4 Years and 4 Months

As of this post, this very blog has been alive for 4 years and 4 months.  I’ve published my fiction starting in 2009.  That is six years ago.

Six years ago, everybody who was popular in novel sales, all swore up and down that social media was the ticket to improved discovery.  After all, if people don’t know I exist, how can they discover my fiction, right?

Well, the great experiment is over.  Those who sang songs over social media, well, it was all nothing but a song.  There was no advantage over being discovered.

My best year for freebie downloads was 2012.  My best year for sales was 2011.  Does any of that sound recent?

Yesterday, I was managing 3 websites, including two blogs.  I managed a Facebook page on top of that, with a handful of other promotional pages.  I even started an Internet radio station.  I have a presence on 3 different forums, including Goodreads.  Among all of these, I was spreading myself mighty thin… and for all of that work, I earned less that $300 so far this year.

I’m cleaning up my web exposure.  I will still have my main website and this blog, and that is it.  No more Facebook, no more Twitter, no more extra blogs, no more radio station… because none of it is helping me with my writing in the least.  My attention is divided, and when I’m writing novels with big goals, I need to be better focused.

By reducing my responsibilities to just a few web pages, I can focus my attention where it belongs, produce some excellent novels and make my call for Beta readers on my blog, and release my novels once I have them as polished as I can make them.  That was my original goal, and that hasn’t changed since I started this blog in April of 2011.

Back to work for me.  I have a ton of writing to do, and with those other distractions now out of the way, I can probably get something done.  I will bring more of an update on that before this month is out.

 

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From The First To The Last Chapter – 5 Things To Keep In Mind

The ability to write a novel from start to finish doesn’t own any kind of magical formula. Like anything we try to accomplish in life, certain things can hinder the process.  Some of them can’t be avoided, like the condition of your own health.  If you’re coughing, wheezing, taking serious medication that can affect your judgment, I promise that most, if not all writing skills goes out of the window.

The things that can be avoided are usually the same standard problems faced by most writers.  Interruptions during a critical moment of writing.  Too much noise.  The music you listen to in between chapters while taking a break got left at a friend’s place.  Go and get it, your chapter is done for the day.

The inner spark that fires up has a different life span for every writer out there.  Some can write in the middle of a Burger King on their laptop, the crying kids and yapping adults blending in with the sounds of traffic.  Others may require absolute silence, where the drop of a pin is loud enough to echo, or that inner spark doesn’t flash as brightly as before.

Regardless of the type of writer you are, there are five thing to keep in mind when it comes time to start creating, be it your next novel or any type of wordsmithing.  This isn’t shill stuff, designed to tell you something you already know about yourself.  I hate those kinds of articles.  This is designed to help you in a most economic sense with the work you love to do.  Writing.

1.  Control Your Environment

do not disturbThis is number one for a darned good reason.  When I say to Control Your Environment, I don’t mean that you have to kick out your spouse/roommates/siblings/kids… though the idea of doing so may feel appealing to some of us.  Designate a work space, no matter how small or big. For me, one of our spare bedrooms became my ‘office’ for writing.  We all have a small personal space everywhere we live.  For a long time, it was me, my composition book and my bed with a dozen number two pencils, in a time where laptop computers of today was considered Science Fiction.

Once you have your work space figured out, you need to notify the people in your life.  Get a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, and politely let them know that it actually means what it says. Unless the house is on fire or there are armed intruders kicking down your door, you don’t want to hear about it until you take the do not disturb sign down.  Then the hardest thing you have ever done will eventually happen.  You’ll have to enforce it, so the sign has teeth in its message.  “Get out,” is pretty short, powerful all by itself, but can be spoken with a compassionate tone towards children who decides to test those boundaries.  Use good common sense though.  If your child is pleading for help with a bloody nose, that is an exception of course.  Just make sure the trivial stuff doesn’t invade, and get that assurance across to the rest of the family/staff/roomies to know this and respect it.

2.  Take Those Breaks Without Fail

This is also highly important.  If you do binge writing and editing way afterward, this is a hard thing to do at first.  When you see the positive results later on, you’re going to thank me for this.

Every hour to hour and a half, take a fifteen minute break.  Set a timer.  It’s a soft enforcement for your own level of self-control.  If that ninety minute mark lands and you’re in the thick of a creative spurt, by all means finish the idea, then take your break. The more often you do this, your brain will adjust, and you’ll find yourself enjoying those breaks.  Better yet, you’ll realize that your word count, your own personal production, will increase.

Think about it a moment.  When is the best time your creative insight comes out?  When you sit in front of the keyboard for the first time that day, refreshed and ready to get the fun written out!  Your fingers fly, your mind is on overdrive, cruising along a touch past the mental speed limit, enjoying the ride.  Almost two hours later, you’re pushing for more mental gas, and this is where you should park the imaginary car, get out and stretch those legs.

Leave your controlled environment during those fifteen minutes and do something else. Your family/roomies will notice those breaks, and they’ll actually time the daily junk that matters little to those breaks.  It will make it easier for them to leave you alone while in writing mode, and your mental theater will be refreshed by the time you sit back down at the keyboard again.

3.  Drinks, Snacks and a Garbage Can

We can’t neglect our smaller wants while writing.  We get thirsty, we feel the munchies and in the process of satisfying those while squinting at the paragraph we just created, we also generate a surprising amount of garbage.  So that 13 gallon office garbage can will get filled and emptied, which is a ton easier than cleaning up at the end of the day… or in some of our cases… by the end of the week.  You don’t want a new, extra huge chore mentally linked to your writing.

Having a supply of your favorite drinks and snacks is also important.  Remember those reading days, before becoming a writer?  When you curled up on the couch or your favorite overstuffed chair with a book, you sipped your favorite drinks and consumed your favorite snacks.  You love reading, which is what inspired you to write.  Cross those same habits over to your writing, and you’ll cross just about every drop and bite of the same levels of love.  This is important in not just building a routine, but keeping to your routine of finishing your next well-written novel.

Remember when those crackers ran out, or that tea-cup was drained?  You went and replaced them, and then finished reading the novel.  By keeping those same habits in practice, because you used them to finish your task, it will help you finish writing your novel as well.  Worried about your weight?  Hey, I didn’t say potato chips!  Any snack and drink will do, and today there are plenty of healthy options to choose from.  The important thing here is consistency with what you’ve done before, compared to what you’re doing now.

If you never snacked or drank anything while reading, congrats, you’re a rare breed out there.  At least have a hydrating drink nearby while writing.  Keeping your body comfortable is important, and those 15 minute breaks will be easier to do if it also means a potty run!

4.  Aroma Therapy

Because I work in my office as long as 8 hours per day, just like a regular job, I tend to fart in the same space as well, more often than I care for.  That’s not quite the Aroma Therapy I was talking about though.

Odors from the garbage can, from your own sweet butt music, and the occasional slice of garlic laced pizza you mostly gobbled down but is still sitting there a few days later, those odors can truly affect your writing.

There are many diffusers out there at various levels of pricing.  This is not the same thing as steam.  Here is an example.  Once purchased, next you need some essential oils to diffuse into your working space.  My favorite is three drops of Lavender Oil, and Three drops of Peppermint Oil, and the diffuser works very well for up to five hours before turning itself off.  It’s not overpowering, but gentle enough to keep me from wrinkling my nose too often, no matter how loud my gas attacks get.  Because it isn’t based on steam, the room/work area doesn’t get humid or balmy.  It smells really nice and it does its job quite well.

Besides my silly reasons, the Aroma Therapy does help my creative process, or I wouldn’t have mentioned it here.  I got the idea for it because if it helps my adult autistic daughter focus, it should help me focus too.  It does, it works, and more of us should experience it. Look into it, try it just once, and the prices of the diffuser and oils won’t make you wince anymore.  As for me, it was the best investment ever when it comes to my writing process.

5.  Set The Average Work Day

This is no joke here.  I know you’re the boss of your own schedule.  If you wake up at 4am with that chapter looking to bust out, by all means, run to your computer/laptop/composition notebook and get it written out.  If your brain-bladder full of ideas needs to take a pee, go do your business.  I am not arguing against that.

Setting a routine writing schedule is more about endurance than anything else.  Your creative flow can be trained to work harder for you, as long as it knows when you’re ready to work with it.  Seriously.  Many writers take their creative center for granted.  Like any other part of the body, there is a reward for consistency.

Lifting those 25 pound hand weights 10 times, for three sessions every day will feel like a waste of time at first, but as it becomes easier to do, your muscles get firmer and that leads to overall better health.

Creative Writing will respond in the same manner, as long as you keep the routine for a long enough time.  Set your schedule and stick with it.  If you must alter it, then do so, but remain steady in your work flow.  If you have a 40 hour job and writing is your relaxation and hobby, by all means, keep that hobby on a reasonable schedule.  It is possible.  Once you have a nice dose of mental strength, your creativity will match your writing productivity, and that’s when the magic happens.

The day you finish a novel and that surprises you as to how much easier it was this time around, is the day when you realize these five things have some level of merit.  You’ll have an increase of not just productivity, but of quality as well.  Go ahead, give it a try.  At least you’ll impress your editor, and if you stick with it, that Best Selling Novel you know is in line will eventually get written, and that is what this is all about, is it not?

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Ultrawave Radio – Dan’s Own Radio Station

Ultrawave Radio

I think it’s time for the reveal tonight, though the programming is still slightly rough around the edges.  I introduce you all to my next venture, to listen to while I’m writing my next novel, my very own radio station…

ULTRAWAVE RADIO

The link above is set to open a new tab.  On the right side, top of the list, it will play the station without loading up anything else.  If the advertisement video plays, just hit pause so you can listen to the music I personally enjoy.

As of right now, the distribution for my channel is only one service big at Radionomy. Give me a few weeks to a month, I’ll have it on iTunes, ShoutCast and pretty much any other streaming site I can affiliate with.

Please tell your friends.  Tell your enemies, but let folks know that Dan the crazy one has started his own radio station.  In time, I’ll have content coming up, like a live broadcast, a few shout-outs for friends and family, just some cool stuff.

I have it set to play my own advertisements for my novels every two hours, twenty four hours a day, and I used my own announcing/stage voice skills to produce them as professionally as I could.

Also, if you note on the right hand side of my blog, the link will always be there, even after this post is long buried in time.  Listen and enjoy!  Chances are running high that I’m listening to it at the same time, writing up another universe full of adventures for my readers to enjoy.

:)

UPDATE 6/20/2015 – There was a minor issue with some songs repeating every hour yesterday.  That has been resolved.  I have over 65 tracks from popular 80’s songs, stretching more than four hours back to back.  The issue was in the timing spread in the code, which I fixed.  Now we have a bit more diversity from one hour to the next.  :)

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Heads Up – New Blog – Non Fiction Only Over There

Well, I decided to do it, and thus it is done.  I’ve started a second blog, all based on things that crowd my mind when I’m not writing fiction.  All of those articles are fact checked, and sources provided as links within the articles themselves.

Truth, Trends and Technology

Those are my interests outside of the word processor, and for some of those who like my writing, it might provide a new insight into how my thinking machinery works.

Some of those articles may surprise you.  Like the one I did on making home made hot cocoa.

Check it out or not, it’s brand-spanking-new and filled with a spattering of articles, with only one imported from my main one here.

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June News, Updates and Announcements


Early Rendering of a Bird Woman

Hello folks!  Time is flying by, and she has arrived at last, to dish out the information! What I’m doing, what I’m not doing, what I’m writing and what is to be expected.  On a really cool note, I’ve been honing my cover making skills.  I’ll be talking about that too!

