“Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them onto the page, then call them characters.” ― C.K. Webb
“I came on the old and best ways of writing through ignorance and experiment and was startled when truths leaped out of brushes like quail before gunshot.” ― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
There are times when we truly need to heed our own advice. Have you ever known what to do, how to do it, and when, yet you completely balked at taking on the task at hand? I know this scenario stands as something with which writers often struggle. In my particular case, the malady presents itself on a number of fronts.
One writing issue I wrestle constantly is keeping this blog going with fresh content. I’m good for a few months, then I am sporadic a few months. The issue does not lie with a lack of content. Oh no. There are more topics on which to write about writing and publishing than I could ever cover. This issue becomes consistency.
Another challenge I’ve accumulated happens to be the “stacked up manuscript syndrome.” This malady comes from a reticence to roll up my sleeves and get into the nitty gritty of rewrite and edit. Currently, I possess two fully written poetry books, two books of short stories, one sci-fi novel, and a book addressing the “mindset of writing.” Count them. Six completed manuscripts. Am I becoming a manuscript hoarder?
I’m writing this post because I just worked through rewrites on the first nine pages of the writing book. I’ve established a beachhead and I want to continue. Sometimes, placing your foibles out to the world helps motivate you to keep moving forward. Also, if I’m doing this, I’m sure there are other writers in the same boat. The crazy aspect to all this is that I believe these books contain some of my finest writing ever! Go figure…
The upside to getting into the rewrite/edit phase with these books is that I should be able to release quite a few books in the coming months. That will be a welcome trend. I am currently writing two manuscripts to add to this lot. I’m stepping into writing heaven!
I currently have three Coaching slots open if you need help getting your book written, rewritten, edited, or published. The clients who I’m currently working with have inspired me to take care of my own writing house! I love it when I help people get their books written. I also love it when I get my own done! LOL!
Keep writing! I sure am!
Our lives play out over decades filled with illusions and delusions. We act on these illusions and delusions as though they stand concrete, real. When we operate from these misguided positions, we do not serve our good unless by accident. Often, we mesh our illusions and delusions with others’ illusions and delusions. I have come to the conclusion through observation that we limit ourselves in a drastic manner when we cannot identify the illusion and delusion.
Let’s address fear. That we are controlled by the illusion of fear stands well documented but what do we do with this knowledge? Our media, governments, even corporations control the masses through fear. Even though life expectancy is higher now than in centuries past, media, corporations, and government have us frightened about our health. Isn’t that crazy? Back when 60 was old age and one foot in the grave, incredible achievements were forged. No big pharma. No dietary aids out the wazoo. No gyms on every corner. I’m sure few looked forward to death, but it appears we live much more frightened today. The illusions of fear hold us down.
Delusions. There was a day when I walked out the door every morning without a phone. Now, when I forget my technology and drive off, I possess an overwhelming need to turn around and retrieve the device. Bad things could happen. I could miss something like a text, a call, an email. We’ve been fed an illusion about technology, that it will save us, make us better. We then delude ourselves into believing the fear. An amazing thing happens when you walk away from technology – if you relax and allow yourself to feel it, freedom creeps into your soul. We’ve been duped, deceived about our need for everything technology.
Illusion – something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
On the other side of terror stands the person we are, or better put, the person we desire to be. The build up to terror from fear emanates from our buying into extreme messages flung about by those who would have us controlled so that we purchase their products, buy into their dogmas, and follow asinine rules and regulations. Develop a population who lives in constant illusion (fear) and delusion (entertainment) and you create the most controllable collection of humanity in the history of the world.
The other side of who you are is who you’re sculpted to be. If fear of gaining weight has you buying diet drinks which actually cause more weight gain, you have been deluded by the illusion of corporate fear. Everything you want to be lies on the other side of illusion and delusion. When you stand down your fear, you acquire a level of perception about yourself, your truth, and your identity.
