The Dog Days of Writing

Writing can be an exhilarating experience on some days, and a depressing malaise on others. I had one of those saddening moments the other day. I had to face the hard truth that about half of my meager sales could be attributed to either family or friends.

I appreciate their support, but when I realize that I’m not really reaching an audience, it’s time to stop writing, turn on the TV, and reach for the potato chips.  While I was noshing on the chips and channel surfing I remembered an important bit of wisdom that I received back in mid-December at a writer’s guild award dinner.

I had a pretty good night that evening. My short story “Stasis” had received an award, and I also got another award in the First Chapter category for my novel “The First Light”.

Everything is done in secret, the writers and the judges don’t know each other. One of the judges wrote a note to me in the margins of my draft. It’s the type of thing that a fledgling writer doesn’t hear from a complete stranger. Here’s the note.

“You are extremely talented and show a sophistication that I rarely see in contests of this nature. You must finish this work and get it sent to agents. I have a feeling you will do quite well as a published author.”

I later showed it to another member of the guild who spoke the aforementioned words of wisdom to me. She said, “Whenever you’re having a bad day, take that out and read it.” Her wisdom didn’t sink in at that moment; I was flying too high. I do not have a clue as to the identity of the judge, but I’ve decided to lean on him or her this day.

Who or what do you lean on when you’re having a “Dog Day”?

Inspiring Surroundings

When I read the post on Jodie Llewellyn’s blog “Where is your Favorite Place to Write,” I immediately started thinking about the opening sequence of “Ray Bradbury Theater.”  In those images we saw Bradbury in his office surrounded by dolls, statuettes, knick knacks and such. Everyone needs an inspiring setting to write in, and I’m no different. My wife and I are huge Fantasy fans, so I painted our office like a ruin with an open sky and some medieval looking window frames. The planters are made to look unkempt and forgotten.  Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment.