Tag Archives: write

Bringing focus back to my daily blog


I’ve been following the Postaday challenge like a homework assignment and it’s really done nothing more than give me 24 touchy-feely posts about random topics concerning the inner workings of my thoughts on vague ideas. Yesterday I waited hours to see what the next topic would be only to be  a little let down again. The topics aren’t bad, but they don’t seem to fit either.

The topic that brought this call to action: What’s your idea for a perfect Sunday? Reading, writing or taking pictures. The follow up question: How would it differ from a typical Sunday? It doesn’t. That’s what I did. I did that Saturday as well. I also spent too much time trying to find something to write about because the topic didn’t hit home for me.

Let’s get Dr. Phil on this situation:

Dr. Phil: Why are you writing about topics that don’t hit home for you? You should be writing on topics that matter to you instead of waiting for someone else to come up with topics.
Me: Well, it was easier to write about the topic than to come up with my own.
Dr. Phil: Has it been easier?
Me: Not really.
Dr. Phil: You’re cheating yourself out of your own ideas. How does that make you feel?
Me: Dirty.
Dr. Phil: You need to get focused and take charge of your blog.
Me: People seem to like what I’m writing, though.
Dr. Phil: Do you afraid people might not like your ideas? Maybe they like the way you write.

Thanks, Dr. Phil.

The way the blog topics are going currently feels very unwieldy and chaotic. I cannot keep going as is for another 340+ days. Most folks seem to be enjoying the topics, but I know me and I have certain needs as a writer and editor:

  1. I need coffee.
  2. I need the vision.
  3. I need an editorial policy.
  4. I need cohesion.
  5. I need a focus.
  6. I need my next five stories right now in case something falls through.

In a series of posts this week I’ll show how all those work together to keep you on track. Yes, even the coffee.

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The most important thing…for now


“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
– Mark Twain

I have a terrible habit of bouncing from most important thing to most important thing. Call it a lack of focus with too many priorities and I’ll say something always comes up. If it’s all important than nothing is important.

The most important thing right now is to study for my promotion. That bumped my previous most important goal of finishing my degree and writing a novel. The education is still going to be there when I’m done with my test and the novel isn’t going anywhere either.

I’m about three years part-time away from a degree in English and I don’t want to get into how many false starts, hiccups and brick walls it’s been getting to this point. I hate to keep putting it off, but the promotion means more money and responsibility which will help me with the other goals.

The novel? Don’t get me started. On second thought, do get me started. I take heart in every time I read someone took five years to write their first novel, but seriously, I don’t want to be one of those people. One or two years would be awesome, thanks.

I’ve spent more years as an editor than a writer and I red pen the heck out of anything before I even start. I send myself proposals, but I keep rejecting them. I do have one idea that to me sounds really interesting and I’d love to start writing it. Any day now.

What I need to do for the novel is start getting it on paper…so to speak. More time would be nice too. I know “lots of writers don’t have the time” and struggle to find ten minutes between family and work, but that’s not really advice and doesn’t help me at all? Hearing that just makes it worse because then I spend more time thinking about how everyone else can find the time to write and how I waste it thinking about all the people that struggle to find the time to write and still finish a novel. Twenty minutes of that and I need to leave the house and get away from the computer.

Secretly it’s a mix of confidence in my ability to write and the belief that someone will like the story. The confidence is building with practice, a couple courses from Gotham Writer’s Workshop and a few books. The practice is coming along nicely through blogging. The courses were excellent because it helped me tighten up my writing and discover new flaws for my inner editor to fuss over. All that’s left is for me to finish this book on novel writing…and this collection of Russian short stories…and this other book on novel writing.

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My favorite genre


Tonight’s topic is brought to you by the number 6 and the letter H. I’m deviating from the writing prompts of the Postaday2011 blog because it didn’t inspire me at all. Their topic is “The wackiest advice you’ve ever received.” I don’t really receive so much as offer the wacky advice. I can’t narrow down the wacky advice to just one time. I did get plenty of material from the movie Surrogates, hence my favorite genre.

I read and watch a lot of movies across many genres. Classics, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, suspense, humor; I like it all. The book or movie has to inspire me in some way for me to like it. I’ll watch even some of the worst drive-in classics as long as I get something out of it. Some movies I’ve liked only because I imagine how the movie should be written instead of how it was.

I liked Surrogates. I can’t tell you if it was a good movie, but it made me think of genres in general. It reminded me of my favorite type of fiction, horror.

