Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: November 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Facebook Marketing Pages Part 1

Facebook is one of the most useful tools in a writer’s arsenal! Not only is it amazing for creative writing resources (like the Writers World page I posted last week), but it’s also an excellent place for marketing.

I notice that a lot of writers post links to their books in the many marketing and book-oriented Facebook Pages and Groups. These Pages/Groups allow you to post links freely, and they’re a sort of free marketing tool.

Disclaimer: I haven’t seen a lot of results using this method. It seems like a lot of authors shouting at each other, but not putting the books in front of readers (the people you want to reach). However, a lot of self-published authors swear by it, so it may be worth a try.

(Note: Read the rules of the page/group before posting. Some will only allow once per day/week, while others have a certain day available for promo. If you don’t follow the rules, you’ll get kicked out!)

Here is a list of a few groups and pages where you can post links to your book/s once it is available online:

The Pop Cauldron

Authors, Readers, Reviewers and Bloggers

Writers and Readers Unite

Announce/Brag/Showoff

Bookpalooza

Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans

Review Seekers

Bloggers & Authors Connect 😉

Indie Author Book Promotion Page

For the Love of Books

Book Promotion

BOOKS, READERS and AUTHORS

Book Junkie Promotions

Book Reviews

Celebrating Authors

Independent Authors eBooks and reviews please!

BOOK PLACE

Promote Your Book!

Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Favorites|

Authors, Agents, and Aspiring Writers

This is just a short list (20 pages/groups), and I will continue to post links to more over the next few months. If you know of any more groups/pages that allow you to post links, drop a comment below and I’ll add it into the next list. Thanks, and best of luck with the marketing!

What Caused Your Failure?

Try as we might to achieve success, failure is a much more familiar companion. The failures may be small, but life is filled with many small areas in which we’ve failed. We pick ourselves up off the ground and soldier on, as that’s what helps us achieve success in the end. But wouldn’t it be better if we could AVOID failure altogether?

There are a number of things that cause us to fail:

Lack of planning

A 120,000-word novel doesn’t write itself. If you’re not planning how to achieve success (in this case, a completed novel), you’re never going to get it done! The more specific and detailed the plan, the better!

Case in point: At a BootCamp I attended, the daily word count was 1,000 to 1,500 words per day. At the end of the 3 months, we had a fully-written novel at 60,000 to 90,000 words!

Holding back

You will never succeed if you don’t go “all in”! If you hold things back, it’s like you’re telling your mind that you’re expecting to fail. Success takes effort, but it takes confidence in your chances of success that will help you keep up that effort day after day. NO HOLDING BACK!

Aiming too high

High hopes can get you places, but not without some bumps and bruises along the way! Planes soar in the sky, but they all need landing gear along with their wings.

Having sky-high goals is good, but not without the small, day-to-day steps that will help you get there. If you want to succeed, you need to make sure your goal is attainable.

Wrong place, wrong time

Do you really think you could success as a world-class violinist, astronaut, or NFL linebacker? Probably not, as your skills lie elsewhere.

You may be in the wrong country, state, city, or neighborhood, or you may be doing the wrong job or practicing the wrong hobby. Are you in the right place at the right time? Could your location, occupation, or lifestyle be causing your failure? If you can make the change, do!

You quit after a loss

You always hear this line in movies: “They may have won the battle, but we will win the war.” It may sound overly confident or optimistic, but it’s an attitude you must have in order to succeed!

If you quit after just one lost battle, you’re done. If you keep fighting, there’s a chance you’ll win. Success is a hard-fought war, one with many victories and losses. Don’t quit after just one loss–no matter how devastating!

You’re scared

Who isn’t? It’s terrifying to try and succeed in anything, as there is ALWAYS the risk of failure. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and fear of loss can hold us back from stepping out to try something new and daring, but don’t let that be you! Face your fears, understand that they are real but that they can’t stop you, and move on DESPITE them. You will never truly be rid of fear, but you shouldn’t let them prevent you from trying.

You make excuses

“I don’t have enough time/money/resources” is one of the most common excuses. Excuses help to shed the blame of failure, alleviating your guilt at not succeeding at some effort. But that’s not the right way to go about it. You have to accept your part in your failure! Yes, you were to blame (in part, at least) for how your efforts failed. Accept it, but don’t internalize it. Understand the mistakes you made and use the experience to do better the next time. NO EXCUSES!

