Perusing my menu of posts the other day, I realized that it's been a while since I wrote something about one of the original topics this blog was created for: my adventures in writing. So without further ado, I would like to share the various tangents and opinions that have been rumbling around in this grey matter of mine called a brain with all of you.
And....the answer to the title of this post, which I admit is a bit odd for the topic matter being presented.
Winter of 2005 is when I picked up a pen and began putting words to paper. Four months later, I wound up with a 90,000 word/210 plus page manuscript. Summer '08, after spending a fourteen months with a literary agent and another several months in a futile effort of going solo, I decided to self publish my first novel, which baring any further complications, should be out this October.
This my friends, is the total "official" output of my writing career so far. One self published novel. The unofficial output of my writing has been far greater than simply one novel. To whit: I have at least three other unpublished stories that this blog is currently home to. Two of which, Cedar Mountain and A Betrayal of Vows, can found here in their entirety. The third, Golden Texas Tea, will eventually be posted here in its entirety as well. In addition to those three stories, I have about three or four others as well, to share with everyone.
In addition to having my debut novel (Shades of Love) coming out, I am currently working on two different versions of my short story, "A Betrayal of Vows": a chapbook version and a full length version.
But that's not what I really want to talk about. What I do want to talk about is how much I've learned overall in the past year and a half, dabbling in the Cyber World, and how I was able to apply it to my writing, which even though all my stories remain unpublished (but copyrighted), in ways that I previously could never imagine.
I thought my writing skills were pretty good at the time I discovered chat rooms, but boy was I proven wrong. In the chat rooms (or community boards, depending on your swing), if you wanted to go heads and shoulders above the muck and grime of idiot posters/trolls, you better be able to make your point sharp, concise, brutal and to the point. If you could effectively use humor, sarcasm and wit, along with facts, in your posts, you were golden.
I spent all of 2007 sharpening and fine-tuning my writing skills until they gleaned (or so I thought); honing my humor, sarcasm and wit until they were razor sharp; and mowing down anything in my path. In effect I was a walking, talking real life Keyboard Commando, except I was reasonably able to back up my mouth.
By the late spring of this year, I had enough of the chat rooms. I had imploded and exploded with deadly efficiency. I was brain dead and mired in a rut. My writing output had peaked late last year, I was making no progress with my novel, and I was unhappy.
However, things changed this past May when I decided to self-publish my novel. At the same time I decided to self-publish, a good friend of mine, known in the blogger world as GumbyTheCat, suggested that I should start a blog. He thought my writing in the chat rooms was pretty good and a blog would be an excellent way to expand and expound without having to worry about being censored/banned in the chat rooms.
So I figured, 'why not?' I could mouth off without fear, and I could use it to promote my book at the same time. Memorial day weekend, was the official birthday of this little blog. After spending a month or so, I felt comfortable enough with the blog, that I could start being creative with it.
So like I used to do in the chat rooms, I went surfing the blog world, searching out blogs that would both peak my curiosity and hopefully teach me a few things along the way. Within a couple of months, I found an initial core group of blogs that feed my need to be.
The initial mix contained my friend Gumby's, a rant blog by Kyle, a rant blog by Julie Gong, and a writing blog by Chandler Craig. Out of these blogs, I picked up on others, mostly humor and writing related blogs (Sy's, a group of writers who hailed from Australia/England/the States, one by Lenin Nair and one by Travis Erwin).
From these wonderful blogs, I was able to pick up excellent writing tips and other reading material that helped me improved my writing skills. Not so much as for my current re-writing adventures (and it's helping a lot) but also for my blogging.
Yes, I said blogging. Doing this blog for the past four months has helped me improve my writing skills in more ways that could I could possibly imagine or accomplish. A blog is the ultimate end all for getting approval by the general public. Whereas submitting your short story/novel involves trying to past muster with one or two people (a very long and torturous process which can try even the patience of the Pope), doing a blog directly involves the general public with your writing.
You can either fall flat on your face (and there are ways of proving that) or you can catch people's initial attention with your writing, and hope to hell you keep them interested in the long run. Because this is where you're forced to improve your writing in order to keep what you got and to get more of what you got.
You can be the funniest or most interesting guy in the Real World, but if you aspire to be a writer and can't move from the verbal front to the written word, you are toast. I have been blessed with the ability to move what I say verbally to the written word (paper or computer, your choice) and keep people interested enough to come back for more.
I am truly fortunate and thankful for the people (traffic in blog parlance) who come by to visit my blog on a daily or weekly basis, or even on a one shot visit from either a link I posted in a chat room (mostly visual stuff like the pictures you see here), or from a backlink on comment I made on someone elses blog.
I truly appreciate everyone who stops by to either just read, or read and comment. It shows that I'm doing something right, and in order to keep doing that something right, I have to continually improve both my writing skills and my content.
To sum it up: if you're an aspiring writer and you're looking to expand both your writing skills and possibly get published or at the very least, draw interest from the publishing industry, give serious consideration to doing a blog. Or if a doing a blog sounds like too large of a mountain to climb, start off by doing chat rooms. Both are excellent ways to work on your writing, meet people and have fun in the process.
You never know, you just might learn something new as well.
The answer to the title "Elifghts".