Reclaiming your life does not come easy. We cower under the bombardment of manipulations through illusions leading to our delusions. The one item here which we own the ability to directly manage is our delusions. These are actually self-inflicted because we believe in the illusions perpetrated upon us by those who would control us. We’ve become fear junkies, flitting from one manufactured fear to another. Fear is the foundation of all control. They, being media, corporations, and government, have us fearing death, poverty, creativity, and a host of other critical life experiences.
Keep the population controlled by genetically altered food and constant entertainment, “bread and circuses,” and you will grow the most docile populations ever. Yes, the mention of “food” came out of nowhere but look at what we eat. We’ve been poisoned for decades by our corporations and governments with foods which deliver pandemics like obesity and Alzheimer’s. Our media fuels the fears. Our corporations created the reality. Our government protects the corporations. We adjust and react to the illusions and delusions because no one seems to desire to meet truths head on.
So what? How does this relate to writing? How does this relate to creativity?
Simple. None of this is new. Even though the sparkly technology makes it all feel fresh, the concept of “bread and circuses” originated from ancient Rome, if I’m not mistaken. Their gladiatorial games and constant debaucheries eventually eroded the Roman Empire from the inside out. Civilizations rise and fall like this. In the end, humanity has stood as its own worst enemy throughout history.
I say, find truth. Find your truth. Exercise your mind by standing firm against the phantoms of fear within. Practice not overcoming fear, but simply not buying into the illusions of fear. Step out of the delusions you’ve built in your mind based on the histories of fear throughout your life. Don’t allow fear to control your judgments. This is no easy task, to be sure.
I view creativity as a means to challenge our illusions and delusions. After all, this planet is filled with 7+ billion people, each one of us owning our own brand of “crazy.” We’re like snowflakes, no two exactly alike. We need to embrace our personal brand of crazy, which means embracing ourselves for who we are not for who we want others to believe we are, I feel we step into our opportunity to defeat the illusions of fear foisted upon us as well as the delusions we’ve taken to heart.
When you write, write with the knowledge that your personal brand of crazy stands just as viable in this world as anyone else’s. Seek truth and work to recognize when you’re being manipulated. If the media, corporations, or government say something, you know immediately you’re being manipulated. Step back and ask yourself what their agenda entails. Understand these three entities love us to be at odds with each other because that keeps our attention off them. When you write, even in your fiction, write from a perspective of truth and work to deny the illusions of fear. Definitely, work to avoid creating delusions as protection from all the fear tossed your way.
Let’s allow ourselves to write outside the parameters of who we’re told we should be. Let’s write outside the parameters of fear placed upon us by those who would have our voices quelled. Let’s work at exploring truths more than buying into illusions and delusions.
“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?” “Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The following is an article I began months ago and never completed. Near the halfway point is where I picked up the idea and finished the piece. This post is listed in the “Beginnings and Stumbles” category and is one of thirteen previously started writings which I am endeavoring to finish and publish. At the end of each I will place a poll just for the fun of it! If you like polls, chime in!
I once knew I could win.
Life. Sports. Intellectual battles. Financial battles. Romantic battles. All battles.
Then age, time, experience, catastrophes, life and a myriad of other phenomena overwhelmed my mind, my heart, my soul. How about you? Do you stand old enough to understand? Old enough defines itself not as an age. Old enough rests in the marrow of your soul’s bones. Old enough realizes the breath you take each moment finds itself rejuvenating a body which one day will expire. One day that last breath will not be found.
Most often, however, our perception of “life” does not have to be so skewed as to crush our emotions into abject sadness. We need to know we can win.
I’ve reached a point where I know I will never be able to accomplish all I desire in story-telling (writing) in my lifetime. This fact causes much trauma in my heart and mind. Once upon a time, I truly believed I would write the most incredible words. I would write them and the computer would begin to smoke, either from overload or satisfaction, take your pick. I would be done. I would reach my zenith. I could no longer dream of writing anything better.
