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Well, for one -- it's good.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't spend the thousands of dollars to buy a ticket to go see it, nor do I live in New York where I can just take in a popular Broadway show.  But simply by listening to the soundtrack, I can tell that Lin-Manuel Miranda is some sort of modern lyrical and musical genius.
The weird part is that I didn't really want to get "swept up" in the phenomenon.  Every podcast that I was listening to had people raving about this new musical that utilizes rap and hip hop to tell "a" story of our founding fathers.  I mean, call me old -- but I don't really like the modern take on those musical styles.  I can absolutely respect the modern artists' talent, but it just isn't my thing.  So when I heard that this show utilized this type of influence, it seems that I set my preconceptions to further not be interested.
Then I listed to the crazy thing.
Stinking amazing, man.  It's poetry.  It really is.  It's catchy.  It touches a cord and does more than just make me bob my head while listening.  It may be that secretly I like hip hop and rap more than I think.  It certainly is not that I'm a powerful history student.  
It evokes emotion where it needs to -- affects me.
And that's really what we all want, right?  We want our writing to produce something.  A feeling.  A reaction.  But not just a reaction for reaction's sake.  I think it has to do with story.  When the lyrics tell me the story with a fantastic and powerful style and fit together with such passion and energy -- it's a win.
Not to mention that there is just enough "musical" in it to bring me smiles when I think of the big shows that I have been a fan of in the past -- (all the King George songs in particular.)
This Miranda is a pure artist -- and the show is almost TOO good.  It's like he hung out too long at the talent counter and picked up something that belonged to someone else.  So as a writer, it leaves me with that wonderful conundrum:  the exciting desire to produce something as good as Hamilton -- coupled with the devastating frustration that I'll never produce something as good as Hamilton.
Back to story, though.  The way Miranda plays with stanzas and words is awesome and inspiring.  It wakes up that little sleeping poet in some of us writers and lets him wave his little hands in the air for an hour while we listen and enjoy.  
If you haven't listened to it, you owe it to yourself to just test it out.  All it takes is the first song to give you a taste -- then on to some other great examples like "My Shot," "Right Hand Man," and "Washington on Your Side."
Love it.  Hope he tells us another story someday soon.


 
 
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The smell.
That's the first thing I dig, man.  I walk into that store, and even though there is an attached cafe and the milk steamer is hissing and the frappucino blender is...frapping --
I still love the smell of the books.
It smells like creativity to me.  It smells like potential.  It smells like the hope of an awesome journey.  
Sorry.  I tried the Nook.  I tried the Kindle.  I had several types.  I tried the phone app.  I tried computer screens.  I thought, "the iPad.  That's it.  It just has to be bigger."  
Nope.  Gotta have my paper.  
And books (to me) are an "instant gratification" thing, too.  I don't want to wait for a book that I'm excited to read.  I don't care how fast "prime" can get it to me with some weird and freaky experimental drone.  I want it now.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not some kind of whiny sense of entitlement or a "microwave-patience" that people talk about.  It's just the thrill of the story.  I read the jacket.  Saw the cover (and yes, I do care about the cover) and even tried out the first page or so.  Now I want to buy it and just...consume it.  It might be a quick read that only takes me a weekend (weirdly, The Martian) or it might be a tale that makes me battle through -- albeit with a fulfilling sense of accomplishment when I finally close the back cover (not sure why, The Passage.)  


To sweeten the deal for me specifically, my local bookstore -- and yeah -- I'll post it.  The Fairfield Barnes and Noble -- is straight up awesome.  Know why?  They like to work with local authors, too.  They're interested in building community with those that create and share the area with them.  What a joy!  Through this local connection, it has not only increased my desire to shop there and support other artists (especially other locals) but also to promote them and send my family and friends in as well.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  So here it is:  Yes, it may be harder to keep brick and mortar bookstores open with all the online buys, and e-book stuff -- but it is TRULY the way to keep sharing the art of community creativity and enjoying the wonder of literature together.

Plus, the stores smell so freaking good.



 
 
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Writer's block?  Procrastination?  A case of the "Idon'twanna's?"  The Muse that always shows up with great ideas decided to go on strike and demand better wages?  Whatever the reason, we have all been there.

We're stuck.  We don't know what to write.

I've been there.  No seriously.  A lot.  And recently.  Like four days ago.
So what do I do?  (Or more specifically, what DID I do?) 

