All posts tagged: Writing

Books

I sometimes prefer to read a physical book over the digital version on an e-reader. But sometimes I don’t and I’m just fine with an ebook. So, the question I’ve had recently is whether or not a collection of physical books is necessary. At present, I have a collection of works by Michael Crichton, Anthony Bourdain, Haruki Murakami, and a few by Aldous Huxley. I also have a smattering of books by other authors. But I tend to return those others to my local bookstore for store credit. Earlier this year, I had my heart set on an Everyman’s Library set for display on my bookcase. For the most part, this collection would have included books I’ve read and want to read again. But there were also several others I was planning to read. At this point, it’s hard for me to foresee what I’m going to want. It might be made more apparent when I land in a home… with a library. Either way, I know I’ll continue to want some books in my …

Social Media

I have mixed feelings when it comes to social media. I’m not interested in most of the tweets or posts that appear on the various platforms. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I think it’s a waste of time, and I find myself perusing social media sites only when I’m too brain dead to do anything else. So, maybe it’s not a total waste of time. It plays the part of a numbing agent. When it comes down to it, the notion that a writer should create a social media platform before publishing a book seems a little bit absurd. Some people create a social media platform based on a blog, but I’m not particularly interested in any of those. (That may sound hypocritical since this is a blog, but I’m primarily writing this for me. If other people take notice, that’s great, but that’s not necessarily the aim.) I tend to pay more attention to the social media accounts of individuals who’ve already written books (primarily the ones I’ve read) or of …

Filmmaker

For most of my twenties, I actively pursued film directing as a vocation. I wrote several full-length screenplays. And I wrote and directed a number of short films that debuted in festivals. One of those shorts was even promoted on an IFC program titled Media Lab Shorts Uploaded. But after one particularly disastrous shoot, in which the film I was working on wasn’t even finished, I began to think I’d left my true vocation behind. I wanted to be a novelist, and that seemed to be showing in the stress I felt on set as well as an increasing lackluster when it came to corralling actors. Before that shoot, I bought a Krasnogorsk-3 so I could try shooting 16mm film. It was shipped in via eBay from Ukraine. And it’s the same camera I believed was used by undergraduates at USC film school. That camera is still sitting on my bookshelf. And I’ve kept it there over the past decade for good reason. My dream of becoming a filmmaker is bound up inside of it. …

Huxley

All writers are inspired–at one point or another–to write. But I’m not at all sure many of them can recall the exact moment when they definitively decided to become a writer. (On the other hand, maybe every writer does.) I was in college, sitting in a tan corduroy armchair reading a paperback copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. There was an oversized “Devil’s Haircut” poster on the wall behind me and forest green, low pile carpet under my feet. It was past time for a good vacuuming. It was my second reading of that book; the first had come in high school. I was a fan of it in the tenth grade, but by the time I got to college, I’d decided I needed to reread it. From Brave New World, I went on to Brave New World Revisited. This reading led to Island, The Doors of Perception, and Heaven and Hell. However, it was the caste system (Alphas, Betas, Deltas, etc.) described in Huxley’s seminal work that gave me my eureka moment. I …

Time

I tend to believe there’s not enough time in a day. I’m not always right about things, but, in this case, I’m sure I am. There’s not enough time to pursue all of my interests. I have a full-time job, and I write. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else. I’ve made writing a priority because becoming a full-time writer is my main goal. I’ve made that my goal because writing gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Therefore, I make time for it even though I have a full-time job. Figuring out what to give your time to is not always a straightforward process. But because time is a finite resource, being decisive is important. Once you know what you want–whether it’s a hobby or a new career–a few things are required: discipline, organization, and routine. (Some may claim they need a muse, but I tend to avoid giving inspiration over to the mystical.) Consider learning to play piano for a moment. Unless you’re a virtuoso, you’ll need to spend time learning how …

Competition

A friend of mine and I run together a couple of times per week. Right now, he’s training for a ten-mile race. Together, we run a fraction of that amount because three miles is just about my limit. I’ve run four but regretted it later. He’s the better runner. He’s less winded than I am when we hit the three-mile mark and can usually outrun me in the final sprint. But this doesn’t bother me much, and there’s a reason. I lift weights, and he doesn’t. Pull-ups? Push-ups? I’ve got him beat. When it comes to competition, we often neglect to think about other skills. That may not be the point in a heat, but it’s important. Not being able to run faster or lift more than someone doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It could mean we’d win at something else. I’ve never been particularly competitive. I wasn’t athletic (or… coordinated) when I was young. But I could probably make an argument that I have become extremely competitive with age–at least with myself, which is …

Rejection

Between novels, short stories, and, now, a mini-documentary, I find myself submitting to agents, journals, and festivals almost continuously. This means that rejection is my constant companion. And it can be pretty hard to handle. When I’m faced with a barrage of emails that say, “Not for us,” or “No thanks,” it’s vital that I keep a level head. Especially because rejection has several meanings, which I think tend to fall into one of the following categories: Insufficient Quality Excessive Quantity Lack of Compatibility Extreme Exclusivity Admittedly, insufficient quality is a depressing reason to be rejected, but it’s not the most frustrating. If the work isn’t of a high enough quality, it can be improved, so there’s hope. All that’s necessary is more work. Sometimes years of work. When it comes to issues of quantity, we can find that our work has been edged out by similar writing or a piece that has been written by someone of higher stature. In other words, the market is flooded. If work is sent to an agent or …