Will lightning strike twice? Does he have what it takes to go the distance? Will Batman solve the Riddler's puzzle and escape before he drops in the piranha tank? All these questions and more answered in this blog post. *Cue jaunty music* Okay, time for reality.
Writing isn't easy. In fact, I consider it the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm not sure it'll ever get easier, but I do expect that with anything: time, practice and patience will make me better a writer. With that said, I learned some very valuable lessons on this last book. Take the time. It's easy to get caught up in the moment. The thought that should have crept into my head was: take a step back, evaluate and give it to people who will tear it apart. It's important. Find the good ones, the honest ones, the ones that don't put up with your bullshit and listen to them.
I recently saw the movie Whiplash and J.K. Simmons played a music teacher who was sadistic and brutal and put his students through hell. It's an unbelievable performance. He told his student that the two most destructive words you can say to someone is, 'good job.' I've said in other posts and I can't emphasize this enough, you want the praise to come after the work is published, the worst thing you can tell someone is, 'good job.'
Time: Everything happens in its own time. It can't be forced. With any work in progress getting it done and getting it done right are two very different things. With any task, whether it's building a stone wall, playing a piece of music, or writing a novel, take the time. Be patient. Patience will earn rewards.
Practice: Not every musician is born great. It takes countless hours with the insturment, fingering the keys, finding your breath, growing calloused on the fingertips. There are some born with natural talent, but for the majority, it's desire, drive and hard work. Mastery is attained through practice, for an electrician you're an apprentice, then you step up to journeyman and then to master electrician. It can be said of almost every career. There are tests and benchmarks along the way. Writing isn't different. Not everyone can, or will, write a novel, not every novelist will make a living as a writer and grandmasters are few and far between.
Patience: I'm not destined to be a grandmaster. I'm good with it. Writing is my sideline and it’s fun for me and I sincerely hope it's fun for the reader. What I struggle with and gives me the most grief is: patience. Writing is an object lesson for me. If something isn't progressing, I'm not happy. It makes me effective in my day job of speeding up the internet and adding features to mobile devices, but in my writing, it's something I really need to continue to improve. I think it's helped me in my daily life. It's also why this blog is called Author in Progress. The alternate title was: I Slammed My Head into My Desk and Here's Why.
I chose writing for a few reasons, first, for good or ill, I have one of those imaginations that just won't shut the hell off. I imagine dragons, zombies, superheroes and fantasy worlds, heroes from humble beginnings, crafty wizards and vile villains. I see them in the world around me and I think it’s fun to share it. Second, I love observation and there is humor in pointing out the absurdity in any given situation, even dire things. Humans do really wierd shit and it's fun. Lastly, it was the thing I most wanted to do, but never knew it. My goal in life (high school age-ish) was to be an artist, I had some innate talent with pencils and creative streak and I wanted to put my talent to being a comic book artist. Like any talent, you can either nurture it, or let it wither. I chose a sensible career, a technical career, military, sub builder and I nurtured that at the expense of my creativity. I can still draw (maybe just sketch at this point) but by the time I got back to it, the desire wasn't there. I still desired to pick up a pencil, but now I wanted to draw pictures with words. That meant learning something new and I found that immensely satisfying. I want to be good and I push, but like the electrician, you can't go from being an apprentice to being a master. I'm not even sure I'm a journeyman, but writing is what I want to nurture. All I need patience, practice and time.
My book is Dex Territory. It's a fun story and I love that book like no other, sorry Neil Gaiman, American Gods comes in #2. The upcoming sequel is Knight and Dex and it takes place about three months after the events in Dex Territory and I threw in some zombies for good measure. That really satisfied me! It's also a lot of fun, albeit on the darker side. I'm working with my editor, Terry, now and we're hammering that one into fighting form. The cover and the blurb can be found at www.twbpress.com and if you're a reader, head over there. We have some great authors and they tell some amazing stories. You might just find my books there too. :)
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$3.99 for the e-book
$18.95 for the paperback