Man sat on ground writing at an agle

Coming at it from different angles

One of my favourite Author Podcasts to listen to is Joanna Penn's – The Creative Penn. What I like about it is that it covers the aspects of building an author business and mindset more than the ins and outs of the technical detail of self-publishing.

Joanna made that shift along the journey and it's a useful website and podcast for those of us working through the early stages of authorship, and it seems from the many different people listening that experienced indie authors as well.

Recently there have been several different episodes talking about more commercial sides of being an author, and it helped me reflect on the many different angles, sides or places that people come to when undertaking this journey.

Coming from being a long term business owner and having run a web development agency for nearly 20 years to me there were some quite obvious things I should do once I started this journey.

For example, A website, branding, advertising and email list building, as well as social media, were all givens to me that had to be developed and most of mine were built before the story had begun to take shape.

I already have had a logo created for my series, which isn't common but fits into the world I have in my mind for the series. With that logo, merchandise was top of mind and was part of the creative brief.

In All Jest Logo

The In All Jest Series Logo

I guess that's a hangover from the entrepreneurial mindset and businesses I have worked with over the years, but it seemed very obvious whereas for others it was probably something they hadn't considered.

That's when it dawned on me how useful listening to such podcasts are. Everyone that is in the indie publishing world is coming from many different places. While business structure, accounting, income, P&L's and sales metrics are day to day from my history, other areas for me are like being a first grader.

Thus those people with other backgrounds I would assume would think the same about areas that I am just beginning to learn and understand.

Hearing about the different experiences in print on demand, story creation and outlining and many other topics have been invaluable to me in learning the basics of this business.

I have to assume we are all coming from many different places and angles when we sit down to write. So rather than looking to mimic exactly someone else's exact steps, like anything else it's about taking on board the things that you can work with and that impact you in a positive way.

Maybe already having created some of the ‘promotional' and ‘marketing' aspects is putting the cart before the horse, or is just reflective of the way my mind approaches tasks.

To me having that defined shape and style has helped me write more and better set my world.

No doubt I will be learning much more each month, but importantly will be closer to completion that I was last month.

One thing I have learned is that it doesn't matter from what side or direction you come from, but more that you need always to be writing.

All Hung Up On World Building

All hung up on World Building

The pathway to completing my first fiction novel has taken many turns, and I hope that I can look back in time and reflect on it all with good humour and a sense of accomplishment.

As I don't have the experience of writing other novels or genres, I can only imagine how much of them is spent on the concept of world building.

I choose to write in Epic Fantasy and the big part of pulling off what I hope will be something remotely worth reading revolves around the world it is set in.

On fantasy everything has to be built, there are no pre-existing countries, governments, religions or magic. There is a blank canvas, and you have to build it up from the very beginning.

Early in 2016, I was hung up on this process feeling like the first book would never come. I had drawn maps and topographies; I had the start of my world, but the story didn't exist. The core of a real story is, of course, the characters and the events they participate in that makes the story.

There was a turning point where I lay my world down and started the real writing. The opening chapters, the people interacting and I watched with joy and excitement as the characters came to life more easily than I imagined, and the tale began to be told.

I had got to 27,000 odd words before I started hitting walls I subconsciously knew would come but hadn't fully envisioned.

As my story took on a three-dimensional quality suddenly images formed in my mind of the world I had begun to create. Then the characters and the untold stories began to break through the veneer of the world I had created.

The missing pieces from when I lay down the development became real road blocks. When a character has no road, no area to go through because missing pieces exist in their path, I realised I had to go back and finish the difficult parts I had left for another day.

Since then my progress has stalled, for no other reason than me not pursuing it with the same rigour and discipline, I did when I wrote those first words.

I know I have to make my way differently and I have to finish the world and the story, but I haven't made the progress I wish I had. I have stalled on it, not from a block but from avoidance.

Every time I sit down and do more of it I feel closer, but there is some reason holding me back from pushing through and just getting it done.

I am not sure exactly why at this point but I can only hope some inspiration or awesomeness is percolating in my subconscious waiting to arrive at my fingertips and I just have to wait for it.

From tomorrow I simply have to do something in my world every day. Write out notes, finish off some of the ‘world bible' elements that don't hold up to inspection, or more research if needed.

I think I have my magic settled now; that was something that needed polish but that I think I have locked in better.

To hold myself more accountable I think I need to start writing a weekly journal about my writing experiences, and what I am learning from others along the way.

One letter at a time.

My Story

A million reasons not to write.

On the journey to complete a novel the hardest part is starting. Not just starting at the beginning but starting each and every day.

To write means to put on paper what’s inside your head.

It’s to expose yourself to many about how you think and ultimately to be judged or graded on that.

That in it self is enough to hold back and never do it. That’s why those that keep journals lock them away so the reading is hidden from others.

It’s a paradox, you want to write and put it down, for the ideas to be heard by more than just your own mind, but yet you also fear they aren’t good enough.

There are a million reasons you can, and will, delay or defer the start each day. Too busy, not well, mental blocks and so many more reasons.

All excuses.

This morning I reflected on a poster in my gym with a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger:

You can have results or excuses. Not both.

I think that is true too for the writing. You either write or you don’t. Once you start you can always make it better. But you must start or you can never reach the goal.

The most important driving force or motivation for you to write must be that intangible statement that it lives inside. Like any serious climber when asked why they risk their lives, they will reply: “Because it’s there”. For the writer it’s “because it is in there”.

You can drink, eat, exercise, work {inert anything other than writing} but ultimately your writing is still in there. You are the channel from which it can spring forth.

Without you it has nowhere to go.

The good or bad of it is irrelevant. Who is to say what is good or bad.

Your creation may not be liked by many people, but the art of writing isn’t about popularity – that’s the business of writing. Perhaps what you write it isn’t a literary marvel. Yes maybe you are inexperienced or untrained.

Many great works have been created from people untrained or unskilled. Many great works were made by first timers, those who just had to get it out.

They created. They are creative and eventually their creativity forced it’s way out. That’s what you must do. To bottle it up and leave it never created is a crime against your soul.

The expression “don’t die with your music still in you” is a call to all artists, all creators of anything.

Write, draw, paint, sing compose…. Whatever it is. Do it. Do it now. In little steps, one stroke, one word, one note at a time. Let it be rough, let it be bad just let it be!

When you start drawing after a long break it is awkward, difficult and your ability to perceive and translate it to paper is difficult. But creation it still is. With time you adjust, you improve or you simply feel more comfortable with what you are creating.

If you are called you must answer. There can never be enough people creating from their heart, from within.

There are a million reasons to not write. Just find the one that gets you to write the first word. Each day.