It’s a Long, Long Road

It’s a Long, Long Road

Man, that kills me every time.

Writing, like in life, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself–Not take everything so seriously. As writers, we usually take our writing pretty damn seriously. It means all that and a bag of chips and salsa to us.

But at the end of the day, we do it because we love it. Because it’s fun to create. Because we were the kids that loved to play pretend in the backyard. Because we love storytelling, we love stories, we love new worlds and experiences, and we want to share our own with the world.

Me, I know I’m obsessed with storytelling. Reading books, watching movies, playing video games, writing stories. Maybe too much so 🙂

It’s a long, long road. With writing and with life. You’ve got to be able to enjoy the process. If find myself recently  (both in writing and life)getting so caught up in the goal that I’m not enjoying the process.

HOOD COVER FINAL 1
New Cover!

I’ve been fixated on finally publishing my novel. I keep saying “after this edit, it will be done!” But I’m still learning, I’m still improving. I know the work I’m doing in the editing process is making it a more complete, better story. I have to honor that. I told myself I’d have this thing published by the end of the year.

It was my new years resolution, if I remember correctly.

I hope to be able to do that. But if I can’t, to hell with the resolution. I’d rather tell my story right then hit an arbitrary deadline. After all, I’m working for myself.

It’s fun in a sick way, working on editing a book. There will be a day when I look back on this experience with this book fondly.

So take a deep breath, wherever you are in your life or in your writing, accept there’s a long road to be traveled yet. Enjoy it.

-Evan Pickering

 

6 Methods to Hook Readers

Brilliant Post on The art of the Hook in Writing.

Words & Deeds

I found this quote today. You have no idea how happy that makes me. I found this quote today. You have no idea how happy that makes me.

Anyone else learn about hooks in high school? You know, those one-line bits of magic that supposedly made your college application essay more interesting and enthralling to the poor brain-numbed grader?

They’re baaack…

Joking aside, hooks are in everything – or at least the concept of hooks is. A hook isn’t necessarily a one-liner. It can be an idea, a character, a world, a word, a situation, etc. By definition, your hook is whatever grabs your audience and pulls them into the story (hence the name).

I think of them as those big old stage hooks from Vaudeville days. Instead of pulling bad acts off the stage, however, they’re pulling recalcitrant audience members back to their seats (“And you’re gonna stay there until I’m done.”).

Hooks aren’t limited to the start of the story, but that’s…

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Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

I’m coming clean. I’m guilty of something.

It’s something every single one of us does, but I’ve been embroiled in it lately.

Misery.

Something ‘bad’ will happen, and a certain kind of rhetoric entrenches in my mind:

  • I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
  • Everything feels like it’s going backwards.
  • I feel like I’m half the man I was five, ten years ago.
  • I’m making decisions with zero certainty that they’re the right ones.
  • I feel distant from everything and everyone I love as we all get older.

All of this, every single shred of it, is bullshit.

I could sit here and say “I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I’m healthy, living in a (relatively) free country, I’ve had an awesome life, I have people I love who love me back. I could be starving in [insert third world country].”

And yeah, that’s true. But in reality, all suffering is relative. If we lived a life of luxury and riches and ease, the simplest problem would feel life-crushing.


But I digress. The real reason all those aforementioned thoughts I have are bullshit is simple:

They are pure undiluted fear, disguised as the truth.

Some people might only have days to live, or are facing incredible adversity. Even those heavy, truly significant problems, are only events–we decide what they mean. The fear that they can create will only paralyze you. It will keep you from enjoying the moments of your life as they happen. It is bullshit.

We all have problems. We all have doubts, we all live in a world of uncertainty. While I’m carrying this weight around, I’m sleepwalking through precious, beautiful days of my life.

So maybe I have no idea what my future is. Maybe I’m nothing like the me I was when I was younger. Maybe some things in my life are going completely awry. Maybe I’ll never know if the decisions I’m making are the right ones. Maybe what I thought I wanted out of life has changed drastically. So it goes. So it has ever gone, for me and for everyone else.

Just let go. To hell with all the paralyzing fear that makes you want to never get out of bed. Change is inevitable. And not just the change you expect. Change you always secretly feared or never wanted will happen. But change is the nature of being alive.

Every problem can be described as this: You have a plan, an expectation. That expectation is not met or goes sideways. Anger, fear, doubt ensues.

I won’t sit here and tell you to live a life without expectations. But I will say this:

Life will probably go nothing like you thought it would. That’s alright. It is full of incomparably beautiful moments. Enjoy them, and the wildly different experiences that will follow. You cannot stop change. Fear is bullshit. Let it go.

-Evan Pickering