Wednesday, December 31, 2003

New Year Resolution

1. Get my novel published, of course!
2. Finish my second novel
3. Keep writing: short stories. Starting on a movie column later next month
4. Travel more
5. Spending more time with myself
6. Back to the gym
7. Spending more time with family

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Ambition...

...is a bitch. Gone are the carefree days when my most passive-aggressive ambition was to get my mother to buy me an ice cream cone. My younger days were not totally without stress and misery: homework, exams, competition, peer pressure, trying to win a medal or a teacher's affection. However, at least the summers were spent completely relaxed and carefree out in the ocean, without the desire for fame and fortune or a life-time acheivement award, that your whole self-worth would be based on how someone liked or disliked you because of your work, not who you were.

Ambition does motivate you. It helps to push you where you want to be -- a better person, a better life. It doesn't necessarily give you happiness, but at least it gives you a false sense of security. The flip side of the coin is of course insecurity. Ambition usually comes with self-doubt, the evil twin that won't go away. Peace goes out and anxiety marches in. The worst part is, sometimes when you do get to where you want to be, you're not happy anyway. You look up, and you see another pedestal. You try to leap again, only realizing that the pedestal you're standing on is not that secure anyway.

Ambition may be a spring to launch you forward, but if there is not a safety net, you will end up splattered on the ground, someday, somehow.

A new fire in the belly

Went out and got myself $100 worth of stuff at Staples. Linen paper, envelopes, clear labels, document mailers, folders, etc. Hey, you can't make that dollar without spending the penny!

Finding an agent is like looking for a headhunter. You've got to have Jazz. And the stuff to show for it. You've got to work on it hard -- drafts after drafts. So much to say, but so few pages. It's just something you need to work on until that one fish bite. All it takes is one fish.

It's also an attitude issue. It's not like: "Hey, I wrote a great book. Any sane agent is going to love it. They'd be stupid not to want to represent me." Yeah, right. Sometimes talent has nothing to do with being published. Can't you see how many authors out there actually cannot write? Getting ahead in the publishing world is about attitude and confidence, and professionalism. No agents or publishers would want to work with someone (especially an unknown) who is arrogant, difficult and unprofessional. It is a business, after all. They want to sell books. They are not trying to make you a superstar (unless you happen to be Stephen King or JK Rowling -- but still, book first, personality second).

More later.

Off to see the Wizard

It's time for my second round of queries. This time I'm doing it right -- really professional presentations. See how it goes.

I really hate this marketing stuff -- and I shouldn't. Have done marketing $h!t in my past life in consulting. Can't say I enjoyed it; but it's a necessary evil.

The Pacific Between

Be sure to ask me about my first novel, The Pacific Between.

It is a story set between two Pacific coasts (California and the South China Sea), about an American who discovers intimate letters among his late father's belongings, and embarks on a transpacific search for the woman who wrote them. The problem is, he loved and left this woman many years ago, when he was an adolescent.

It is fundamentally a love story: parent and child, friends and lovers. It examines parallels between two generations. It asks the pertinent question: Can we really move on without saying goodbye and letting go?

You can read the sample chapters of The Pacific Between at my official website.

Inauguration!

A few more days before the end of 2003. It's a new era. 2004! Isn't it amazing? The first presidential election since the new millennium (really, it began in 2001).

Anyway, I decided to start a new blog about my life as a writer. And boy, do I have plenty to say. But first, let me tell you something about myself.

Why do I want to become a writer?

Because, let me tell you, if you can't do what you love then you are not truly living. We spend a lot of time in our lives at "work," and most people hate their jobs. What a waste of time. I believe that we must follow our passions and do what we love to do. Some people say, but what about earning a living? Bringing the bacon home? Yes, it's tough, especially if you have a family to support. However, the fundamental question still is: who do you work for? I hope the answer is: YOU. And trust me, if you follow your dreams and devote your life and energy in doing what you believe in, and what you love, instead of making your employer a rich person/entity, eventually you will find your way and you WILL make a living (a good one, even) at it. Best of all, it won't be work. If you do what you love to do and will do it anyway, it is not work. It is fun. It is life.

You have to dream and follow that dream.