Are You One of the Lucky Ones?

April 29, 2015


I keep studying the craft of writing. Every day. I even attended another writers’ conference last week … the Rochester Writers’ Spring Conference at Oakland University … trying to learn more about the social media aspects of marketing my work.

Took a lot of notes. Met some interesting people. Learned a hell of a lot more than I expected to.

It was a good conference.

Still, there are a lot of people who wonder why I bother. They know I’ve published fiction … and they also know it was a good thing I had a career beforehand. Writing is a tough business.

It often seems like success is handed to the “lucky” ones.

You know, the ones everyone thinks have been blessed with deep pockets, the right connections, or some form of magical God-given talent the rest of us were not in the right line to receive.

Wouldn’t it be nice to think success is something more … something you have some control over?

Surprise. It is.

It’s about talent, sure. But it’s something else, too.

It’s called grit.

Grit Scale
Did you know there’s actually a Grit Scale? It was developed by a Ph.D. psychology researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. You can take it yourself and see how you rate.

Even more surprising than finding out there is such a scale are the researcher’s findings: Grit trumps talent, IQ and aptitude as the top predictor of achievement. It’s the quality that turns a little engine that could into the little engine that does.

Does that apply to being a writer? Of course it does.
Click to read more

Are Writers’ Conferences Worthwhile?

April 23, 2015


Going to a writing conference isn’t going to help you much with rock climbing (at least I don’t think it will … you never know), but a great reason to attend one … perhaps the best reason … is simply to meet other writers.

If you’re anything like me, the non-writers in your family look at you like you’re nuts when you simply stare at your computer screen because the right words just won’t come.

However, a fellow writer would understand a period of writer’s block and empathize with your lack of sleep while your characters won’t speak to you. They understand how difficult writing can be.

Besides gathering their empathy, it helps to hear about their successes … and their failures. Believe me, I know. If nothing else, it verifies you’re not alone.

If you don’t attend a regular critique or writers’ group, I think it’s important to find a good writing conference once in a while, with some real, live human beings with whom to share your experiences, joys, and heartaches.

Improving Your Craft
I’ve attended local area conferences before, and I’ll also be attending the Rochester Writers’ Spring Conference at Oakland University this Saturday, April 25, 2015. The emphasis of this particular conference is social media for writers.

What’s in it for me? I already have a well-followed blog, a web site, a Book of Face page, an author page on Goodreads, an Author’s Database page, a page on the Twitter, and a media page.

What am I going to learn that I don’t already know?

That’s just it … I won’t know until the session ends, but I’ve never attended one of Mike Dwyer’s conferences where I didn’t learn something of value.

I think it has a lot to do with wanting to improve my craft. I often have a “light bulb” moment while at the conference, even if I’ve heard the speaker or topic before. Something will just click and maybe even solve a problem I’ve been having with my writing.

Plus, when other enthusiastic writers and editors surround you for a day, how can you help but leave inspired? Click to read more

Why Does Writing Have to Seem So Hard?

April 8, 2015

old typewriterOLD TYPEWRITER – photo courtesy Pixabay

When you’re having a difficult time writing and the words you want just don’t seem to find their way out of your head, you sometimes ask yourself … what’s the point?

I thought I was past my momentary writers block … but after only 1,500-or-so words I got stuck again this week.

No problem, right? I’ve been there before and worked my way out of it. The words eventually start flowing again.

So, I brewed a second cup of coffee, took a deep breath and stared at my computer screen. Typed a sentence. Deleted it.

Sipped my coffee. Wrote a new sentence and almost immediately deleted it. Paused. Rubbed my eyes. Scratched my head. Typed a third sentence. Deleted that one, too.

Repeated the whole sequence many times in the course of the next two hours and got some results I kept … a total of 27 words.

Less than one-quarter of a word per minute. Oh well. Been there, done that. I know it will eventually click. I just hope it does before my self-imposed deadline gets here.

At least I’m more environmentally conscious these days. I used to do all this using reams of paper.

Writing, ripping sheets from the platen and tossing crumpled paper pages from an old Royal or Smith-Corona until the wastebasket overflowed and threatened to engulf the room.

Royal? Smith-Corona?

You know, one of those tools youngsters only see these days in retro films (or in their grandparents’ closets). A typewriter.

Now I use a laptop. No paper waste, but the writer’s block is still writer’s block.

Sigh. Click to read more


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