The color of words would allow me to paint my white-screen canvas into the masterpiece of the millennia.
Ok, delusions of grandeur aside, I felt for years my magnum opus would spring forth and I would dazzle myself and those around me. So much rushes at you when you endeavor to take on “artist” as vocation. Writing most often becomes self-fulfillment with little compensation.
Yet the good we squeeze from our words of many hues delivers hope, passion, rage against the machine bravado, and the sense one may actually be able to escape the mundane and soar the stratosphere of creativity for that glimpse into millions of psyches all at once. Yes, writers dream. Writers work to translate unspeakable concepts into black symbols on white pages in an effort to convey to others the mysteries, tragedies, excitements, and allures we’ve danced through our minds.
I once knew I could write like that. I once knew the challenge of labeling what my creative mind experiences with keystrokes of color could manifest as a winnable endeavor. Mortality steps in for many of us. We get beat down one too many times by systems, circumstances, setbacks. We feel we’ve lost.
How do you win when you fully realize the war of life as we know it ends in the defeat of death? For writers, my sense is that we hope our words will live on. Our one shot at immortality. Our lasting statements on life and love and pain and corruption and debauchery and silence and cacophony and silken songs and heavy metal and screamo and all we see, hear, feel, touch, smell, taste, learn. Yes, death robs us of a corporeal voice, but our words may live on. After all, Shakespear is still read. Dante. Wordsworth. Homer. Plato. Socrates. Surely they live on through their words.
But did those writers (accepting Socrates, of course, who wrote little. He was an orator…), believe that long after the decay of their mortal bodies, they would reside in the minds of millions upon millions of souls? Did they know this? Or did they proceed upon their hopes and aspirations?
Yes, I believe each of us wishes to leave a mark, something we’ll be remembered for throughout the millennia. Possibly not on a totally conscious level, but at the very least taking up residence in a subconscious form our motivation to create thrives due to this line of thinking.
In my case, I get paralyzed by the lack of time and the wasted years. Foolishness when I think of Isaac Asimov’s quote, “If the doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” Asimov had the right idea. He possessed the idea of winning against all odds. From Star Trek, the ultimate Kobyashi Maru scenario. The “no win” scenario. We know death will overcome us at some point. What do we do in the face of such a knowledge?
I work each day on “knowing I can win.” The main issue becomes the definition of “win.” I work on striving to write profound words and concepts. Even more so, I work diligently to help kindle the fire of other aspiring writers to do the same. Out of the ashes of our time and history could come some of the great works of modern man, at least “modern” defined as our present age.
I look around and find that true wisdom, true roots of knowledge were born in the ancient writers. As we modernize and add technologies to our human resume, I find we actually become more stupid in the knowledge of important, personal truths. We lose touch more and more with what it is to be human and become more and more like the machines we create. Automatons devoid of deep POSITIVE emotion. Most of our emotions fuel off negativity these days. Our media would be a total disgrace if not for the fact that we perpetuate it by viewing and listening and buying into everything put before us.
Before I digress into the cesspool of negativity raining into our eyes and brains by our technologies, my point here is that we own the choice, the option, to win on our terms. To go out swinging. To grab for the stars. To strive for the grail of our words carrying themselves to future generations. Our “win” may be defined as production. Quality. The pursuit of truth. Even in fiction writing, as Stephen King said, “Fiction is the truth within the lie.”
Be emboldened. Be confident. Don’t get complacent. Never stop learning and searching out your personal truths. Help others with your words, whether they be entertainment or self-help or educational or historical. Do your absolute best. Write it real. Write your truths. Strive to impact your world in the manner you desire.
Ray Bradbury once admonished, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Obviously I love science fiction. Bradbury also stated in Farenheit 451, “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” Step away from the lie of our modern technologies and seek a voice to rise above the din of the ridiculous and absurd which assaults us each day.
