Author Archives: Allied Authors

Haefele’s ‘Look Behind the Derleth Mythos’ now available

Book cover

A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the Cthulhu Mythos by John D. Haefele

A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the Cthulhu Mythos by John D. Haefele is now available to purchase in hardcover. The likely audience for this book will include the wide breadth of readers interested in H. P. Lovecraft and/or August Derleth as well as the “imaginary world” crowd, especially those into the Cthulhu Mythos and including role-players. As such, it will also be of interest (an important associational item) to all Arkham House and related imprint aficionados and/or collectors.

For more information and to purchase the book, visit www.lulu.com/shop/john-d-haefele/a-look-behind-the-derleth-mythos-origins-of-the-cthulhu-mythos/hardcover/product-20604420.html.


Bloch’s masterwork makes top five list in Wall Street Journal

Errol Morris recently included Robert Bloch’s Psycho in his “Five Best: A Personal Choice” column. The article, which focused on the critic’s five favorite tales based on true crimes, was published in the Nov. 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Bloch, who specialized in crime, horror and science fiction, is best known for writing Psycho, a novel inspired by the grisly deeds of Ed Gein and the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock film by the same name. Bloch also wrote short stories and screenplays and was a member of the Milwaukee Fictioneers, an antecedent of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin.

“People remember Hitchcock’s movie, but the book on which it is based is wonderful in its own right: deep and incredibly funny,” Morris wrote of Psycho.

Read the full feature here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240529702033355045780866626
12677302.html


When life is too busy, try a TMS

Time.

Never quite enough.

Not enough to do this or that and certainly not enough to dive into the writing we really, really, really want to do and give it all the attention it deserves.

Admit it or not, most of us have felt this way at one time or another; sadly some would-be writers make it an excuse.  Perhaps the TMS approach can help.

For more than ten years, I was privileged to teach a fifteen-week adult enrichment course titled Writing for Publication at a local community college.  I found a common problem with my aspiring writers, twin problems, in fact: trouble carving out a large enough chunk of time to write and trouble actually getting started.

And so the Ten Minute Special was born.

***

I start each class session with a TMS. 

I present a brief topic to explore, and if you don’t like it, write something else. 

No one will see the work of another.

Spelling, grammar, punctuation…don’t worry about them. 

There is only one strict rule, and that is to write for the full ten minutes.  If you can’t think of anything to write, then write “I can’t think of anything to write,” and after a few repetitions, your brain will get bored with that and start percolating.

Some TMS idea examples: Chronicle the last time you cried; describe a room in your home left to right, top to bottom; take an issue you feel strongly about and argue — convincingly — for the other side; detail the last time you felt ashamed; five minutes of character interaction in dialogue only, followed by five minutes of the same interaction with no dialogue at all; write your own obituary; etc.

At the end of each full course, I’d ask for a critique of what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved about the class.  Every time, without exception, the TMS would pop up as one of the most valuable elements of the class (often at the top of the list).  Several TMS topics went on to become the basis for short stories or pieces of non-fiction, and at least one TMS morphed into the beginnings of a novel (no idea if it was ever completed).

***

Digression…

In high school I played drums and was in concert band, marching band, orchestra, the pit band when we did musicals, the drill team drum squad, and an outside concert/marching band during summer.  This doesn’t count the hours I played and practiced (some may say pounded) on my drums at home.

In short, I played a lot.  And when I wasn’t really playing, I was sorta kinda still playing.  During algebra, my fingers twitched; in history class got my toes tapping; and in English those fingers would dive into a syncopated dance with my tapping toes.  And on those rare occasions when it was not possible for my assorted digits to tap, twitch, or dance, the music moved to my head.  It was always there; I loved it, learned it, and lived it. 

Friends on the baseball team would often walk, stand, sit with a baseball in hand, holding it, rolling it, squeezing it…learning it.  The same with guys on the football team, only with a football.

Another friend liked art class and had a knack for drawing; when he wasn’t working on anything specific, he would doodle aimlessly…living his craft.

Seeing a pattern?

End of digression.

***

I believe the class-time TMS exercises were especially effective for new and aspiring writers for several reasons: an instant, manageable (hopefully thought-provoking) topic, the time limit and requirement to keep writing helped short circuit that often pesky internal editor, the privacy curtailed self-censoring and allowed total freedom, and the communal aspect of everyone frantically scribbling away providing a shared creative atmosphere. 

