The Writer’s Month NaNoWriMo? What’s Your Story?

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THE PROBLEM:

There are planets inside of that head of yours trying as hard as they can to get out. You, are the artist, the creator, the only one that has the ability and power to bring those worlds to life.

The characters that live in your mind have no other way to fulfill their purpose, of living out their destinies, in the realm of two-dimensional pages, unless you put them there.

And here you sit; pen in hand, paper laying ready, ink desperately longing to kiss and make contact with that irresistible white page, and yet, you sit.

A TOOL TO BE USED:

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month). I want to encourage you to take advantage of November. To be able to join writer all over the nation: all ages, all genres, all faiths, all cultures, in the spirit of literary creativity to find that encouragement to push yourself forward in your novel writing endeavors.

Sometimes the help that we need, as writers, is nothing more than the knowledge that we are not alone, and that stories are being written, books are being sold, and readers are being born every single moment.

Men and women will continue to write and be published. The biggest reason that writer’s don’t get published, or books get written is simply because they are not being written. It’s stupidly simple, but painfully true.

NaNoWriMo is a month devoted to help you dive back into that pool of creativity, rediscover your dreams, and find the courage to pick up that pen and write.

You Have A Story to Tell

I was at a #140 Conference today in Hutchinson, Kansas, listening to many amazing people share how they use Twitter and other social medias in their daily lives, (I was there for ideas for another blog I am writing and about to launch, which is super exciting…and I’ll share later) and, Andrea Springer, Springer Coaching and Consulting, said, “Everyone has a story to tell.”

That little statement is so true, and it’s a truth that has filled books, entertained readers, and inspired people to make history since time began.

There are so many that have made a living telling their story or someone else’s story. Why not be one of those people? What really is stopping you?

Here’s the Challenge

One month

50,000 words

Anything you want to write about.

 

Check out the official NaNoWriMo web site and get involved.

This post was not at all crazy informative, with all the How-To tips on accomplishing your writing dreams- it wasn’t supposed to. I want to just encourage you, as a writer to a writer; an artist to an artist: Don’t give up, don’t stop. Don’t listen to that silly little voice that says that no one wants to hear or read your story.

Jump in, because you’re a writer. That’s what you are, that’s what you do, you write, you create, you make amazing art; people, places, creatures, planets, and no one, NO ONE, can bring to life the story, with the magic that you can, because it’s yours.

So come on, join me, and many many others on this November Adventure. Go to NaNoWriMo, sign in (you can find me in there too and we can be buddies Smile sweet!) and write, write, write.

…you never know what may happen.

SamTheWriter,

Signing off.

 

You can also follow me on Twitter @samuelwconnelly

or friend me on Facebook/samuelwconnelly

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Write On The Run

 

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Where do you write?

In your car, on a train,

At the park, or baseball game?

On the job, or your lunch break

The ocean front, or at the lake?

(So I’m no Seuss)

 

I have a full time job at a coffeehouse. I love coffee, I really, really do. In fact I’m the general manager of the freakin coolest coffeehouse in Wichita Kansas. Coffee’s a passion of mine; it’s just as much a passion as writing is. I spend more than 60 hours a week at the coffeehouse.

But which is the bigger priority? What’s more important for me? Coffee Vs. Writing…who will be the victor? 

Sometimes I feel it’s the coffeehouse, because of the consistent paycheck it brings in. Other times I feel that writing is more important, which is such a part of my soul that when I neglect it I feel as though I’m neglecting my soul-mate.

And then I have to come back to the important question: Can I balance the two, and if so, how?

First of all, I don’t see that I have the option to neglect or quit writing. I also know that the rent will not get paid if I quit the coffeehouse, not to mention that the money I’d spend on coffee would put me on the street. My only option is to find time to balance the two loves – for practical, financial, and personal-purpose reasons.

So then. I have to chose which lover gets my time at what time. As of right now, my coffeehouse gets the majority of my day. But then, the night and early morning belongs to my literary Muse. And boy do we dance.

