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Posted in Blog, Writing Process

Here’s What You Should Do…

Writing advice. It’s everywhere. Literally,  you could wake up, roll over, and find yourself sinking in a quagmire of do’s and don’ts. You stumble, bleary-eyed, to the fridge and open it. It’s full of writing advice. What’s on the TV? The news, and it’s all terrible. But, after that, writing advice. How do all of these people know what you should do to be a great writer?

They don’t.

“To be a great writer, you have to read a lot.”

“You should always write 3,521 words a day.”

“You have to experience everything and travel and pet lots of dogs!”

Alright, I mean, petting dogs is pretty neat, and they love it. But you don’t need to pet dogs to be a writer. Although, if you’re writing about petting dogs, it couldn’t hurt, right?

So, here’s the deal. You know how I always say that peoples’ reading tastes are as diverse and frustrating as pizza toppings? Well, if you don’t…I say it a lot. I say it so much that I constantly crave pizza. Like, with tons of cheese and thick pepperoni and…crap, okay, I’m off track.

As varied as readers’ preferences are so, too, are writers’ habits and methods. You can’t expect to conform to one thing simply because someone says so. And, yes, maybe it’s Stephen King or J.K. Rowling saying it. What worked for them just might not work for you.

This is probably going to draw a lot of squinty eyes and “What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis”es, but here goes. I…don’t read as much as most people. I love to read. But I also love to run, and play video games, and I have a job, and I have a wife and two daughters and, obviously, I love to WRITE. Yes, I do read, but I read in spurts and I’m picky about what I read. Am I a really awesome author? I have absolutely no idea. I think I spin a decent yarn. could reading more possibly help my craft? Yes? No? Possibly.

Do I force myself to write EVERY DAY like some authors suggest? No. Do I set deadlines and word counts? Nope. Why not, you ask? Because none of those things works for me. I write exactly as I intend, and it works. Am I going to start telling other writers that they should do as I do?

Nope.

I really try not to give advice. Instead, I explain my methods. If those work for someone else, great. If they don’t, then no harm done.

Paramount in all of this, however, is keeping an open mind. That might be the only piece of advice that I will give 100% of the time. Don’t feel that you must take writing advice, but don’t discount it. Let ideas in. Maybe try them. If they don’t work, move on. But don’t force a square peg into a round hole. Learn from others’ experience but blaze your own trail and, above all, do what is right for you.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to seek out some pizza.

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Posted in Blog, Writing Process

NanoWri…Mo or Less

This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a huge fan of NanoWriMo. I don’t dislike it, but I’m close. I will most likely never participate in it, and I’m going to try to explain myself. Understand that I speak for nobody but myself, and I am certainly not disparaging those who enjoy the experience.

You see, I love writing. Writing, to me, is that “I love what I do so my job isn’t ‘work'” feeling. If someone said “Hey, if you let us cut off your toes, we’ll pay you to write the rest of your life,” I’d be all like “Cool beans! I don’t need those ungrateful toe bastards anyway! Saw away, friend!”

So you’d think that NaNoWriMo would be perfect for me, right? Well, yes…and no. For me, writing is done on my time. It’s an activity that provides an escape and a bit of solace that I can’t get doing really anything else (except maybe running). I don’t give myself word count or time deadlines. I write however much or little flows from my noggin, through my fingers, and onto the keyboard.

Forcing myself to hammer out a novel in a month would be like forcing myself to run as long and as far as I can until I drop dead. I don’t want to force the creativity out of me, beating it with a whip and calling it bad names until it’s crying in the corner, rocking itself in the fetal position.

I don’t want to look at the time of day and think “Holy crapballs, I need to pound out X number of words still today or this week or this month!” No thanks. I’ll pass.

I know that some writers thrive on this. NaNoWriMo gives them a chance to branch out and write something they otherwise wouldn’t commit to. They come up with new ideas and concepts, and they pound them out until their fingers fall off and they love it! And that’s great, but it’s not for me.

Writing is me time. It’s the few hours of the week that I have nowhere to go and nothing to do but write, and write what I want to write. The moment that feeling stops is the moment I will give up writing. And I’m not planning on giving up writing anytime soon.

So, writers, prep for NaNoWriMo and have loads of fun during the month of November. I will not be writing with you, but I will certainly be cheering you on from the sidelines…still, sadly, with all of my toes intact.

Posted in Blog, Writing Process

The Hype Machine

I am terrible at naming things in books. I agonize for a long time until I come up with something passable. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about something I’m even worse at than naming things: Marketing/self-promotion.

Seriously. Trying to get myself and my book out there is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s often expensive. Even worse–I’m thoroughly awful at it. Imagine diving into a lake to save a drowning puppy but, instead of helping, you accidentally drown the puppy instead. Also, you somehow set the lake on fire.

That’s about how skilled I am at self-promotion, except I can’t even find the lake in the first place. Part of this problem stems from avoidance. I’m a writer, not a marketer (dammit, Jim!), and not only are my feeble attempts bad, but there is a lot out there I just don’t know about. I don’t have a marketing budget, and my employer would really like it if I showed up for work five days a week.

But I’m getting my feet wet. I traditionally move slowly with endeavors like this, but I am dipping my toe in the water, even if there is a grimace on my face. Months ago, I signed up for a Mailchimp account but did nothing with it. I figure, maybe five people would care. However, now, I’m determined to make people care and will, at some point in the near future, start up a mailing list. And, trust me, it’s going to be pretty damned spiffy. Bee’s knees, cat’s pajama’s, giraffe’s…um…bar tab.

That’s the first step. I am making a concerted effort to seek out other avenues and get this thing going. I GUARANTEE THAT I WILL MAKE OPRAH NOTICE MY BOOK!!! 🙂 (Not a guarantee.)

Posted in Blog, The Forgotten Years, Writing Process

Hurry Up And Wait

The Coming Storm is, well, coming. It’s on the horizon, but that horizon is probably a couple months away yet.

It’s currently going through the rock tumbler, then the car wash, then it’ll hopefully be shiny enough to be released into the wild! Believe me, I’ve learned my lesson and I’m not going to rush anything. The Call of Chaos if finally in a finished state I’m happy with and I’m making sure The Coming Storm is in the same state before it hits a release date.

“But, Sean,” you say, “I need to know what happens to Cor’il and his friends NOW!”

Actually, I really hope at least one person is saying that. It makes me happy to know that readers really want the story to progress. And progress it shall! My editor has it in her hot little hands and will be combing through it shortly. After that, I need only implement the changes I want and…well, that’s mostly it.

Believe me, I want to see it out there more than you do. I’m stoked! I’m also nervous. You know, that whole “second book” thing.

The Coming Storm will be the same setup as The Call of Chaos. If you buy the paperback edition, the Kindle edition will be just 99 cents. Very few people know about this feature, and it’s really fantastic.

I’ll be discussing more about the book as we get closer, but Fall is a busy time of year, especially since I’m also hyping my Extra Life campaign. The barrage of self-promotion is a bit tiresome to say the least.

“But when will The Coming Storm be done???” you ask.

When it’s done.

Posted in Uncategorized

There’s a Storm on the Horizon

This won’t be a long post.

There is no need to go on and on about it.

I just want to say two things.

1. The Coming Storm’s cover art is DONE!

2. Once it clears the proofreader, I’ll release it into the wild!

I’m pretty stoked. I probably won’t shut up about it in the coming weeks.

Look for a cover art reveal in the next couple of weeks!