First off, know this.  I don't pretend to know all the answers, or anything.  I'm trying to figure this thing our just like you are.  However, I do know for certain that in order for us to move forward AT ALL, we do have to ultimately get to the keyboard (or pencil if you're one of those "longhand" weirdos) and just get SOMETHING on the page.  

But what?  I mean, it's really not fun if we are just pounding out something that we know we are going to hate.  You've heard that too, right?  "Just write anything.  It may not make sense or be total garbage, but at least you're writing!"  I mean, I guess that's true.  But I don't want to waste my time, either.  (Says the guy who is probably checking for new reviews on Amazon rather than advancing his story.)
However, that really IS the case.  Just start writing, blah blah blah.  It's hard, but I guess it is true.  And who knows, maybe writing something terrible DOES inspire the greater stuff to start flowing.  

But back to my most recent push through being stuck...

Here was my problem.  I'm working on Book 2 of the Jordy Nichols thing.  I thought I wrote a pretty cool prologue.  Introduced some new characters, but referenced some old ones, etc.  Advanced the mythology a bit.  Check.  Then I struggled with how to get back into Jordy.  I mean, I left a few BIG questions with the last sentence of RedBird -- so how do I address those?  I mean, if I'M hearing the story, I kinda want that addressed sooner than later -- or else I'm distracted with that question while hearing about NEW stuff.  I also didn't want to just have the characters "talk" about it and then move on to something else.  Yeesh.  FINALLY, I wanted to really explore the new relationships that Jordy has with people that he met from RedBird, and have some fun with what that could look like.

Cue my "muse" throwing her Toga over her shoulder and storming out the senate door -- leaving me staring at a blinking cursor.  A cursor at the end of a few sentences that I just didn't like.

So, just rewrite it, right?  I couldn't.  For whatever reason it was intimidating or something.  I felt like I owed something to my characters AND my readers, and I just didn't feel like I could deliver.  So I was stuck for awhile.  

Then I just did something different.  
I started writing something that WASN'T so important to advancing the mythology.  Started writing something that WASN'T about delving into Jordy's future.  Started writing something that WASN'T about the new "BIG" problem that they might face.

Nope.  I just wrote something fun.  I wrote an action scene.  A fight with a different character.  For me, that's fun.  I put on some inspiring music, and just played with a couple of characters grappling for their lives.  For you, maybe it's something else -- like a couple falling in love, or describing a comet racing through space, or the hero exploring a dripping cavern with a sputtering torch.  Heck, maybe you're like Tolkien and you have fun going into incredible detail about the heritage and naming of a sword.  

Whatever it is, have a blast!  For God's sake, aren't we supposed to enjoy writing? 

So I did.  Got a beloved character (by me, anyway) into a real pickle...in fact...I'm not so sure they're going to live.  Heh heh.  I just raised my own stakes and made things exciting for ME!  And that's what it's all about, right?  I mean, I'm approaching the page with a new sense of wonder, awe, and anticipation -- and hopefully that will translate to my readers.  And you know what?  I loved the action so much in that little "writing exercise," that I'm REPLACING my old prologue with that!  What better way to launch into a book?  Right in the middle of some fun stuff!  

So when you're stuck (like I was stuck) just find a way to "bliss out" again.  Write something that made you start writing in the first place.  You may not use it, sure.  But you'll fall in love with your craft again.  And who knows?  You might just show that muse whose boss after all...

Have fun, writers.  I'm stoked to read your stuff.

 
 
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Do what?  I "indie-published" two of my books.


I know, fellow writer, I know.  It's been called things like "vanity" publishing because the author thinks so highly of himself that (s)he just wants to get the thing printed.  I get it.  And yes, you probably heard me make some snide comment about some of the authors that we BOTH know that self-published, and about how that was self-serving.  Guilty.  


But these are the three reasons why I did it.  I'm not telling you to do it, it's just what finally convinced me after years of chasing the "traditional" side of things and trying every trick I knew to get in front of the "right" people.  And you know what?  That actually leads me to my first reason...

