Take That Chance You’ve Been Thinking of

I’m not one to give unsolicited advice to people. Not co workers. Not friends. Not family. I mostly keep to myself. I’m not a fan of people trying to force their beliefs on to others. No matter how well intentioned they may be. So this isn’t advice. I’m not telling you this will change your life or alter the way you do certain things. I’m sharing with you a mindset I’ve adopted.

I don’t think it’s particularly astonishing to say we’ve all been asked about the things we regret. And we all have things that come to mind that we don’t share, for various reasons. My new mindset aims to eliminate those things from my life.

I’ll never want to ask myself “What if…?” again. I’m serious. I’d rather face rejection or fail at something or experience defeat than simply avoid taking a chance. Because when we avoid risk or chance, then what are we really doing? We’re sticking to routine, what we know best. And guess what? That’s easy. That’s how we can have a good job and close friends and family and STILL be miserable. Because we’re too busy not taking any chances. I refuse.

If I have a question at work I should know the answer to but don’t, I’m asking for help. If I have the opportunity to travel, I’m taking it. If a girl appears in my life and I want to know if she wants what I want, I’m asking. If a job opportunity opens up at my company or elsewhere and I feel I’d be a great candidate, I’m applying.

These are just a few examples. I plan on carrying this into every aspect of my life. Why? Because taking a chance or risking failure is much less damaging than never doing so.

We’ll be faced with tough decisions. But they don’t always have to be agonizing.

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Some Holiday Advice

The holiday season is officially in full swing. Which means people all over the country are now doing their best to buy things for people who don’t need them. This definitely includes books. I’m sure some would argue that gifting books is better than an iPad or new TV, but I would disagree.

So, my holiday advice to anyone who is thinking of gifting books to a loved one or relative would be this: DON’T. Why? Because I can tell you what will happen. They will say thank you and smile and then put it on their shelf never to read it. Unless you are absolutely certain they want that particular title, don’t do it. I’d say give a gift card to Half Price Books instead. Because your money will go toward more books than if you give a gift card to one of the other book retailers. No doubt about that.

Are you planning on gifting any books this holiday season? I’m not. 

10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Right now!

Come on. Really?

I know you’ve seen them. Those posts with titles like: “10 Tips to Improve Your Writing!” or “Five Things You’re Doing Wrong as a Writer…and how to Fix Them!”. These are unavoidable if you spend any time browsing on WordPress. And they just make me laugh.

Because reading what amounts to a list is not going to improve your writing. And I really hope you don’t think it will. First off, who came up with the list? And second, how do you know if it can really be applied to you? It’s like giving EVERYONE the exact same advice, without taking into account the fact that no two individuals are the same. Hopefully you don’t read or write those posts, but good luck to you if you do.


On this day in 2014 I published Picking Your Reading Device.

 

Writing as a Hobby

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Photo Credit: I’m Just Sharing

Okay guys, I have no idea if this will turn into one of my more rant-y posts, but I’ll write whatever I write. By the way, I just realized that I start a lot of posts with “okay guys.” I guess it’s almost routine now. So now let me get on topic. What do you think I mean by this post’s title? Honestly, what do you think? I think it’s fairly straightforward what I’m getting at here.

You see, I’ve never operated under the guise that writing would ever be a career for me. I mean, sure I decided to give myself a full 19 months after graduation to get some writing done, but I’ve never imagined myself on book tours or bestseller lists. Maybe you have, not me. I’m not stupid. I think my writing is okay, but I am well aware of the fact that there are many more writers out there who are simply better. It doesn’t matter what I write or how often I write or any of that stuff that you constantly hear will make you a better writer, because at the end of the day I’m just okay. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

I want to take you back for a second to May 2013. Graduation stuff is in full swing and the time is fast approaching for me to put up or shut up when it comes to writing. I’d been telling people for months about my goal of writing books, and now there would be some bit of expectation from many of them for me to get something done. I’m taking you back to this particular time because someone who probably knows me better than any other person told me very clearly that she believed I should write as a hobby in my free time and get a real job. I have to be honest here, I hated that she said this at the time. This was someone I’d known since high school and we’d remained in constant contact in the years since and she was telling me that I shouldn’t focus on writing. I’ve written about this girl and her advice on here before, and it appears that once again I’m going to acknowledge that she was right. If I’d had more people like her I might have a job by now.

