I have put on my personal online journal/memoir/observational rambling blog, I Fart Online, about how much I want to be a writer. I go on and on about how it is a dream of mine, and I made this site with the help of a good friend of mine to do just that–showcase my work, and build a brand and a name for myself.
After the last few weeks, it has been brought to my attention from several sources that I have gotten ahead of myself. I have not published anything in the way of fiction yet to a large community of people, so I realize that I need to take a step back and reassess the situation (as I continually tell myself.)
I have been listening to “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, which I have talked about on my other site. She goes on about writing advice that goes beyond what a lot of other, “Hey! Here are 13 ways you can start your writing career!” sites and blogs have come up with. She gives candid advice and also sneaks in little snippets of her life as an author, writer, and teacher. An example of some information that she hands out is that you should have a writing group that will read your work without any emotional ties to you and gives you honest, sometimes harsh, critiques of your work.
She also talks about how she has a one-inch square photo frame that she uses as a tool to come up with story ideas. She peers through its opening and visualizes a scene or a situation that allows her to come up with the basis of her story, or even continue with one that she was working.
This is just a few examples of the things I have put into consideration over the last few weeks.
Prior to that, I watched an interview with author Stephen King on CBS This Morning in May of this year, and he was talking about his new book, The Outsider, and one of the questions that stuck out to me was how he gets his ideas.
Now, keep in mind I own a copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing,” where I am sure he talks about this same thing, but it has been so long since I read it that I have forgotten some of the sage advice he gives in the book.
Anyway, he states that he “observes” the world around him, and ideas twist in his mind to create a story. I tried that same thing after I saw the interview. I would go places like work, the doctor’s office, the bookstore, etc., and I would come up with little ideas that would make an excellent short story. I would take pictures on my phone of things I saw that would maybe make a good background or could be manipulated to add to another idea I was coming up with.
The concept was working.
Then, I went back onto Facebook every few days and would scroll through scanning for things I was interested in, or advertisements for something I wanted, or mentions/shares/likes/comments about my latest blog post from my online journal. I would tell my friends to start sharing my writing, to hopefully get my name out there.
Then, it happened.
Mark Groves, creator of Magnificent Cowlick Media and writer/co-writer of books like Black Buttons Volumes 1-3, Hellzapalooza: The Best Damned Rock Show Ever!, and Route 666: Four on the Floor, posted an article about how reviews like this particular one that he posted is how his books/brand gets out there and helps to get independent publishers/authors/creators noticed.
That review? It was mine.
I was ecstatic! I was the example of how fans like me can help sales of books and also generate more fans by posting positive reviews! Plus, Mark is a generous person who I sought out at Kansas City Comicon the last year it was in session to meet him and other authors, and buy some of his material! He thought it was so great that I was a fan before even reading his stuff that I think we shook hands three or four times! It was awesome!
I decided to leave a comment on his current post, explaining that I was the one that had written the favorable review and that I did not only want to help promote independent creators but also that I wanted to have a career in writing. I explained that I had already started an online journal, posting stories about personal observations, to my path to mental well being, and my struggles with mental health, including thoughts of suicide. I included that I had created this site as a springboard to showcase my short stories and other types of fiction.
What happened next I didn’t expect.
Mark responded to me, but not just a simple, “Thank you for checking out my work! Keep on reading!” He gave me advice on how to come up with stories. Granted, they were ideas for horror stories. I mean, come on, he’s a horror writer. What do you expect? He also gave me a few other tips:
- Write what you know.
- Find a writing group and not just family and friends that already think you are a great writer, but other people that will be critical of your work that will, in turn, make you a better writer.
- Publish your work to an online zine or site that accepts submissions, that will not only allow your work to read by thousands, but may eventually get posted in an anthology book (is that how that works?!), thus getting your name out there even more, and allowing you to be picked up by publishers possibly or will enable you to make your own brand!
Holy shit! The same advice I got from Stephen King and Anne Lamott, and various other writing blogs! IT FINALLY CLICKED!!!
So, I am starting fresh. I’m not giving up on this site, in fact, I had an idea for a place that could be a fanboy site for stuff that I want to talk about, like writing, books, movies, comics, and also articles that I think would be fun to do that I haven’t seen a lot of other sites do.
I guess the last thing I can say, that would seem fitting is this:
Welcome to the NEW Saturday World.