And then there was the powerful realization that they could write a heck of a lot faster than they’d ever expected.  After a few TMS sessions, it was common to find them finishing three, four, five or more pages in those ten minutes.  Although not a math whiz by any means, I was able to point out how those same TMS efforts applied to their own writing and stretched to 30 minutes or an hour would lead to “making pages” at an impressive rate.

And how does any of this relate to us in — or aspiring to join — the writing business?  Well, when we don’t have the time to really, really, really dive into our work, we can take the brief moments that life grants us to live/love/learn our craft and flesh out a description, jot a few details of setting, doodle a map, chart fragments of potential dialogue, make a list of things we may need to research, detail a character’s history specifics that can help bring them into focus, etc., etc. 

Time.

A little here, a little there.

Adds up.

Jack Byrne contributed this article.


A Derleth Christmas card

No one has yet performed the daunting task of preparing the complete bibliography of Wisconsin writer and publisher August Derleth, which might fill two thick volumes or more with small print.

Alison M. Wilson came closest, compiling a bibliography of Derleth that is both academic and rigorous, but only in some categories.  Facing a project that was “swelling” (Introduction) to “impossible dimensions,” Wilson quickly realized she needed to waive many standard components of the typical catalog. August Derleth: A Bibliography (Scarecrow Press, 1983) has neither the section of Verse (Derleth’s poetry collections and anthologies are listed, but perhaps a thousand or more individual listings are missing) nor of Reviews and Columns (Derleth appeared weekly at least in newspapers for nearly all of forty years); nor does it have a section of items written about Derleth.

Also missing—obviously—are publications after 1983 (three decades’ worth), unpublished manuscripts and other materials (first uncovered in the 1990s), most published letters, much nonfiction (especially for the Small Press), and many reviews of Derleth’s books.  Despite these omissions, Wilson fills well over 200 pages, listing 736 primary items.

Derleth himself is partially responsible for any lack of completeness, having meticulously recorded, published and circulated his own bibliographies during most of his career.  As a result, few readers found it necessary to track anything on their own.  Unfortunately, this had a downside, for Derleth focused only on his published books and also because the last compilation he did in 1962 is lacking the final (and most important) decade of his life.

I was reminded of bibliographies only a week ago when I made an astonishing discovery in a Wisconsin antique store.  Though only once had I seen one before—and that was in a photograph—I recognized immediately (though they were partially hidden) Derleth Christmas cards.  I decided to purchase the small stack of them, no matter how many or what the dealer was asking.

Print of an original August Derleth Christmas card

There were five cards, and each also featured a reproduction of a woodcut by Wisconsin artist Frank Utpatel.  I will assume that for consecutive years Derleth chose one he newly favored for inspiration, composed a new Christmas/New Year poem, and then stamped these onto heavy stock paper to give as a holiday greeting.  Derleth personalized each by signing them individually and adding to a few warm patches of yellow moonlight.

None of the five poems published thus are in Alison Wilson’s bibliography, where all contents of all Derleth’s poetry collections are listed in full.  So these too must one day be added to make a complete bibliography of August Derleth, and I will see that they are.

Print of an original August Derleth Christmas card

Prolific Wisconsin author August Derleth was a life-long friend of Allied Authors. A proponent of Wisconsin regional writing and fan of genre-writing, Derleth maintained ties with numerous Allied Authors members. A business man and editor, he promoted and sporadically published their work.

John D. Haefele submitted this article (© 2012 all rights reserved)


Dedicated writers tread fine line between routine and realistic expectations

A coworker from across seas recently contacted me by IM at work. He was impressed with the scripts and guides I had written and asked a few questions about writing. I imparted upon him what the Allied Authors of Wisconsin imparted on me:

Just write.

No matter how bad you think the things you are writing are, just do it.

Further, get yourself into a routine of some kind to promote your writing. For example, on Sundays I will bike ride to my local coffee shop, have a chai tea latte and write for thirty minutes up to three hours. I make the time to write.

It helps. It really does.

Now I have written things that I don’t like in the time I set aside, but you know I don’t regret them…I even decided to keep a few after a bit of polishing.