Since the priority of the day goes to the endless running of the shop I have to write on the go!

I keep a pad of paper and a pen in my pocket all the time. I also have my trusty (though frustrating sometimes)  Blackberry at my side at all moments. I’ve found that it’s easier to write quantity in the early morning when I wake up or in the evening before bed, when I keep my ideas logged throughout the day.

Ideas hit me constantly: while I’m making a drink for someone, writing the schedules, picking up milk, dropping off a deposit, etc. and as I keep myself in a habit of jotting down those ideas on a pad or in my Blackberry, later I send it to my e-mail so I can go over all the scribbles and I find that I actually have something creatively-pursuable.

Questions:

1. Do you have a fulltime job?

2. What writing habits do you have?

3. If you do have a fulltime job, when was the last time you finished a short story?

I want to encourage you full-timers, to not allow the pen and paper to be neglected. Don’t leave the Muse at home longing to be romanced. Even a step so small as jotting a few notes down during your busy day will help stir up the creative juices and get the creative side of your brain turning and churning – which is good.

Remember that you are a writer. The world NEEDS you! You are a superhero of sorts, creating worlds of temporary escape for those all over the world who need a moment of relief.

Write on the go, and see where it takes you.

Let me how it goes, and have fun!

We are a fellowship, a brotherhood whose words are immortal, endless, ageless. What we write lives far beyond our years. What we put to paper has the power to live and change lives generations after we’ve become dust. We are apart of long chain of artists whose words have made and changed history for the good and bad for thousands of years.

What an ability, what a gift, what a beautiful power. The power to create. The Writer’s.

 

Write, Write, Write!

We are The Writer’s, it’s what we do,

It’s who we are, it’s what we were

Created for.

 

SamTheWriter

Signing off.

Making Time For The Romance

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That’s what someone said to me today.

Well Sam, you’re a writer. You have to just make time for the romance. It’s like a real relationship.” 

Oh, I hate when people say crap like that, especially when they’re right.

Writing is just that; it’s a romance. It’s an intimate relationship between you, the creative potential that’s just fighting to get out, and your ability to organize and prioritize your crazy planet in such a way that you CREATE moments to be romantic.

I wrote a blog a while back (way too long ago) about romancing the Muse. It is so crazy vital for a writer or any kind of artist to romance their Muse, but sometimes you have to go against emotion and personal will power. Sometimes you have to MAKE it happen.

Many of the poems, articles, and short stories I have written, were written while I was under the intimate intoxication of the sheer overwhelming Moment I was having with my Muse. It’s in those times that I can pour out 12,000 words in an evening without stopping once to think, and it is usually really freaking good.  Unfortunately this only last a while. Then you have to work for it.

It really is like a relationship.

Stage One: If your dating, it’s like that period of time where you are so head over heels in love that the whole world is flowers and beautiful things.  Or when you get married (Congrads to my friend Jordan and Kayla who just tied the knot) and there’s that insane honeymoon stage where both people are so drunk on each other, that nothing on the planet could ever seem to be too unpleasant again, because you have each other forever.  And you can’t forget that somehow you are the only two people on the planet that are perfect, and you found each other. 

Stage One is freaking amazing. It’s just a lot of romancing, dreaming big, believing in magic, and having tons of sex. (I’m still talking literarily)

Stage Two: The magic slowly starts to wear down. You start to realize that, although  it’d be awesome to travel the world, make-out 8 hours a day, and  bask in each others perfection, truth is: There are other responsibilities. There is work to be done, errands to run, messes to clean up, other people in the world you have obligations to. Not only that but you notice the not as perfect things about each other. To make a long story a little less long: reality started to show up in not so pleasant ways.

As a writer this this that funk you get into where you start to realize that your love, writing, has it’s not so romantic aspects to it. You start to see that sometimes the Muse is not going to show up, sometimes the characters won’t speak. Sometimes work happens. Some times you are just too tired or stressed to think creatively.

This is when you have to decide about your Stage Three.

