Starting At Zero

Starting At Zero
Photo Credit: ractapopulous @ Pixabay.com

Starting at zero can be scary.

It’s daunting to have a blank canvas of work, regardless of your creative medium. For writers, it’s like staring at a much larger blank page. The possibilities are endless, and the direction you choose is wholly up to you. Many creatives suffer at this stage, especially when it comes to the quality of their work – it’s not ready, it’s not good enough, whatever excuse you can think of usually starts at the blank slate. Impostor syndrome usually rears it’s ugly head right about now.

There are really real concerns about quality at this point, and they are often valid – but how will you ever get better if you don’t receive feedback?

The main feedback we look for is our audience, whether or not they are paying for our work. The only way to get that sort of feedback is to ship out the product, no matter the medium, and let them into our worlds. Yes, you can get “better” listening to editors, or by practicing over and over again. But the widest range of feedback comes from our audience. An editor, proofreader, or whatever editorial type works for your medium can suggest ways to improve your craft, but that is usually only one opinion. And it is an opinion, make no bones about it. It may not even be a “good” opinion.

Photo Credit: Pexels @ Pixabay.com

Now I’m not suggesting that you don’t have your book edited, or something similar for other creative mediums. Just to remember that it is an opinion – and one you do not have to accept. Get your project out into the wild to get the widest amount of feedback possible, then do it again.

Do the work, get it out to your editor and then your audience.

And that doesn’t mean revise it 20 times. Set a revision limit on yourself, from 0-3 drafts, then let it go. I personally feel that other than touching a few things up, revision is mostly unnecessary. Check for consistency, check for typos and get it out into the world. Some steps may be different in your medium. You do not need validation from an editor anymore, no matter the medium. You can take your creative vision and get it to your audience without any of the gatekeepers of yesteryear. And you’ll often make more money.

You learn by doing, so do it. Then do it again.

There is no greater feeling than having finished a project. Start your next one. Keep going until you are satisfied. Can’t build what isn’t there. Let no one steal your creativity from you, no matter what. Keep delivering what’s in your heart.

How many revisions do you make, or feel you need to make for a project to be “ready”? Are you working on projects of the heart? Let me know in the comments!


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Yearly Gratitude – 2018

Yearly Gratitude - 2018
Photo Credit: avi_acl @Pixabay.com

This is the time of year that most Americans think through all that they have to be grateful for. I am no different.


Thanksgiving is Thursday here, and with it typically comes good food, family and friends, and lots of things to be thankful for. While I may be sitting out on most of that this year, I definitely have a lot to be grateful for.


My Health


While my health is often a bone of contention for me, as chronic illnesses limit what I can do each day – and fear of them can limit me even further – they aren’t at their worst. I’ve reached a point in my life where I can do things in spite of my chronic illnesses, and not necessarily land on my ass for three days anymore. Thanks to medication and other things, I’m in a bit of a fallow period with them, and I land on my ass less and less as time goes by. Of course I am aware that it can get worse at any time, for any reason – and that’s where the fear comes in. But right now I’m doing okay, as long as I stay mostly on schedule and keep trying to avoid stress as much as possible.


The Internet


Which allows me to bring in an income, and not starve to death on my SSDI and food stamps. It also gives my disabled ass something of a social life. The fact that I can write and publish without leaving my home is a dream come true. Never mind the contacts I’m building that I never would have been able to pre-internet. It makes writing a little less lonely, especially when the voices in my head are on strike.


SSDI


Which allows me to grow my business slowly and think more about long-term success and not short-term success. It isn’t much, but it pays the bills every month. And it allows me to practice self-care when I’m sick, instead of panicking about money. Granted, I still do that, due to you know, poverty, but it could always be worse. I’ve lived without any incoming funds, and I never want to do that again. I wouldn’t have survived without my family, that’s for damn sure.

Yearly Gratitude - 2018
Photo Credit: geralt@Pixabay.com


I’m sure I can think of a million other things to be grateful for, but those are the big ones right now.


Gratitude is so important to remain a healthy creative, especially as we tend to be extremely sensitive to what’s going on around us. And frankly, the last few years have thrown us through the wringer. But it’s times like these that we really need to focus on what we can be grateful for, as it adds resilience to the crazy-making news cycles and other events. You can’t give from an empty cup, after all.


Keep a gratitude journal and try to write down at least three things you have to be grateful for every day. They can be anything you want them to be, even if you can only think of things like breathing – that’s okay. Every day, week, month and year will be different, and it will help you maintain a positive attitude – which might be just what you need to keep going.


Do you keep a gratitude journal? How has it helped you? If not, why not?

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Starting My Self-Published Journey – Again

Starting My Self-Publishing Journey - Again

This is it. I’m committed.


Once again, I am entering the writing trenches. Yeah, I’ve done self-publishing before, but I knew literally NOTHING about it, and frankly, I’m still learning. I long ago pulled the short stories that I had up because I was caught up in how crappy they were – the search for the elusive perfection or something, I don’t know. But that was back in like 2010/2011 – no one knew anything really.


This time I’m going for that Indie Author title. Yeah, I know that I can probably already consider myself one, but I don’t – not yet. Maybe after awhile of getting “respectable” sized books written. 


I’m writing my first novel since recommitting to the writing life and having a creative career. This isn’t necessarily my first novel, as I’ve been writing since I was 5 years old – but the others will never see the light of day.

Frankly, I’m not even sure what happened to them, probably eaten by one or several computers that I’ve had over the years. The novel I’m working on now is a fantasy/romance kind of mashup – and to be honest, it’s kicking my ass. But that’s half the fun, right?


I’m also going to be a multi-genre author – I don’t like being stuck writing one thing. That would get boring so fast for me. Besides, I’m a voracious reader who literally reads almost anything I can get my hands on (I’ve read the dictionary 12 times, okay?) and I know there are others like me out there. I’m also not using any other pen names but this one. Kind of a “this is me, take me or leave me” kind of thing.

Random Photos From Maine Volume 1


I won’t start marketing until I get a decent number of products out there, but everything will be mentioned/shown here on the blog. And I do plan on going wide (except my photo books, they don’t like ePub for whatever reason) so as I publish you’ll be able to find me on your favorite platform. I also don’t believe in putting all my eggs into one basket, giving the control of my career to one company. Nope, too much of a control freak for that.


On my schedule right now, assuming of course that I finish this cotton picking novel, is some horror, a new adult type thing, some shorts, a sci-fi and a bunch of others that I haven’t decided genre for yet. The new adult is a tentative genre, I’ll know more when I get there. The ideas are doing me no good sitting in my head, nor are they doing any good for others. And I love helping others as much as I love entertaining them. So that is my main goal for my career right now – to help and to entertain.


What are your creative career goals? Where are you in your career, creative or otherwise?

[Photo Credit: Raiscara Avalon]



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