Anyway, back to today. I’ll probably start writing again eventually, but I’m about to completely reverse a decision I made back when I began writing my second book. I wrote a post about it last year but I’m not going to go find it. I said that under no circumstances would I self-publish. And I probably still won’t, but I think it’s safe to say that I have no desire at this point to pursue representation with an agent or traditional publishing. The book I’ve been “writing” will eventually get written, but who cares if a thousand people read it or just me? I’ll write because it’s something I enjoy and feel that I’m slightly above average at, but I’m not sitting here fooling myself into thinking that I’m some super writer who is going to one day make it big by writing crime novels. That isn’t happening.

And what gets me the most is that I see writers on Twitter tweeting ALL DAY LONG every single day about how much they’ve written or what they’re working on or something about writing and I just laugh. Because let’s face it, a tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny sliver of the writing population will eventually secure a publishing deal. Something like 0.05%. And these select few have won writing awards in college and published papers and they make the move easily into fiction. And it seems like every writer seems to think they’re within that percentage of the population, whether or not they’ve even finished college or ever written anything of substance. Folks, there’s a reason your bookshelves aren’t full of books written by high school or college kids, so stop with your crazy thinking that you can do it without all that.  Yeah you might be a good writer, but you are not getting a publishing deal. Not now, at least. Most likely never.

I realize that most of you likely work full-time or maybe you’re in school or something and you also happen to write, but if you work minimally and you’re not in school, well you should probably find yourself a career. Cause writing isn’t it.

And I’m ready for all of you to tell me how just because I don’t think I’m good enough that I shouldn’t think that about everyone or how writers don’t have to have a degree or blah blah blah. Go right ahead.

“Write What you Know” or “Write What you Read”

write-what-you-know

Photo Credit: Ezine Articles

I have to be honest here. This was the first time since I adopted my Monday-Friday blogging schedule a few months ago that I wanted to just skip a day. Not that I think any of you would notice or care, but blogging is kind of important to me. Sounds stupid but it is. My reason for almost not posting today was because Team USA is set to play Germany today in their final Group Stage match right around the time this post will be scheduled to publish. I’m not the biggest soccer fan there is, but you bet your you know what that I’m a fan of Team USA. I was going to write about them and the World Cup and all of that, but I guess not.

Okay. we’ve all seen the writing tips credited to famous authors and also the advice that just seems to be from nowhere. I can’t tell you how many times in the last year I’ve read the phrase “Write what you know.” More honesty, I hate reading this crap. Write what you know. Well what if you’re like me and you don’t know a damn thing about writing or being a writer or plotting or any of that stuff? And your life experience is as ordinary as it gets.Then what the heck is the advice? “Write what you know nothing about?” That sounds about right to me. I’m sure y’all think I’m exaggerating when I say I don’t know anything about all this writing business, but I am telling you right now that I’m being completely honest when I say I’m clueless.

Let me repeat what I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Here’s how I write: I sit down. Write between 700-1500 words. Stop. Go about whatever else I’m doing that day or night. Write another 700-1500 words to finish up that chapter and move on. I’m not thinking about anything I know. I’m just writing whatever seems like it continues the story okay.

Now, I’m not sure that I’ve ever read anything about “Write what you read.” Maybe it’s been said a bunch and I’m just not in the loop, but maybe it hasn’t. No matter if writers all across the world believe in this philosophy or not a single one, this is me. You guys should know pretty well by now that I read crime fiction all the time. I love it. I write it. Why is this? Because over the years i feel that I’ve read enough perfect writing in the genre that has given me some ability to write my own stories. I’m not saying I’m some expert or that my writing is any better than the next guy, but I am saying that I write what and how I do because of what I’ve read. That’s it. Plain and simple.

My question for you is this: Do you believe in either of these writing philosophies?

If you haven’t heard “write what you read” before, then feel free to go ahead and credit the saying to me. Ha. Just kidding. Kinda.