Some encouragement for all you writers out there.
I just saw a video of myself from a year ago this week. I was busy promoting Ruins of the Galaxy book 2 in Kindle/Print two weeks before signing with JN Chaney.
I was happy but exhausted. I was hopeful but had no idea if my stories would sell. And I was enthusiastic but painfully ignorant of all I needed to learn before being able to be a full-time writer. Fast-forward a year, and Ruins book 9 was released last week for Kindle/print, and Ruins 2 is launching today on Audible, read by R.C. Bray. How did so much change so quickly? One of the greatest things you can do for your career is to look for meaningful partnerships. Learning from people who are a few rungs up the ladder from you is imperative if you want to be successful. And those partnerships might not be what you think. I routinely partner with: • Books - Right now, I'm reading Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, and Screen by Robert Mckee. While I've never met Mr. McKee, I have paid him a few dollars to mentor me in the art of writing compelling dialogue. And it's worth every penny. • Readers - Some of the best advice I'm ever given comes from the people I'm writing for. If you listen well and can read between the lines, smart readers will tell you half of what you need to put in a good story. (The other half comes from the other sources I'm listing here). • Other Writers - Too often, wannabe authors try and connect with full-time writers for tips and advice who far above their paygrade. Inevitably, we get disappointed when we don't hear back from them. Instead, look for the people who are just a little bit ahead of you. You might be surprised at how available they might make themselves. You can find them in forums, groups, events (when we had them), and even just by emailing them through their websites. Ask them one question at a time, be polite, and put their advice into practice before asking your next question. • Yourself - All three of the above are motivated by a desire to invest in yourself—to make you a better writer and business person. No one can take that away from you, just as no one can do the hard work of investing in yourself but you. Make the time—and not by accident—to engage with books, readers, and other writers. And then write. Write as often as you can. Write about whatever fancies you. For the love of St. Peter, keep your butt in the seat and write. And then hold your work up against the light of other books, other readers, and other writers. I am where I am and will continue to grow because I read about story craft every week, endeavor to listen to my readers faithfully, connect with other writers above me, and challenge myself to write something every day. Head down. Eyes up. Keep moving. —Christopher