The Invitation

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You hear the music and laughter as you walk up the steps and ring the doorbell. The host of the party opens the door, steps outside, and tells you about the great time guests are having inside. Then, he closes the door, leaving you standing there thinking, “I got an invitation. Why didn’t the guy invite me in?”

Contrast that with a gathering I went to recently. A few moments after I rang the bell, the host ushered me into his home. Smiling, he offered me a drink, showed me where the snack were, and drew me into a fun conversation with a group of party-goers.

I immediately felt at home…valued…welcome. 

Sound like some books you’ve read?

Sometimes you feel like your time and money have been wasted; others have a way of keeping you turning the pages late into the night. 

What makes the difference?

The author of the second book welcomed you in, showed you to the snack table, and made your stay interesting. 

As writers, we are told to begin our books by dropping our reader into the midst of action. This is “showing.”

But, some writers “tell” their stories. And that doesn’t make the reader feel a part of the reading experience.

Dropping the reader into the midst of the action is MORE than just making the story exciting. It also makes the reader feel they are sharing the experience.

They’ve been invited to the party and welcomed inside.

(Note: This is a reprint of an earlier post.)

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Domain Names

 

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I’m always one to pass along what I’ve learned, so here is a little tidbit from a guest speaker (Liz Johnson) I heard, yesterday. It is one I am going to try out this week.

Liz stressed the importance of having a website domain name that ends with author, writer, books, or something else that is related to writing.

I had thought about doing this before, but I wasn’t wanting to go through the hassle of having to notify everyone of the change, reprinting my business cards, etc.

However, she said you buy the “new” domain name and then it is linked to your previous domain name so that no matter which one is clicked on, it gets to the right place.

So, my website address is: www.brendapoulos.org. When I purchase  www.brendapoulosbooks.org, or www.brendapoulosauthor.org,  none of my followers will notice the difference. New friends, however, will have an easier time finding me. 

So, if your website address doesn’t end this way, or if you don’t have a domain name, yet, consider a simple addition to make yourself more accessible.

What Motivates You?

 

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There has to be some reason to write…to sit in front of the computer for hours at a time…usually by yourself…writing a book or article which you cannot be totally sure  anyone will ever buy or read…

Maybe it’s because you have an image in your head that you are trying to recreate in the real world…or a childhood dream that you simply must bring to life…

For all of us there is a reason.

For many of us there are multiple reasons.

Which of these motivate you to write?

Praise/accolades?

Money?

Seeing a product complete? (The feeling of being “done”?)

Sales?

Fear of failure?

Checking it off of your “to do” list?

Helping others?

Entertaining your reading audience?

Being called an “author”?

Winning writing contests?

An innate love for the craft/process?

I’m not judging.

But, something has to motivate you. And, it has the power to keep you motivated day after day, year after year.

I think of it as that dangling carrot…crisp…juicy…sweet…

That hunger that is never quite satisfied

Isn’t that write?

A Journey Worth Taking

 

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Diana Nyad is an American long-distance swimmer. In 2013, she became the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage.

This was her fifth attempt to do so.

Did you know that Diana is also an author? Her book, Find A Way, has hundreds of insights into the life of this remarkable woman. Well worth reading.

In a recent interview she was asked how she kept pursuing her goal in the face of four defeats. She replied that she had always had the attitude that, “Even if we never make it, it’s still a journey worth taking.”

That’s how I view the writing journey.

Even if I never

sell a lot of books,

hit the best-seller’s list,

become particularly well-known,

I consider that the writing journey is definitely worth taking.

What about you?

Looking At It From A Different Angle

Have you ever thought that your hair looked pretty good until you viewed it in a three-way mirror and realized it didn’t look so great when you looked at it from a different angle?

Well, that’s kind of what it was like for me when, this morning, I received my manuscript for Runaways: The Long Journey Home in book format. Errors just popped out at me. It was like seeing my book from an entirely different angle—that of the potential reader.

If you are not yet a published author, or at least not to the point of seeing your book formatted, I’d like to share with you, over the course of my next few posts, some of the things that I noticed. Hopefully, they will help you avoid these mishaps.

As I scrolled through the pages, just for a visual reaction, I noticed right away that several of my chapters started almost identically. Sure, I had been careful to drop the reader into the middle of the action and I had identified the POV right away (good things I observed) but what stood out to me was the fact that the beginning sentence of quite a few chapters started with “Jake stared”, “Jake pounced”, “Jake stretched”… you get the picture.

This may not be wrong, but it is certainly bothersome to me—it lacks creativity and is lazy writing, in my opinion.

So, what will I do?  Rewrite, of course!

Although I often talk to myself about the curse of rewriting, in this case rewriting is my friend. It will save me from a huge embarrassment, even if I am the only one to notice it.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have rewritten paragraphs, scenes, even entire chapters. Each time, things improve. This will be no different. I will look at it as a positive.

Will I ever be truly satisfied?  Probably not.

Will I ever click the “publish” button and give it the okay? I hope so.

There comes a point to where a writer just has to say that he or she has done all they can do.

A bad hair day doesn’t need to define us. We recomb, restyle, and respray. Then we have to be content and say, “That’s as good as it’s gonna get.”

Similar, but Different

I recently shared with someone that I am a writer, but later I asked myself if I really understood the difference between being a writer and an author. I decided to find out.

I discovered that although the words might be used interchangeably, they really are different.

An author creates the idea or content of what is being written, whereas a writer uses someone else’s ideas.

But it’s not that simple because a writer can be an author if he/she is expressing his own thoughts or ideas.

And there’s more.

As pertaining to writing books, even if you develop the plot and write your own ideas, you will be known as the author only when it is published.

Even if you write A LOT, but never get anything published, you will be known as a writer—and there’s no shame in that. Lots of good work, great ideas, and a wealth of information/enjoyment comes from writers.

I’ve had a lot of fun writing skits for various groups, poems for friends’ birthdays, etc. That kind of writing is self-rewarding in that it doesn’t need to be submitted and I know it won’t be critiqued. I do it for pure enjoyment. I bet you do, too.

However, if you do have aspirations of being an author, follow these 2 steps:

  1. Write, using your own ideas.
  2. Publish your work.