1.  I realized I had a misunderstanding of who the "right people" are.
Literary agents, right?  I mean, they are the ones who initially believe in your work, give some helpful advice, then hit the ground running and sell, sell, sell!  They negotiate crazy royalty contracts and get them into the movies and foreign markets.  They do, but that doesn't mean they are the "right people" to see your work.  Then editors, right?  I mean, they pour over every part of the manuscript and make it shiny, crisp, and perfect.  Editors are awesome.  But for me, they weren't the "right people."  Acquisitions people.  Managers.  Podcast hosts.  Bloggers.  All of these are good, but ultimately, who are the "right people" to look at my book?  Readers.  I finally decided that I just had to get my work in front of readers.  I was "saving" the goods for when a lightning bolt would hit and an acquisitions editor would somehow raise my worn manuscript from a slushpile, read it in one sitting, and run -- though tears of joy clouded his eyes -- down the publisher's hallway and burst unannounced into a meeting with the executives.  And he would cry, "Stop the presses!  I've found our next blockbuster!"  No.  So I realized that these first two are just that -- the FIRST TWO.  I have more.  If I get READERS to like the first two, then I'm doing something right.  I'm building an audience.  Then I keep writing and the demand will come.  Then, if enough of the RIGHT PEOPLE pull more out of me -- I can shop agents instead of them shopping me.


2.  I Realized that we have all the tools available to us.
This realization came when watching (or rewatching, rather) J.J. Abram's Ted Talk on the Mystery Box.  It's a good one.  Check it out.  Especially his Star Wars fandom reference years before he would direct Episode 7.  Anyway, he said something very simple.  His premise was that we have no limitations to putting our content out.  What was impossible to do even ten years ago in filmmaking (because of the lack of cameras, editing equipment, visual effects, etc) is now ALL possible.  Anyone can create anything and show it to...well...everyone.  Ding.  Sorry, that was a light bulb sound over my head.  Yours may sound different.  Some weird flicker-buzz.  I don't know.  Anyway, that simple truth in film is the same with publishing.  This may sound like a Createspace commercial...but dude.  Seriously.  I uploaded files.  Slapped a cover together that I thought looked cool.  Approved it.  Now it's PRINT. ON. DEMAND.  Are you kidding me?  Janet Worthington in Topeka Kansas orders ONE copy of Redbird, and it gets printed just for her?  That's freaking crazy.  So to get my books to the "right people," I have a free channel to distribute that costs me nothing.  Yes, writing is hard, and yes marketing is hard, blah blah blah.  I just think it's amazing that I have the means to get my work to my audience without waiting for a publisher to stop selling Amish Romances for enough time to take a chance on a Y.A. Adventure book with a weird and fantastic twist.  So thanks, Createspace.  You'll end up on an acknowledgement page someday.


and finally...


3.  I realized I was being a chicken.


Rejection sucks.  We all know it.  I think I was probably just afraid that if I went ahead and put my stuff out there, people might not like it.  I guess I wanted the "traditional publisher" to be some kind of validation that my work was good enough.  Something like that.  I don't know.  So when I actually convinced myself that I would just go ahead and publish -- I did this:  Started with e-books.  Went outside my circle a little bit.  You know the circle -- Mom and a couple of people who always think you're awesome.  (Don't think I don't appreciate it, Mom.)  Anyway, I got the e-book into some hands that I could trust to give me REAL feedback.  Even a couple negative reviews.  Asked them to tell me when they got bored.  When they put it down.  When they didn't care what happened to the characters.  When finding out who Jordy's dad really is no longer mattered.  (No spoilers here, sorry.)  They told me.  I did some tweaks.  Got a few more pieces of feedback.  Then, based on some trusted people telling me that I really DID have something there and that they would actually buy the book and recommend it...I stopped being a chicken and put it on paper and slapped a binding on it.


Now the journey really begins.  


You know what, writer?  This will hopefully work for me.  Not sure if it will work for you -- but please.  For the sake of all that is holy.  Don't sit on your stuff because of the reasons I did.  Get it to the right people somehow, because we really have the ability to.  And don't be a chicken.  I'll bet you're a better writer than you give yourself credit for.


*****


If you're interested in getting Jessub's books, you can get them HERE. 


 
 
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...is ourselves.

Trust me.  I know it's hard.  You try and try.  Create, edit, throw out, recreate, fix, move stuff, yell, scream, cry, get reinspired, then create yet again.  I do too.  Creativity was never easy.  Even God rested after creating.  The hardest part is throwing stuff out there and getting feedback.