You don’t care

The best and most successful people BLEED for their work, their company, their art, or their goals. People who don’t throw themselves fully into it may never achieve success, simply because they approach the task with apathy.

The more you care, the more likely you will do whatever it takes to succeed!

 

We’ve all failed, and often due to one of the things listed above. Now that you know what caused your failure, it’s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and resolve not to let these mistakes stop you from reaching your goals and achieving success!

 

WickedRescueMissionCover

Wicked Rescue Mission Book Launch

On Book Review Wednesday, we’re previewing a book that will be launching in just a week or so…

 

Wicked Rescue Mission

Wicked Rescue Mission is the second novel in The Valhaven Island Trilogy. You can find the first book, Wickedly Misunderstood on Amazon.

Blurb:

What do you do when the world is perfect one moment and in shambles the next? When your girlfriend’s kidnapped and taken to Hell by the Devil’s son. All we know is that Ember overheard a conversation between Piper and her father one night before Blade kidnapped her. She left us a message on a crumpled painting that gave us pieces of information. Leaving the eight of us to put it together to save her.

Our only mission is to get her back because our lives mean nothing without her. But, we’re only teenagers with superhuman powers, we don’t have the power to walk between Earth and Hell. So, we turn to the only person we believe we can trust.

That’s when the unthinkable happens and we’re left back at square one. Can we keep fighting and save Ember from her exile? Does someone work out a plan to travel to Hell to save her?

The people we thought we could trust are turning against us in ways we never expected. So now, we must hurry to save Ember before it’s too late.

Release Date: December 7th, 2015

Release Event on Facebook

WickedRescueMissionCover

 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Chasity Nicole and I’m a book nerd. My actual background isn’t in writing at all, I have three degrees that pertain to criminal justice. I’m a quite shy person that would rather stay in and read then go out and be in a group of people. I recently married my wonderful, geeky husband in June and he’s my biggest push to publish. In fact, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be answering these questions for Andy.

Were you good at English?

Nope. English was my worst subject in school. I actually had an English teacher in middle school tell me my writing would never amount to anything and that I should give up because I sucked at it. I really want to tell her thank you, because her comment drove me to really do it once I realized I enjoyed it. But, I was awful at English and even now I’m glad I have an editor.

So, what have you written?

Rather than saying the titles of all the short stories I’ll just list the titles of all the anthologies I’m in. It’ll keep down on the confusion and keep things neat.

o   Novels

  • Wickedly Misunderstood
  • Wicked Rescue Mission (December 7th, 2015)

o   Anthologies

  • Anything Goes
  • Darkly Never After
  • Sins of the Past
  • Thirteen 2: The Horror Continues
  • Haunted: Fact or Fiction
  • Sins of the Future

What genre are your books?

My novels are fantasy and my short stories are horror. I plan to branch out in the future and write in other genres but right now I’m staying in genres I know and love.

Why do you write?

I write because I struggle with actual human interaction and interact better with characters on paper then in real life. That sounds a little crazy, but a lot of authors will say they write to dull the voices they hear in their heads and a lot of that’s true. I write because it helps me cope with certain situations going on in my life. Writing helps me be myself and understand myself a little bit better, which again sounds sort of crazy. And, I also write because I enjoy telling stories.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

It all depends on what I’m working on. For some reason certain stories I can type in Word without any issues, other stories I have to write in a notebook. For example, Wickedly Misunderstood and Wicked Rescue Mission were written in spiral notebooks, and Rebuilding the Misunderstood will be as well. But, The Moonstone Fairy, I’m typing in Word without any problems at all. Also, I type my short stories and don’t hand write them, I think I’ve handwritten two short stories, and that’s only because they dealt with a touchy subject.

Where do your ideas come from?

Most of them come from my really weird dreams. Wickedly Misunderstood is product of a dream I had one night. While some of my short stories stem from things I’ve experienced. If it isn’t a dream I had or something I’ve lived through it’s an idea my husband randomly thought of as we were heading to the grocery store, and I’ll never run out of writing ideas because he always seems to have an idea for me.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Actually writing. I procrastinate like crazy and will crunch when it comes time to have something done. I set personal deadlines and really try to stick to them, but I falter at times. My rule used to be to write a chapter a night, which I’ve tried to stick to for Nano this month, but some nights I’m just not in the zone to write and just decide to play catch up the next time. Eventually falling into that mindset of putting it all off until the next day, because something else strikes my fancy. So, for me, the hardest part is actually sitting down and writing.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Writer’s block is EVIL. I haven’t had writer’s block lately, and now that I say that watch me suffer for saying it. But, my usual way of overcoming it is to step away from the piece and work on something else for a little while. A lot of the time I like to paint until I think I’m ready to write. If painting doesn’t help I generally read for a little while and at some point the writer’s block wall crumbles and I’m able to write again. Sometimes it’s only an hour, a day, then other times it’s a month. Writer’s block and me don’t get along, but I think that goes for most writers.

