The power to create a world, solely from the words written by your own mind, is a gift that should never be hidden.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

It's time to let the Unicorns go.

I sent the title of this blog as a text to my wife a few days ago as a reminder to myself to write this blog. Of course, it confused her when I sent it. It was rather random of course, yet it did have a point. It was one of those things that just exploded into my head while I was doing some kind of random, menial, boring task at work. So now I get to share it with you all!

I was thinking about an old song, The Unicorn Song, by the Irish Rovers. Now many of you might not remember this song, or have ever heard of it. If you choose not to listen to the link I will give you the gist here. Noah was loading the ark and he "forgot" the Unicorns. So in the world we live in now the Unicorns are no more. This is of course tragic. The perceived loss of this now mythical creature has been written about, filmed, and ignited the imaginations of many a young woman. But what if the Unicorn hadn't been forgotten? What if instead they were as common today as the horse is now. The cowboys of the wild west had ridden around on Unicorns and horses. What if some other animal had been missed instead, say, the dog was "missed", would they have become a creature of myth? Would modern literature be filled with stories of how only a virgin woman, pure of heart, could pet a dog? Would little women fall asleep with their minds wrapped in dreams of how they would love to see a real dog one day? (Oddly enough, I have the framework done on a story much like this, all base animals are almost extinct. Only the smallest still roam free on the face of the earth, but I digress.)

OK so you made it this far, so why did I entitle this "It's time to let the Unicorns go."? Well, it is actually a much deeper thought that I had. We, as in humanity, have created something huge out of an idea. The desire for something that isn't around, an impossibility if you will. The Unicorn...we seem to be trapped inside that idea, unable to break the chains of our own imagination. The search for something new has become a desperate race of repetition. Should any field of creativity break their chains of mediocrity and go against the grain, create something new. It is so quickly copied by the masses, in an attempt to recreate that wonder, that it loses the shine of originality.

So I put this forward to all my creative ( and non-creative as well ) friends. Take a chance now and again, break out of the simple pattern of repetition. Take the long way for once, just to see where it might lead you. Gamble on something new and exciting, instead of plodding along on in the ruts of recital. Open your eyes and see the color that can be your world. There are so many things in life that are available to so many people, yet they ignore them, or say "Next time". Don't allow yourself to go hunting after the same Unicorn as everyone else.

Let the Unicorn's go, and see what else might be just over that next hill. You  might be surprised at what you find.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

I have made a mistake, again...

OK, so it isn't really a mistake, but in a way, it still is. See, I have a decent following on twitter. I am by no means overwhelmed, but I have 500 plus. To some this is a big number, to others, no so much. The problem I am facing here is...they are all writers and authors! I intentionally surrounded myself with them to help me learn my craft. To polish my rough edges, and show me the ins and outs of the business I had willingly thrust myself into. Now I sit here, no longer new to the business. I am not a well paid author, yet, nor do I have a throng of adoring fans beating a path to my door for an autograph...I have a following of like minded people, looking for the same thing I am, with similar goals and frustrations.

Why is that a problem you ask?

WELL...writers rarely buy books. *GASP* how dare I say that?!? Of course they buy books! You yell at me through your monitor. Well, yes...they do, but the odds are they are not going to go out of their way to buy my book. Or any of the other 499 peoples books on my feed. It is just too many, and I totally understand that. An author wants to help others, but ultimately, they want to help themselves first.

Even I am guilty of that...

So how does one break out of the trap that is created solely by surrounding yourself with other authors?
Got me...
I am racking my brain trying to think of ways to get my name out there. I have short stories up for sale on Amazon, they are selling, but not amazingly so. I try to push my links on twitter now and again, but I know how frustrating that can be to other authors and as a general rule, they are wasted words, they fall on deaf and tired ears. Who doesn't have a book for sale?

So I ask you all, my faithful readers...How do I find that group, that person, anyone, who will pick up my torch and wave it in front of the masses saying.
Here he is! Look at him, read his stories and bask in the wit and humour he has set to paper. (or e-ink, whatever)
Where is my torch bearer? How do I find him...(or her) I know they are out there, waiting for me. How do I connect with the people that are purely readers, who pick up a book they love, stand on top of the tallest mountain and shout to the world. READ THIS!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I wanted to quit, but...I don't think I can.

This latest rejection was really hard on me.

REALLY, hard on me.

Since the end of my time trying out for MAE I haven't really written a thing. Ohh, I have put a few words down, a hundred here, another hundred there, but my heart hasn't really been in it. I even spent a few days thinking, this might not be for me, you ran the race. Now it is time to throw in the towel.