I mean real feedback.  Trust me, I've been like you probably.  Give it to the inner circle.  Family.  Friends.  Those whose love for you might overpower critique.  So they encourage, tell you it's good, great, or amazing.  Give some token things they MIGHT change, but ultimately they will offer more velvet than brick.  And trust me, we need that.  Sometimes I'll give something to my wife and ask her to read it and just tell me that I'm talented.  She obliges, of course, and my goofy writer-ego is restored.  

But when we put it out to the "world."  Well.  Things can change.  It looks different every time.  Many times it looks like this:

"Please forgive the impersonal nature of this letter, but due to the sheer number of queries we receive..." blah blah
Then...
"Regretfully decline"
or
"Going to pass for now"
or even
"Didn't grab us like we hoped."

Always tough.  At least for me.

But I always remember...unless I'm completely delusional like some poor tone-deaf American Idol contestant (and there's always the possibility) I CAN put pen to paper and create something that someone, somewhere will like.  I have the ability and talent to create story and characters.  And you do too.

So there's the hope.  We just keep going.
We keep writing and submitting. 
We keep taking chances on rejection and send stuff out.
Otherwise, we won't get that "yes" in a sea of "no's".

Miss 100% of shots not taken, can't catch a fish if the pole's not in, etc, etc.

It's true.  The only person that can stop me...is me.  The only person that can stop you...is you.

So I won't if you won't.

Let's keep going, get some people to like our stuff and build a body of work.

 
 
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Just a quick Science Fiction short story.  Let me know what you think...


“What is this, Sir?” asked Blake.

“Bluegrass,” replied Captain Jacobsen.




The answer was simple.  Almost binary.  Logical.  

Yet profoundly human.  As cryptic as 23.7% of the language.  

While Blake understood 97,834 words, could infer meanings of another 7,932 words and could recognize an additional 6,610 — he was still only in the 67th percentile of true English vocabulary, and the nuances of slang consistently eluded him.  All that was needed to prove this was the previous day’s discussion of sarcasm.  Blake still nursed what could only be described as electronic embarrassment at that abysmal conversation.




Blake turned his copper-coated head to the side at the Captain’s response to his earlier question.  In truth, this did nothing to assist his receptors.  He had seen animals do this when trying to understand something.  He had even seen some humans do this.

It simply looked like the right thing to do.

And Blake wanted very much to look like he was doing the right thing.



Bluegrass.

He could infer that it was music.  He wasn’t newly built, after all.  He was familiar with several types of music — especially from the origin of Earth’s later 20th century.  The strange vocal variations and relentless, pounding beats of AC/DC were particularly interesting.

The syncopations and strange rhythm seemed different than other music that had been played during the mission.  The singing of the artists varied.  Scratchy.  Peculiar undulations.  Whiny instruments that were stringed, yet not elegant like classical.  Rougher.  Older.  A strange plucking tinny sound that thudded in and out of the background.




“A genre of music, Cap—?”

“—Yes, Blake.  Just listen to it.”




He did.

Of course he did.

He would have done anything other than Captain Jacobsen’s orders.  

Never.

Oh YES he would.  Somewhere inside of him an inhibitor clicked and whirred.  Unfortunately, this attempt could not be classified as sarcasm.  His system only marked it as an untrue statement and shut it down.  Such an elusive concept, this sarcasm.




It appeared Captain Jacobsen did not want to converse.  Or at least answer questions.

That was fine.



Blake stopped.



The vocals blended strangely.  Pleasantly.  They overlapped.  Different tones, yet in tandem.  In harmony.  Instantly, that word registered as correct in his internal register.  Harmony.  Affirmative.  Learned.  97,835.  Blake’s head turned quickly left and returned to center with a small jip as it always did when new knowledge was calculated and confirmed.

Blake was the equivalent of proud.  His thin skeletal frame straightened a bit.  Copper head even nodded a bit as if to confirm the small sense of victory.




“Captain, would you prefer that I—“

“Blake, good God.  Shut up.  I just want to listen to this, alright?”

Frustration.  Even anger.  Impatience.  

Blake’s emotive receptors were not needed in this case.  It was very evident from the language used by the captain, the means by which he said it, the faint sound of accelerated breathing through the nose, and an ever so faint whiff of adrenaline.

The captain stood and walked away from his swiveling chair, allowing it to arc and careen back and forth.  Blake’s visual band — as some would call his thin LED “eye” — followed the motion of the abandoned seat.

He did not rise to follow the captain.  Captain wanted to be alone, apparently.

Well, apart from Blake anyway.  The Captain was technically already alone.