Tell us about Wicked Rescue Mission, the book to be launched in early December…

Wicked Rescue Mission is part of a series. The series is called The Valhaven Island Trilogy and it follows Ember and her friends as they struggle to be teenagers with superhuman powers. Ember just wants to live a normal life, but can’t because of a cousin that can’t keep her mouth closed. But the teens, get involved in something larger then themselves and you watch as Ember tries to piece it together as the clock ticks away.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

At first I hated the idea of e-books, then my husband bought me a Kindle and now I don’t leave the house without it. However, I still have paperback/hardcovers. If it’s a favorite author, or a favorite book then I’ll get the physical copy of the title over the e-copy. I like e-books because I’ve found a lot of great indie authors that have their books listed for free. But, there’s nothing like the smell of a new paperback.

How are you publishing this book and why?

I self-publish because there is just something about knowing you’ve done all the work that really drives it home. I feel more accomplished in what I’ve done because I’ve done it on my own without someone there. I’d love to publish traditionally one day, and plan to submit my children books to traditional publishers once they are ready.

How do you relax?

Relax is a word that isn’t in my dictionary. In all seriousness though, I try to relax by reading, painting, etching, writing, or listening to music. Usually when I’ve had a really stressful day the best thing for me to do is come home and turn on some music and just drown out everything around me. When that doesn’t work, painting seems to be my go too tool for relaxation because I forget everything when I paint, it’s like I’m in my own little world. I’m that way when I write too, but certain scenes prove to be stressful and just add to the chaos at times.

What is your favourite book and why?

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol because I’ve always had a love for the story since my childhood. A part of me has always wanted to be Alice and travel to Wonderland to go on the adventures that she does. In a way I envy her for falling down the rabbit hole and meeting The Hatter and The Cheshire Cat. It’s my favorite story because it’s a fantasy world created by a brilliant man and it’s easy to get lost in his words and make up your own Wonderland as you read the book.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write! Don’t worry about what others are going to think about what you have to say or how it sounds or whether it’s grammatically sound. Write it out and worry about the other stuff later. If you worry about everything, you’ll forget what you need to say and you won’t actually say it.

 

 

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Writers World Facebook Group

If you know how to use it right, Facebook can be an AMAZING resource for writers. Not only can it help you to reach people who will be interested in your work, but it can teach you so much about the craft of creative writing from every aspect.

One of the resources that has become invaluable to my creative writing process is a Facebook group called Writers World.

Click Here to Visit Writers World

Untitled

According to the “About Us” section: Writers World is for serious writers to come in and discuss methodology, rules, techniques, and other issues with writing.  

The beauty of this room is that there are NO SOLICITATIONS! No links to books, blogs, or anything else. It is a critique room, plain and simple.

Be warned: you must have thick skin to post your work for critique here! The people are kind, but honest, direct, and have no hesitation to call you out on weak writing. No other group has ever made me doubt my skill as a writer more, and no other group has helped me develop my confidence as a writer more.

The group is run by a former editor for Disney, so you know he knows his stuff. There are a lot of excellent writers and critiquers here, and you’ll find that they will help slice and dice your work. They won’t bash, but they will definitely pick your work apart for the purpose of helping you to improve.

My advice: request to join the Facebook Group, scroll through the works already posted, and get a feel for how it works. You’ll see that there are a few people whose advice you DEFINITELY want to take, and you can see how they critique your work. If you dare to post, prepare for some honest feedback. Don’t take offense, try to understand where the critiquers are coming from, and take their feedback with a grain of salt.

TRUST ME, it will make your writing far better! You do need to understand that these people have their own styles and preferences for writing, so their word is not law. But they will give you a lot of valuable advice and improve your work drastically.