Strive to win. Win your battles. Know that each keystroke stands as bold defiance in the face of certain death. Write your legacies and your truths and slip into that long goodnight with the mindset of positivity. The mindset of winning despite eventual expiration. I don’t care how old or young. We all own an expiration date in this life. The only way to win is to dedicate yourself to the prospect of winning every single day.
I leave you with another quote from Bradbury, likely my favorite author who currently lives on through me and millions of others, “You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” We are in the business of remaking our world. If we’re not, as writers, we most certainly toil in the wrong business.
Go out today. Win your next battle. The greatest thing about this philosophy? Each day you get up and write, each time you put thoughts to the page – you win. You win the moment. You win the day. I say, go for the win.
Ah, writing. She gifts me the opportunity to speak my mind, yet too often, I hold myself at bay. Why is that? When I’m on a writing binge, words flow like an opened spillway, the stream of paragraphs and pages lend whitewater excitement to my life. The spillway closes. Trickles tickle the solitude concrete, much of the now scant writing evaporates under the sun of penetrating accusation – no productivity.
Who knows the mind of a writer? Who knows anyone’s mind for that matter? This morning, ideas slammed against my inner mind-dam with force along with demands for release. I’ve been away too long. Writing now looms as obsession for an indeterminate time. I feel jittery. I feel out of sorts. I feel…alive. Undefeated. Undefeated by life, fear, oppression, anything. I now may DO anything.
I want to bottle this. I want to have it on tap for those times of retreat. But for now, it’s time to write.
So. I am behind my keyboard this morning and I decide to look over my log of past posts, specifically for drafts never published. I find fifteen. Two are time sensitive and no longer viable. Two are mere sentences from which I will need to pick up the scent of the idea and forge forward. I am titling them “Challenge” and “Challenge Redux.” Yeah, I realize the creativity level there to be a bit lame, but the titles work for me and my blog.
Yes, I’m going to repurpose ideas I felt at one time would make a great blog post and would help writers in some fashion. I’m not sure what these abandoned posts say as I did not read them. I will make a new category titled “Beginnings and Stumbles” so anyone interested may find this revitalized (I sincerely hope) material. I like it that there are thirteen posts. Since I was born on the 13th, I tend to like anything 13.
Today’s writing tip/admonition? Don’t throw any writing away. Don’t delete something simply because you don’t like it now. This may change. Many times I’ve read past writings which at one time I felt did not measure up, only to find something of value. My view is this: if you take the time to write something down, at the very least there stands a kernel of truth or power which prompted the writing in the first place. Sometimes we cannot seem to get to the heart of the writing in that moment. Later, I’ve found, you may indeed pick up the writing using the original as a prompt. Yes, you may change the original to fit your new insight, but the root, the germ of the idea, sprung from those earlier days when you invested the time to put words to ideas.
Throwing away or deleting this work truly does a writer disservice. For now, I am treating these 13 unpublished posts as my latest writing mine. I will dig into this mine, refine the product, and produce pieces intended to help writers write.
Do you have beginnings and stumbles? I’m sure you do if you save everything you’ve written. Do you need a writing project to prime your pump and get you going? I say go for it! Break out those past thoughts and concepts, tidy them up to where you’re at in your life today, and set out to impact our world. That’s what we work to do, correct? As writers, in some manner, we aspire to impact our world. Otherwise, we’d park our bodies in front of the massive assault of entertainment and information available and veg out.
Yes, as writers we produce that massive assault of entertainment and information. We all need breaks. Sometimes we run our breaks too long – at least I do. But that’s ok. There’s treasure we all seek to find in this world and the deepest, most profitable mines reside in our brains. We often need the stimulation from others creativity, but in the end, the triggers to our own private creative thoughts allow us to move forward and finish off our beginnings, thus avoiding the stumbles.
Stumbles exist either as stopping points or propulsion forward. Repurpose material you’ve begun and abandoned. Get your creative fires burning. Impact your world.