For some writers, this is the place where they decide the commitment demands too much. Some writers find themselves passionate about other things. But for those truly committed, sold out, romantic artistic lovers, this is the time to re-evaluate priorities. 

This is the time where you decide to break out of the funk. To say “I am a writer, that’s what I am, so now, what am I going to do with it?”

This is where you decide to find a way to get your fingers on a computer, or a pen in your hand, and force it on the paper.  This is where you Make the Time for the Romance.

This is the same way relationships work out. They either work or they don’t, and it all comes down to deciding who you are, and what your going to do about it.

If you need to find a good book about creative ways to write. Do it.

If you need to talk long walks on the beach, or around your neighborhood to get the Muse Juice flowing. Do it.

Listen to music

Read some poetry

Go fishing

Because once you have stretched and struggled through Stage Two, and determined to keep plunging forward, you’ve grown so much that the future trials just don’t seem as hard because you know what to expect and know to fight for what you love so much.

And when you create the habit of Make Time for the Romance… the passion just gets better and better.

The struggles will come, they always do. Just don’t give up, because we are something amazing.

We are writers.

 

Write, write, write

SamTheWriter,

Signing off.

Romancing The Muse

 

As writer’s, we all go through those times where it seems as though creativity has completely dried up and that wonderful fairytale wilderness in the infinite realm of words which lives on the other side of our reality has shut its door and locked us out.

In those moments of desolation and desperation it can feel as though the Muse, herself, has rejected us as artists, as lovers – in the love-game of literary affection and  perpetual passion within the euphoria of the wordsmith.

But, and there is a but…

The Muse can be moved. She can be aroused. She can be taken by the hand, she can be kissed, and in doing so, she can be romanced.

Some say that the Muse is that feeling of passion an artist gets in a Perfect Moment, a moment so unrealistically real that the artist is forced to create art.  Some say that the act of creating art under such influence is a bi-product of some physical equivalence of metaphysical love making. Not that the art was the product of the Muse, but the product of the union between the artist and the spirit of creativity.

Regardless of what or who the Muse may be, she (or it) can be romanced. The Muse is possibly different for each of us.  To me the Muse is more like a lover; a warm hand, and passionate heart which brings the feeling of intoxication when around. No matter what you find your Muse to be, the key to unlocking the creative attributes that they, for some reason, release in you, is to romance them.

Romancing The Muse takes Work on the Artist’s Part –

It is not always easy to be romantic. In my life I am always trying to come up with ways to be romantic, but when it comes down to it: even someone who is as passionate as I am does not always feel like being passionate. It takes work sometimes for me to get into that ‘loving-feeling‘.  As for romancing the Muse, I have to keep myself moving. I have to take time to take walks along the river, or down town, or hide in that secret park down town that few people know is there. I have to keep my eyes open and write down things that I see that I know would be perfect in helping create that amazing moment later.

Work at doing what ever you can to keep the creative juices flowing.  Keep yourself alive by keeping yourself working at not falling asleep to the needs and desires of the Muse.

Romancing the Muse Means Knowing When to Just Give In –

Sometimes the Muse pursues you. Sometimes your Muse wants to get your creativity going. the Muse is creative life. She speaks to me in music, dreams, visions, songs, and other people. A touch from my Muse creates short stories. A kiss from her lips builds planets, cities, and civilizations in my mind. A walk with the Muse gives me the opportunity to understand everything and everyone around me.  When My Muse wants me, I must be ready to say “Here I am”. The Muse is passionate. The Muse is emotional, and full of potency. Unlocking the doors of limitless creative literary life is in her kiss.

When she wants me, I will be there. If she wants to dance, I will dance. If she wants to listen, I will listen. When she wants to kiss, I will be ready. When she just wants me, I’ll make sure I am not too busy with ‘stuff’. Artists many times get so stuck on what they want to Muse to do for them, that they neglect her needs. This causes creative death.

When she calls out…know when to just give in.

