What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Writing is like that, isn’t it? No matter how much you sit and write, there never appears to be enough time.

No matter that you’re in the midst of writing passion, as soon as you step away, you know you must get back to it. In fact, once you’re off and running, you’re dying to get back to it. What about when you complete your first draft? Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Rewrite and edit.

Therefore, you roll up your imaginary sleeves and you dive into the mechanics that need tweaking. You desire to make this manuscript the best it can possibly be. You invest your time, your brain power, and if you listen to my advice, your money (for a professional editor). You complete the task and you now own a shiny, well-polished product which you love. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Published.

Therefore, you do your due diligence. You explore the myriad publishing models. There are so many, one will fit your needs. You go through the process. If it’s your first time, you battle learning curves and you find there’s a level of knowledge you need. If you’ve been through the rodeo before, you tweak what you learned the first time and you step through the processes more gingerly. You then get your book published. Know this – there is nothing stopping your book from being published but you…

You now feel the slick texture of your masterpiece in your hands. You’re amazed that you’ve accomplished this feat. You’re filled with elation and anticipation. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Branding. Platform. Marketing.

Yes, the bane of the vast majority of writers. I tell my clients all the time, if you want a best-seller, become a marketer. Best-seller does not mean best written. Marketing is an art unto itself. So is branding. So is a platform. All become massively important for the sales of your book. Therefore, you either do one of three things: 1) you take on the learning curve of branding, platform and marketing. The three go hand-in-hand. This tends to be the most prevalent with the majority of writers. 2) you do your due diligence and you seek out professional marketers. People who know how to help you set up your brand, platform, and how to market them. They cost money. The good marketers tend to be worth every dime… 3) you give up. This category gets many writers right out of the gate. Once they realize they either have to work at something other than writing or they must pay people to get their book where they want it to be, they quit.

Option number three does not mean a writer stops writing. Many of us write simply because we must. I feel it’s of vital importance that we do not kid ourselves. The reality of a new book is this – “Who knows the book is available?” Unless you’re Patterson or King or any number of other famous writers, no one outside your circle of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances know who you are, much less that you’ve written a book.

So let’s say you avoid option #3 above. You now have a pristine, marketed book which is getting great reviews and people are clamoring for more. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. A brother or sister.

Therefore, you set out to create another masterpiece. Chances are while writing your previous book, other book ideas came to mind, some of which you’re dying to get to. You once again become immersed in the creativity of writing.

You should already see that this becomes a circular cycle. Yet there’s more. Multiple books mean multiple objects in the air which you must juggle. Each of them desires some love and attention. Each of them asks you the same question, “What have you done for me lately?” If you’re like me, the dust settles on them and they whimper the question.

I learned this highly valuable piece of advice the hard way. Build yourself a team. Invest in yourself. Invest in your team. Here’s what I mean by “team.”

Find someone who has a knack for marketing material and can help you build a brand and a platform (if you cannot do this or identify your brand and platform yourself). Find someone to help you get out into the “real” world. Yes, speaking engagements. Your team can be Toastmasters, to begin with, as I did. Find someone to procure speaking engagements for you. Find someone who will handle video for you. In this day and age, video is king.

Develop a support group where you are not the guru. A group where you can learn and be motivated once a week. With all the demands from your book(s) for what you’ve done for them lately, developing a team of people to help and doing this early on is critical. Most writers want to lone-wolf the process. I know I did. The reason for this is we tend as authors to lean heavily toward creativity (of which we can be quite jealous) and away from business.

Know this. Writing becomes an addiction. When you truly love to write and express yourself, nothing will prevent you from continuing your trek except death itself. Success does not equal money or number of books sold unless you define success in that manner.

My vocation, my happiness, and joy in the world of writing, publishing, and entrepreneurialism are helping people achieve their writing goals. Love your writing. My writing hero is Ray Bradbury. Please allow me to add this quote from him for this quote sums up how I feel about writing:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. 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. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Need help with your writing? That’s what I do. Check out my Consultation Page. I love to work with people who have stories trapped within them. We can let these stories out so they may soar…

May I Help You?

Book Writing Dreams

Our subconscious writes more books than we’ll ever know. I wake up nightly with killer ideas and concepts. Most often these days, I don’t write them down. I don’t pull myself out of sleep mode and dive into something rewarding.

I’ve trained myself to get up two or three times in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom, go back to bed, and immediately fall asleep. I fell out of the habit of grabbing ideas and writing them out and then going back to sleep.

Except for yesterday. I awoke with words that demanded to be written. I could not go back to sleep. Eventually, I grabbed my cell phone and wrote in the notepad section. I went back to bed and fell asleep peacefully for hours.

