Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Write Well

   Having just reached my second decade as a published author there are some lessons I have learned and have shared them with my readers. I have even written a book on the subject because so many young talented writers are shooting themselves in the foot by not knowing the skills they need in order to be taken seriously. Here are the links for the ebook & audio book versions.

   I also moderate a writers group and if you’re a writer and don’t belong to one, you are again shooting yourself in the foot. Interacting with other writers will provide you with the opportunity to master the craft much faster than by going at it alone.

   The thing is, if you have talent, drive and imagination you can become a writer and if you’re lucky, make a living at it.

   But there is one obstacle that will cripple you and prevent you from becoming a well-known and respected novelist.

   And that, my friends, is your ego.

   And here’s the Catch-22. The more talent you have the more ego there is to overcome.

   All modestly aside I’m a pretty talented guy. But I take no bows for that because I was born with talent. I got it free. No effort was required, no obstacles to overcome, no herculean tasks to perform.

   No charge, buddy. Enjoy!

   But unbeknownst to me, that talent came with a silent, sadistic partner. And that partner threw a monkey wrench into every artistic endeavor I attempted throughout my life.

   And yes, you guessed it. The culprit was my monstrous, Hulk sized ego.

   The problem is, if you can learn things easily, you start believing there isn’t anything you can’t learn and therefore have no need of teachers. And to make matters worse any attempt to show you how to do something better, is taken by you as a personal attack and a hate crime.

   And yes, my ego is just that crazy.

   It took me years to learn to lock that lunatic away and to shut up and accept instruction from those more experienced and better trained.

   Want to save yourself years of frustration, heart-break and disappointment? Here’s what you do. When you are with someone who has similar goals or talents, ask questions. Because even if you are more talented, or more successful, they may have mastered or discovered a method that will greatly improve your own skills.

   Case in point. After starting my own publishing company I met a man in a bar and we started talking. I should point out that not only do I have an enormous ego I am ALSO anti-social as hell. I don’t say nothin’ to nobody. No way, no how, unless I’m on stage or doing a presentation.

   But this guy was very personable. So I opened up a bit and discovered he was an inventor who had created a very innovative product that he sold over the internet. So I told him about my fledging publishing business and compared notes.

   He listened attentively and when I finished he said, “Sounds good, but here’s what you’re doing wrong.”

   Fortunately I had a couple of beers in me or I would have slapped him with my glove and challenged him to a duel. I mean, who was this clown, telling me how to run my publishing company? The guy wasn’t even a writer!

   So I ignored his suggestions and kept doing what I was doing. He was a very interesting guy however, so we continued to meet at that bar once a week.

   But my business wasn’t making any progress. Yes, the books were selling but we weren’t increasing our reader base and so sales were flat. So I started looking into marketing to try and find a way to beef things up.

   And the more I learned the more I realized what that guy had told me so many months earlier was exactly what this marketing course was teaching!

   So I went back to my buddy and started asking questions, which he, ever the professional, kindly answered.  Turns out, he was one of those Millionaires next door types you read about and had more money than he could spend in two lifetimes.

   So I implemented his ideas and sure enough, sales picked up and things turned around. Lesson learned? Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you are a writer but aren’t making progress, the buy my book. It’s that simple. My books are selling well, are yours? If not, then it’s likely I know something that you need to know. Don’t let your ego try to convince you otherwise. Here are the links again