Current Project

Power SurgePlease visualize a bottle floating at sea, during the night, with tall waves.  Inside that bottle is the next novel I’m working on, and the cork is on tight.  What has caused this minor set-back?

Drugs.  The legal ones.  New blood pressure pills.  New Diabetes medications.  Pretty much everything that can make you feel tired, less energy, but the wounds that are refusing to heal have now healed.  I’ve just about adjusted, and I’m more alert these days because of it.  I’m back in front of my computer creating content again.  Thank goodness!

I’m not as far along with Power Surge as I hoped to be, but it’s still moving along.  I need to rewrite two chapters, because I was lopsided in my thinking with energy draining legal drugs when I created it.  It’s why I had to stop writing for almost a month.  Yuck.  I could have had that novel nearly finished by now.

Cover Creation

practice coverThis cover isn’t a story.  It isn’t a novel.  It’s practice in creating covers.  Using DAZ Studio 4.8 Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS2, Paint.net and royalty free photo stock, I made a cover I titled Deagen’s Promise.  There are four different elements blended together here, counting the title work.  Everything you see is on purpose.  Let me know in the comments section if this is a quality cover, or does it suck worse than a starving vampire that’s chewing on an old used surgery sponge?

I can save anywhere from $40 to $499 by making my own covers, depending on the artist of course, whom is offering their services.  There are some artists who like my work enough, I don’t have to offer a payment promise, but that would be taking advantage of my friends.  I won’t do that.  There was a day when I had less than $5 in my bank account.  Today, I am up to $18.59 in funds after expenses, but I can save up my royalties for a boost if it’s needed.  However, the more I do for myself, the more I have for other things, like Marketing and Advertising, none of which are free.

Announcement Time

I maybe starting a new blog.  No worries, I am not abandoning this one here, but the time has come where my real life issues that have nothing to do with my novel writing has got to be shared.  I’m talking about technology.  Trends.  Issues that affect all of our daily lives.  Some of my posts here was that needs bubbling over, like my car review post I did some time back.  Nothing to do with my novels, everything to do with my anger at car design flaws for the bumper.

By keeping that there, I can focus more here.  That is if I decide to start it up.  I will know for sure in a few weeks, and I’ll share the update, no matter which way I’ll lean.

In Closing

There is so much more I wanted to say, but there are things I want to clarify before speaking of them.  Information I need to review before writing about it.  I do my best to fact check everything I read, so when I discuss it here with you, I’m not talking about somebody else’s best guess.  I’m talking about verifiable facts.  With that cryptic comment, I bid you all a good night.  This will make far more sense in a future post in a few weeks.

Stay safe out there!

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From Reader To Writer – A Key Moment

What turns a reader into a writer?

We must understand that all writers are, and will always be, a reader first.  It’s the primary ingredient, as we chose at one point in our lives to be a writer.  For those who juggle words through the smithy of the human imagination, to produce a set of words that creates new worlds, along with the beings who populate them, that first flash of insight comes in different variations.

For some, they want a better ending.  They can visualize it.  Another writer might want to create a new niche for their point of view.  Yet another may want to dazzle a genre in a manner never before seen, with the hopes of sparking a new trend.  Inside all of these situations, these people have formed their opinions and gleaned their facts from reading.

There is that rare individual who will create a novel because it’s something they would want to read for themselves, as nobody has ever written that kind of book before.

The main question, however, hasn’t been truly answered yet.  I’ve addressed the influences, but the actual grain of change is a different matter entirely.  What turns a reader into a writer?  It’s a combination of several factors.  Like some recipe for baking. There are many ways to bake different kinds of cookies, but the method of mixing and cooking remains mostly unchanged.

