The Writer Gene

noun thē wrī-tər\ gēn\

A peculiar piece of DNA that compels you to express yourself in words, and ties you to everyone else who possesses it.

May 30, 2013

Live To Write Another Day cracks top 500 on Amazon free Kindle book list!

 

Today was the first day of a three-day free promotion of Live To Write Another Day, A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers on Amazon, and I’m proud to report that the book is currently ranked #425 on the free kindle book list.  Not bad considering that it started the day out at #4,381.  So far the campaign has received approximately 750 downloads worldwide.

So if you haven’t picked up your free eBook copy, grab one today!  And of course if you prefer an old fashioned physical book,  you can always buy one of those as well!

May 9, 2013

Now Available in Paperback!

 

For all you folks out there who love a good old fashioned book you can hold in your hand and leave on your nightstand, I’m thrilled to announce that  Live To Write Another Day, A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers, is now available in paperback!

And of course you can still grab an electronic copy and read it on your phone, computer, or tablet as well!

April 17, 2013

The Writing Masters

There was a great moment in this past weekend’s final round of The Masters golf tournament when Australian phenom, Jason Day, holed a sandshot for eagle and American, Matt Kucher, who was paired with him, gave him a big high five.

Having been an avid golfer at one time I have often thought about the many similarities between golf and creative writing.  While obviously in competition with one another, there is also a certain brotherhood that golfers enjoy (even the pros), a “we’re in this together” type of sensibility that is not quite the case with other sports.  The reason for this is pretty simple: the real competition that a golfer faces is not the other golfers in the tournament.  It’s the course itself.

Hitting a golf ball with any degree of accuracy is a very difficult thing to do, but at the professional level it’s not physical talent that makes or breaks a player.  It’s the ability to win the war in one’s heart and mind, the ability to manifest intention into reality, to completely relax in the face of enormous pressure, and to somehow achieve victory with zen-like indifference.

Like golfers, we writers also engage in a daily struggle against a faceless foe that pushes both our minds and our emotional stamina to the limit.  And like golfers, we still must find ways to overcome errant shots, adapt to unfavorable lies, regain our focus after egregious mental mistakes, and most of all, press on without losing our confidence.

Masters champions are not made overnight, and neither are great writers.  It’s only through hard work, determination, mental fortitude, and a tremendous passion for our chosen craft that we can wake up each day, take another swing at the flagstick, and triumph over the course.

 

 

April 9, 2013

Feed Your Soul

Recently I got a very interesting and prestigious gig writing the copy for an interactive touch table at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.  Being a political junkie, I was pretty excited about immersing myself in all the wonky glory of LBJ’s Great Society. But the tediousness of spending three solid weeks researching the twenty-three different pieces of legislation in the exhibit, combined with the challenge of writing over fifty 400-word summaries, proved far less enjoyable then I had hoped.

Then the moment it was over, I immediately spent twelve hours researching my own original story, and wouldn’t you know it, the time went by like it was twelve seconds.  Instead of adding to my fatigue, doing my own research actually re-energized me.

We all have to feed our families, but as writers we have to feed our souls too. With all the craziness of everyday life it’s easy to lose touch with this.  We became writers to express ourselves, to give birth to our own stories and offer them the world.  Without this excitement in our lives, without the promise of the next great idea bouncing around in the back of our heads, we die a little inside.

Never lose that fire, no matter how much other work you have on your plate, whether its writing work or not.  Find the time to explore your own ideas.  Find the time to write them.  You’d be surprised how much energy they will give you, even if you only get to spend a few minutes with them each day.

March 26, 2013

The Juggling Writer

One of the things I’ve always loved about writing is the way it sweeps you off your feet and allows you to get lost in your own imagination.  Having the ability to harness all your energy and focus it deeply on a singular task is a prerequisite for this kind of work, and for those of us who manipulate words on a daily basis, it’s the writer gene that unlocks this ability.  How else could we possibly spend all those hours alone in a room?

When I first started writing I would literally spend weeks at a time completely immersed in a single script and absolutely nothing else. I could barely write a birthday card during these cerebral odysseys, let alone another script or treatment or outline.  Sure it was a bit tedious at times, but for the most part, it was bliss.  I think this is the writer’s natural state—total immersion in a universe of his or her own creation with absolutely no distractions.

The fact is though, we live in a world where competition for people’s attention is so fierce, and information is delivered and consumed so quickly, that singular focus, while great for writing, is not very functional in the broader sense.  In other words, as writers, our natural state is in direct conflict with the state of the rapidly evolving world around us.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t fantasize about having some magic bullet that would somehow change this sobering fact for all of us. Sadly, there is none. In order to survive as a writer today you simply have to be able to divide your focus among multiple projects at various stages of development simultaneously.

So don’t be a one trick pony while the rest of the world multi-tasks and runs circles around you.  Learn to juggle and keep as many balls in the air as you possibly can.  Then get back to work.  Sooner or later one of those projects is bound to come down to earth.

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