To me Total Writer’s Block is a myth. If you cannot think of something to write on your current piece, take out a new sheet of paper or open a new file and write something else. It doesn’t need to be good. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be something you save beyond becoming kindling for a fire. The fact is that writing, even when you don’t exactly know what to write, is an exercise.

Let’s face it, if you don’t practice what you know, you will lose touch and find it gets harder as time goes on and you have to start back up again.

I can speak from experience, having paused in my weekly ritual at the coffee shop. It’s been a little more than two months now, and I am finding that writing is a habit that can be difficult to get back into—like going to the gym. The moment I stopped was the moment I lost momentum.

I could go on about the fact that you need to keep up the practice of writing and making time in a busy schedule, but I won’t. If writing is important to you, you will find the time to write. And if life gets so busy that you need to put down the pen and focus on other matters, don’t feel too guilty. Life is like that.

Feel just guilty enough to start writing again as soon as life slows down a bit and you can make time again, but not so guilty you fear putting thoughts to paper—or screen.

Alexia Lamont contributed this article.


Haefele’s nonfiction gets nod from literary critic

Allied Authors of Wisconsin member John D. Haefele received some early praise for his book-length study on August Derleth’s writing within the Cthulhu Mythos of early 20th century horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Literary Critic Don Herron recently penned his initial impressions of Haefele’s work in his blog “Up and Down these Mean Streets.”

“He’s taking on the almost thankless task of defending Derleth, whipping post for recent generations of Lovecraft scholars, and does a great job of it — in particular, he’s razor sharp on pointing out how certain otherwise respected scholars repeatedly get the facts wrong as they make their attacks on Derleth,” Herron wrote of Haefele.

Read the full article here: http://www.donherron.com/?p=4435.

Haefele’s completed work is expected to be ready in December 2012. Updates will be made on this website as they become available.


How to make a person

The problem with stories is they require people.

I’m not talking about author and reader—though they, as well as their relationship, are fraught with challenges too—but rather the individuals that populate the story itself.

Some might call these people “characters.”  But a writer doesn’t really want to invent characters any more than he/she wants to come up with a plot.  Sure, we typically end up with those things, sometimes, just sometimes, we transcend.

When a reader flips through pages made of paper or pixels, the last thing an author wants is the audience to see a story as a series of fictional events.  The goal of any storyteller is to weave a spell of deception so powerful that it all seems real at the time.

We aim for an obliteration of disbelief, though if we’re lucky, we invoke a suspension of the same.

If a writer can trick a reader into wondering what a character will do next or, better yet, what he/she would do in an unrelated situation, the writer is that much closer to success.  Because if a reader cares about a character as if he/she were a real person, the reader is more likely to care about the story they’re a part of.

So what’s the difference between characters and people?

Characters have motives.  People have psychology.

Characters follow a story arc.  People exhibit behavior that moves them in a number of different—and often conflicting—directions at once.

Characters have unique voices.  People adopt different voices in various situations.

Those contrasts only begin to hint at why it’s so very difficult to create a person entirely out of words.  Some might argue that it’s impossible, maybe even misguided.  After all, art is meant to imitate life, not become identical to it.  Anyway, as previously stated, the best we writers can do is pick and choose pieces of reality, incorporate them into the folks who inhabit our fiction.

However, just because it’s difficult, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make every attempt to eschew the temptation to spew out two-dimensional puppets, rough archetypes, and (especially) lazy stereotypes and, instead, aspire to come as close as humanly possible to creating humans.

And how do you get to know a real person?  By asking questions—lots of ’em.  While working on my first novel, a creative writing professor provided me with a handout that contained a ton of questions.  I can’t recall the source, and I’ve made my own additions over the years, so I believe I’m safe with sharing them in this not-for-profit venue.  The questions have served me well when creating main characters, though I wouldn’t recommend taking the time to answer them all for minor players (unless, like me, you have a penchant for the planning process).

