Realm Makers

Where on Earth Did I Go?

To Battle A Monster!!!!

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Realm Makers Writers Conference. The premiere writers Conf for Christian Speculative Fiction. Now before I go on I must confess- I had a lot of reservation about attending. I mean when I’m around new people I’m somewhat of an introvert. It’s just the way I’m wired. I knew absolutely nobody. And those I did know (Like my roommates) I knew only through the magic that is Social Media. So attending was somewhat of a big step for me. But when it was all said and done- I left with a hundred new friends.

 

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I wore my pen out trying desperately to scribble down every word David Farland spoke. I listened intently trying to soak up his years of wisdom. I found myself fascinated listening to Suzanne and Shawn as they made Marketing less intimidating, enjoyable, and simple. I fumbled over my words and forgot everything about a book I spent months writing as I pitched a an endless nonsense of words. And I listened as Robert Liparulo spoke two simple words to us:

 STOP and GO!!!

There are so many times I have faced the monster that is doubt in my writing. So many pages of been ripped and tossed away as I have sat utterly defeated. So many times my wife has listened to me vent out of a lack of progress. So many times I’ve wanted to just Quit.

I think at times we are all that way. We seem to see ourselves as the worst there is. We lose sleep over a bad review, critique, or horrible pitch. But this weekend taught me two things.

1) Stop being self defeating

2) Go write and be creative

If I do those two things- Results will come.

As an Indie Author sometimes I get down on myself- Asking the question “Am I real Writer?” Not thinking I have any reason for validation. That’s my struggle. That’s my fault. That’s the monster I fight daily.

I think if Realm Makers taught me anything it’s this- I’m the one that feeds my Monster of Self Doubt!!!!

So what about you fellow Alumni? What did you conquer this weekend?

Why I Almost Quit Writing

4 Reason I Almost Quit

Being a writer is difficult. Heck- Being in any sort of creative work is tough. Most days we walk around with so many ideas fighting to get out of our heads we can’t hardly find the time or energy to sit down and get them on the page.

Not long ago I listened as someone in one of my Facebook groups said they were ready to give up. They had just gotten their sixth rejection on their fourth book. As of this date none of their works had been picked up by a small press or large publisher. Frustrated, tired, burned out, they were ready to throw in the towel. Heck, not even a relaxing cup of coffee could bring them to their senses and relax their mind…

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I felt for them- I really did. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to fail- In fact- I still fail. The truth is I have even quit before. I’ve quit a lot of things. And afterwards, I feel more substandard then I did before.

Now don’t get me wrong- Quitting sometimes is healthy and good. I stopped drinking soda. Some stop smoking, and yes- Maybe quitting for a time will renew your passion. But that isn’t what we are talking about here. Where talking about quitting because you feel inferior.

The truth is- Quitting doesn’t bring closure or satisfaction, or even less stress. It doesn’t make you forget the pain of rejection- it only brings insult to your soul.

There was a time I just about quit writing. I sit on my patio and made list of four primary reasons I needed to give up. I’m sure there are a hundred other excuses as well, you may even have some yourself. But I have found that quite often the four below are pretty common…

Number One- Time:

Let’s face it. I have a busy life. I work full time, I’m active in my church, my wife and I have two children (Miles who is 2 ½ years old and Bennett who is 9 months) Finding time to write is very challenging. Luckily for me I have a very supportive wife who understands my need to get words on the page. There are nights where she tells me to just go, get out, and write. But let’s face it- I can’t do that every night. I mean I would be a massive jerk to leave her at home alone with those two. So what that means is cutting out the distractions (Netflix) and powering through from 9:30 to 11:00 until I get my words on the page.

If I can have a family, work full time, work out every day, eat healthy, spend time in God’s word, and still find time to write- So can you. So Don’t quit!!!

Number Two- Perfection:

The thing I wished someone would have told me when I first started is that it didn’t need to be perfect the first time. I have written some horrible first drafts before- Some that felt so bad I walked away from them. Don’t quit because of a bad first draft. Structure and grammar can all be fixed during re-writes. Let’s face it- Editing is a separate process for a reason.

Number Three- No Money to Invest:

I find a lot of people who think they have to go traditional because the publisher will pay an advance, take care of editing, and take care of cover design. It seems that most when faced with rejection from a publisher use money as the number one excuse for not going indie. As of right now I have a full length novel, two short stories completed, and a novella I’m currently working on. Now it’s true I can’t afford to send them to my editor all at once. But I don’t intend to start publishing these until next year (2016) anyway. My goal is to have four books in the queue ready to go up in Jan, April July, and October of 2016. Releasing those 90 days apart and putting out good content.

Why you ask- Because I can’t afford to edit them all right now, nor can I afford to pay for cover design for four books all at the same time. This is my approach to getting around the money issue, write, prepare over time, and publish throughout the course of next year. Technically I could even wait up to a month before to get the cover design ready. The point is find a strategy and go with what works best for you. Writing isn’t cheap, and sometimes if the finances aren’t there it may take some time to get them out. Don’t rush- And don’t quit.

Number Four- Lack of Forward Progress:

This is one I understand all too well. It’s also something I think people use as the number one excuse for giving up. Because this is a universal excuse. Why do most people give up on diets or healthy lifestyle changes? Simple- The scale never moves. Why do people stop blogging? No one visits their site. Michael Hyatt made a great quote on his podcast not too long ago. He said “Most people quite right before the inflection point.”

I’m glad I didn’t give up and quit, and so is my wife who would otherwise have to listen to all my crazy insane ideas. Now don’t get me wrong- I love seeing people quit for the right reasons. Stress, poor lifestyles, there are a number of reasons to let go of something and move on. But don’t let a list of reasons (like above) stop you when you feel like nothing is happening.

What about you? Have you ever felt like quitting at the beginning…? If so what did you do to overcome that feeling of inferiority?