and the piece of advice he offered to all when I asked him what skill(s) had helped him become successful in the banking industry. He told me that it was the ability to take criticism without getting personally upset and using the criticism constructively to improve yourself and whatever you’re doing. As a writer, I can’t think of any simpler and better advice. I’ve seen many people in workshops stop listening because they think their work is good as is or that their ideas are better than everyone else’s or because they can’t admit that they need help and may have some growing to do. Don’t let rejection discourage you, I haven’t let it get me down. Find people to read your work who will give you their honest, brutal opinion (not your momma) and then work to improve and try again.
    As always I invite comments and questions. For this entry I’d love to hear any tales of rejection and perseverance.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 4 comment(s)
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Getting Started (Again)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 12:22 PM

Step one of this process (or this leg of the process at least) is going to be setting up some sort of writing schedule. It’s important to write everyday, that seems to be a universally recognized fact. If you are going to be a professional writer, you have to write everyday. The 19th century author Jack London was famous for making himself write at least 1,000 words a day and he was certainly a prolific writer. The problem is, and I imagine this is a problem for many aspiring writers out there, I’m not a professional yet and I’m very busy. How do I make myself write when I get home after a long day at the office or school? My solution is not going to be a matter of enforcing a strict word count on myself and punishing failure by withholding tasty treats so much as simply making the effort to put myself in a location where all I can do is write. For me, that’s the library. If I tell myself while I’m in class or at work that when I get home I’m going to sit down in front of the computer and write, it seldom actually happens that way. You see, in my apartment there is this feeling of relaxed freedom that prevails, its a truly magic place. I can take off all my clothes and romp through the rooms as free as a six year old boy and his imaginary stuffed tiger. Also, there’s this device called a television that has these other devices called a DVD player and a Wii hooked up to it that I find to be very distracting. So, I let myself go home and eat a snack and change clothes but before I touch the remote (and this part is key) I stop myself and say in my sweetest little inside voice, “Get your lazy ass to the library and make something of your life so you don’t have to listen to people ask what you’re going to do with a creative writing degree anymore!” Off I go.

I find that at the library I am undistracted regardless of how many strange people are there doing the strange things they do. Sometimes I bring my iPod and put on some kind of classical or instrumental music. I’ve found that when I do this, I don’t need to crack the whip of word count over my  back. I write ample amounts easily when I’m “in the zone” (not Autozone) and actually have trouble pulling myself away from the library when it comes time to leave. After I do this for a few days (even if its not exactly everyday in a row), I begin to get into the habit and before long I don’t need to ask myself to go in that oh-so-sweet-little-flower-girl-inside-voice. Since winter break I've been out of the habit but I've settled into this semester's schedule with my internship and school so its time to start writing again.

This won’t work for everyone but I invite you to try out the library and see how it works for you and let me know through a comment. I’d also love to here about the place where you write best and how you stay on a schedule (or how you can’t seem to). I’m going to try to write everyday, at least a little at work or home if I can't get to the library and I’ll be posting regularly with updates on what I’m working on and how it is coming along.

Until next time, I’m Eric and I’m an unpublished writer.

by DMI | 4 comment(s)
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Eric: Unpublished
Tuesday, January 13, 2009 12:22 AM

My name is Eric and I am not a published writer.

The goal of this blog is to chronicle my quest to eliminate the 'not' from the previous sentence. While I'm sorry you couldn't be with me for that quest's beginning I hope you can be there for its end and in a moment I can fill you in on whatever you missed. My hope is that this blog will serve several purposes. First of all, I want to give myself a kick in the ass to write more and try more often to have my work published. I think a viewing audience might just make this monkey dance. Second, I hope that for the many, many other people out there who write and long to have their work read and enjoyed by others, that this blog might be something of a how-to (hopefully not a how-to-not, but I suppose in that case that at least something good would have come out this endeavor). Ideally speaking, I hope I can find people to read this who have never been published and those who have and that I can get advice from both sides of the spectrum and that I can pass that advice, oh so altruistically, along to everyone. Fine, I'm doing it for me first. Guilty. Let's get started.

I first realized I wanted to be a writer back in the eighth or ninth grade. I always read a lot as a kid and I feel as though I read a pretty wide range. Historical Fiction (mainly about the Civil War and a few other American conflicts), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult Literature. And thats on top of the stuff I read for school which I still, for the most part, ate up and genuinely enjoyed. English was always my favorite class. So, at some point in time, after finishing a really good book and just feeling completely amazed and reveling in the thrill of finishing a great story, I was laying around still immersed in the world of the novel and it hit me. This is what I want to do. I want to tell stories that make people feel this way. And the same is true today. Whenever I'm aggravated with trying to make a story work or tired of making myself write instead of zoning out in front of the TV after work, all I need to do is read a short story or a few chapters of a book and I remember why I'm in it to begin with.

Long story short, my first attempts at writing were failures although I wrote a couple chapters of a fantasy book about a night when I was in the ninth grade and that was more than most kids my age. I never tried to get published until college although I had a short story and a poem or two in the high school lit mag which by my senior year I was the editor of. Now, I'm a senior at Florida State University studying Creative Writing and my failures to get published continue. At some point I dropped poetry and nonfiction to focus on fiction. I am also interning at Rowland Publishing so that one way or another I will eventually be published through several of their magazines although it won't be my fiction and it won't be paid.

My intention is that future blog entries will be shorter and will focus more directly on my efforts to get my work published as well as to improve my writing and my work ethic (namely, make myself write more). I hope this finds you all well and please feel free to comment with whatever you'd like and to pass this blog on to others. For this particularly entry, I invite you to comment with what first inspired you to write.

by DMI | 7 comment(s)
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