Creative minds are rarely neat...

Writing Skills Matter

While words will forever be my first love, I do have quite an affection for statistics. Something about numbers (pre-Advanced Algebra, imaginary numbers stuff) and learning facts about the world never fails to fascinate me.

When Nikolas from Grammarly got in contact about a survey they’d conducted, I was immediately interested. Here’s what Nikolas said:

I thought you might be interested in the results of a writing and career-focused study Grammarly recently conducted. We surveyed over 400 freelancers to determine what impact writing skills have on a person’s career opportunities and published the results in an infographic…

Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of good writing. Good writing is not only foundational to good communication, but it can also unlock knowledge, job opportunities, and access to education.

Statistics about writing. There aren’t a lot of things that are more beautiful than that. Enjoy!

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Magic Writing & Disturbing Inspiration

When I was a kid, I used to think that I was some sort of conduit to a dying world that wanted to tell its story. At that point, nearly everything I wrote featured on one particular world (at different points in time) so it made sense. As I grew older, my ‘imagining’ expanded. I began to believe that all stories were ‘transmissions’ from other worlds and times. I also believed that some of our stories – Earth’s stories – were being told by writers like me on other planets.

As an adult, I think less about the ‘other worlds’ side of things. I do think that there is still a certain amount of magic to writing – and especially to inspiration.

With all of the violence in the world recently and the violence happening on a local level, I have found my sensitivity pummeled, my empathy flooded and my heart broken for humanity. Today I came across this video:

In the grand scheme of things, this video is but a small blip on the radar. A threat that may or may not actually come into being. Yet this video prompted such a clear (and disturbing) vision of a possible future that I had to stop everything I was doing so I could write the idea down on the nearest piece of paper.

I don’t like that I found something in amongst all of this tragedy ‘inspiring’ to write about. At the same time, I think part of being a writer is having foresight. You can see a news clipping or a bit of video, and suddenly you can so clearly picture a possible trajectory for a life, a people or even all of humanity. It’s not always pretty, and it’s often not nice, but it’s there.

In the end, writers are only really mirrors of the world around. Some mirrors, some stories, are different and thus reflect the world in strange ways. Some are stiff and uncompromising, leaving the rest of the population to feel uncomfortable.

That any writer can be made to feel uncomfortable about his/her words or the inspiration that fed them at least shows that writers are still able to empathise. In the end, when a writer loses empathy, s/he loses the ‘muse’.

Of course, if certain points of inspiration make you uncomfortable, you could simply ignore it. But who will write the story then?

Why I’ve Been Neglecting My Writing

As much as I wanted to get off to a running start with my writing on January 1st, there was one project that I was absolutely set on getting finished before I did anything else. It’s been quite the learning curve involving 12+ hour days. I write that not for sympathy but to explain why I haven’t been doing much else.

What has resulted is not a book or even a short story. However, it is something I am very proud of. If you’d like to take a peek, I have more explanation and some pictures behind the ‘more’ tag.

If not, I’ll be back soon and prattling on about writing things.

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Not the Best Start to 2015

One of my goals (not resolution, as I started in 2014) is to be more organised with my blogging. I’ve printed out monthly calendars, created a section per blog, bound them all, etc.

Today is the first day I’ve really made the time to dig into what I want to do on this site in 2015. Regular posts, one-off topics I want to write about and so on. I went scrolling through my past posts only to find that I had a total of 99 posts on this site.

That didn’t sound right, so I investigated.

Lo and behold, I have somehow managed to lose two years worth of posts. Somehow.

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To be honest, I’m perplexed but not heartbroken. I do regularly back up this site, so I might find the lost posts in one of the backups.

Needless to say, however, that this isn’t exactly the best start to 2015…

Happy New Year!

2015 is only three and a half hours away in this time zone. Wishing you all the best in the year to come.

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Merry Christmas, Happiest of Holidays, And All the Good Stuff

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The Wattpad Experiment – Writing for the Love of Writing

Last week, I posted about writing for you and how I’ve come to a strange place in both my writing as well as my life. I’ve lost something of my inner writer along my journey, and I wasn’t quite sure about how to get it back.

Apparently that part of me wants to be recovered. I had a lightbulb moment when I remembered Wattpad. Wattpad is a site where anyone can post their stories one chapter at a time, as the stories are being written. These are often unedited and are open to comments and likes from whoever reads them.