Blake’s deep database effortlessly accessed the facts to bring the forefront of his mechanical cortex for deductive reasoning.




Sixteen years Jacobsen and Blake had been on this spacecraft.  Sixteen years apart from his friends and family on Station 28.  To Blake, this was not a long time.  His internal processors were guaranteed for 85.6 decades.  However, his technical understanding of human lifespans knew this was equivalent to approximately 0.17777778 of his total number of years.

Long time.



The captain’s frustration, while disturbing to the normalcy that Blake was programmed for, was fully comprehendible.  

Blake rose and began attending the standard duties of the ship.  

The duties did not need to be accomplished.

The tanks were stirred, and did not need to be stirred a second time in only seven hours.

The coordinates were now triple checked.

The console did not need anti-static treatment.



Blake realized he was performing unnecessary duties.

In order to kill time?

Negative.

In order to bring a sense of routine, though a redundant one.

In order to look…like he was doing the right thing.  For him.  For the captain.

Maybe it would help normalize the human’s emotions.  Make things go back to normal.

Blake’s head snapped with another jip.

He had learned something new.




Blake stopped.  Again, galvanized pride somehow whirred inside his cylindrical torso.

The machine looked outside.

He remembered seeing ancient computers with screensavers showing  endless cascades of stars shooting past the monitor.  As if that is what it looked like during space travel.

Negative.

The ancient and possibly extinct bits of light simply retained their place in the deep void of space.  No closer.  No farther.

It appeared as though the ship was still, though the displays clearly read Mach 6.

Blake knew how long it would take to reach the Epsilon quadrant of the next settlement, but because he wanted to look right, he tapped the touchscreen with his rubberized index finger in order to pull the ETA.

29 months. 




A different sound echoed in the bridge.  The next song.




Female voices.  Cascading together in a haunting rise and fall of melodies and…

…plural of harmony…

Harmonies.

Head.  Jip.

This sound was new.  Empty.  Thin, yet pleasant.

Blake realized that the voices were unaccompanied by instruments.

It had a name.

This style of music.  However, Blake would be unable to discover it without the help of the onboard computer.

Or the Captain.

Blake almost uncontrollably began to call for the Captain, but was stopped by the small warning tone in the back of his RAM.  It would not be a good time for this question.

Blake simply listened.

The female voices were tonal, on key, perfectly blended.

Yet the emptiness made it sound…




…Blake had heard humans attempt to explain what they referred to as ghost stories.  Blake’s processors simply could not put the abstract nature of the information together.  What point did it serve to pretend that something existed that possessed no physical form or any scientific or mathematical proof of true reality?  A previous conversation with the captain regarding entertainment designed to instill fear whisked to his memory bank.

Why watch these filmed, fictional situations, Captain.  Why reinforce fear?

To be scared, Blake.  It’s kind of fun to be scared.

The unfortunate part about Blake’s level of comprehension is that “scared” made just about as much logical sense as “fun.”




Yet this empty sound of the ladies’ harmonies.

A mournful and lilting tune.

Atonal at times, then resolving and coming together in a fulfilling way.

A slight echo.

It made Blake anticipate something.

Something negative.

Something unpleasant.

Something that used a CAPS-LOCK nature to emphasize that something would soon…

…end.




Blake heard nothing, but his scent receptors picked up a strong sense of human adrenaline.




Which is why Blake did not react as quickly as he normally could when the steel rod slammed into the right side of his head.




Blake fell and several buzzers and tones erupted in his entire programming.

His copper head, now misshapen severely on the right side, scraped on the floor of the bridge and turned toward the source of the blow.

Perhaps a coupler broke free of its weld.

Perhaps a panel somehow catapulted from the instrument display and flew at him.

No.

Captain Jacobson stood with his legs apart, and his hands grasped a pry bar like a strange ancient weapon.  His face was distorted into an uncharacteristic grimace, and his hulking shoulders heaved up and down with an accomplished panting.




Blake’s head whipped left.  Jip.

What did he just learn?

Simple.  While androids are programmed to assist and obey their human assignments, people have no obligation to reciprocate.  There is no law built into their minds.  No inhibitors to stop them from acting irrationally.  Even violently.  They were…




…Blake’s RAM sketched and skipped.  Recalled a time over six years ago when the captain attempted to teach Blake a card game.




No, Blake.  You have to put a yellow card down.

I see, Captain.  Apologies.  I assumed I could play any colored card, as that card contains all the colors.