Interview question for your person-in-progress

  • What does this character look like?  What color eyes and hair does he/she have?  What are his/her height and weight?  What color his his/her skin?  What is his/her race?  Is there anything unusual or unique about his/her appearance (e.g., tattoos, piercings, etc.)?
  • What style of clothes does he/she wear?  Would anyone notice him/her in a crowd?  Why or why not?
  • How does he/she present him/herself?  Does he/she carry him/herself proudly?  Does he/she appear ashamed, shy, or aloof?  Does he/she have any idiosyncrasies or habits—good or bad?  Does he/she chew gum, smoke cigarettes, or have a twitch?
  • Does he/she speak in a particular way?  Does he/she sound educated, snobby, or dull?  Does he/she use slang or the proper dialect?  Is he/she sarcastic or have a particular way of telling a story?  Does he/she have a favorite tagline?  Is he/she always using clichés?
  • What was this person’s childhood like?  Did he/she have any brothers or sisters?  Two parents, one, or none?  Where did he/she live?  Was he/she constantly moving as a child?  What was he/she like as a child?  Was he/she hyperactive or timid?  Does he/she remember his/her childhood fondly?  Are there any memories in particular that stand out?
  • What does this character do for fun?  Does he/she watch or compete in sports?  Hunt, play cards, or play video games?  Is there something he/she collects?  If anything, what does he/she read?  The newspaper?  Mystery novels?  Can he/she read at all?  What types of music does he/she listen to?  What movies does he/she enjoy?  Does he/she have a sense of humor?  What does he/she find funny or not funny?  Is he/she someone you would hang out with in your free time?
  • How does this person feel about lying?  Does he/she lie when it suits his/her purpose?  Is he/she a pathological liar or blatantly, painfully truthful?  Would he/she cheat or steal?  What, if anything, would prompt him/her to kill?
  • How does he/she view his/her vices?  Does he/she see them as sins?  Is gossiping a sin?  How about promiscuous sex?  Is he/she cowardly, only concerned with Number One?  Constantly complaining, prejudiced, racist, or greedy?  Does he/she have any secrets?
  • Is this character an optimist, a pessimist, or something in between?  Does he/she believe in fate or free will?  How does he/she feel about life?  Does he/she love it?  Hate it?  Is he/she merely going through the motions?  What does he/she want out of life?  What is important to him/her?  What are his/her goals?  Money?  Power?  Success?  Fame?
  • Is he/she spiritual or religious?  How does he/she feel about others’ beliefs?  Is he/she tolerant and/or open to new ideas, or is he/she steadfast in his/her ways?  Has he/she ever been in love?  What does love mean to him/her?  How important is it?  How does he/she feel about sex?  Is it important?  Are his/her sexual habits normal or deviant?
  • How does he/she feel about children?  Does he/she love them, feel uneasy around them?  Does he/she want to have children of his/her own?  What might he/she sacrifice for his/her children?
  • What is a typical day like for this person?  Are his/her days full of surprises, or is he/she on a set schedule?  Is he/she comfortable with routine, or is his/her life too stressful?  What does he/she do for a living?  Who are his/her friends?  Does he/she have many, only a few, none?  Who does he/she hate?  Does he/she have any enemies?
  • Is he/she married or single?  Is he/she a loner by choice or desperately looking for someone?  Does he/she have any kids?  How often does he/she see them?  Where does he/she work?  Where does he/she go for fun?  How does he/she interact with strangers?  Or does he/she stay within his own clique?  What would a random person think if he or she saw your character walking down the street?

I’m sure there are shortcuts out there—streamlined lists or other getting-to-know-you exercises—but the more questions you can answer, the better you will know the people of the page.  At the very least, pull open Facebook and see what kind of profile information a real person is apt to display about him or herself.

Since real people tend to censor, exaggerate, and so forth when engaging in social media, maybe it is a good idea to fill in categories like “politics,” “religion,” and “education” as an additional exercise.  After all, just because you know the deep, dark secrets of your fictional folks, that doesn’t mean they would share them with the world.  What kind of Facebook profile would they set up?

That’s the problem with people: so many layers.  And only you can decide how much—or how little—to reveal to the reader.  But before you can make those decisions, you have to get up close and personal with your characters.

The bad news is the stork isn’t going to drop a fully developed character in your lap.  The good news, however, is that if you make the time, your people are always available for a lengthy interview.

David Michael Williams contributed this article (reprinted with permission from http://david-michael-williams.com/2012/06/14/how-to-make-a-person/).


Dubious Derleth

Though he is gone now more than four decades, raising the subject of August Derleth, the dean of Wisconsin writing, to members of Allied Authors elicits mixed and cautious reactions.

Though few present-day Allied Authors were around when “Aug” (as he was affectionately called) was in his heyday, even those who have not read his many books think they know one thing about the famous Sauk City author and publisher because of an anecdote recounting an event in 1968, when the relatively young Council for Wisconsin Writers, an organization of volunteers promoting Wisconsin writing through awards, education and media recognition, announced the 1967 awards.