Let’s talk “writing a book” for a few minutes. I’ve written around twenty books in my life. Nothing huge about that. Isaac Asimov, one of my scifi heroes wrote something like 500 books in his lifetime.
But for someone who aspires to write their first book, my 20 manuscripts must seem like a dream. That’s one of the factors I must guard against – downplaying my knowledge and assuming others know what I know. In order for me to help people get their books written, I must identify what holds them back and what keeps them from loving the process.
Yes, there are a number of universal mindsets that must be addressed like their internal judge and critic. We all possess them. Those voices in our heads which handcuff us and deter us from our higher potentials. That’s why I have adopted the “book coach” identifier. Anyone may play basketball, but how do they succeed in getting out every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal?
The same is true for a book. Anyone may write a book, but how do they succeed in getting up every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal? In basketball, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of playing the game down so that you may move one to higher levels of play. In writing, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of pulling a book out of your brain so that you may then have a product you may take to higher levels.
I taught classes for years on “How to Write Your Book in 30 Days.” I still teach it, but now as a one-on-one coaching format. I’ve found being able to tailor the class or “workshop” to the individual is much more beneficial for the writer. I’ve helped over 100 people get their books written, many of them now with multiple books. Transitioning to a “consultant” format has had its challenges, but now I’m comfortable with new “delivery system” so to speak.
Writing a book does not have to be some huge monstrosity of trial and struggle. In fact, writing a book should be joyful, exciting, engaging, and rewarding. That’s what I work to achieve with my clients – not only the ability to get the work done but to love the process as you progress. If you desire to write a book and you need help, here’s my webpage – Michael Ray King.
Depending on who you speak with, we do or do not have any say in our birth. Depending on who you talk to, we do or do not have any say on when we die or that our “worldly” death is “real” or “the end.” I’m not going to make a call on either of those, mainly because my view is just as viable as anyone else’s.
That in-between part, though, is something to deal with. Imogene Coon died a couple years ago. I just learned of this recently. I am saddened as I remember her as a vibrant 6th-grade teacher at Dunbar Elementary School. She was wise, kind, and an excellent teacher. At twelve years old I never dreamed I would be thinking of her 46 years later, much less that she would be dead.
Our lives intersected for that one year. That was it. But now, in a manner of thinking, they’ve intersected again. I wonder what went on in her life. I wonder what joys and sorrows passed through her heart. I wonder if her years of teaching were rewarding. Yes, I do wonder if she remembered me at any point, or was I lost in the hundreds and hundreds of students who passed through her classrooms.
As the title states, I’ll work hard to not make this about death. But what I will do is make this about time and accomplishment. No matter what perspective you have on birth and death, while in this mortal body, we own expiration dates. The question becomes, in my mind, what are we to do? What am I to do?
This morning I picked a book up off my bookcase a began reading. This is a book I have not read in 50 years. Yes, that places me in about the 2nd or 3rd grade. The book was written in 1936. I remember adoring this book as a child. Something about the stories in it captured me and planted seeds of the joys of reading in my soul. Somehow the book survived a half century of moves and opportunities to be destroyed or lost by my own children growing up.
I realized this morning that none of my children ever got the chance to read it. I wonder if they would have loved it as I did. I am saddened they missed the opportunity. I’ve read the first 51 pages and I am enjoying the experience once again.
This is a writer’s blog, and yes, I am getting to my point. A good number of my teachers and even classmates are no longer with us in this life, at least in the tangible, mortal bodies. Did all these people whom I cared for and intersected with, accomplish their goals? Did they keep striving throughout their lives? Did illness rob them of their final years? Were they satisfied with their scope of accomplishments or were there many things left undone.
I’m sure my good friend Humberto, who died young in his thirties, did not accomplish all he set out to do. I look at my life, and if I live to be 100, I could never accomplish what I desire to accomplish. This can cause debilitation. Depression. Demotivation. A sense of hopelessness.