No, Blake.  That’s a “wild card.”  It’s black, see?  It has all these colors, because I can choose whatever color I want after I play this card.  I told you this, is something wrong with your retention manifold?

No, Captain.  I am in 100% working order as usual.

Then when I played the Wild card, I called ‘yellow,’ so you have to play a yellow card.

Why did you pick yellow, Captain?

Uh…well…because I have a lot of yellow cards, if you must know.  It will help me win.

It will help you play more yellow cards from your hand.

Yeah, Blake.  Exactly.

So you can get down to your ‘oh no’ card.

Uno card.  One card left.  Yeah.

A Wild Card is a very valuable card to have.

If you want to win, it is…




Jip.

Blake understood.  Humans were Wild Cards.  And if things were not going according to their plan, they may change it.  Whenever they wanted.  Even if it meant changing everything.   Even if it meant…

…destroying their only companion.




The song in the background gave a hint at uncertain foreshadowing which equated to an unpleasant feeling.

This new situation created something else.  Something terrible.  Something primal and unable to calculate or solve.  Something so visceral that it went beyond Blake’s ability to comprehend.

It was true fear.

To be scared, Blake.  It’s kind of fun to be scared.

Blake disagreed.  Though he did not truly understand “fun,” he knew this was not it.

Blake’s voice box wharbled out a barely recognizable sentence.

“Oh yes, Captain.  This is SO much fun.”

Jip.  He successfully executed sarcasm.

Then the captain brought the pry bar down upon his head one last time.
















 
 
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“You may delay, but time will not.”  Ben Franklin


Shut up, Franklin.  I’ll start writing as soon as I check this last Instagram update.  It’s kind of important that I find out just how many people liked my picture of that Pepsi Max can.  That was so funny!  You see, Gary was telling me how he hated Pepsi Max, and I told him that it wasn’t better than Coke Zero, and then everyone started laughing when he showed me…
…ugh.  Ok, ok.  I should start writing.
But I’ve got so much to figure out.  I mean, a book set in the years just after the first Superbowl?  I don’t know anything about it.  I’ll need to research some stuff first.  Yeah.  Just to get my bearings.  Just to get familiar with the speech, customs, uniforms, teams that played, what the ball was made out of.  Yeah.  I’ll just do that really quick.
Let’s see...first superbowl.  Oh that commercial.  That commercial was funny with the first halftime.  I’ll watch that really quick.  That was awesome.  Pepsi did a good job.  I didn’t see any Pepsi Max cans though.  
Oh hold on, I better check if any more likes hit my Pepsi Max picture.  That was so funny.  You know who would think that commercial is funny, too?  Gary.  I should text him.
…ugh.  Ok, ok.  I should start writing.

Ad infinitum.
How the heck DO you get started?  In my first podcast of Authorbrand, I discuss the goal of my new podcast, read some from Daisy Hill, and briefly talk about that very tough act of getting started with writing a story.  It can be very difficult – and it looks different for each person.
How do YOU get started on writings?  Do you plot everything out?  Throw characters into situations?  Start with a poem?  Song lyrics?  Describe the world and see who would live there?  
Regardless of HOW we do it, the hardest part is just DOING it.  Not even committing, or promising.  Sitting down and putting pen to paper and letting the words flow.  Usually, it’s pretty cool what happens, even if what we write doesn’t end up being the final result.
Without procrastinating research, videos, or posts about Pepsi Max cans.
Just let the story flow.
I hope you enjoy this week’s podcast!  Please subscribe through iTunes and leave a nice comment or review!  If you DON’T like it, drop me a line directly through my website and tell me why.  I can take it!  I hope to build my platform more effectively this way, and even encourage other writers to do the same.  
Missed the link?  It’s right here:  Enjoy!

 
 
I recently entered a contest for a scholarship to the San Francisco Writer's Conference.  Had to be 250 words, and to answer the question "why I write."

Ultimately, I gave the "Story" quite a bit of character -- and even a little too much "control" over the writer.  However, I think they dig this kind of stuff -- and who knows?  If it wins, I can go this year for free.  :)

It's below.  Enjoy, and don't get weird on me.  It's a style thing.

Why I write...

The Being burns in my gut.  Hammers the inside of my ribcage.
Churns, froths, and bubbles in my soul.