Yes, quite writing, drop it, give it up forever. I know that if I decided to do that, then it really would end. I might scribble a bit here and there, perhaps store up some ideas. But my heart would no longer be in it. I am still waffling with that even now. This is not a letter to say either yay, or nay, it is just my thoughts coming out onto your screen.

I love writing, but just loving something isn't enough. You have to work on it, practice it, grow in it. I am not sure I can accomplish this. The problems I have with English are not going to go away so easy, they have been burned into my mind since the first day I learned to write and they will not release their grasp so easily.

For inspiration I go back to a few emails from MAE and look at some of the nice things they say about me. (Yes, there were some in there, mixed in with the ones telling me to get better and try harder.) Here are a few quotes that I had to ask for permission to use.

You have a gift of creating stories in your mind. And that is exactly what it is...a gift. No one can teach that. You were born with that gift, and it is that gift that sets storytellers apart from the rest of us. It is something that is precious and priceless.

Got to admit that is pretty strong stuff there. Unfortunately a gift not used is useless, am I using mine?
The next quote is about how close I really came to being an actual author, a real life one, not an, as seen on TV fake one with really tiny words underneath...

I looked for any way at all that I could take you on board. I want you to be one of our authors, Jamie, because you have the gift. Frankly, most authors don't have it as much as you do. Most authors have to struggle for their next story. I can tell that is not the case for you. They just come to you, effortlessly, and they just keep coming. That's rare. Very rare. Of the more than 750 authors we represent, I could count on one hand the number who are like you. And, to be blunt, I am envious of them and you.

Yep, you like that one right? Me too, but the words that are hard to see are still in there. They want me, but I am not good enough. I know what you are saying, well I know what one person is saying, enough with the pity party. Get on with it, fix it, get writing. Well there is more to it than that, but I will get back to that later.

I went to my direct boss and asked him about just signing you despite all the numbers screaming at me not to do so. David (he's the son of Melodee's original agent and business partner) raised his eyebrow and asked me, "You know that the Board will shit down both legs when we lose that kind of money on just one author for the next 2 years, right?" I told him I did. He then asked, "And you understand that they will probably fire both of us, right?" Again I said yes. David looked at things and finally shrugged. "I know this is going to piss you off, and it's either the best or the worst decision I have ever made, but no."
Even though I am not the best, I am good at making stories. Good enough for someone to go to that length for me. To try and get me through, even though my own skills weren't good enough. That is the part that hurts the most. I came that close, it is much like coming in second in the Olympics...yes you were number two, but no one remembers number two. The conversation goes into detail of what I need to fix and what I can expect if and when I can fix those things. The odds are against me though. Why is this? How can I be so sure?
Well here is a bit from the very first letter I sent when I applied for this possibility. It is from my "Query" to MAE.

I currently am employed in the field of sales and while it pays my bills it offers nothing in the area of growth or satisfaction. I know that I can write and write well; I just need the chance to show it to others so that they too will fall in love with my work.

I started this whole process for the chance to take the reigns of my own future into my hands and change the direction my life was headed. The brief time I did write these assignments, even though very frustrating at times, was wonderful. I was in control. The mistakes were mine and the consequences had to be paid from my own skin. I had some control...then I lost it.

The one thing that is still tripping me up is I went into this all to free up my time. I thought I could get away with being an author 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Now I am told that IF I can fix my issues, and I get a contract. That is not going to be possible. I would be writing more than 10 hours a day 7 days a week for an unknown amount of time. What free time I did have, would be now spent writing. The whole desire to become a writer so I can spend more time with my family would force me to spend less time with my family. That dog doesn't walk. ( I stole that, only 1 person will truly get it) Then there is the problem of my own health. I am on a down state right now, up will come soon, but the downs force me to remember that at some point in my future I may not be able to work. My memory is bad enough now that I have just started explaining to every customer why I can't remember there name. It is much easier than them looking at me like I am an idiot. My brain just doesn't retain things anymore. On the up side to that, I can re-read my own stories and find them interesting all over again!

So I am trapped, I had hoped writing out my thoughts like this would assist me in making a decision...yet it hasn't. I can't post this online without permission. (Legal issues) so I must only save it as a draft. Should anyone ever be able to read it, you can know that I did not miss quote anything.

In a nutshell, this last quote summarizes my problem...

(1) You have good stories.
(2) I want to sell those stories for you.
(3) Your mechanical skills are such that it takes too long to fix them to make a profit.
(4) Only you can fix #3.

Can I fix number three? Do I even want to? If I can, is now the right time for it? So many questions...