Horror brings up different feelings and ideas in people and it’s not everybody’s favorite. I also don’t think it’s entirely a genre but a feeling or reaction to an idea thereby slipping into other genres. It can be blood and guts, it can be supernatural beasts or it can be the horror of everyday life ala Stephen King. I’m more of a fan of the mood and atmosphere of horror, the Poe style of horror.

I don’t read or watch horror to get scared. I’m more interested in the response of horror to the situation. The “My god, man! What have you done?” reaction that happens just before the scared part with the pulse racing.

Surrogates had an aspect of that as do all of the sci-fi cautionary tales. People invent something, mankind is changed for the better, the hero discovers it’s all a lie/mistake. It’s the “Soylent green is people” moment.

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To blog or not to blog


Nothing like a deadline to get some work done. I kept thinking I’d get to it later and now it’s much later than I was hoping. Tonight’s topic is basically how I got into blogging and it may deviate due to it being past my bedtime.

I’ve been writing fiction since at least age 12. I lost interest for a while, but in 7th grade I had a creative writing class and that got me going again. I wrote more during high school, mostly for my friends. By today’s standards the stories would be considered deeply disturbing and I’d be on some watch list, but thankfully at the time they were “Very creative :)” and I got an A.

My writing has matured since then, but it gave me a need for an audience. I could write for myself, or just to write, but where is the fun in that? Maybe it’s its own reward for some, but not me. I started this blog because I wanted to write more and felt the need for an audience. Truthfully, if I didn’t want an audience I would make all the posts private and I would loose interest in it rather quickly.

I’ve written personal diaries since 1992 or so. I wrote them for me. I’d write maybe once a day for a week, then loose it for three months, then write again. I have four of them like this. Writing for myself just doesn’t work.

When I got out of basic training my friends were using Livejournal which was right up my alley. I had just started writing seriously for work and not only was it a good outlet for my thoughts and practice of the craft, it let me keep in touch with my friends.

I kept at it nearly semi-daily for years ending rather abruptly about two years ago. I haven’t touched it in a while because of Facebook. It was way easier to write a short sentence than think of something interesting that people might want to read.

That changed last year or so. I went to a party and ran into people I didn’t know that used to read my journal. People I didn’t know read what I wrote, liked it enough to share it with their friends and recognized me at a party? Well, I’m easily flattered, so that was all I needed to start writing again. This time in blog format.

I decided to go this route to have something more professional looking. To go with the look, I also felt I should write more professionally. The rants from my youth are gone. Not that I don’t get fired up about things, but I’m trying to appeal to a broader audience. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to write a post about my first book.

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Salty’s Manifesto for 2011


Why settle on just one resolution for the year? I posed that question to myself and thought about it on my drive home. I came up with quite a few things I want to work on this year. Another reason it makes sense is when a resolution fails in the first couple of days people get down on themselves. I couldn’t quit smoking for two days or I had a piece of cake so there goes my diet. For the whole year? Really? Cut yourself some slack.

Not only do you have to want to change, you have to want to work at it. You aren’t going to be a different person in one day.

I’ve kept them positive to help with my motivation. Each part will have goals to be accomplished. If any of the goals are met, I’ll consider that a success. The manifesto is as follows:

1. Write More

I’m a writer, therefore I should write. I made an amazing amount of excuses last year and all that did was get nothing done.

Goals: Get in the habit of writing every day. Write short stories. Work on a novel. Finish National Novel Writing Month this year. Read more.

2. Improve Health

I fell out of the habit somewhere. I think it was when I went to Haiti. Nine days off from working out coupled with really low caloric intake managed to throw off my motivation. The big wake up was running around in body armor a month later. I was fit enough to do it, but I wasn’t in the shape I wanted to be in.

Goals: Pass my PT test. Complete P90 X. Lose ten pounds. Drink more water.

3. More Art

I haven’t touched a camera for something other than work in at least a year. I have a web site I haven’t touched…or four. I have models that want to work with me. I have the equipment. I just need to do something with it.

Goals: Take more photos for fun. Try to sell something. Get my web site up and running.

4. More Schooling

This one is a no brainer. I have to finish my degree. This one won’t be finished this year, but I need some forward momentum.

Goals: Finish the three classes that are keeping me from taking English classes; math, science and communication.

5. Find True Love

This might take some time. It’s a lofty but worthy goal. I guess we’ll see how this turns out.

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