Tag Archives: home school

Writing Doesn’t Pay

stressed-out-writer

To my fellow bloggers, aspiring authors, and self-published authors:

It’s the truth, and it’s frustrating.  No one pays you to write.  No one pays you for being creative, or for working hard at what you love, to become better and better until you’re the best you can possibly be.  We spend minutes, hours, days, perfecting our craftsmanship of writing.  We carefully build and chisel every sentence until our writing sounds and looks exactly the way we want it to.  In our own little world, the world that we create, everything is going according to plan.

And hardly anyone else will ever know about it.

There’s something about being a writer that seems incredibly depressing and lonely, if you really stop to think about it.

We can have god-like creativity; we erect mountains, dig valleys, create cultures, carefully craft every facet of our own made-up society; we pour every bit of our own identity into our writing, and we would just DIE for someone to notice it.

And then no one does.

Other stories suddenly seem unworthy in our eyes.  “My idea is better,” we think.  Or “This person’s writing sucks.”  In a world where every author is fighting for attention, how can we not grow competitive?

I don’t know what the point of this post is.  Perhaps it is just to express and share my feelings with other bloggers (and I KNOW you’re out there).  I’m not trying to dampen anyone’s mood.

The truth is, every author must cultivate hope.  That’s the only way we can finish what we started; that’s the only way we can reach the goals we want.

Do you mind if I quote something I wrote in a story, back in 2013?

“You’re right.  You cannot do anything.  You are powerless.  I was powerless.  There was nothing that I could have done to save you by my own strength.  But power and strength, inner power and strength, are not things that can be created by man.  These must be given to him.  Even as a man, at the height of your physical strength, your own power isn’t enough to save this world from destruction.  Your own power cannot save the life of one woman, even one that you hold dear.  You are human, Earyis, and as am I.  But in this world, hope is not lost.  Hope—” Terren shook his head, sighing with evident stress and anxiety, as if remembering something horrible or difficult he had experienced “—hope must be surrendered to.  You have no strength, no power, so you must surrender yourself to the hope that it will be given.  Aid will come, and even in your darkest hours, when you cannot find the light, when it should be breaking through the clouds, or shining on the horizon, but it does not, you must hope that it will come…For without hope, Earyis, there is only despair, and where there is despair, there is death.”

-The Dawn of Despair

Cheers to hope!  Feel free to vent your own blogging/writing struggles in the comments!

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The Right Thing for Me to Do is to Stop You From Doing the Right Thing

I hope that title makes sense to everyone.  Allow me to restate it though, just because it’s important:

The right thing for ME to do…is to stop YOU from doing the right thing.

So, what does that mean?

Recently, I was writing a scene in my book series, and this same problem came up.  I hadn’t actually planned for this philosophical dilemma to occur in my story.  Although I hate to admit it, I wasn’t being clever with my story, in the way that we authors tend to be.  It just so happened that, while I was writing, I noticed that a sticky, ethically blurry situation was approaching for two of my characters.  And, even as the author, I wasn’t sure what the right decision was for either of my characters.

So, in a way that I hope is very human and very realistic, I decided to “feel out” the situation with my characters, and only then was I able to arrive at a conclusion for this moral dilemma.

And what I decided was that sometimes, the right thing to do is to stop someone from doing the right thing.

winter-zuko
Sometimes I think Zuko and Aang were in similar situations of right and wrong

How does that work though?  Shouldn’t we encourage others to do the right thing?

Well, sometimes the right thing for me to do is to oppose you from doing the right thing.

Now, I am not trying to be morally relative.  Moral relativism is the illogical belief that all truth is relative.  According to moral relativism, ANYONE can decide what’s right and what’s wrong, for ANY situation.   The problem is, moral relativism would argue that there are no universal truths…but to say that there are no universal truths would BE a universal truth.  Moral relativism, then, caves in on itself.  Also, if everyone believed in moral relativism, then there would be absolutely no foundation for truth.  There would be no right and wrong.  If you were to say “there’s no truth, no right and wrong” to Plato, Socrates, or Aristotle, they would laugh; so would anyone that knows a bit of philosophy.

So, what’s the situation in my book that caused this philosophical dilemma to surface?

Kat, a girl who is the cause for a war, wants to hand herself over to the enemy.   Doing so will hopefully end all conflict.  She will most likely die, but she believes that it is the right thing to do to save the people she loves.

But her friends won’t let her, because watching her die isn’t what they want; they will gladly suffer to protect her, even if giving herself up would protect them.