What I personally do with what time remains in my life I own. No one else. I either step up and make things happen, or I waste away in apathy and slothfulness and underachieve. Does this matter to the world? Absolutely not. 100 years from now, no one will care. Hell, I likely will not be mentioned or thought of again on planet earth. I will be lost among the uncounted humans who lived and died in the century after my death.
But this does matter to me. And possibly some of the folks around me with intersecting lives. Imogene Coon impacted me all those years ago. So did my friend Humberto and so many others. So did Professor Pat Urbas who encouraged me to take on “writing as a vocation” in 1979. I cannot discount the fact that I am intersecting with people daily. As do you.
What are we passing on, and are we actually helping people? How much of what I desire to accomplish in the days remaining me will I actually pursue?
My view stands that we each own a story. Most likely many stories. Many of us get to the place where we desire to pull these stories out from within and share with the world. I know I like to think of writing as somewhat of a form of immortality. This most likely will not happen in the sense that 100 years from now no one will even know I existed, but the key factor for me is that I know, and I have something to say.
Fortunately, I am not alone in this view. Countless millions desire the same. Should you be one of those people, take heart. You will most likely reach a point where you realize you will never be able to accomplish everything in life you desire. This is no cause to give up or surrender. This is every reason to step out, bold, intent, and motivated to make as much impact on your life and your words as possible.
After all, Imogene Coon taught me that peer pressure and honesty are two very powerful aspects of life and I need to heed this knowledge and make excellent choices. Humberto taught me many things, as I hope I taught him some as well. Humberto taught me a level of integrity at around fifteen-years-old that I strive to carry with me at all times to this day. And Pat Urbas. She inspired me. She breathed a dream into me that last day of the semester at WV Institute of Technology in 1979.
I had a bit of a college crush on her. She was beautiful. Intelligent. Then, to top it all off, she loved the first real short story I recall writing. She loved it so much, she told me to pursue my talent. She was able to feel the passion I developed writing “A Race Against Love.” She saw something in me and took the time to pass on her observation. She will live on in me as long as I possess the breath to tell people.
Those 100+ people who’ve written books through my help actually perpetuate Par Urbas even if they do not realize it. Even though I mention her in most every writing workshop I facilitate, they never met her and won’t remember her name. The seed she planted, however, lives on through me and I have been able to plant 100’s of seeds so far with hopefully 1000’s to come.
The book I’m reading from my childhood is titled, “If I Were Going” by Mabel O’Donnell and Alice Carey. They planted seeds. They blossomed in my young self and delivered a joy for reading. Imogene Coon and Humberto are dead, yet they live within me. Part of who I am grows from them. Pat is still here and so am I. I’m not sure what she is doing, but her teaching and encouragement live in me as well.
Most writers I know, hell, all of them, struggle to write at times. We suffer from all manner of psychological and emotional issues which vex us and work to deter us from our desire to write. My most fulfilling work of my entire lifetime is spent helping people overcome these issues and get their books written. This is my joy, my passion, and one of my primary motivations in life. We each possess the ability to make our choices to write. Most of us need some help, motivation, inspiration and encouragement. That’s one of the reasons I’m here.
I challenge you. Whatever your beliefs about birth and death to me are immaterial. What about where you’re at right this moment? What about your LIFE? What about your dreams and aspirations?
I encourage you to get your stories out of you. Share with the world. Help build something through words. If you’ve made it this far through this post, you must be a reader and most likely a writer looking for something to hold on to. You can write your book/story/essay/poem/screenplay. The question becomes, will you? If you need help, that’s what I’m here for. Check out my site. Michael Ray King
Whatever you do, please make certain you don’t leave your best undone. That’s where I’m at. I may not be able to accomplish everything I desire, but I will not leave my best work undone. Whether that work is mine or helping someone else accomplish their best work is immaterial. Write your stories and thrill to their highs and lows, their ebbs and flows, and have them sing to the world in the manner that pleases you. You can do this.