Recalled once more, for the Sept. 2007 issue of The Quill Driver by the editor, we have the story this time “according to Jerry (Jerry Apps, the 2007 winner) and told to him by Robert Gard” (U.W. writing instructor):

In the early years CWW gave only one award per year—best book by a Wisconsin author.  As the story goes, Run, Rainey, Run by Mel Ellis and a book of poetry by August Derleth, were among the finalists.  As Mel Ellis was announced the winner, August Derleth, who had written well over 100 books by that time, jumped to his feet.  Red in the face and jumping to his feet and storming out, Derleth yelled, “No damned dog book should ever win over a book of poetry.”

Only this time, either because the unnamed editor or Jerry himself had gained insight into Aug’s display, the article goes on to say, “And so it was that CWW thought that perhaps they should give out more than one award per year,” with Jerry adding, “Maybe it was a stretch to judge a dog book and a poetry book in the same class—sort of like judging a Holstein cow and an apple pie in the same class at a country fair!”

But was this enough to help Aug’s reputation?  Derleth had been a long-time friend of Allied Authors, but in 1967 Mel Ellis was active member.  Derleth helped found CWW in 1963, but so did Allied Authors members Donald Emerson, Larry Lawrence, Larry Keating, Al P. Nelson and Larry Sternig.

To this day loyalty trumps empathy.  But what should interest Allied Authors and others is what influential Wisconsin writer Edna Meudt had to say for Wisconsin Academy Review (19.2, 1972) in the article she titled, “August Derleth: ‘A Simple, Honorable Man.’”  She wrote:

Much has been written of this incident, of [Derleth’s] resignation from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and of his walking out on their awards celebration.  His actions were misinterpreted as “juvenile,” “a feud with the Council,” and a “lack of respect for the book that won.”  His decision was, in fact, a long-considered one.  As for the “feud” he dismissed that with a quotation from Eliot’s Four Quartets: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”  He had reviewed favorably the book that was to win.  And he had been suggesting that the award be changed from “For a Best Literary Work (by a resident Wisconsin Writer)” to “For a Book of Outstanding Merit…” for two reasons: (1) This new designation would eliminate much criticism of the choices.  (2) The award could then be limited (the $1,000 top prize sponsored by the Johnson Wax Foundation) to a one-time only reception.  “As it stands,” he wrote me, “such a designation will always be open to question, and it cannot be limited.  The ‘best’ is ‘best’ and it can’t be done otherwise.”  […]

Derleth’s entry had been The Collected Poems, the cream of thirty years work, restructured to make a unity to stand behind the Apologia—illuminating a philosophy and a way of life; poems that had been praised by major poets from Edgar Lee Masters to last year’s Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, William Stafford.  By its author’s published statement the award-winning book was his first, turned out in three weeks at the urging of his agent to meet a nature-book contest deadline.  [And here Edna emphasizes] Again: Had it been for “Outstanding merit,” August would not have withdrawn from the Council; it was the “Best Literary Work” decision he protested.

Elsewhere in the article Meudt reflects: “August had an objectivity that must have been difficult for him to live with, and there was in him that which would not ever permit his taking the easy course.  About the CWW awards she adds, “Never was this illustrated more clearly.”

Knowing this, will it change how the Allied Authors feel about Aug’s behavior that day?  Perhaps not, but it does help explain it.  The “best” award went away—today CWW issues “achievement” awards in eight categories: Short Fiction, Poetry Book, Short Nonfiction, Children’s Literature, Book-length Nonfiction, Book-length Fiction, Outdoor, and Poetry—and the historical record merely shows Mel’s win for Run, Rainy, Run as CWW’s 1967 Book-length Nonfiction recipient and Derleth’s Collected Poems the 1967 Poetry recipient.

Prolific Wisconsin author August Derleth was a life-long friend of Allied Authors. A proponent of Wisconsin regional writing and fan of genre-writing, Derleth maintained ties with numerous Allied Authors members. A business man and editor, he promoted and sporadically published their work.

John D. Haefele submitted this article (© 2012 all rights reserved)


Rules for SUCCESS for writers

There are no guarantees when it comes to writing—no formulas, no surefire step-by-step plans, no infallible paths to follow.

