REBLOG, Brilliant Article: You Are Enough

Absolutely Brilliant article. I couldn’t Agree More:

What if the next time we sat down to write, we didn’t worry about being interesting, we didn’t worry about being liked, and we didn’t worry about being reblogged?

“Anything that gets your blood pumping is probably worth doing.”
Hunter S. Thompson

The most frequent question I field from bloggers is, “How do I get more people to read my blog?” I suspect they want the answer to be something SEO-related, and I hate to disappoint, but my answer is almost always, “Pick a topic you want to talk about. Choose subjects that you can’t wait to write about, whether a million people will read your blog, or just your best friend.”

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Albert Schweitzer

What if there were no pressure to be interesting, or wild, or unique, or marketable? What if the main ingredient in the recipe for a great blog post is simply the exuberance to share yourself? I bet we could excite readers just as much by writing about finding a killer sale at Marshalls, as we could about winning the latest season of Project Runway.

There is such a divide between a story that needs to be told, and a story that reads as if it were written out of obligation. The writers that I admire the most are those who can write about any topic, and draw me in with their exuberance. A writer’s moxie makes any story magnetic.

Source: Click Here to Read the Full Article

The Single Greatest Strength Of Any Writer

There are so, so many different faculties that are necessary for writing.

Creativity and world building, being an observer of the world around you, having patience, free expression without self-doubt. . . Then there’s the more pragmatic side, writing good sentences, building scene and sequel, character development, plot arc, creating dialogue, balancing the rhythm of your work. I could go on.

All of these things are crazily important. Every writer is different, in that some of these skills come easier or more naturally, and others take time to develop. Sometimes we must adjust our very perspective to be better writers.

But one faculty rules them all, like Sauron and the one ring.

A willingness to be wrong. And with that, the thirst for growth.

There is nothing more definitive on whether a writer will be successful than this. If you write a story, are so confident in it, flat out refusing to believe it could need moderate to serious rewriting, you just have no hope. None. Even great authors have to hack apart their work, get their hands bloody.

All the cliches about first drafts being shit aren’t just lip service. You need to write. And rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. And edit. And edit. And edit.

If you can’t enjoy that, if you can’t get excited about that process of improving your writing and your writing skills, than the process of creating a good to great story is going to be exhausting, emotionally paralyzing.

I’d like to think I’m a decent writer naturally. What I know I am exceptional at, is learning. I get so excited I can barely contain myself when my editor comes back at me with my work with a boatload of changes, with new ideas and ways to adapt the work. When I originally wrote HOOD, Book One of the American Rebirth Series, I sent it to my wonderful, brilliant editor, who very nicely helped me realize there were a some strengths to the book, but huge, huge weaknesses. Ones that would take massive rewriting. With a deft touch, she helped me realize the book simply wasn’t good enough as is.

Hood Cover 7

My book was 280ish pages to start. I cut 180 after I took a day of self-loathing to truly digest what my editor told me, and rewrote the story. It finished with around 240.

Once that I realized I’d taken two years to write a book and needed to butcher block 2/3s of it, I wanted to die. But once I realized the potential of my story, how much better it could be, I couldn’t contain myself. It only took me around 2-3 months to rewrite the whole thing, after it had taken me 2 years to write it in the first place. And I could see how much better it was.

Now, I’m waiting on my editor’s feedback for a final round of editing. I’m so excited to see what she has to say I am literally counting the days. And I’m so, so glad I feel that way. Because it would suck if I hated this process, knowing how important it is.

The beauty of it is, the next book I write, it will be easier and require less re-work because I’ve learned what not to do, I’ve learned what my weaknesses are when I write, and now I understand what it takes to overcome them.

If you talk to any established author, they’ll tell you this: a microscopic few writers just write brilliantly, naturally.

The vast majority of great authors started off writing sucky, flawed writing, but loved doing it. And they learned (even if they didn’t love it) how to improve their writing, put their ego aside and really soak in what they could learn from editors and other writers. That’s how most of them become great. Experience and willingness to be wrong, and learn.

I’m so, so SO glad that willingness to be wrong and learn from it came easy to me. That it was something I liked. Because it is everything in the world of writing. I won’t sit here and claim my story is great. That is for the readers to decide. I’m just glad that if it doesn’t live up to what I think it could be, I have the right approach. Break it down. Learn from it. Come back stronger the next time.

-Evan Pickering

Book Cover Art: Don’t Get Too Excited Now

While I’ve been waiting for my editor to get back with my latest draft, I’ve been slaying myself over cover art.