Writers World has also spawned a lot of other, more specialized groups:

(Taken from the Writers World page)

If you are a poet, we have a room for poets call Writers World Poets Corner at https://www.facebook.com/groups/612596942153069/
If you are a visual artist we have a room called: Writers World White roomhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/747866115232957/
If you write erotica, we have a room called: Writers World Red Roomhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/379022142171157/
If you write faith based material, we have a room called: The Chapel https://www.facebook.com/groups/1528343067389817/
If you want a BETA reader come to room: The Library https://www.facebook.com/groups/488295651293292/
If you want to write Children’s material, we have a room called: Kaleidoscope https://www.facebook.com/groups/248965471980529/
If you want to write Young Adult, we have a room called The Youth Movement (YA) https://www.facebook.com/groups/122167754785025/
If you want to discuss publishing and how to break into the market come to the Writers World Green Room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1446139739005275/
If you want to write Sci fi, Horror, or Fantasy, we have a room called Outer Limits
https://www.facebook.com/groups/690007321082822/
If you write westerns, we have a room called Writers World Western Roomhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/635625123204979/
If you want to post some music that inspires you when you write, come to the Writers World music room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365873500234374/
If you want to discuss comedy and the use of it in your work, we have a room called Writers World Comedy Room:https://www.facebook.com/groups/670612773054146/
If you are a mystery writer, we have a room called Writers World Mystery Roomhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/664901166973426/
We have many authors who are interviewed and some that are pod casted and blogged. We have a site to view these at: https://www.facebook.com/…/724430637651916/724431424318504/…
We have a Romance room for romance writers (not as graphic as the Erotica room. If you wish to have your work viewed by other Romance writers, go here to the Romance Room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1572391782998012/

Twice a year, the administrator runs a boot camp (fee required) The room is six months of lessons and writing, with a novel at the end of it. If you are interested, the site is WW Boot Camp: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1581224792145920/

Note: I participated in the Boot Camp, and I enjoyed it immensely. For those who need help kicking their own butts to write a novel, this is definitely worth it!

Inside the Mind of a Killer

How many people would take up a weapon to kill to protect someone? Most of us would, if driven to it. But how many would take up a weapon and kill for a living? Not many! How many would find new and creative ways to do it, or even to excel at it? Fewer still!

The United States Secret Service studied 83 people who had attacked or tried to attack celebrities or political figures in the second half of the 20th century. Psychologists and agents analyzed the lives of assassins both living and dead. In fact, 23 real-life assassins participated in the study! The discoveries were truly fascinating:

The assassins killed for one of eight major motives:

To achieve notoriety or fame

To bring attention to a personal or public problem

To avenge a perceived wrong; to retaliate for a perceived injury

To end personal pain; to be removed from society; to be killed

To save the country or the world; to fix a world problem

To develop a special relationship with the target

To make money

To bring about political change

There are four types of assassins:

Type I assassins view their acts as a probable sacrifice of self for a political ideal.

Type II assassins are persons with overwhelming and aggressive egocentric needs for acceptance, recognition, and status.

Type III assassins are psychopaths (or sociopaths) who believe that the condition of their lives is so intolerably meaningless and without purpose that destruction of society and themselves is desirable for its own sake.

Type IV assassins are characterized by severe emotional and cognitive distortions that are expressed in hallucinations and delusions of persecution and/or grandeur. As a rule, their acts are mystically “divinely” inspired—in a word, irrational or insane.

(Source: JAAPL)

Here is the reasoning behind the actions of assassins trying to kill the U.S. President:

Motive Delusional Thinking or Active Psychosis Harm Intent Animus Toward POTUS*
Resentful Retribution None Yes Yes
Pathologically obsessed Retribution or Personal gain Persecutory or Grandiose Yes Yes (Retribution)No (Personal gain)
Infamy seeker Political statement None Yes Not necessarily
Intimacy seeker Realization of fanaticized relationship Erotomanic No No
Nuisance To provide help to or seek help from the President Grandiose, narcissistic, or dependent; may be actively psychotic No No
Attention seeker To see or be seen with the President None No No

What kind of person becomes an assassin?

77% were white and 86% male

51% had used a handgun and 30% a rifle

25% were employed full time

57% were not delusional

61% had been evaluated or treated for mental health problems

41% had shown signs of being suicidal and 39% had a history of substance abuse

97% had a history of strongly expressed resentment and grievances

0% sent a direct threat to the person targeted

(Source: Psychology Today)

According to the Secret Service, it’s nearly impossible to identify an assassin by WHO THEY ARE. Assassins look like just everyone else you know. There is no specific psychological profile to determine what kind of person becomes an assassin.

