Interview with Author River Eno

River is one of the authors I’ve worked with on The Lost Colony of Roanoke and The Jersey Devil. She is a founding member of our writing collective, Writers Block and a fascinating person. Her contribution to Jersey Devil, “The Unspoiled Harmonious Wilderness” is a unique and beautiful take on the origins of our most local cryptid, and I wanted to get inside her magical brain.

When would you say that you became a writer? 

What an interesting question. I could say I have always been a writer. Not because it was something I dreamed about daily, although it was on my mind, but because that is how my mind has always worked. I think in what if’s and long, spiraling sequences. I frequently have vivid, complicated dreams and also fall into daydreaming easily as a conversation can insert itself into my brain, and I must let it run its course.

But then I’d also have to say, probably when I began writing diligently, everyday. Or maybe when I published my first book. Certainly doing a collaborative project with talented writers, as I did with the “Collection of Utter Speculation series,” gave my writer persona a boost of confidence to define myself more definitively as a writer.

When did you start writing seriously?

When I was 28, after my second kid was born. I decided then that I needed to get the voices in my head under control by putting them on paper.

What sort of subjects interest you?

I’m a studying herbalist. Plants, their constituents, and their application for medicinal use are very exciting to me. I love to wild-craft plants and I grow and then “can” my own organic food. Coinciding with my love for plants and the natural world, I’m a follower of Norse/Celtic paganism, a nature spirituality.

I love vampires! I love the melancholic and depressing aspect of the vampire, and I love the dangerous and sexual side. I like the questions vampires pose; what would it be like to live forever? What would a person do with themselves over hundreds of years of living? Would you have mental breakdowns after so long? How would you justify the things you do to survive?

I also think a love of history goes hand in hand with the vampire folklore. I love research and find it exciting to learn about other cultures and languages.

Vampires are one of your favorite subjects to write about. Why do you think you have an affinity for them?

I’m not completely sure. They have always fascinated me. I was introduced to them through Hammer Films reruns at a very early age, around 4, so that probably has something to with it.

I find the entire folklore fascinating. Beings that can stay alive for a very long time if they keep replacing their blood. And it’s difficult to dispute that there might be some truth to the legends because the stories go back so far.

What was it like working on The Lost Colony of Roanoke, a collection of utter speculation?

The Lost Colony of Roanoke was the first anthology I’d ever worked on. The first collaborative writing project, and it taught me a lot about group dynamics and working within those parameters. I have learned similar things from being a part of different activist groups. But with this anthology our writing group was small, so we worked together closely. And that can be a challenge, to come to agreement, but I think when you set your mind to accomplishing something as a group, it can be done. As it was with Roanoke.

What does your writing process look like?

I try to write a few hours every single day. That routine can be thrown off track when a project is due, and when I’m in edit mode. But I try to write or read at least three hours each day. To keep writing, is the crux of it.

What are some things/authors/ect that influenced your writing? 

A few authors that have influenced me as a writer, and in turn my writing, are Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Piers Anthony and Anne Rice, of course. And I think everything I go through, and have gone through, in my life influences my writing. My highs and lows are all filtered into my writing, eventually.

What are some of your non-writing pursuits? Have they influenced your writing?

I think all outside influences affect a person’s writing. My climate and animal activism, veganism, and herbalism all help to broaden the scope of my thoughts which enables me to look further inward, helping to give clarity and thoughtfulness to not only my writing but my life.

What are some resources that have been valuable to you?

Honestly, Wikipedia is a handy resource. It’s about 80% accurate, not definitive by any means. But well sourced articles have citations you can follow, and a study in 2005 found Wikipedia about as accurate at the Encyclopedia Britannica. So, I find it a good starting tool for research.

I have many, trusted books on paganism, witchcraft and spellcraft, written by lifelong practitioners that have been invaluable to me.

You wrote a story for Jersey Devil: A collection of utter speculation. What is something that you took away from that project?

A number of things actually. I enjoyed the research, learning where and when the folk tale began, and how it persisted through the years.

And as with any collaboration I always marvel how people from different backgrounds can come together and work their way through a complicated process to come out the other side with a beautiful creation. But it happened again, and I’m really proud of this Speculation book and the writers I worked with.

Tell me about your publications.

I write an urban fantasy series called the Anastasia Evolution Seriesabout a half faery-half human living in a vampire world in the near future. Anastasia has a difficult life, but I think part of what you walk away from after reading is that so many times in life we are alone. We have to make decisions alone and execute those decisions alone. Especially when it’s for the greater good. But if you’re lucky, you have a few good people to stand by you. They can’t always walk into the fire with you, but they will be there when you walk out.