Trying (unsuccessfully) to get an illustrator, looking for digital professionals, digging around any and all online resources on the matter. . .

It was driving me god damned crazy.

Some artist charge insane amounts for cover illustration. Other cover art deals want to hook you on marketing deals with the cover art. And all the while you just hope you can get a cover that really feels like it speaks to your story.

Not easy to do. Of all the things I went though, of all the research I did, this was the best advice I found.

I had found some art online I thought was perfect. Specifically, this:

6578632965eec6a4cfb9cf0a80dfc40cArtwork: Darek Zabrocki

But I couldn’t get in contact with the artist, and assuredly even if I did the price of cover illustration would probably be steep.

I couldn’t get anything similar that encapsulated my story more. . . Rough survival in the wooded countryside of post-apocalyptic eastern seaboard, USA. Emblemized by a Hooded man, rifle in hands, waiting to fire.

Really, this image is perfect for my story. But alas, there was little I could do. Trying to replicate something similar was not working.

I wanted to puke trying to get this done. Finally, in my frustration I just decided to jump on some free online cover editing software, namely Canva. After a few hours of tinkering around with photos, I started to realize I could really create a cover I could be proud of for my book. All on my own. I won’t bore you with the grind of trying to key in on toning and positioning, font type and coloration. But this is what I came up with. And considering I’ve never done this before, I’m pretty happy with it:

Hood Cover 7Ta-daa.

All things considered, I think it looks pretty dang good. What say you, unwashed masses and followers alike?

Really, tell me what you think. I’d love to hear it. After all, as of now this is going to be the face of my book when I publish it in about a month (god willing)

-Evan Pickering

As You’re Reading this, Civilization Is Collapsing Around You

Okay, maybe that’s sensationalism.

It might be happening very, very slowly, but it’s true.

Entropy is real. Everything slowly slides from structure to disorder. Your couch at home, your car, the cells in your body, and every government that has ever existed.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m far from a pessimist. I believe in the beauty of life and that people are good. I’m a hippie at heart. My greatest desire is for people to be happy.

But imagine for a second, that as you sit reading this, the process has reached it’s peak. On the civilization level. Maybe you’re at work, maybe you’re running errands. . .

The power goes out. Everyone looks at each other subconsciously for support, strangers and acquaintances and loved ones alike, as their focus has gone from the mundane thought freight train to the slightest hint of worry. The status quo is quivering. You make little jokes or annoyed sounds to lighten the mood.

An hour goes by. The power doesn’t come back on. Everyone is shrugging and chuckling and heading home. All the stop lights don’t work and you lurch hesitantly forward at intersections, trying to make it through unscathed.

At home, the power isn’t on. It’s comforting to be in your haven, but it feels different without technology.

You check your phone for news. People are on social media saying they don’t have power across the country. Your heart starts to pick up the pace. You want to know what’s causing this. You want to know why. But all the information networks that could have told you do not work. Eventually your phone will run out of battery.

Hours go by. Nothing changes. You read a book, or eat some food in your fridge quickly, trying not to let too much cold air out.

You start to think about loved ones. Where are they? Are they safe? How can you contact them? You try to call but the networks are down.

What’s the next thing you do?

I think I know.


You get in your car, or whatever you use to travel, and go. You go to the homes of the people you love, you want to know they’re safe. You don’t want to be alone. It seems stupid that you would be apart from those people you care about.

Storefronts are being shattered and looted as you pass by. No one is hurting anyone, but the law is starting to unravel. Your heart is now rocking in your chest. Why did you wait? Were you just waiting for the power to come back on? What if something horrible is happening? What is life going to be like if this is permanent?

Your life, in a moment, has shifted from wondering whether to buy organic ketchup or not, whether you should forward a coworker for help on a project or just do it yourself, wondering if the new episode that’s on tonight is going to suck, hoping you get a chance to kick back over the weekend. . . Into questions like what is the world I am living in? Where are the people I love? Who am I, really, without everything that has become my life?

How big of a hug would you give the people you love when you see them? How far would you go to try and find them if they weren’t home? Who should you go to see next? Should you all gather together, for safety, for love, for the future?

How meaningless is the little shit we wrap ourselves in, thoughts of the future and the past and the everyday drivel of our lives, and how important are the simple things like who are we as people and where are the ones that I love?

One day, they may not be rhetorical questions. Let’s hope it’s not in any of our lifetimes. In the meantime, take a deep breath, remember what matters, and let go of all the crap that’s spooling up in your mind.

-Evan Pickering