Saturday, December 29, 2012

The power of Fear

Fear of success, fear of failure. Fear of rejection, fear of acceptance. Fear of seeming to be a fraud. Fear of not being a "real" writer-whatever that means. Fear of not being creative enough, fear of being stuck. Fear of the dreaded writers block. The all time most surreptitious form of fear -procrastination. I'm sure there are many other fears I haven't touched upon or mentioned in the above list. We all have had some kind of fear associated with our writing.

Whatever guise it comes under, fear is very real and if allowed, will stop us from writing.  So how do we combat this ? First of all lets admit that it exists. Secondly you must discipline yourself to act in spite of the fear. I sat on my first manuscript for a year because of fear, fear of actually being accepted and  consequently having to followup that first novel with another. Really? Yes really. I overcame this by asking myself if this was a path I really wanted to pursue. Did I really want to write?  Would I write even if no one read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books and hated them?

After giving it much thought (and answering yes to all the questions) I plunged into my writing despite the fear I may have felt. For  me that was the key, taking the action. Putting the words on the page day after day. I think writers as a rule are a hardy lot, we learn early on to deal with rejection ( especially if we seek the traditional route of agent-publisher). We are thick skinned out of necessity.  Yet beneath it all we are artists, honing our craft, constantly polishing.

At our core we are storytellers and that requires a type of sensitivity and vulnerability. That is the side of ourselves we must protect and nurture. Not by building impenetrable fortresses that stifle our creative voice, and keep others at bay. It doesn't work anyway. We cant isolate ourselves and expect to have a vibrant life. Isolation only serves to truncate our voice and is another manifestation of fear. No, the only way to deal with the spectre of fear(which never entirely disappears), the paralyzing, breath stealing effect of it- is to dive headfirst into life. Experience life to its fullest, face fear and write anyway. Your writing will be better for it, I promise.  Id be curious to hear how you face your fear, let me know.

writers write

Friday, December 14, 2012

Physical Exercise as a Creative Tool

I am a third degree black belt. I have been training for close to three decades. I recently published my first book The Spiritual Warriors: this year. So as I think about these two facets of who I am I begin to wonder- what role does my training play in my writing?
I found that it affects my writing to a large degree. If I am feeling tired or lackluster, a good training session revs me up. When I am revved up the ideas start to flow. I'm sure there is some brain chemistry involved around the endorphins released during rigorous physical activity. What I have found is that my brain enters a very interesting state when I train that is not easily accessible when I haven't. I have had some very profound, crazy (by my definition) funny and bizarre (again my definition) ideas and scenarios play out during and after my training sessions. They have all been useful and most of the times I can use all or part of the idea that surfaces from these moments.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there is a direct correlation between physical activity and your writing? 

writers write

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Creating the safe haven

Recently (as in the last year or so) I took to writing in a starbux as I have mentioned in earlier posts. I have discovered however that I would like to have a space to write. Not because starbux is prohibitive. I really enjoy writing there and they don't harass you
(for what they charge for a grande white mocha they better not). It has more to do with creating a place that allows you to enter a creative space easily. Now initially I thought this should be an actual physical space-you know the scenario closed door, do not disturb sign on said door, two handmaidens standing behind you as you write, with palm leaves slowly creating a soft breeze while a third is on standby to give you a neck massage  at a moments notice. In the background there is perfect ambient music stimulating creativity with every note. Just me? Possibly, but I digress. So after the idea of a physical space passed I thought how does this idea fit in with my concept of a Guerilla Writing(I know there is a book there somewhere)? If I want to be able to write anywhere how do I create this space that allows me to be creative anywhere? How do I establish a creative oasis that I can enter whenever and wherever?

And so this is the challenge. My first attempts have been just to sit in meditation for 15 minutes a day. I find it clears my brain of stray thoughts that are potential roadblocks to writing freely. I also write with music playing(usually headphones) and this creates a kind of sound bubble when I write. It also engages my brain to such a degree that I am writing and my brain thinks its listening to music. I find the music helps because my writing process is very visual and so the music becomes a type of soundtrack to my writing. Can I write without music? Yes, but its not as fun or free for me. Sometimes there is no choice (some words demand to be written NOW), but usually I always have my Ipod at the ready.

So how do you do it ? I would like to hear from fellow writers how you enter the creative space. Are you always there? Do you have rituals? Is it easy or torture? Do the planets have to align or is it just sitting in front of your computer or notebook?

writers write,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Guerrilla Writing

I usually write in a starbux
In fact my first book (The Spiritual Warrior
 was almost entirely written in the starbux my neighborhood. What I have realized with my insane schedule is that its not ideal to have only ONE place to write. for starters it sets me up to skip writing on those days when I dont "FEEL" like writing (another subject altogether). It gives me an out if I cant get to starbux to write. So I have decided to embark on a different writing journey for my second book which is now almost two thirds done. I call it guerrilla writing, which I'm sure is not a new nor solely mine.

Basically what it means is that I will begin to steal snatches of time and write wherever possible. The fact that I write longhand makes this ideal, but I'm certain if you have a laptop it can work as well. It means not buying into the whole " I must write ten pages today or I have failed!" mentality and write snippets. A paragraph, two sentences even a very awesome word furthers your writing along by that much more.