The story I wrote in the first Utter Speculation anthology, The Lost Colony of Roanoke, was called Nokomis. I really enjoyed the research, because it’s a true mystery. Something truly unexplained. And after learning what had happened I wondered what it was like for the Gods of each culture to interact and watch their people unravel.

Please share what you have learned by indie publishing over the years?

Wow, what have I learned from indie publishing? I’ve learned that publishing is a truly difficult, long and tedious process. And not for the faint hearted. I learned to find yourself an editor and/or publisher you click with. Someone who understands you and understands the vision you want to project. Those things are really important.

What are you working on now?

I’m always at least partially working on the Anastasia series. There is so much more about her and her family that I need to share.

I’ve also started a vampire coffee table book that I’m excited about.

To follow River Eno check her out on Facebook, or go to her website.

Or go to her author page on Amazon for her entire published works

Interview with Author D R Kinter

*Update: One Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Dan R Kinter passed away after a struggle with cancer. He left behind a legacy of love, support and non-stop jokes. Everyone who knew him had a great story to share about how Dan helped them and made them laugh. Please consider picking up a copy of The Bridges to support Dan’s family and enjoy the unique voice he left behind.
I met D R Kinter years ago in a workshop and was glad to continue working with him on our recently collaboration in Writers Block. He is our resident grammarian, joker and a well of knowledge on everything from weapons to rock and roll. His is not only an asset to Writers Block, he is a dear and supportive friend to everyone in the group and an all around great guy.
D R Kinter’s debut book The Bridges premiered in June 2018. It’s equal parts hilarious and horrifying in it’s look at a near future that seems almost inevitable and a unique cast of characters that come alive on the page.
I have been meaning to get back to interviews for a while so when Dan agreed to answer some questions for me, I was excited to pick his brain.
When would you say that you became a writer? Was it something you were born doing or something you came to at some point in your life?
I was born full of shit.
Early on, I could fabricate a story instantly if it would get me out of trouble. But what has driven me in adulthood has been, not just writing, but creating. I have actively pursued all media. An interest in film-making took hold in high school, followed by theater. While studying acting, I started writing and directing plays. I felt I had some talent with dialogue.
All this time, I was also  very engaged with music.
Finally, adulthood arrived and I went over to the dark side: Advertising. And there went 30 + years of applying creative solutions to business problems.
Retirement has allowed me to write what I want.
What sort of subjects interest you?
I consider myself a satirist. My subject matter seems to hover in the near-immediate future. I will scan the news, looking for something that sparks a question like, what if that was a little different?
I am a luddite at heart and try to take on technology whenever possible. I am also an atheist, yet feel compelled to write (mostly for myself) scenes that put atheism and theism into conflict.
What does your process look like?
Still in discovery. The Bridges began with me just getting some memories, characters and events on paper. It was a nonlinear process. I am working on The Bridges sequel, and due to some health issues, have been trying to write very sequentially. The two processes are quite different, yet in both  cases, the story has the helm.
What other jobs have you done in your life? Have they influenced your writing?
I have done everything from entry-level farm work to executive consulting. This body of experience has given me a very broad base of useless and arcane information with which to play fast and loose.
What did your publishing process look like?
First, there was the choice of submitting my work to traditional publishing or going independent. I chose the indie route. I’m not a very patient person. Fortunately, I was working with a writers’ group and was able to find a very good editor who acts as a publisher as well. Di Freeze at Freeze Time Publications. She guided me through the process of getting the book out to market.
Tell me about The Bridges. Why did you write this book.
It was a perfect storm of uncertain times and events that allowed me to knit a lot of disparate storytelling together.
What are some resources that have been valuable to you.
Books! Tennessee Williams. Shakespeare. Rex Stout. A.E. Van Vogt. Isaac Asimov. My wife, Linda, and my daughters.
We worked together on the Roanoke: Collection of Utter Speculation anthology. What is something that you took away from that project
It was a wonderful opportunity to use discipline and technique to craft a story within specific parameters, and still have fun. And I got to work with some great people, whose methods and sensibilities differed greatly from my own.
and ebook

Let the work sustain you

What is your goal? Your end game in your writing? You might be struggling to get an agent, get a contract, get five thousand sales. These things can be driving you forward, giving you purpose day to day.

Or, like, me they could be driving you crazy.

