Blogging less and Writing more

Hi, guys.

You may have noticed that I have been blogging far less often than usual recently. Days can go between blog posts and I don’t always write substantive articles, either.

That’s because I’ve recently started to teach myself ebook formatting, as well as cover design. Not only that, but I’ve increased my writing time from two hours a day to four in order to produce more work and finish my novel, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock, quicker.

All of this takes up a lot of my time, rarely leaving me enough time to blog. Because I want to be a career writer, I figure it would do more for my career if I spent less time on this blog and more time writing (or formatting or doing cover design, etc.). Doesn’t mean I have abandoned this blog. It just means I am putting my priorities in order and I realized that blogging was less important and less helpful for me as a writer than, say, writing my novel or making covers for my books, for example.

I’ll still try to update this blog a couple of times a week, but probably no more than that, I’m afraid. Just thought I’d let y’all know.

-Tim

Why Aging Doesn’t Scare Me

In response to this prompt:

Aging doesn’t terrify me, the way it does some people. Admittedly, the idea of my body getting weaker, my memory becoming poorer, and losing my health doesn’t make me look forward to it, but I understand that aging is something that happens to everyone and is unavoidable, so it’s best to accept it.

Besides, aging has some advantages over youth. As a 19-year-old, I have a better understanding of the world than I did when I was nine and I will no doubt understand it even better at the age of 29. I will still make mistakes, but I will be able to handle them better because I’ll have the experience to know how to deal with them.

Additionally, as a writer, I am constantly striving to improve, so the older I get, the more time I have to practice and the more stories I get to write. I honestly cannot wait to see what kind of stories I will be writing when I get into my sixties or seventies (assuming, of course, I don’t get into an accident that takes away my ability to write).

Overall, I am looking forward to getting older. I’m enjoying my youth, of course, but I’m constantly thinking long-term and, if all of my plans materialize, I think my older years will be even better than my younger years. One can only hope.

-Tim

Myth-Busting—The Real Difference Between Introverts & Extroverts & Meet the Ambivert

Good post by Kristen Lamb on the differences between Introvert, Extroverts, and Ambiverts.
-Tim

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Actual photo of Kristen in high school (Image via Flikr Creative Commons wwarby) Actual photo of Kristen in high school (Image via Flikr Creative Commons wwarby)

I made it home on Monday afternoon from presenting at the Tuscon Book Festival, one of the largest book festivals in the world. To meet me at the conference, one would never suspect I’m actually an introvert. Yet, even after two days of sleep, I’m shaking from fatigue. This morning I had to get Hubby to bring The Spawn to school because I simply don’t have enough energy to be safe on the road. I spent all of it at the conference giving (what I hoped) were unforgettable presentations.

Many believe the extrovert is the ideal speaker, yet introverts have a way of channeling energy from themselves to others. When people leave my sessions, they often feel supercharged, like they can take over the world. I love that. It’s what I’m going for…but this comes at a…

View original post 1,331 more words

Positive Thinking is Fuel

My dream is to become a fulltime, professional fiction writer.

That’s what I want to do. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and I’ve only recently started to take the necessary steps to make that dream a reality. I’m still in the process of learning a lot of things and I think it will be a while before I can actually call myself a professional.

The road to becoming a professional fiction writer is difficult and beset with many difficulties, even now that the rise of indie-publishing has made it easier for fiction writers to make some real money off their work. Even if you write great books, know how to market and promote your book effectively, and design (or hire someone else to design) awesome book covers, it can still take a while to get your career going.

Sometimes, when I think about it all, I get discouraged. There’s no guarantee I’ll make a living. I mean, I’ve been doing everything I can to take care of the craft and business side of writing (all the while learning as much as I can), but even knowing I am doing the best I can, sometimes I wonder if my best is good enough.

As a result, I try to think positively whenever I can. I remind myself of my victories and my strengths. I acknowledge that I still have a lot to learn and that I won’t succeed right away, but I’m not going to pretend that I’ve made NO progress or that I will never succeed. That type of thinking is a good way to kill dreams and creativity, two very important parts of success, in my opinion.

But I would be amiss if I said positive thinking alone was enough. There are some people who think that. They believe that all they need to do is think about good things or how good they are and that if you do just that, then you’ll get everything you want and it will all work out in the end. They forget that positive thinking is fuel, the fuel that helps make our dreams a reality, but by itself is fairly useless.

Imagine I told you I was wanted to go to, say, Austin. Because I don’t live near enough to Austin to walk there or take a bus, I must take a car.

Now would it make sense for me to grab a tank of gasoline and say that this tank, by itself, will get me to Austin? No! I would need to put the gasoline in the car in order for it to be any use. Gasoline is useless without a car to put it in. Likewise, a car cannot get anywhere without at least a little gas in its tank.

Think of positive thinking as fuel. By itself, positive thinking doesn’t do much except make us feel better about ourselves. But if we let it fuel our actions, like how gas fuels a car, then it is extremely useful and even necessary.