I suggest this to all writers out there. This is not to say that your method doesnt work. We all write differently, I am suggesting taking this up to see if it can make you freer about your writing, something like the difference between writing being a monolithic and ponderous THING that must be carried out in a set way and writing becoming mobile, nimble and free, happening wherever you may be. I will let you know how my own journey goes.

writers write,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some lessons on writing

On my earlier post I stated that I had published my first book. I couldn't really write more due to the euphoria of finally  getting "out there" and being an author. So a week or so has passed and the excitement has died down a bit ( not much I still look myself up on amazon at least once a day lol) and now the reality has set. I am actually out there as a published author!  I didn't think I would achieve  this if I am being honest. It seemed too distant, a goal for someone else. So how did it happen?

I know I'm going to sound cliche but it takes persistence. You have to do it and stick to it and stick to it some more, until its done. Along the way I learned some very valuable lessons:
Fit writing into your life
Don't try and fit your life to writing. Life is messy, chaotic and full of twists, turns and upheavals. Much like a good story. Make your writing fit in the nook and crannies of life and you will get it done.

Writers write everyday
I'll be the first to admit that this was a challenge for me. I have gotten a lot better at it by enticing myself to just get started. No page limits or expectations, just start writing and see where it goes. Some days that means ten pages, and some days that means one page.

Writing should be fun
I don't subscribe to the school of agonized writers who slave over every word, concept or story idea. I'm more inclined to lean towards the "let the book write itself, Ill just listen very closely" school of thought. Writing should be fun, when it stops being fun it becomes work and when it becomes work it becomes easier to put it off.

Inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it
My second book came to  me while I was in the midst of writing the first. It was a flash and I had to write it down. In fact the idea nagged me until I wrote it down, fleshed out the first chapter and put down a working title. Then it left me alone to finish. I have since had several ideas for other books so I make a habit of carrying a notepad to jot down ideas as they surface.

Have a good support system
None of us live in a vacuum.  Find people who support your writing and support you being a writer. Make sure these people will give creative (not destructive) criticism to your early drafts and that they will be willing to be part of the process of your becoming an author.

Never ever give up
I had to scrap the first three ideas for my first novel because they just didn't work. It meant putting two and a half years of work to the side while I started from scratch. At that point it would have been easy to give up and forget this whole writing thing(I did consider it). I'm very glad I stuck it out. in the end there is only one of you and only you can tell your story the way you will tell it. No one else on the planet has your voice. Keep that in mind when you want to throw in the towel and call it quits.

I think we all have the ability to be creative some of us write others sing and others dance or express their creativity in some other form. The key is to tap into that creativity and give it free rein. For those of us that are writers let the words come and share your stories.

You can find my first novel as an eBook  on  Kindle here:

And as an ebook everywhere else here:

For those of you that are like me and enjoy an actual print novel in your hands you can get the book here:

Feel free to pick up a copy and please let me know what you thought.

Writers write!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Spiritual Warriors-First Ebook published

Over the weekend I published my first ebook- The Spiritual Warriors. I have to say Im quite excited to have finally gotten this book done and published. Its still a bit surreal so I will add more later once things settle down. The link for the book is:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Taken- A Very Angry Man with Purpose

I recently saw the movie Taken with Liam Neeson in the lead role.It was my second or third time viewing the film.I have to say the film was kind of a sleeper and didn't get much publicity. However what appealed to me about the movie was the unrelenting drive of Liam's character. The single minded purpose of a father getting his daughter back. The story may be a bit on the simple side, but Neeson pulls it off. This is definitely one of those movies that leans towards a male audience. The fact that Neeson's character is a retired spy adds a dimension of plausibility to the story. Think Jason Bourne with kids and you have the lead in this movie.

Overall I enjoyed it ( hey I'm a guy, and nothing beats a good fight scene). The story was well done even though the first act is a little slow, its the perfect pace for the action that follows. I liked that there are few tangents. It gave you a sense of urgency and kept the pace taut, it worked well in the movie, I don't think it could work as well in a book. I find that kind of pace is what I would use in a chapter and then abruptly switch to another character in a the story. It keeps you guessing and wanting to read more. I suggest looking at it if only to see what a driven character is like.


Everything has a beginning. So here we are. I am starting this blog for all the storytellers. Although the preferred medium will be the written word, the emphasis will be on story which is the engine found across all media. Our lives are rich with story and if you are a writer, then your brain is usually exploding with story ideas. That is what this blog is for, to try and capture those ideas. I will put excerpts from (as yet) unpublished books here, with permission from the authors.Email me if you are one of those authors and would like to showcase your work. Feel free to comment and express your ideas, notice I didn't say bash.

 I will discuss stories I come across that impact me with their brilliance or lack thereof. As the title states this is a place where ideas are born, I welcome you to share yours.

I promised I would share about myself, I also promise to be brief. I have been writing ever since I can remember. I was the student that would take on the extra writing project in English, you know, the one you hated. Currently I have finished my first novel and am working on three other projects. I am a father of a tribe if I told you how many, you wouldn't believe me, trust me on this. I am a martial arts practitioner and have been for the last 26 years. I am an avid handball player and enjoy trouncing my sons on the court, while I still can. My family, my tribe is my core. Most of my sleepless nights are usually spent doing rounds to make sure they are OK. Its a dad thing, if you have children you can relate. I try and write everyday, but life loves to change those plans. I love dogs and currently added a boxer by the name of Winter to our family. As you might have guessed she is white. I didn't name her but it fit and the kids love the name so I figured it was a good package deal. There you have it the abridged version of me. If you have any questions feel free to email me or just comment.
Lets get on with it shall we?