I have been querying on and off for several years, with several different manuscripts. I have felt highs and lows. many many lows. Putting out twenty queries and getting nothing back at all. Getting rejections that came back almost as soon as I hit send. Waiting and waiting and waiting only for that two line rejection to come through half a year later.

It was my goal. What I was working for every day.

And, honestly, it sucked.

There is nothing wrong with querying, with wanting an agent, to get published, with having something that you are working toward, but when you set your sights on that mountain, it is easy to lose track of why you are doing it, and it is easy to feel like every day it doesn’t happen is a waste of time.

Then you spend you time analyzing why it’s not working. You didn’t write to the trends. You don’t have the right voice. You need to cut your word count down. You just are not good enough.

Then it sucks even more.

The last year has been strange for me. I started setting personal goals, against myself instead of career goals that I need other people to fulfill for me. I challenged myself to write short stories again. I pushed myself to edit several manuscripts. I queried, a little, and then I let things go. I got some good responses and some rejections. I said thank you for positive feedback even when it didn’t come with an offer.

I still got rejections. Plenty of rejections, and I will not say I didn’t care. But it didn’t crush me. Because when I get an agent, then what?

I need a publisher. and I get a publisher, then what?

I need a great book sales. I get a great sales and then what?

I mean, does it ever reach a point where now I am suddenly satisfied? Where i have suddenly hit that magical goal where I know I am validated in all this work I have done?

I mean, I  dunno. Maybe. I’ll let you know when I get there. If such a state does exist, it’s a long way off. To be completely honest, if I’m not happy with what I am doing now, with my work, then I don’t think I can ever be validated by someone else.

This past year I have been trying to hold off on the hard goals and make my day to day work of writing great shit my priority. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve seen a big improvement in how I feel about what I do and where I am going.

My writing has gotten better. I’ve made awesome writing friends. I published a piece in an anthology. I’ve created some work I’m really proud of.

I am not THERE at whatever hard goal I arbitrarily set for myself as the pinnacle of success. Because I don’t think there is a pinnacle. There is no end point to this game. Never a place where you plant your flag and say, I’m done. I made it. Now I can enjoy my life and be happy.

Happiness is now, in the work you do. In knowing that everything will come when you no long need it to validate you. When the work you do is what sustains you, you know that you can keep going, no matter what.

How to convince people that you’re really an author

I know you’ve been down in the trenches for years now, churning out novel after novel, researching agents and publishers, editing until your fingers bleed, but I’ll bet you still have a lot of people in your life that think this is just some fun little hobby.

Well fortunately if your real goal is impressing your friends and family (and Lyle in accounting) you don’t have to put so much effort into this whole thing. It’s really quite easy to convince them that you are actually a super impressive author, even if you’ve never published a word. Maybe even never written a book.

How you ask? Well because most people have no idea what getting a book published involves. So, if your tired of doing all this work that goes completely unacknowledged by the people you know (“I finished writing that ‘little book’ two years ago Aunt Sara. Thank you very much and so sorry it’s not a best seller yet!”) read on…

*Note: These tips only apply if your goal is to convince people you know that you’re an author, not to become an actual working author.

Tip #1 – Take your laptop everywhere. Open it up and type at every opportunity

Turns out that one of the reasons people don’t realize you’re working so hard is because they don’t see it. This is really an easy fix. Have your laptop with you at all times. When there is a lull in the conversation, open it up and get typing. When you finish dinner first, open it up and type. When you’re stopped at a red light, get typing. What you type doesn’t really matter. No one is going to look, but if you need some ideas try just typing out the lyrics to “Fat Bottom Girls”.

Tip #2 – Make sure they know how inspired you are

Picture this. You’re at your friend’s house and she’s struggling to get shoes onto her sticky two year old to take a walk in the park. You could just empathize with her about how hard it is to get shoes on a two year old, or you could say something writerly like “This is giving me an excellent idea for my twenty second chapter.” She’ll feel good because she inspired you, and you’ll feel good because she knows you’re writing a book with at least twenty-two chapters. (twenty two is an impressive number to non-writers).

Tip #3 – Print book covers, cover your old books with them

You don’t have to write a book to look like you wrote a book. You just need to have a cover. Or ten! Image a row of book spines with your name on them lined up neatly on a display shelf in your living room. People who come by will be totally impressed, and if they ask you to borrow one, you can cringe and say, “Oh, I’d love to but this is a special edition and I need to keep it pristine.”

Tip #4 – Don’t waste your time querying!

