Starting off the week with True Colors doing well, got two more 5-star reviews and woke up this morning to better sales trends. So, this week is getting off to a good start.
All of that just builds on the latest work Roanen and I did over the weekend on our collaboration. It’s been a while since I worked with anyone else, and I have to say I had forgotten how working with a good collaboration partner can help a writer take their work to the next level. You have this instant feedback and expanded perspective, and when you work with someone you’ve known for so long and who you work so well with like this, the experience and the boost are that much better.
Roanen and I have known each other since college, back on the early 90’s, when we first took an American History class together. Since then we’ve gamed together, written together (New Essex is the setting it is because of our early work on it when we worked together at the same company) and been best friends. Life took us in different directions, but we’ve always shared that hope that one day, we could bring our original setting to life for readers in one way or another. And now that we’re working together on this, I can honestly say that I feel like I am the guy in his mid-twenties again, with the same bright-eyed passion that I once thought only youth could grant. Taking these scenes, building from each other and taking this to the page is not just liberating, it’s fun.
Creatively, I’ve been running into some of my pet peeves this last week, and for aspiring writers out there, I wanted to offer some perspectives from someone who has been in the creative trenches for a little while and managed to make it work.
First off, remember that absolutes aren’t.
Let that sink in for a second. Anyone who says you MUST do things in a certain way is full of it, in my opinion. For every creative “truth” out there, you can find someone who flouts that “rule” handily AND successfully. Usually someone who is actually successfully published and fairly well known. And this applies to me as well. I approach writing as a skill, I encourage writers to own their creativity, and I abhor “conventional wisdom” about most aspects of writing. Inspiration? The Muse? Excuses not to write, as far as I’m concerned. Sharing your work before it’s finished? Yeah, do it. Hold yourself accountable to finish the job. Writers block? Write anyway. You’ll surprise yourself with what you accomplish, says I. Afraid someone is going to steal your work? Pfft. Plagiarism usually happens with things that are already successful in some way, not with some work no one has ever heard of and isn’t either making money or otherwise earning praise.
That being said, I also know that works for ME, mostly because I also commit another writing sin, according to some purists. I write to get paid. I write fully intending to publish and hoping to make money off of it. (I know. <gasp> You don’t write purely for the love of the sacred art? <faints>) Now, I don’t write to get rich though that would be nice. I write with the hope of making a living. Doing what I love. I value my work.
That’s just me. I wrote for different reasons than you might. For some of us, writing is purely recreation. Or maybe it’s an escape. Perhaps an emotional outlet, a form of therapy, or how you quiet your mind. And I would say that if that is the case, if the actual process of writing is the most important thing, then do it your way and fuck any advice I might give to the contrary. Your goals are different, and for you, the act of writing might be a form of self-care. Thus, combating writers block is also part of your self-care. So, if that is you, then yeah, just one fan, one life changed, that’s great, go do that. Because in the end, I think that the life changed the most and for the better…is yours.
At the end of the day, if I want to get one point across, it’s that I think you should know WHY you’re writing and understand that your goals shape your methods. That in the end, how you write isn’t so important as the fact that you do it, and that you are better off for it. I will never tell anyone NOT to write, or to quit writing. If following conventional wisdom isn’t working for you? There’s a reason for that.