I should take a lesson from this, eh? An issue here is that I had learned this very lesson many, many years ago. I simply slipped out of the habit of capturing these thoughts. Scientifically, these times we wake in the early hours work as our most highly intense moments of creativity. We rob ourselves of the very gold mine we own – our highest creativity.

My vocation (a calling; a strong inclination to follow a particular activity or career) is writing. My passions of writing are 1) writing and 2) helping others get their books written. I refuse to call what I do “work” or label my occupation as a “job.” These descriptors carry too much negativity. I love what I do. I embrace my vocation.

So many people desire to write books. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, it does not matter. The desire still tugs at their heart. People own stories. Stories they want told. They simply struggle with how to go about getting the words down and creating the end product – a book.

My words today came whistling loudly past my consciousness this morning as I vainly attempted to hold onto sleep. “You are there,” the words said. “Your task is to find people who need your help.”

This was strange. Usually, I awaken to a poem or a storyline. I grasped the subconscious message, however. Tell people. Let them know they indeed may write that book. Tell them I can help should they need it.

This message, on one hand, stands as absurd to me. Of course, they can write a book! I’ve written many books. Anyone can write a book! On the other hand, I know most people will never write their book, mainly because they simply don’t know how or don’t have the confidence or feel they lack the qualifications to write.

I often must step back and realize I once stood in those doubtful writers’ shoes. My passion and drive to help people write books pumps up my motivation in life. I’m at my pinnacle of happiness when I see someone completing their dream.

Do you want to tap into that subconscious I spoke of in the first sentence of this post? Does a book pound inside your heart and mind demanding to be let loose? It happens to many of us. Writing a book, for me, is a passionate release of creativity which grants rewards all along the way. I love writing. I love editing. I love seeing my book in print. I truly love others reading my books. I am humbled by those who tell me how much they enjoyed my books. Most of all, I love helping others know these loves as well.

Therefore, may I help you? My creative idea that woke me up this morning wanted me to write, “May I help you?” Know that you can write the book your heart desires. Know that your voice is as valuable as any other in this world. Know that what you have to say in your words owns meaning to someone. Know that you can do this.

If you need help, let me know…

Realities vs The Writer

As writers, we battle many realities. Whether these realities stand the test of truth remains to be seen. We build them, live them, and write them. Once a particular reality imposes itself on us, what we built, lived, and wrote either comes crashing down in a pile of text-debris or the writing stands, however wobbly, until the next reality assault. This sounds like building a house on the ocean shore and the realities are storms and hurricanes which tear through periodically.

Please allow me to shift to first-person at this point.  As a writer, I desire certain aspects of my life to coincide with my writing desires and my creative nature. Writing, for me, stands as a quest for truth. What truth? Whatever truth my mind and heart must pursue.

At my age, I’ve come to realize many truths exist in this world. Simply take the “truths” about health and eating well along with appropriate amounts of exercise. If I am to believe all the “truths” out there in the world, then I may eat anything or nothing as well as everything in between, and all I need to do physically falls much along the same lines. Therefore, where lies the truth?

The reality, for me, sets in when I deny that sugar is mostly bad for me and I feed my body quantities which rob me of energy as well as other negative impacts on my physical health which I don’t even feel. Up until that point though, my reality nurtures the seed of a thought that chocolate ice cream heals my depression. While that may seem absurd in one light, don’t discount the “truth” of comfort food. Lol!

As a writer, I confront my own views of reality constantly. I believe every writer should. I’ve come to realize that as soon as I peg some aspect of my writing as written-in-stone truth, something comes along and challenges my position. Is it any wonder writers can be so neurotic and downright weird? (How about the reality of “i before e except after c? In the last word of the sentence before the parenthesis, the word ‘weird’ does not follow this rule. In fact, a study found that the rule is only correct 38% of the time! There’s a reality for you!).

Sometimes as a writer, I convince myself I know something without truly knowing. Ok, so as people we do this all the time, right? We may guard against doing this, but somewhere, sometime, someplace we find out we were…what? Mistaken? Wrong? Incorrect? Misled? Whatever label I wish to place on my faux pas, reality must take up residence in my thought processes. I wrestle with some, especially the “high concept” realities of conventional writing vs creative license. My struggle in this area stems from the talking heads and pundits who scream you must write in a rule-laden prison, constantly slaving at the jots and tittles of writing instead of allowing yourself to fling your imagination and creativity to the cosmic winds of chaos.

I do realize the reality of a certain level of conformity being necessary for the end user – the reader. Yet my inner truth and reality screams and shouts that creativity needs elbow room. No, more than elbow room. Creativity needs galaxies of room. Creativity needs a time and place where one thought may never run into another or that one thought may run into godzillion other thoughts. I cannot believe, by the way, that my spell checker did not red-mark the word “godzillion.” Now I must go look it up. I thought I was creating a new word! Lol!