Ug, Why would you even? It’s awful soul sucking work and no one knows what that is, or why you even need an agent anyway. If you actually finished writing a book, you should be famous within, what, like a month or so? So just put your effort into pretending that’s happening.

Tip #5 – Pretend your day job is just research

People will wonder why you’re working a job if you’re an author, because obviously all published authors are millionaires. Tell them it’s research for your series (if you make it a series, they won’t get suspicious if you keep working for decades to come). Tell them not to tell your boss because she’s the inspiration for one of your characters. And so it Lyle in accounting.

Tip #6 – If you have actually written a book, just self publish it now.

Print out a bunch of copies to gift at Christmas. Sign them. Don’t worry about edits. They’re a waste of time for impressing people. Just make sure you have a nice website and cover, because that’s about as far as these unsupportive jerks will ever read anyway.

Bonus Tip – print out best seller stickers and stick them on the cover. It’s not like they actually keep up with what’s on the best seller lists, but if they do tell them it’s not a NYT bestseller. It’s a bestseller over seas. And in Nashville. Yeah.

 

So there you have it. If your big concern is that people who have no idea what’s involved in getting published don’t consider you an author while you’re trying to get your first book out, these tips are pretty much guaranteed to work for you.

Of course, if your goal it to actually become a published author, you’re SOL. People you work with, and many of your friends and family are not going to get it, at least at first. And the truth of the matter is, if you want to hit that goal, you’re going to have to let go of the need to impress them. Just throw that weight off because it will drag you down and away from your dream.

If you want to be a working author, you can’t tell them. You need to show them.

Good luck.

The wrong computer

I’m not trying to make excuses. I have dropped the ball on this blog for quite a bit. Although I really did try, there were many factors contributing to my absence here. One is that I just didn’t feel like writing for the sake of it. Another is that I was struggling with some big things in my life.

One of the strangest reasons I wasn’t writing here (or much of anywhere for that matter) is because in early February I lost my beloved laptop.

We’ll refer to her as Meggy.

Meggy came to me at a different time in my life. I was working full time as a designer, pregnant with my first child and anticipating needing to work from home from time to time. Before Meggy, I only had big desktop computers, and I intended keep those, but I needed Meggy to carry with me to and from work.

As fate would have it though (or practicality really) I ended up rarely using my desktop after Meggy came around because, believe it or not (no for real, some people don’t actually believe this until they’re tried it) it’s really hard to work in a home office when you’re also taking care of a baby. Meggy became my living room computer, that I could easily (sorta) maneuver while caring for a little one, long after I traded full time design for full time momming.

It is also where I started writing again. A lot. In the quiet hours I stole for myself, I found my voice, silenced by exhaustion, commercial work, and the shift in identity that come with becoming a mom. I wrote like I used to write back in college, except this time I was willing to put it out there, hear the criticism and get better. And I did.

Meggy was a wonderful computer, reliable, durable, easy to use and dusted with a coat of inspiration (and dust, and coffee drips). After six years I had no desire to upgrade. When her battery died in January, I bought a new battery.

Then disaster struck. One bleary eyed morning, I, sitting in my usual spot, set my coffee on top of Meggy’s closed monitor. The kids were getting ready for school, I was scrolling through twitter to see how politically enraged I could get before 8 am.

A the cat jumped up on the small laptop desk beside me, shaking my coffee from my full mug all over Meggy’s dented but still shiny black casing.

And into the computer.

Meggy had been warning me she was on her way out, with screen problems and occasional freeze ups but I wasn’t ready for that moment when I pushed her power button and she never turned on again.

Well, it seems that this story has been really weighing on me because it’s getting quite longer than I anticipated, but let me go on.

When we realized nothing could be done for Meggy, I though the solution was to simply upgrade to the newest version of her model. I thought it would be the same. With Meggy’s salvaged hard drive I was optimistic that I would overcome this loss.

But six years later version of Meggy was NOT the same. This insidious PC laptop has a mousepad that would highlight blocks of writing with the barest brush of my palm from a half inch above and delete it. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t sit right and it didn’t work like Meggy.

The truth was, I’m not sure what it was exactly that didn’t fit, but it just didn’t, although I was determined to make it work. I kept my resentment buried away, refusing to share my feelings in fear that it would hear me and become even more difficult to use.

Yes. I am a weirdo. Did you think otherwise?