Romancing the Muse Is About Not Missing the Moment –

Finally, there are also times when everything seems to just come together. The seconds turn to an infinity, the atmosphere changes, the earth becomes a platform to a dance between you and your Muse. Everything, and the purpose of everything is all about the Moment that has pulled you into its reality. You find yourself in a parallel universe that is 100% more real than reality.  Your Muse and You have just stumbled into an alternate Right Now, and what happens there is all up to you.

Moments are unique to those who discover themselves in them. They are different for each person. They are caused by feeling, circumstances, passion, emotion, the physical surroundings, You and your Muse. They can be easily missed, if the artist not open, ready, willing, or not aware of it.  Don’t miss a moment. It can be at a park, a river walk, a grave yard,  a church, or your porch. The place is just as important to everything thing else in the specific moment. Don’t miss it.

Romance Her, and then write, write, write!

SamTheWriter,

signing off.

www.samthewriter.com

Writing Junk to Become the Artist You Were Meant to Be!

My mornings start with a pen, paper, and a cup of coffee!

My mornings start with a pen, paper, and a cup of coffee!

“When you write, don’t say, “I’m going write a poem.” that attitude will freeze you right away. Sit down with the least expectation of yourself; say “I am free to write the worst junk in the world.” You have to give yourself the space to write a lot without destination…If every time you sat down, you expected something great, writing would always be a great disappointment. Plus that expectation would also keep you from writing.”

Natalie Goldberg/ Writing Down the Bones



I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve shot myself in the foot, and probably been my own biggest source of writers block by my determination to write something amazing when ever I get sat front of my computer.

I, like many of you, write a lot. I am currently working on three novels, updating and re-editing my short stories (over 300) to start re submitting, working on two collections of poetry, writing three or four articles for the Examiner every week, devotionals and encouragement articles for The CypressTimes, and I send off 3 poems every four days to a card company, because they pay good for greeting card poems. Not to mention trying to keep up with my website, and blogs, and my social networks. I am also beginning a new international project called I AM POETRY: Poetry to Save the World. I am still collecting names of poets, pen and ink, pain, and sketch artists, as well as tattoo artists (so if you are one, send me an e-mail and I’ll send you some info, and you can decide if you want to get involved..sam@samthewriter.com) It’s sad but I do have a Twitter account, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and I frequent FaithWriters, and other networks.

As a freelance writer it is my goal to sell enough articles, poems, and short stories to get me enough cash to buy some more time to finish one of my WOPs (Work In Progress), so every time I sit in front of my computer, I want what ever I am writing to be good (which means) salable. But that is not always going to happen, as we all know. I remember one night I submitted a poem to a editor, (who I had just sold three poems to, and got rave reviews) and he sent me an e-mail back saying, “Thank you Sam, for completely wasting my time. You wrote it fast, submitted it quick, and it is literary …”let’s use the word ‘poo’ here, it’s less colorful that the one he chose to use. I learned my lesson.

The key to writing great and producing real literary art more often, is by being consistent with our craft. Feel free to wake up in the morning, get your cup of coffee or tea, sit in front of your computer, and just write what ever is on your mind. It may turn out to be a poem, a great short story, the beginning of a novel, a blog entry, or a nasty piece of poo; and you know what: that is just fine.


Feel free to write stuff that stinks. Be ready and expect junk to pour out of you from time to time. It’s like literary detox. Pour yourself out on paper, over the key board. Because as you begin to do this, you’ll discover that you’re setting yourself free to the artist that you were born to be. In Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones, she shares a story about how a young writer who lived in the same apartment complex came over to visit and Natalie let her take a bunch of her old note books. After a few days of reading the girl came back and told Natalie how reading some of her early ‘crap’ encouraged her. It made Natalie more real to the young writer. It also made the dream of someday becoming a great writer something to be grasped.


Everyone one has their junk. I have a lot of poo to put on paper, and so do you. Get to writing that nasty stuff. It will help shape you, make you, give you direction, hone your skills, discover the artist within, and most of all, by just letting go and letting it all out, it will help you set yourself free to be who you were meant to be.
Above all, have fun with the process and write, write, write.