Godzillion – my online dictionary asks me if I meant “gazillion” which means: an extremely large, indeterminate number.

Back to the point. Creativity, in my personal reality, loves my access points where I go in without a plethora of rules, regulations, and restrictions. That stated, my creativity loves when I enter with ideas and assumptions and dreams which all crave sculpting, definition, or life. When I enter the creative process and allow these ideas, assumptions, dreams, stories, etc room to stretch their wings and soar, this becomes the “writer’s thrill.” That place where I get lost in the words and concepts and truths which fly at me, with me, through me, and I come out on the other side with something which previously did not exist in this exact form.

Ah, but realities of the outside world, that place external to my mind and heart, love to storm my stronghold, my creation and attempt to blow the writing down. Sometimes the external realities indeed demolish the writing. Most often, though, my writing stands, however wobbly that stance may be. One of the critical concepts I cling to in my writing life as well as my personal life is the fact that the majority of these “external realities” stem from someone else’s reality encroaching on mine. I must decide whether to stand firm or buckle.

I realize this post is taking place in my own little mind and that some, possibly many or most readers will not necessarily follow what I’m attempting to say. That’s true of everything we write, at least in my own reality. For those who get what I’m saying, those who actually feel a connection to this text sprayed on this screen (god I hope someone does! lol!), this post exists for you. And me. For I truly write for myself as much as I write for others.

I wrestle, in respect to writing, with reality. No matter whether I’m writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay – doesn’t matter. I wrestle with creating something consumable. I fly my internal universes of chaotic creativity with the express purpose of returning with raw nuggets of truths. Writing becomes an adventure. A happy place. A sad place. A frightening place. An enlightening place. When I return to this world you’re reading now, my perpetual hope and desire remains that something I emerge with, held in these symbols we call text, words, sentences, paragraphs – ideas – helps you the reader in some form or fashion.

My view of writing, for now, sees the process as a challenge to my external realities. I know what I’m thinking when I write. Can I convey these thoughts and concepts to someone living another reality? Isn’t this what we do as writers? For me, this is the truth which drives me – will my truth, my reality, connect with others and will my writing help me connect dots in my own life? The writing endeavor truly gets defined by the journey.

My sparring time with external realities now commences. As I prepare to click the “Publish” button, I’m easing out of my creative chaos hoping I’ve snatched something of importance to someone. I feel I have indeed snagged something of importance for myself which always stands as enough for me to continue this writing life. Retention becomes the next challenge! Lol! “Go write and you won’t go wrong!” That’s my book title and it’s my personal mantra. Don’t allow external realities crush your spirit. Use them to grow your writing into the garden you desire to create.

Let’s Talk Writing!

Man! Stepping up to “next levels” happens to be one of the most rewarding – and demanding – aspects of any business. For 25 years, I progressed up corporate management levels. For the past 17 years, I’ve been learning and growing in the writing/publishing realm of life.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a five-time Royal Palm Literary Award-winning author. I’ve written over 20 book manuscripts, nine published so far, with 6 currently in the final phases of completing. I’ve written hundreds of short stories, and thousand of poems as well as numerous essays. I’ve published over 50 authors and nearly 100 books through my small press publishing company. I’ve never published anyone I haven’t met in person.

My true calling and passion, however, is helping writers get their books written. I’ve helped over 100 writers get their books completed, most of them first-time writers. I’ve taken to calling myself “The Book Whisperer.” Initially, I taught a course through the Flagler County School System titled “How to Write Your Book in 30 Days!” based on my book – “Go Write and You Won’t Go Wrong – How to Write Your Book in 30 Days!” I’ve now gone to one-on-one consulting/coaching as I’ve discovered each author brings their own particular needs and levels of knowledge to the book-writing table. By working one-on-one, I am better able to serve and help writers who want to cut through the crap and get their book written. If you do what I ask you to do over a 30 day period, you will have your first draft manuscript completed.

Now I’m stepping into a “video-blog” setup where each week I will deliver some writing tips to help writers in their quest for their creative muse. I’ve titled the weekly video blog – “Let’s Talk Writing!” I’ve set up a category on the blog site which will house only the video blogs for those of you who prefer video over text-driven material. Learning technology and how to present yourself is part of the writing experience. So check back, at least each week, for my latest video blog update.

If you’re searching for a Book Whisperer, someone who can help you take your book out of your heart and mind and into reality. I’m your guy. I have my consulting rates listed here – Michael Ray King Consulting Rates – and I look forward to helping you take your book from conception to completion.