But while I suffered in silence, my fingers over the keyboard slowed. When I would write out a chapter only to have to deleted by some imperceptible motion over the mousepad, I would call it then night instead of continuing on (after restoring it, I at least didn’t lose anything too important). Work wasn’t challenging because I was working out plot issues, it was challenging because I was actively fighting against my computer.

And eventually all but the necessary projects and edits dried up.

And that was rather depressing.

Now I’m not saying it was all that computers fault.

But it lacked the magic (or maybe just the user friendly design) that Meggy had. Writing is frustrating enough without fighting your medium for writing.

I think the muses know this.

So I think they’re entirely to blame for the glass of red wine that spilled over the keyboard of this six month old computer a few weeks ago. Yes, it was entirely them and not possibly my dumb ass who is still placing beverages beside my computer on a flimsy desk.

It was a loss. But at least I learned how to salvage a hard drive when Meggy died.

So, I bought something small, cheap and refurbished. It’s a different brand than Meggy. It doesn’t have a lot of the features I wasn’t using before. The keyboard is laid out differently. It has a little glitch. The screen is so much smaller than I’m used to.

And I love it.

It fits me better than that replacement for Meggy ever did.

And the words are flowing again.

So the moral of this story is… um…. blame your computer for your writers block.

Just make sure you have a whimsical story to back up your charges.

And get a spill proof cup if you’re going to put drinks next to your computer!

Occupation: Writer?

I remember staring at the blank space on the preschool enrollment form. Mother’s Occupation: ____________.  In the past I’d used my old job. Graphic Designer. Then I resigned myself to “Home maker” but it made me feel a little uncomfortable. Not because being a home maker isn’t a real job. Let me tell you, it is a full time job and a half, but because it’s not a “job” I do exclusively, or alone. My husband and I make our home together. For a little while I aggressively wrote in “Mother” because psh, that IS a job that I do 24/7. That’s true for every mother, by the way, not just ones who don’t work full time jobs for money.

But it is not my professional occupation, any more than home making is. Any more that graphic design has been since I left my full time job after my first child was born.

So I wrote it, on that line.

Mother’s Occupation: Writer.

After a moment of intense self doubt I also added /Homemaker.

It took me a while to be comfortable writing this in. Because I do not make anything close to a living writing, yet. Yet I don’t get paid to cook, clean, or parent and I have no trouble listing those things as my occupation.

I spend a significant portion of my time writing or doing writing related things. I edit while my daughter watches morning cartoons. I research while I wait for spaghetti to boil. I do social media work all day in stolen moments. I write at night between baths and bedtime and the five times my kids need something.

Writing is my occupation. How much money I make for it doesn’t make it any more or less valid. I am building my career and every moment dedicated to it is precious.

So if you are struggling with the same thing, cut yourself a break. Money does not define the value of your job. It does not define you. If you are lucky or motivated enough to be able to dedicate your time to writing, you are a writer and you rock.

Art to support your art

Writers can be a fickle bunch. We immerse ourselves in our story, falling in love with our characters, daydreaming about our settings. Then we see something shiny in the distance, a new story idea, a really good book, even (gasp) something happening in our own real life and our make believe world can fall away, once again as flat as the pages it’s written on.

This is a good thing. Because a little obsession can help you complete a project, but a lot of obsession makes you a little creepy. And in every author’s life there is a time when they have to let their book, their characters, their make believe world go, whether it’s to the world or a folder on computer, so that they can create something new and life their own lives.

But if you want to get back to that space, whether you’re trying to pick up a story you haven’t completed yet or edit a manuscript that you have left to simmer, sometimes it is not so easy. Sometimes the words don’t flow, the excitement doesn’t pop. Your story remains flat to you and you can’t immerse yourself the way you need to do get the job done.

There are lots of little tasks, projects, challenges you can set yourself, but one of my favorite methods for getting back into a story is to come at it through different mediums. Sketch your characters or landscapes. Write a theme song. Build their setting with blocks or playdough or whatever you have lying around.

Cook the foods your characters eat. Wear the colors your characters wear. Write a poem. Design a logo. Whatever you want!

You don’t have to be good at it. Your characters can look like stick figures and your song can sound suspiciously like “Rebel Yell”, but you are creating withing your world again. And the world will open up to you.

And if your attempts at other art are really getting you down, make a vision board and a playlist (with “Rebel Yell”). Make a pinterest board. Cast the movie of your book with real life actors.

Have fun and let that healthy obsession with your work take you away.

Talent and Time

There’s two things that can make authors cringe to hear.

“I wish I was talented so I could write a book.”

and

“Oh, yeah, I could write a book, if I just had the time.”

