Let’s Get Silly

I never intended this blog to become as serious as it often turns out to be. Yes, I’m serious about my Writing, but not to the extent where it becomes boring. To me, Writing is an addiction but a fun one and no matter where I go on the Amazon Sales or Author Ranks, I will always be working on a story.

So, let’s take a moment to discuss the lighter side of Writing; those side things that make us chuckle while we’re weaving our creative tapestries.

Coffee:

Whoever came up with the idea of pairing writers with coffee needs to be bought a soda. No single beverage in the history of Mankind has contributed to the creation of great literature and great sprints to the bathroom, than this wonderful invention. I sometimes wonder if the first person who drank coffee stopped and thought, “Wow, this really perks me up. I should write a book. Wait, what’s a book?”

Muses:

In Classic Greek and Roman Mythology, these were nine daughters of Zeus (That guy got around. It’s good to be The King…hehe) and Mnemosyne (Who must have been very patient..and frisky), who were born after nine (NINE!) consecutive nights of lovemaking and who presided over the arts and sciences. That’s a big job when you think about it but when they whisper in your ear at 3 AM, all you want to do is treat them like cats in heat and throw shoes at them. Not that I would do that, of course. 😉

Writing:

We can’t discuss the lighter side of Writing without taking at least one shot at it by itself. Remember that guy (or girl. I don’t know, I wasn’t there…hehe) who first tried coffee? I’m sure as he was running around all jazzed up (MUSIC!)on caffeine and trying to figure out how to invent The Book, he probably stopped to think about how to remember his ideas. Memory can be a good thing when things are quiet and peaceful, but when you have Mastodons and Rampaging Barbarians bearing down on you, there’s a tendency to shift into Aw Crap Mode while soiling your wonderful leopard skin undergarments. I often wonder how many great human achievements were delayed because of being chased by a Saber Toothed Tiger…

Paper:

Oral Tradition (not that kind…behave) can only take you so far. There came (Stop it) a time when the Spoken Word had to be supplemented by a solid record of ideas. Of course, someone got the bright idea of pressing plant fibers and creating papyrus. Of course, with the birth of Paper, there had to be the inevitable afterbirth of Critics, Lawyers, and Accountants. Sounds good, eh? 😉

Of course, I could go on and on about this but I have other made-up stuff that needs my attention. Thanks for your time today and remember that there is a reason why Laughter is the best medicine. 🙂

Free Association as a Creation Tool

After writing about Checklists and other such nuts and bolts stuff, I thought I’d change gears and discuss with you ways to boost your creativity. Or at least give you something to do while you’re staring off into Space waiting for those Greek Sisters to whisper inspiration in your ear… Go freshen up your coffee. Smoke if you got em. It’s okay, I’ll wait…

What is Free Association?

Free Association is a psychology term that described the mental process by which one word or image may spontaneously suggest another without any apparent connection.

This is a powerful tool to master because if you can do this at will, and you can, you will unlock an unlimited supply of potential story ideas.

How do I utilize Free Association?

It’s probably one of the easiest techniques to master because you do it every day. Have you ever looked at an object and gotten a random thought from it? Congratulations! You are free associating. Someone says something to you and you have a random thought about it? Same thing.

The key to Free Association is to turn off those pesky mental filters that force you to disregard or throw away those random thoughts for one reason or another. At least while you are creating. Although The Straitjacket Industry has been in decline for some time and creating jobs is important, you don’t want to end up a model for their latest Fall Fashion Line because you engaged the Vocal Circuit at an inappropriate time. Unless that’s what you’re going for, then by all means have at it. I personally look stunning in Charcoal Gray…hehe.

Ahem…anyway…

What about Dreams?

Dreams are the Mind’s way of preventing potential psychosis by playing out and eliminating elements of our subconscious. I believe that Dreams also are a form of Free Association because one element (at least in mine) tend to create others which propel everything forward until the alarm clock rings. I had a dream last night where I was doing something with a group of people near an old gold mining town that was literally built on both sides of an old stream that ended at a waterfall. I thought it was both unusual and cool at the same time because someone was telling me the history of Fountain, Pennsylvania in 1850 where the townsfolk wanted to save money on sluice gear by allowing the waterway to do the work. I had to admit that panning for gold on Main Street would be an intriguing prospect, but I wasn’t surprised to discover that the town had failed because there wasn’t enough gold found to maintain the local economy.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed our little discussion today on Free Association and if you have suggestions for future topics, please let me know in the Comments Section. 🙂

The Importance of Checklists

There are two components to Learning:

1) Reading about how to perform a Skill.

2) Reinforcing Theory with Practice.

It’s a very simple process, but in the case of Independent Publishing, the Learning Process can be hampered by Time. No, I don’t mean making time to study a particular skill or to practice. Those are things that should come naturally. I’m talking about the time between starting, finishing and publishing your work.

Indie Authors wear many hats. In addition to being Writers, we must also be Editors, Accountants, Purchasing Agents, Marketing and PR Specialists, etc. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of little things that go into the final book product before it gets released on Amazon or whatever publishing outlet you decide to go with.

I’ve released four books on Amazon and each time, I’ve had the same little problem: making sure that every little step that needs to get done gets done. If one thing is forgotten, like say the line spacing or book layout isn’t formatted correctly for a 6×9 book. Now, these are things that are often caught during the File Review Phase if you use Createspace and that’s a good thing. However, any of a handful of errors that are caught can have a ripple effect to the entire manuscript and that spells delays in publishing.

So, how do we fix this?

Well, we can tackle this by a number of ways. One way is to write and publish more work so we internalize the process more effectively. But, unless you can crank out multiple good quality novels in a short period time, you’re bound to forget a step and have succeeded in reducing the hair population on your head through manual extraction. No, that’s not a good thing. I have balding friends in their 30s who hate me for having a full head of hair at 48. So, no hair persecution, okay?

Making a checklist of clearly defined steps in an order you can follow is extremely important because it disregards the Time Factor. I’m not James Patterson and can’t crank out a 300 Page novel in less than 3 months, although I continue to try. I’m also stubborn in that I tend to think I have the memory of an elephant when really it’s more like a nuclear-powered hamster who’s computer literate. Don’t ask.

Your checklist doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to contain all the steps you normally use when putting your book together. Put it in a place where you will remember to find it and pull it out when you get that Final Draft ready to sculpt into that masterpiece.

Or you can get a Traditional Publisher and let them do the work. Personally, I prefer being my own boss, but to each their own and that’s a conversation for another day.

I welcome comments and suggestions so please leave them. I always respond and together, we can help make the world a more literate place….or at least one with a little less shouting and cursing. 😉