However, they can be identified by WHAT THEY DO. There may be a few indications of their behavior, and there is a very logical (in their mind) trail of events that led them to believe assassination is acceptable. Psychologists can analyze the thought processes and patterns that led them down the path to taking another person’s life. You cannot simple label them as “crazy” or “irrational”, despite their actions. While mental health problems are common among assassins, the delusions–while influencing their decision to kill–did NOT divorce them from reality. They understood full well what they were doing and why.

 

The mind of a killer is a truly fascinating (and horrifying) place, and you can find a lot more information at the following websites:

New York Times: Secret Service Challenges Assassin Stereotypes

Psychology Today: The Mind of the Assassin

Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law: Assessing Presidential Stalkers and Assassins

This last link is particularly interesting, and it contains a WEALTH of information on the subject.

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Visual Aids

Over the past year, I’ve been sharing the lessons I’ve learned from creative writing and copywriting. While the lessons keep coming, I feel it’s time for something new.

I learn and grow in my journey as a writer and author every day! Interacting with other authors, reading new and old books, doing research, posting my work for critique, and story writing has taught me so much, and I’ve found such an amazing wealth of resources. I want to share those writing resources with you, with the hope that you will find them as helpful and useful as I have.

To kick off this weekly series (posted every Monday with new writing tips and resources), I’m going to share a few pictures I keep on my desktop. These simple images have been immensely helpful in my writing, and I’m sure they’ll help you too!

Verb CheatSheet “Walks”

For those who are tired of writing “Bob walked” all over the place, this is a great cheat-sheet to help you get more creative with such a simple action:

10306317_924223710922439_1532655236139300149_n

Verb CheatSheet “Looks”

Your characters shouldn’t just “look” or “see”, but the action should show a little bit more about how they think or perceive the thing they’re looking at:

10985591_10204939725327001_9000799092977755745_n

Emotion Wheel

If you’re struggling to deepen the emotional range of your characters, this is an incredibly handy tool to have:

a9PeWXo_460s_v2

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

Pixar has produced some of the best, most entertaining animations ever, and their stories are usually complex, layered, and well-written. Their rules of storytelling will help you do the same!

poster-22-rules-storytelling

Body Language

Wondering how to “show” instead of “tell” how your character is feeling? This will come in very handy:

tumblr_npy8blVwwK1radwvpo1_540

Vonnegut’s Shape of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut was one of the great American authors of the 20th century, and his works are classics of literary fiction. When he says “this is how to write a story”, you take note!

vonnegut_shapes_of_stories_infographic

Writing with Clarity

It’s hard to know how to find the right word, but this image will help you out:

Writing_with_Clarity-Infographic

 

All of these writing resources and writing tips will help you in your creative writing and story writing. Download them, keep them handy, and use them DAILY!

 

How Does Your Brain Build Sentences?

It’s amazing how many writers struggle to write clear, cohesive, streamlined sentences. Even some of the best writers have to think carefully as they build their sentences in order to ensure that they communicate clearly.

Have you ever read your sentences aloud and thought “This doesn’t sound right”? It sounded correct when you were in the throes of your creative writing frenzy, but now that you’re speaking them, they don’t sound quite right.

Well, that may be the fault of your brain–or, more specifically, the part of your brain that supports writing!

A study was published in the journal Psychological Science, detailing how writing and speaking are supported by two different parts of the brain. Writing is more than just the motor control that moves your hand to write or type, but the high-level creative aspects of putting words in a sentence just right.

The researchers in the study found that damaging the “writing” part of the brain did nothing to affect speaking, and vice versa. The two portions of the brain remained separate from the other, as if there were two language systems in your brain.

When you speak, you may say “Bob is running”, but when you write, it comes out as “Bob runs”. This is because the way you talk is different from the way you write, and it’s all thanks to the marvelous creation that is your brain!

Talk with any author, editor, or professional writer, and they will tell you the truth: writing is NOT like talking. You can’t write the same way you would talk. Even when writing dialogue, you have to be careful not to slip too far into writing “speech”.

Verbal communication is very different from written communication, and you need to approach each from a different angle! When writing, you need to structure your sentences not the way you would say them around, but the way they SHOULD be structured–using the proper grammar, avoiding passives, limiting adverbs, and all the other finicky rules for writing. You CANNOT write the way you speak, else your writing will be both amateur and incorrect!