And I quote:

There’s a moment of silence, and then I speak.  “No,” I tell Kat.  “I know what you’re feeling.  I know that what you want is something good and honorable.  I was in the same situation back in the Golden Lands.  But I can’t allow you to do this.  Even though trying to sacrifice yourself is the right decision for you, watching you sacrifice yourself isn’t the right decision for me.  I’m not going to discourage you from trying, Kat—” I look back at her, meeting her eyes, “—but, because I’m your friend, I will try to stop you.”

-Tarsh Landid, Volume 7: The Fall

And so, still united in friendship, but against each other in actions, that was how I decided to resolve the situation between my two characters.

truth

What do you think about this?

What Does “Be Who You Are” Mean?

anime precious moment

A popular theme in a lot of children’s movies is the notion of “being who you are”.  I think it’s typically found in movies where younger characters are trying to prove themselves to older characters; expectations are set for the younger characters, but, realizing that those expectations aren’t in relation to who they are, the younger characters decide that it is best to “be who they are” instead.

Now there isn’t anything wrong with that necessarily.  The truth is though, being “who you are” goes a lot deeper than your typical Disney movie.  It’s a question that everyone has to ask about themselves at some point in their lives; a question that they might have to ask throughout most of their lives.

“Who am I?  What does it mean to be ‘who I am’?”

It so happens that this same theme is very important to my own book series, The Golden Lands.  John Hedekira, the main character, often comes back to the question of what it means to be a “Knight”…and a “Knight”, in my series, is just a synonym for “man”.  So John is wondering what it means to be a man, and, on a more personal level, how this relates to who he is.

It’s quite fitting, then, that John Hedekira’s character is based on me.  Because sometimes I feel as if I don’t know exactly who I am.

It’s hard to talk about this without going into a bit of philosophy and even theology/Christianity.  As a Catholic Christian, I know that I am a child of God the Father, a brother of God the Son (Jesus), and, yes, a spouse and temple of God the Holy Spirit.  But I don’t actually think this revolves around “who” I am.  All of this revolves around “what” I am.  I am all of those things in relationship to God, and therefore–in a special way–in relationship to the world, and I can’t change that, no matter how hard I try.  You can’t change “what” you are.  But “who” you are is a different case, I believe.

So what does it mean to “be who you are”?  Doesn’t that mean summing up all of your likes and dislikes?  Your dreams and your failures?  What am I good at?  What am I NOT good at?

In order to know who you are, I guess you really have to know yourself.

That’s why all of this is a journey, I guess.  A journey to know yourself.

I think some of the biggest questions we can ask ourselves are:

What things do I love?

What is the manner in which I choose to love other people?

What is the manner in which I desire to BE loved by other people?

What do I want to give this world?

What do I want back from it?

Not surprisingly, all of these questions bear close relationship to the thing that makes the world go around: money Love!

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

If you really think about it, asking these questions can be kind of scary.  Because finding the answers will mean knowing the truth.  And the truth can be scary.  We might not actually be the kind of person that we think we are.  We might not actually love people the way we thought we did.  Asking these questions is difficult, and maybe it will take a lifetime to truly find the answers.

But, if you’re like me, or the main character of my book series…

…don’t you want to be who you are?

aragorn-pic
Be like Aragorn…be who you were born to be!

 

What is Blogging Good For?

“BLOGGING…HUH!…WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…”

Ever felt like all of your blogging efforts are fruitless?

tired squidward

Join the party.

We have something to say to the world; we want to hone our writing skills; we have an awesome book idea and we think everyone should think it’s awesome too. That’s WHY we start a blog.  And then we join the blogosphere and we find that there are eight-bagillion (BAGILLION!) people fighting for everyone’s attention.

Blogging is almost always selfish, in my opinion.  Why?  Because it tends to be about everyone trying to sell something.  And I don’t necessarily have a problem with that.  The problem just becomes, “Are you good at (selfishly) marketing yourself?”

Of course, what if you AREN’T good at marketing yourself?  What to do then?  Do you find another venue?  Do you just give up (like me)?

Everyone would love to become a part of that lofty group of bloggers that seem to have all of the eight-bagillion bloggers following them.  The problem is, we don’t know how to get there.  Like so many popular authors, we are waiting for that one blog post that will make it big time: that one blog post that everyone loves.

But even our greatest blog-posts fail to receive the attention that they deserve.  And that is why this is so hard.  Because, eventually, we lose heart when our greatest works of art are treated like trash.

It seems as if the answer to this problem is just to keep blogging, in hope that one of your blog posts will eventually make it big.  Or you just have to stay consistent, and your popularity will slowly grow over time.  Or maybe you aren’t like me, and you don’t even care about popularity.  Whatever the case, blogging can sometimes be a source of doubt.  I know it has been for me.

Any thoughts?