Okay, okay…I know; there are countless books and magazine articles giving just such plans and formulas, and they almost all appear to make some degree of sense. True. No argument. Read them myself. But there are two important points to consider: following them does not guarantee success, and ignoring them doesn’t guarantee failure.

The best we can do is think about the advice that makes sense to us and discard what doesn’t. I advise you to do the same with the “Rules for SUCCESS” that follow. They make sense to me and might just work for you.

S Set goals…realistic, attainable, daily goals

Attempting to write, revise and polish a book in a week is (for most of us) unrealistic. Setting a daily writing goal of 10,000 words is (again, for most of us) unattainable. Only you can determine a personal goal that is realistic and attainable.

While perhaps not essential—and there are numerous successful writers who have not done so—I would strongly encourage aspiring authors to establish “daily” goals; whether “making pages,” doing background research, mentally creating character histories or whatever else needs to be done.

Doing so daily keeps the material percolating, bubbling and fermenting much more effectively than trying to carve out large, but infrequent, chunks of time to work. Putting even a minimal amount of time and effort into your writing daily keeps the material alive and growing and prevents the ideas and enthusiasm from napping (or going into a coma).

An aspiring musician, for example, with a daily one-hour practice schedule will 99.99% of the time grow in skill more quickly and evenly than one who practices seven hours every Sunday.

U Understand what it means to be the writer you wish to be

If you want to write layered psychological thrillers, you need to understand the human mind and psyche.

If you want to write hard science fiction, you’d better have at least (at least!) a rudimentary understanding of the science portrayed in your book.

If you want to write historical fiction or a whitewater rafting adventure or a police procedural, you’d better research that historical period and learn the ins and outs of rafting and become an authority on how the police work.

And if your goal is to write greeting cards, haunt your local Hallmark store to develop an eye and ear for the craft.

And read voraciously in whatever field you choose to work; read what works and learn from it. Read what doesn’t work, as well; determine what doesn’t work about it and why.

C Control your time

Waiting for inspiration, for just the right moment, for the “muse” to plop down on your shoulder and whisper sweet ideas in your ear is not a plan of action.

Reading about writing or thinking about writing or planning to think about perhaps reading a book about writing in order to be ready when the time is right is not a plan of action.

Planning to write when you get a chance or when the time is right or when the kids get back in school or when the holidays are over or when the spring cleaning is done or after vacation or when the kids are out of school…nope, not a plan of action.

If writing is a priority to you, treat it as such; if it’s not, that’s fine, too. Less competition for the rest of us.

CCreate an environment conducive to creativity

Take classes; read books about writing and writer biographies; attend workshops, seminars, writer/fan conventions, etc. Listen to whatever music sooths or stimulates or moves you. Find and use whatever nudges your neurons, sizzles your synapses or caresses your creativity. Do whatever it takes to keep your right brain self-engaged and questing and growing.

Do not, however, count this as actual “writing” time.

E — Enable enthusiasm by writing what excites you, what gets you going

Some aspiring writers (and some published authors, as well) try to determine “what sells” and set their sights on getting ahead of the curve, regardless of whether this is what they want to write. For most, this path leads to rejection and dissatisfaction and often sub-par work.

Writing well is hard work, even when you love the material. Writing something you don’t truly enjoy can be torturous and depressing.

S — See yourself as a writer

A number of years ago, a major NBA star was hired to work on an athletic show commercial. He was instructed to miss a free throw, but it couldn’t be an obvious miss. He had to look as though he was trying to sink the shot.

It took him thirteen tries.

His self-image as a basketball professional and his “body memory” of shooting free throws were so ingrained, so strong that he literally had trouble breaking out of that reality. His psychological makeup and sense of identity made missing nearly impossible.

If you see yourself as someone who will write “someday” or as someone who “wants” to be a writer or as someone who “hopes” to be a writer, this could very well slow, stall or perhaps even stop you before you get started. While positive think won’t guarantee success, negative thinking will almost certainly prevent it.

S — Send your work out

In my years as a freelance writer, writing instructor and literary agent, I’ve never had nor heard nor read of any other writer having editors pounding on your door demanding to see the contents of your file cabinet.

Write it, revise it, polish it and send it out. Immediately start something new. After all, you are a writer, aren’t you?

Jack Byrne contributed this article.


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