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Book Review: Pug with a Passport by Marie Story

It’s Book Review Wednesday, and for all the parents with young children (between 1 and 6 years old), I have a treat. This children’s book is both adorable and entertaining–check it out…

 

Pug with a Passport

Jump into this exciting kids’ travel guide series with Kipling, the Pug with a Passport!

Cover

Ride along with Kip as he takes his first trip away from home. Learn with him as he discovers the many countries and cultures of the world. Explore with Kip as he takes his first airplane ride and makes new friends along the way. Tag along as he tastes new foods, learns new words, and tries new things!

 

My Review: 4.5 Stars

I LOVED the artwork in this book. The pug was adorable, the pages were bright and colorful, and it was definitely a book that I could read to my kids (when they were younger). The artwork definitely earned a solid five stars.

I had to drop half a star from the review because of the narrative of the book. I didn’t understand if the purpose of the book was:

– To show how to get a passport

– To teach kids about flying

– To show the joy of traveling

– To get kids interested in visiting other countries

The narrative was grammatically correct and well-written, but I didn’t understand the main theme of the book beyond “travel”. It touched on a lot of topics, and felt a bit too broad.

That being said, the book was adorable and awesome!

 

About the Author

Marie Story is a professional content creator, but at heart, she is an artist. Her years of experience in graphic design, art direction, creative strategy, and visual communication have enabled her to create her new travel series for kids, Pug with a Passport, based on her own two adorable pugs.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pug-Passport-Marie-Story-ebook/dp/B017E4GEJK/

Writing Has Taught Me to Keep Improving

Can you ever be “good enough” in any area of life? Can you ever be content to settle and enjoy your progress–in either your personal or private life? Sadly, the answer is probably “no”.

Personal development and growth is a MUST for better relationships. Professional development is vital for those who want to excel at their jobs. For writers, no matter how good you think you are, you can always be better!

It’s never enough to just be “good” at what you do–in this case, writing. You may feel like you’ve made a lot of progress over your career as a writer, and you’re content with the way your writing has improved. But the moment you think you’re “good enough”, that’s the moment the quality of your writing begins to decline.

It’s just the way of nature! If you’re not making forward progress, you’re sliding backward–back into old, bad habits. You can’t accept that your writing skills are ever “good enough”, but you have to constantly be searching for ways to improve. The more you work to improve and learn, the better you will become.

How can you do that?

Read more. The more you read, the more you see what other authors do–both the good and the bad. You’ll learn what to do, but you can also learn what NOT to do!

Put your work in front of others. It’s always wonderful to have people to tell you your work is wonderful, but you don’t need more “yes men” in your life. Find people who will tell you what’s wrong with your work, and who will call you out on poor quality. Those are the kind of people you need in your life in order to make progress!

Create more. The more you create, the more you push yourself to do more and be better. Writing more is the key to getting better at writing, so you should always be working on something.

Study. Study the craft of writing. Study grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Study flow and pacing. Study marketing and promoting. Study self-critiquing and editing. Study querying agents and publishers. Always be learning something new about the industry, and you’ll make forward progress in your career as a writer.

It’s never enough to be “good”. If writing has taught me one thing, it’s that you always need to be working to improve and grow!

Being the Best Version of YOU

Zig Ziglar is one of my favorite motivational speakers, and I’ve found his writings to be very grounded and down to earth. I was reading through one of his works the other day and ran across this fascinating quote:

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”

Everyone has their own definition of what “success” means to them. For some people, it’s having enough money to do whatever they want, whenever they want. For others, it’s about reaching some goal they have established.

According to Zig Ziglar, it’s not the “getting” or the “triumph” that matter, or that make us successful. If we were to simply snap our fingers and magically attain that goal or that financial success we’ve dreamed of, that wouldn’t make us successful at all. It’s only through the “doing” and the “trying” that we actually succeed.

Not everyone has the same capacities or capabilities. We’re all skilled in SOME area, but rarely in the same area. Where one writer is skilled at weaving a fascinating tale, another writer has a wonderful way with words. Where one artist can paint amazing portraits, another can use pencils and inks to do mind-blowing things.

In the end, it’s all about using YOUR capabilities and skills to “reach for the highest that is in us”. We may never be as good as the next guy, but that doesn’t matter. Our goal isn’t to reach someone else’s standard of excellence, but to be “all that WE can be”. If we can “try” and “do”, the success that we finally reach in the end will be OUR success. We will be the best versions of ourselves, and that will be what matters most in the long run!

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