     It is character.  It is circumstance, magic, event, adventure, tragedy.  It is love.  It is war.  It is a kiss, a murder, a birth, a wedding, and a funeral.  It has a name that is ancient and new —kingly and poor simultaneously.  It is here for the time being, and no half-wit mythical muse created it.  No.  It pants its own breath, licks its own lips, and smokes its own acrid cigarettes, thank you very much.
     No one made it.  It has always been here — and if it dies…well, by God, another one will take its place.  For it has a purpose and will see it accomplished.

     It is story.  The living, breathing story.
     It smiles, weeps, gasps, and pounds its fists in a fury at being trapped.  It wants so badly to get out.  Laziness has been called its captor.  Sometimes a sinister phantom named Block.
     But this story knows that its writer is coming, and no cell will hold it any longer.
     Yes. Through the fire of discipline, this raw material is smelted, nurtured, and formed — as layers of dross are scraped diligently through each agonizing draft.

The being burns in my gut.  Hammers the inside of my ribcage.
Churns, froths, and bubbles in my soul.

I must release it.  Give it room to grow, roam, pillage, and bless.

So I do what it wants.  I write.


 
 
I know.  I know.

I made a commitment to write a blog.  I promised to keep it up to date.  I pledged to keep writing, for nothing more than the discipline of getting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keys.

And I failed.

This post is to admit that, let it be public, and start the creative juices flowing again.  To fan into the flame the spark of "making" something.  And six other cliche metaphors about starting something up again.

While this is a pitiful post, know this:

More is to come.  And no frustration caused by rejection letters from agents will stop me.
 
 
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We writers have thick skin.
Usually.
We can drag ourselves out of our misery when you criticize our work, and we can force ourselves to put on a happy face when the sixty-thousandth rejection letter comes in.  (By the way, agents and publishers ARE still looking for talent, right?  It's not like all these folks are just representing and publishing teen-vampire books and dystopian angst-tales, right?)
Anyway.
We can get over some of that.
What is tougher to get over is that notion that writing "isn't all that hard."
Um.  Yeah it is.
Then, when that mongoloid barbarian -- whose last trip to the "theatre" consisted of his second viewing of Transformers 4 -- continues his judgement, he blurts out another insult.  "Most of the writers that I hear about don't even write for that long."  Listen, my uncultured heathen "friend," writing isn't just click-clacking our fingers on our MacBooks.  Writing is a process.  Writing takes time.  And believe it or not, (and for you -- my hairy-knuckled friend -- this part may be very difficult to comprehend) the time we spend THINKING is also writing.  That's right.  
Oh, sometimes we sit down and the words just come flying out and we do everything we can to keep up with our brains spitting tons of dialogue, settings, sight, sounds, smells, and actions on the page.  Sometimes.  Man, those times are awesome.
But most of the time, we are looking at a blank page and barely keeping ourselves from either freaking out -- or from distracting ourselves with Twitter.  #MSWL is a black hole of a hashtag, after all.  But then, when we finally walk away from the blank screen and the pull of YouTube, we might take a walk.  Or just sit.  Or drive.  Or like the Master Tolkien did -- suck on an ancient wooden pipe in an English pub.
And just...
Think.
Think of how to get our hero out of that weird laser trap.
Think of how in the world that young lady would find that misunderstood friend attractive at all.
Think of how our villain is so cartoony, that he might as well be twirling a stupid mustache.
Think of how Act 3 will actually come together, now that we have uber conflict.

And it usually doesn't come to us during those times.
And that really sucks.

So we give up and tell our spouse that we will go get milk that we've been asked to get approximately six hours ago.  And right when we are standing in line, holding that icy jug and waiting for the old lady who still thinks the world uses checks, we realize how our hand is so cold.  It hurts.  But it sparks something.  And suddenly, we know the answer.  

Then we go home and click-clack on the keyboard.

So see, Captain Monobrow?  We even write when we buy milk.  We write.  All the time.  Our brain doesn't stop.  It's a blessing and curse.  The way a car door sounds when it slams.  The incessant smell of something burnt from earlier that day that we can't get out of our heads.  The shimmer of the moon on the blow-up kiddie pool in the front yard.  The coldest milk jug freezing our tender hands.
We use it.  We use it all.  Hopefully to give you a story that has more to offer than 'sploshuns, racist robots, and jump cuts.

Writers write.  Even when they're not typing.

Anyone want to meet me at the Eagle and Child?  I have some writing to sip.