Had a dream last night I was a Hobbit traversing the levels of Minas Tirith in Gondor searching for the house of the scribes. I’d been tasked with the duty to have the scribe’s pen a new copy of a text and the King needed it immediately. The heights were frightening, and worse the house of the scribes was hard against the edge of the sixth tier with a fountain draining over the steps making the way slick and treacherous.
It’s not hard to decipher this dream (and for the record, I recognize no real value in dreams other than entertainment. It’s fun, but...)
What I believe this dream illustrated was an old assumption/ambition/anxiety I held that the traditional path of publication was the ONLY path; the bound form of words written the Holy Grail of writer-ly success.
My subconscious used those buried feelings of inadequacy to create a scene in which I felt that pressure to achieve that goal.
Wow. Seriously time for Sigmund.
But look, I have already passed that crossing, moved beyond that point in my life to where I now have a maturity as a writer to rise above such imprisonment and ensorcellment.
There are other avenues to Valinor.
There is self publication.
And it’s awesome.
There’s a VAST array of opportunities waiting out there for someone to come along and take hold of. To own them. To make them their own. To jump on and knock down and hog tie with a rope then drag home to the butcher and make ham pies out of!
But you must NOT pretend that it’s all warm Dutch Apple Crust with scoops of vanilla ice-cream on top!
No, no, no, my dear little plotters!
As a writer in this new wilderness, we MUST get to a skill level where we are good enough, or at least to the point we at least know we WILL be good enough someday (the sooner the better) that we don’t NEED someone to open the doors for us. We don’t need someone who’s stronger or better or more skilled (skillier??) than us.
We have our OWN damn set of keys now!
And we are going to take over the kingdom!
We will prevail! WE WILL WIN! And we will... (someone, I think it’s my wife, taps me on the shoulder)
Oh. Right. We were having a conversation of sorts here.
Ok, the POINT is, you can do this. And here are the steps you need to take to grasp that brass ring holding the keys to the kingdom:
- Get your butt on Social Media - Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. They all have benefits. Get an account, try it out, read about how others are doing it. Sure it’s a little scary at first. Get over it. OWN IT!
- Read A LOT - I mean everything. How-to’s, tips, advice, (here’s a good one here) ... (he laughs maniacally)... Also, read other books. Learn how your favorite writer writes. Figure it out. Then figure out how you can do it in the way you would do it.
- Take a class - “Aw, but Mr. Carter that’s hard!” (So what? I say)... “But, but, I don’t have time!” (So freaking what? I ask... do you want to write?)... “But...” ...JUST FREAKING STOP IT! Do you know how many English and writing classes I have taken? Do you punk, do you??!! Ever since 9th grade when Mrs. Fisher told me I had some chops (she didn’t say THAT exactly... she said I had some skill as a creative writer, or something... she was PROPER, man I mean proper). I took every English class I could stomach in college. (Ah, who am I kidding? I live for this shit!) But it’s not just English and creative writing. I took Poli-Sci and was so good the Dean asked me to major. (yuck). I took History, Science, etc, yada yada because that stuff helps us writers too. And not just College. I READ EVERYTHING about writing. There are books to buy, but there’s TONS of free crap online. You can get almost everything you need to know there.
- FIGURE IT OUT - By this, I mean to WRITE. You have to write to be a writer. It’s like water for fish. Bees and nectar. Peanut butter and jelly. You just HAVE to write in order to be a writer.
So, there you have it fellow plotters. Consider this your daily encouragement.
Now get your asses BACK to that keyboard and give me 2000 words! Pronto!