Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When People Say Things They Don't Mean...

Most of the time, I try to speak only when I have something to say, and when I mean what I say. Sure, I'm not immune to a white lie or two, here and there, and I would choose to omit something if I don't think it's necessary to reveal myself. However, I generally don't try to mislead or misguide others, or misrepresent myself or be "fake." I'm pretty much "what you see is what you get" and at times I even wear my emotions on my sleeves a bit too much.

So what I don't understand is why some people choose to not be truthful. "I'd like to be friends" or "Let's do dinner tomorrow" or "I'll call you." They never meant it. Or friends who won't return calls or email, and then they say "oh, I was very busy" when I know they actually weren't. It's very frustrating for me to trust people sometimes because I don't know what is real and what is not. I've met enough people who "faked" me out that I became aware of trying to protect myself from potential disappointment and hurt. Granted, I know I can appear to be aloof or distant and maybe other people think I'm faking them out, too. The reality is, I'm always very sincere, and if I don't like someone, he or she will know. I don't pretend to be friendly to anyone, and I don't make any promise I don't intend to keep. And if I can't do something, I will let them know.

I wish people would be less inclined to "try to be nice." Let's be frank, shall we? Don't worry about hurting my feelings. It's more humane that way, most of the time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Writer's Life

The key to a writer's life is this: always write.

I may be working a bit slow on my novel. I may be having a significant writer's block. I may want to take a break. But the fact is, I make sure I write every day, whether it's an opinion, an essay, scribbling on the novel, short stories. My novel is slogging along slowly, but in the past few months I've written half a dozen or so short stories, some of them polished to publication quality. I can't say I've been lazy (okay, perhaps I'm not hardworking enough -- but I have a life, you know?)

I have no idea what to do with these pieces. I'll probably try to get some of them published, but that's not high priority. I guess right now I can't focus on one story and one story only, and my brain needs an outlet for all my ideas -- I'm getting restless and unfocused. I realize it's a process, and my process is telling me now to work on all these little ideas now, then come back later to polish them.

The key is: keep writing. I'd like to get my novel back on track, but I also know me too well. If I push too hard, it will feel like "work" and I will burn out quickly. I know I need to be careful about that. There are people like Stephen King who writes 8 hours every day and pump out three novels a year. There are people like Charles Fraser who wrote two novels in 10 years. The most important thing for a writer is "know who you are." There's no prescribed recipes or rules on how to become a successful writer.

Except one.

We must write.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Publishing Industry Is Against Us...

I heard that quite a lot, even before I became published: Publishers are unfriendly to first-time authors. There's certainly a lot of frustration and anger and disappointment that go with that statement, and I can understand these emotions. But valid emotions don't mean "truth."

Nobody says getting published is easy. In fact, nothing in the world is just "easy" -- we all have to work hard. If something is truly easy, it's either not worth our time or we'll probably die bored doing it. But creative people like writers want something more than steady paychecks (if we want such things, there are plenty of other jobs out there). We want appreciation, and not just any appreciation. We want to be revered, admired, and loved for what we do, by strangers, and hopefully a lot of strangers. The trouble is, we all think we have what it takes to "make it."

There is no secret except work hard. It is possible. In the past two years I have met enough first-time authors (including myself) to believe that if you have it, they will come. But not everyone can be a published writer, just as not everyone can be an astronaut. You've got to have talent and discipline and hard work, and nothing is guaranteed and no one owes us anything. Publishing, after all, is a business. If you have the goods, you will sell. It's really that simple.