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The prospect of putting up unedited or only lightly edited work chapter by chapter for ‘subscribing’ readers is a little terrifying – and a little exciting.

I don’t know that Wattpad will soothe or solve what’s happening in my writing life, but I know I’m not the type to simply give up without trying.

As long as I’m writing.

If you’re interested in following on with my chapter-by-chapter experiment, you can take a look at my profile page at Wattpad. I have the first couple of chapters for all the Echo Falls books up as well as a silly flash fiction piece.

Write for YOU

What makes a writer or author? Does it mean publishing a certain amount of books per year? Writing a certain number of words? Posting a certain number of posts on the craft of writing?

I’ve always taken a certain approach to this blog in that I always felt I would only post when I had something to say. Most of the time? That’s nothing. Most of the time, I have the opinion: Who am I to tell anyone else about writing? Why does what I have to say differ or matter in a world of millions of posts, articles and videos on the subject?

In the end, though, that only leaves a neglected blog and an author, this author, feeling the same lack of confidence I’ve always felt.

I’ve hit a transition point in my life where I am left examining everything about what I’m doing and where I think I’ll end up if I stay on this path. But this transition period also has me looking back, examining the writer I used to be to the author I am today.

What I see makes me sad.

I use to write for the love of it. The love of words, of places only my imagination could take me to, of people and their stories. I’d hide under the blankets with my flashlight, pen and paper because I needed to finish that last chapter before the ideas flew away. I didn’t think about who might read my stories or what they would think of them because I loved the stories, and that’s all I needed.

Today, I’m 28 with three novels and some other short publications to my name, and I am left wondering what has happened to me. Yes, I still adore reading and writing. Yes, I still imagine strange things and stranger people. But the writing part? That doesn’t come so easily.

This is to be expected to some extent. We grow, we learn, we examine the gears and cogs of writing fiction to create solid foundations for what we write.

Yet, somewhere in my learning, the child who loved writing at all hours became lost. I began looking at my work not as acts of enjoyment and pleasure but as work. I still found joy in the little things, the flashes of inspiration. I’ve begun to judge every work not on the pleasure and joy it gives me but on whether it will sell.

I’ve forgotten how to write for me.

I wish I could wrap this post up nicely with a nicely numbered list of tips for how to get your mojo back. The kind of list that would draw your eye after you’d started drifting over the words on the screen. That’s not within my abilities at this point. I’m still trying to find the answer myself.

However, I do want to say: If you are an aspiring author, never forget the passion. Never forget the reason you started in the first place. If you lose that, it will break your heart, and you’ll have to work very hard to get it back.

Dark Echoes is AusRomToday’s Cover of the Year!

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It’s official! Dark Echoes is now AusRomToday‘s Cover of the Year!

What a wonderful way to start the last month of 2014. With all of my heart, I thank each and every one of you who supported me in this with a like or a share. Thank you also to everyone who has supported me along the way. Being an indie author isn’t easy, but the path is made so much smoother by the people who have urged me to keep going even when I was the least sure of myself.

I didn’t mean to make this sound like such a speech, but I’m so happy! I can’t help myself.

Thank you again.

Cover of the Year Award Nomination!

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My third novel, Dark Echoes, has been been nominated by AusRomToday for the Cover of the Year Award. I’m very excited to have made it through the nomination round to be one of the ten finalists in the category.

This final round of voting is now up to the public and will be determined by the cover that gets the greatest amount of likes. There’s no signing up for anything, needing to like a page – it’s looking at the ten contestants and giving a like to the cover you think is the best of the lot. If you click the graphic at the top of this post, it’ll take you to the album. Click on the cover you like and then give the one you like the best a like.

It’s that easy.

There are a lot of great covers there, so definitely check everyone out. I do think, though, that Dark Echoes is in with a chance.

If I do win, it won’t be me alone winning. The business I get my covers from – Cohesion – is a small, local business on the way up. The cover designer himself (who works with Cohesion) is from the UK (and is amazing).

If, for some reason, clicking on the image doesn’t work, here is the direct link to the album where you can like to vote:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.742129079158300.1073741834.620418747996001&type=3

Many, many thanks from a self-publisher who dreams of success.

Dark Echoes: Cover of the Year!

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