SamTheWriter,
Signing off.
sam@samthewriter.com

Taste Something New- The Literary Buffet

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“We have always found the Irish to be odd,

they refuse to be English

Winston Churchill”

I love this quote. Partly because I am half Irish blood, and half because I think Churchill made some of the funniest, simple, and profound statements.

What does this statement have to do with writing?

A few years ago I while flipping through the channels, I was captured by this statement, “Everyone has some measure of prejudice.” I stopped for a moment to listen to this lady try and convince everyone of their inability to be non-prejudice. Soon I just laughed at the fact that she was referring to like and dislike. “Check this out,” she said, as if about to reveal some great, deep truth, “this young man told me, before the show that he did not like creamer in his coffee, because, ‘I like my coffee to be manly’, see that is a form of prejudice.”

I watched for about ten more minutes only to discover that I have some deep issues of prejudice-ism. Yea, my intolerance goes very far and includes: buttermilk, tomatoes, radishes, fried okra, cheap toilet paper, crotchless underwear, and much more.

All joking aside

Most of my life growing up in a Christian home, (nothing wrong with Christian homes, I am a Christian and hope I am creating a wonderful experience for my wife and kids in my Christian home) I was not allowed to read or listen to anything that was not bluntly and boldly Christian. I liked Jerry B. Jenkins, but I did not like the fact that he was my only option, “He is better and more wholesome than that evil Steven King. You’d never see those two guys socializing with each other, never!” my mother once said to me.

As my passion for writing began to increase my hunger for literature began to become harder and harder to satisfy. I started to visit libraries more, but I was afraid to pick up anything ‘secular’ for fear that the ground would open and swallow me alive, or lightening burst over my head.

I quickly discovered that I was raised to be prejudice towards most of the arts. One day, years later, I was home by myself watching the sci-fi channel, and I saw the Green Mile, edited for television (of course J). I loved the movie and wanted to find it at the local bookstore. When I finally got my hands on it, and discovered that it was a novel of short stories, I started burning through it like it was a juicy steak and I had not eaten for months.

I sat in the bookstore, laughing out loud, commenting, and just being stupidly absorbed, in that novel.

Then is happened

I took a moment to turn it over and see who this amazing author was and holy crap, it was Stephan King – basically I knew I had lost my soul. He was a master of horror, a messenger of evil, the King of kill, and …totally brilliant.

In that moment I found myself at a catastrophic intersection in my life. That day I put the book down. Later, however, I came to the conclusion that literature is an art, It is beautiful, and I can not believe that this wonderful beauty was not in some way a gift to man, by God. Call it God, the spirit of creativity, the muse, whatever- it is incredible.

As writers, we must write, but we must also read. So many creative minds work hard to wordsmith a literary masterpiece that we will miss, if we get hung up on silly rules (which count for nothing where eternity is concerned). If we allow our personal prejudices to create a wall, we can still be writers, but we limit our creativity.

I am not saying that we should all write horror, or mystery, or sci-fi, or whatever other genre there is out there, but in reading what you love (no matter who write it) and tasting other writers and genres, we discover writing techniques, new and amazing ways to describe a moment, and tips for plot that we may never find if we refuse to crack a few covers out side of our circle of preference.

I encourage you. Dom’t compromise your writing convictions, but feel free to explore the literary world. Be mature, not dictated by a specific taste. Believe me, once you just experiment and try new authors, you will find a lot of stuff you hate, but you will also connect with and discover a wonderfully wide expanse of beautifully crafted lands.

Feel free to browse the fields of sci-fi, or the hills of fiction-lit, the valleys of mystery and horror. Taste the refreshing waters of poetry, and climb the mountains of spiritual encouragement. If you have never read a ‘secular short story’ get your hands on some Ray Bradbury, Poe, or even Richard Matteson. If you have never read a spiritually encouraging story; grab some C.S. Lewis or Joan Anderson.