For example, positive thinking by itself won’t make me a professional fiction writer. I wish it would, but by itself it can’t do much and may actually be harmful because I can trick myself into believing I am doing something important or necessary when in fact I’m not doing anything at all.

Instead, I use positive thinking as a way to help me learn from my mistakes and to take the steps necessary to achieve my dreams. When I run into a problem or have to learn something that seems daunting, I remind myself that I’ve done this before, that I’ve learned difficult things before, and that it will work out so long as I keep at it and never give up.

If you use positive thinking in this way, then you have a better chance at success than you would otherwise.

What do you think about positive thinking? Has positive thinking helped (or is helping you) get past certain failures or challenges in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments!

-Tim

My Myers-Briggs Type Results: INFJ

Recently, on a forum site I frequent, one of the members started a discussion topic about the popular and well-known Myers-Briggs personality test. I’ve already taken the test before, but that was a few years ago and I couldn’t remember what my results were from the last time, so I decided to take it again.

As it turns out, my personality type is INFJ, which (for those who don’t know) stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.*

The description I linked to above describes me very accurately, almost scarily so. I do think about the deep things of life often, I sometimes come across as extroverted (though not nearly as often as the test seems to say INFJs appear), and I am good at expressing myself in writing, which is apparently a common strength of INFJs. Most INFJs apparently have little interest in the hard sciences, which again describes me (though to be far, it’s more of a lack of interest in pursuing a career in the hard sciences, rather than a lack of interest in the hard sciences themselves).

Now the test doesn’t describe me perfectly. For example, I rarely “fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless.” That type of fantasizing doesn’t appeal to me and rarely crosses my mind, which is not to say I never fantasize about bullies and tyrants getting their comeuppance. It’s just that it’s not a major part of who I am and I would never describe myself in that way.

The thing about personality tests, even ones as accurate as the Myers-Briggs test, is that they should never be taken as gospel, especially when you’re young and your personality is not entirely formed just yet. And sometimes, they can be just plain wrong, which is why you should think about whatever results you get, instead of blindly accepting whatever the tests says your personality type is.

As long as you keep that in mind, tests like the Myers-Briggs tests can be a highly useful tool to deepen understanding of yourself.

*According to the website, I share this personality type with Martin Luthor King, Jr., President Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, and Evangeline Lilly, among others. Which is interesting because I like or respect those people quite a bit, especially MLK.

-Tim

More thoughts on worldbuilding

In an earlier post of mine, I wrote about the importance of keeping worldbuilding in perspective for speculative fiction writers. I wrote it because too often, I see speculative fiction writers (fantasy writers in particular) worrying far too often about some obscure detail about their world that may or may not be important to the story and not enough about the story itself. I was hoping to reach out to other speculative writers with similar opinions or at least let other people know what I thought.

One thing I forgot to talk about, however, is how you should worldbuild. Personally, I am against the idea of sitting down and planning out the entire world before you write the first word of the actual story. I find that method is a good way to kill your love for the story, mostly because it uses up all the creative energy that should have gone to the story itself.

Instead, I advocate worldbuilding through writing. That is, coming up with details about your fictional world or universe as they are needed in the story itself.

That’s how I’ve been approaching my upcoming novel, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock. I started out with only the barest knowledge of the world I was writing in, enough to get the story going but not enough to crush my imagination and creativity. Beyond those few basic details, the rest of the setting was a complete mystery to me.

And boy, was writing the first and second drafts fun. Both drafts came spilling out of my fingers like the ocean tide. New worldbuilding ideas constantly came to me, both while I was writing the drafts and while I was doing other things unrelated to the novel. In fact, I’ve come up with so many ideas that I doubt I’ll be able to showcase all of them in the novel itself (which is good, actually, because not all of the ideas are important to the story and not all ideas are equally interesting). I imagine that I’ll get even more ideas when I start work on the third draft later.

Now I didn’t worldbuild entirely through writing, mind you. I took some time out of my day to do a little bit of worldbuilding outside of my writing time, but even then, I was working mostly from what I’d already written in the story itself. Also, I didn’t let these details bind me down. If I came up with a better idea while writing the story that contradicted something I wrote in my worldbuilding notes, then the idea in the story became canon and the one in my notes was deleted.

Another important point I’d like to emphasize when using this method is taking notes. You will undoubtedly come up with a lot of worldbuilding ideas when writing, some major, some minor. To keep your ideas straight, I suggest writing down these little details in your worldbuilding notes, either during or after your writing time, and referring back to them when necessary. It will cut down on revision later and make you world seem far more consistent.

If you remember to do that, you might have a lot of fun using this method. So far, it’s been a lot of fun for me, much more fun than sitting down and figuring out every last detail before I write the actual story.

As usual, I must add that this method probably doesn’t work for everyone and that if you’ve already tried it and found you don’t enjoy it that you shouldn’t do it. There are no right or wrong ways of writing a story. Only what works for you.

Nonetheless, I suggest trying it out at least once. You might just enjoy it.

How do you worldbuild? Post your thoughts in the comments!

-Tim