Please stop.

You can write a book, without time or talent. We writers know this because we started out with neither.

We weren’t born with a magical power that allowed us to string words into a story that was a delight to read.

We didn’t come by our “talent” because we were constantly faced with an abundance of free time.

Our first stories sucked. Our first twenty stories sucked. My first one hundred stories sucked, hard.

I wrote them between homework, during class instead of paying attention. I wrote them when my friends were outside playing. I wrote them in college when I could have been at parties. I write them now, late at night when the rest of my family is sleeping.

A writer makes the time and they develop the talent. Because we love it. Because we have to. Because it is a priority.

If you want to write a book, by all means go for it. Get up earlier than usual. Stay home instead of going out Friday night. Take a writing class after work on Wednesday. Read books during your spare time instead of scrolling through your phone.

Your talent will develop slowly. It will take years. But it will come.

If you want to write a book, stop making excuses, and projecting your weird insecurities onto us writers who have done it. You have a high stress job that doesn’t allow you the time? Honey, I work with doctors and lawyers, single parents and CEOs. They make the time, they put in the work. Because they have to get their stories out. Because they love it.

It’s okay if you don’t. Just stop using it to mildly insult us who have done it.

Learning to write short stories to improve your long stories

Writing short stories has always been a challenge for me. My ideas are usually too complicated and require a lot of set up and character development.

or so I thought.

Recently I’ve realized I am not doing myself any favors by refusing to refine this form of writing. After all, just about all my favorite writers got their start publishing short stories. There are so many more opportunities to publish a short story than a novel.

My first attempts were pretty bad. Even with “shorter” ideas, my stories were too complicated, too convoluted, and really pretty boring.

Then I came across an anthology with a theme that I was already writing a novel about.

And a lightbulb went off.

Because I already had the backstory, the world building, the set up in my head, I used this opportunity to write a short, side story about a minor character in my novel. A character that I would have liked to have given more attention, but it would have bogged down my novel.

As a short story though… it worked.

But I still had to edit, clean, and cut down words to make the word count.

Unfortunately the anthology was cancelled, but I did receive an encouraging reply.

So I kept trying. And I kept getting better. Ideas for short stories came easier. Keeping them short came easier.

And then something pretty cool happened.

I had to do some major edits on a novel manuscript. And that came easier. I had an easier time finding run on sentences, cutting out words, making everything clearer and more concise.

Learning how to write short stories made editing my novel easier.

Since this glorious revelations I have shared this discovery with some writing friends of mine. Most of them haven’t believed me. Like me, they feel that they are just no good at writing short stories. I hope they change their minds because I’d love to see what they come up with.

Everyone will find their own path.

Just don’t sell yourself short.

Do you write short stories? What is your best method? Please share in comments below.

Write your first draft for you and your last draft for your reader

I think I’ve been having an existential crisis. Does that qualify as a good excuse for not posting recently?

I’ve been writing much more than average. I polished a final draft. I’m working on a bunch of short stories and really refining my process there. I’ve been catching up on reading. I’ve been brainstorming, outlining, working with other writers and really enjoying myself.

I see a lot of writers complaining about how hard it is to write. I don’t really feel that way. When I’m writing, I’m enjoying the hell out of every minute of it.

For me, editing has always been the challenge, but recently something changed. After receiving a lot of feedback from beta’s who just weren’t getting certain characters, certain elements, major themes, I began to think on how to refine my story to relate to them, rather than clutch to what I thought they should know.

And once I changed my perception, the edits began to flow more easily as well.

Writing a first draft would be a task or a chore if I was trying to make it fit into some sort of mold I thought people would like. It would completely sap any of the creative process I enjoy so much. I let the words flow, whether or not they adhere to the outline. I’ve stopped worrying about what people will think of it and so it comes more easily now than ever before in my life.

I write because I love it.

But when it is done, I want to share what I love with others. And so it needs to be refined to go out into the world. For me it starts tentatively, making the changes I see are needed and putting it out to a select few who’s opinions I trust. Gathering feedback until i can see what is not on mark with readers.

A book is a portal, and not everyone is going to have a key, or even want to open it no matter how hard you try, but if you collect the data and do the work, you can figure out a way to make that lock open for those who want to enter.

A writers first job is to write the story. To commit it to paper. There second job is to clear away the rubble so that story can shine brightly in the dark, provide a refuge to those who are seeking, a hand to those who are struggling, insight to those who want to know.

Write your story. And then give it away.