First ingredient is courage.  It takes pure courage to put something you’ve written before the eyes of another human being.  Hearing your creation dressed down by a critic, no matter how friendly or helpful, can be raw on the nerves.  The vision is tarnished.  The words no longer glow on the page.  Your mind has a new, dark cloud that now doubts your own talent for writing.  Overcoming that level is a matter of introspection, as the courage needs to be generated by the writer.

Second ingredient is boldness.  A writer must be bold enough to assemble ideas in a manner that leads another human being down a predestined path.  If the writing itself is fractured, the style comes out feeling lost, there is no boldness, no directive that leads a reader in the direction the writer hopes for.  One must be bold.  One must lead as such, or the novel won’t come out right.

Third ingredient is imagination.  A writer must possess an imagination to create, or they run the risk of assembling a novel filled with words from other writers.  As such, they can doom their own careers, so they must come up with their own style.  Their own worlds. Their own unique voice, as they master their stories for the enjoyment of other readers.

The final ingredient is love.  No, this isn’t some cheesy way to get girls to follow me on Facebook.  Love is something a writer must have when they are creating their novels. They have to love writing, they have to love their genre, they must love their characters, or all is lost from the beginning.  Writers love to write, because they fell in love with reading first.  Pay close attention to this, because like any kind of love, writers can fall out of love with their work.  When that happens, their fans know it, and it shows in future novels.

There are other ingredients, like there are for cookies.  The basic recipe is always there, but when we add what is unique from our personalities, we change the flavors of those well-written cookies we call novels, and the more variety we have, the better it is for the multitudes of readers who want to sample that tasty novel all for themselves.

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The Beauty of a Teardrop

Tear

What makes a soul cry, be it pain, loss, love or the intense happiness of life, it forms a tear from the eye.  The windows to our souls give back only a little of what they take in, but there is something more to this.  Something more to the tear.  It’s not simple.  It’s deep.  It has meaning.  This is what I am writing about tonight.

What is a teardrop?  It’s more than water.  It is clear, pure in appearance.  Just by looking, one cannot see the hidden salt.  Salt is a preserver.  It attracts more water to it, as if gathering in the purity.

Each tear that falls is a statement to our world.  No matter how it’s generated, it’s a touch of crystal clear hope, created to be perfect and tiny and never, ever insignificant.  You know each and every tear that has fallen from your eyes in your entire life.  Even now, if one was to form, to enter our world, you would know it without a doubt.

So just what is happening here?  That tear is generated by you.  Your eyes.  Your soul. Your heart.  Your capacity for compassion, for grief, for the hopes of the heart that not all is lost, nor is life ever a mere moment that comes and goes.  You generate a drop of purity, touched by the preserver of life, salt, and given back to the world.  It’s a sign that no matter what happens, no matter what it was that makes those tears come out, something good is being added back to the Earth.

Many of us, as humans, with our capacity to complicate even the most simplest things, sometimes can’t see that teardrop for what it truly is.  We can dismiss them as trivial, or meaningless at times.  However, when we shed them, the entire world all around us notices, even if we don’t think it does.

Human tears are precious.  Diamonds from our emotions, formed under the pressures of life and granted back to the world as only we can express them.  Don’t be afraid of a teardrop, because when your spirit commands the elements of your body to create them, it’s manifested by a decree of angels.

When the clouds in the sky weep, life is given to the world by the very essence that falls. The clouds have no idea this happens.  Clouds aren’t told of the dry, parched lands below them that they are bringing back to life.

To God, you are far more important than a cloud.  Your tears, when they fall, are going somewhere.  You are not told where.  You aren’t told of the benefits they bring to the places they go.  But I can assure you, there is a parched spirit in need in places we don’t notice, and those tears are bringing something that’s beneficial to them.

Ah, and the clouds above us.  If only they knew how much we love what they bring to our farms and flowers and what we drink to survive.  In the same light, if only we knew how much love that is aimed at us when we do cry, from those that we never see.  Then it wouldn’t feel like a bad thing anymore, now would it?

^_^

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