Try it all out.

kingjenkinsToday I picked up the Writer’s Digest, and to my astonishment, guess who is on the cover? You guessed it, Steven King & Jerry B. Jenkins… together. Come to find out, they both really enjoyed and knew each others work. Steven was a fan of Jerry’s Left Behind Series, and Jerry was a huge fan of Steven’s Green Mile, and The Stand. These Goliaths of the writing world met and found that they could fully enjoy each other. Sure King said that he did not personally believe that the world would end like the book of revelation says it will, and Jenkins feels a little uncomfortable with some of the more horrific work of the horror King, but they could agree upon one unmovable foundation,  writing is art, and it is a gift from God.

Let the English be English and the Irish be Irish. Taste it all, try something new. We writers stand before an international literary buffet. Grab a few plates, stuff yourself. It won’t all go to your hips, but it just might fill your head, with something wonderful.

SamTheWriter

Signing off

Submit before You Forget!

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‘Let your story or article sit before you submit it, but only for a day or two, perhaps a week. Then polish and send it off to market’

– Quote from Getting Published, Writer’s Digest Books

I have written over 200 short stories, 300 poems, 30 songs, around 300 articles, two novels (I’m currently shopping around) and have scratched my name into four picnic tables…(what can I say, writers must write…right?) and one of my biggest setbacks is that many of those stories have waited too long to be fondled by an editor.

Procrastination is one of those great enemies of writers. We write our stories, reread them, maybe even share them with a few friends, and then have a silly little ritual of hiding them away in our my-next-intention-is-to-submit-this-puppy box or file cabinet, and the next time we see them is when we lost our car keys in that general area. Even then we don’t have time to pick it back up…we are rushing out the door, late, because of those stupid keys.

I have said many times: Writers must Write, to be called writers. This is true, but there really is no reason, especially in these days with online publications, and a ton of literary magazines and e-zines, for a writer to be starving.

There are a ton of markets who are ready to buy your amazing piece. There are editors that are looking (as you read this) for your story, poem, or article.  But for some crazy reason, and I think it is because of this peanut scare, or editors fears of fleshing pickles walking the streets, editors are not going to come to your house and ask you for that story…

But can you imagine…..

You get a knock on the door. When you open it there is a man, dressed in a suit, clothes torn, hair messed up, and smells like Fred Bull’s (the 440 pound winner of last years hot dog eating contest) armpits.

You: “Can I help you?”

Editor: “I have walked 500 miles, and then I walked 500 more, just to be the editor who walked a 1,000 miles and now sits here at your door.”  (maybe that was a song…yeah)

You: “Why?” you ask the stinky little creepy man who looks like he lost a fight with an elephant…who doesn’t ….wear deodorant? (I don’t know)

Editor: “….because I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the editor who buys your story from you.” (He might even have a singing twin!)

POINT is: It never happens this way…and if it does for you, record it and put it on YouTube!

You have to submit, and submit often, if you plan on getting your work published. I have had several things published, but I can tell you that I had to get my share of rejection slips first, and to get those I had to submit.

Don’t let anything stop you from submitting your work. As you write and hang out in cafe’s coffee shops, bookstores, etc. you are going to meet many people who all claim the same thing

“Yea, I have written several stories. They’re all on files, or drawers, somewhere, I think.” Fellow writer, I urge you to make it your personal, active daily goal to never become that person.

Don’t let fear stop you

  • Fear that no one will like your story- some won’t, who cares, you didn’t write it for them; others will love it. There are publications looking for it.
  • Fear that it will get rejected? It probably will, this is not bad, I look at it as the markets way of helping narrow my search’ it gets me closer, with each rejection, to the right market.

I want to encourage you to take out that piece that has been laying around for some time now, dust it off, polish it up, and send it off.

There are many ways to do get it done. I have a list of resources on my ‘Writers Help‘ section of my web site. Or you can check out places like Poets & Writers online.

What ever you do, do it.

You, my friend are a writer!

Sam

www.samthewriter.com