It’s a frustrating truth: everyone wants to win, but no one wants to play.
What am I talking about?
Everyone is trying to sell something. There are plenty of bloggers out there who are trying to gain support and traffic for their brand, their product, their work of art. And I understand that; heck, I’m doing the same thing!
But you know what makes being a seller REALLLLLY hard?
Having nobody that wants to buy.
In today’s world, it’s so easy to be “double-sided”. It’s easy to “go through the motions”. I’ve had several people act excited about wanting to buy my book and read it…but then they never did. I even asked them about it.
Their response? “Uhh…I don’t have money to spend on your book. Sorry.”
“It’s 0.99 cents”.
See what I mean?
Look, I have no problem if you don’t want to buy my book. If you aren’t interested, I’m not going to blame you. But please…PLEASE don’t lie to me. That hurts way more.
As bloggers, we need to have a sense of community. And that community will never exist if we continue to form this false sense of security–this false sense of companionship. If everyone pats each other on the back, but without actually caring…there will be no community.
Please, let’s just all be honest with each other. I understand that, at times, it can be hard to tell someone the truth. I really do. But that doesn’t mean lying is the answer.
Everyone wants to win. Everyone is selling something. But in order to sell something, you need buyers.
And sometimes, to get buyers, you need to buy.
Be a part of a community. Take a chance with someone else’s work. Believe me, it’ll work wonders for you and your community.
Recently, a duo of blogging brothers published a new story on Amazon. What did I do? I bought it right away. Was it my kind of story? No. But did I at least give them a chance? Yes. And that’s what matters.
Be a part of a community. Participate.
That’s how you win!
What do you think?
You are too calculating. Don’t tell me you are young. Youth gives all it can: it gives itself without reserve.
-St. Josemaria Escriva
There is an innate desire within a young person to respond to the “callings” of youthhood. What are these callings?
Callings for greatness. For change. For renewal. For love. For Truth.
These are not only “callings” that every youth possess, whether knowingly or not. They are cries; even if a young person doesn’t know it, even if I don’t know it, there is a part of me that cries out for these callings, desperately yearning to fulfill them.
To be young is powerful; to be young is to be innovative. To be young is to be idealist–and a little naive, yes. But to be young is to have strength and, to quote the saint above, to “give itself without reserve”.
Have you ever turned on a popular kids TV show and been amazed by the simplicity, the beauty, the innocence, and the passion with which the characters think, act, and speak? Think about Avatar: The Last Airbender. There is so much we can take away from this television series; the beauty of it all, the innocence of the characters, their child-like yet laudable determination to bring justice to the world…the list goes on and on!
Think of Katniss from The Hunger Games and her desire to bring about change within her world, to rip out the old and bring in the new. Think about so much of the anime out there that features young characters pitted against older opponents. This style of story telling, in which youth struggles against the old, the innocence of truth fights against the lies of the world, is not practiced merely so that the stories will appeal to children. Having younger characters is not merely fanservice. There is something unique, deep, and profound that the youthfulness inside of us is trying to say, whether we know it or not.
The world needs youth, and it needs change. We must never cast wisdom and experience aside; we must never cast Truth aside. But the change that the world requires must come from youth…because it is the youth of the world that will shape the future.
What are we doing to empower young people to initiate this change in the world and renew the good parts of the old, while casting off the mediocrity of the past?
Writing is my way to be a rebel. To be defiant. To rise up to the challenges of the world and declare that I will not be defeated. I am strong and powerful because of writing. Because of writing, I can create change. Because of writing, I can declare the Truth.
Roaring out like a lion, fighting with the fire of innocent, pure determination…crying out that youth has come to reclaim what the world was always meant to be.
I’m an idealist, I know 🙂
If anyone is interested in joining a young writer’s club, please contact me in the comment section below or email me at aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com! Age range: 15-22 (exceptions can be made). Participation required: (minimal/as much as you want!)
Oh, and did I mention that I wrote a book that simply BREATHES everything I just talked about above?
Writing is at times a lonely endeavor. You start out with a sense of determination, as if writing and promoting your story is your destiny. The road seems long and challenging, but you’re ready to face whatever will come. Maybe there’s a mountain or two you have to climb, but the winding pathways of those mountains will have their serene moments, their glorious panoramas, moments of beauty.
You feel all of this before you start you journey…and then, well, the journey actually starts. And it’s a lot worse than you anticipated.
You thought perhaps the solitude would give you a sense of purpose, maybe even a sense of heroism, since heroes rarely actually share glory. But now you’re feeling as if loneliness is closing in on all sides, and you feel as if everything you do is worthless because there’s nobody to see the progress you’re making. Maybe it doesn’t even feel like progress, because no one is cheering you on.
The mountains don’t seem so fair when you’ve now got this negative outlook on your journey. Instead of being a journey filled with adventure and excitement, it’s a journey filled with struggle, stress, and fear. You thought you could carry the world on your shoulders, but now, the world is crushing you.
Writing…hmm…doesn’t seem so great any more.
So you try to find some friends, but you can tell your friendship doesn’t run deep. You share your feelings with them, and they share their feelings with you, but neither party is willing to drink what washes over them. You are both unwilling to engage each other and enter into each other’s lives. Secretly, you are both competing for the same prize.
You wonder if companionship is possible. You wonder if it’s even possible to break free of your loneliness, of your depression, of your stress. You cannot connect with anyone, you cannot find help, and you don’t know why.
Until you find the Tree.
Each person is but a mere branch. We tend to think that we are our own tree, growing up in the big, intimidating forest. But no. We are all a part of the same tree.
Big and small, young and old, something connects all writers. The moment we realize this, the moment we stop pushing and shoving. We stop fighting for attention. We stop cheating on each other, looking over our shoulders, and being dishonest. We stop patting each other, and ourselves, on the back. We become critical because we care. We become attentive because we want to be. We become a community.
We become what we were meant to be…a part of the Tree.
A Tree cannot survive without roots. One day, each of us will take part in becoming those roots. But this won’t happen unless we accept our role in being a branch…just a branch. Not the trunk. Not the roots. A branch.
I am a branch of this tree, and you are too, most likely. The Tree that connects us the part of ourselves that longs to set our imagination free; the part of ourselves that yearns for creative expression, that yearns for beauty, and truth, and goodness, and a desire to share this. We are all in love with the same thing. We are all in love with the Tree. We must only look deep enough to see that we are all a part of it.
I am a part of this tree. Are you?
That title is a mouthful, I know…
But it’s true, and thus I reiterate: What inspires your PERSON will inspire your WRITING.
Maybe this means like an obvious statement, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
I’ve been really busy; my life is just BUSY. I’m working a lot because I need money for an apartment so that I can commute to college. My family is putting our house up for sale, but a lot of work needs to be done on the house FIRST, as always. This means a lot of my time goes to working on the house.
I’ve also got relationships to keep up with in my family, friends, my girlfriend, God, etc…
Yeah, life is busy. To be honest, I rarely have time to even THINK about my story because I have to remain focused on whatever else I’m doing. It’s a painful existence, I’ll admit.
So it’s nice when I’m finally able to indulge myself in something that I enjoy…but something that doesn’t require too much creative expression.
Look, when I’m brain-dead after a long day of work, I don’t always want to write. Becauseeeeee I’m brain dead. But I can still do things that inspire me and therefore inspire my writing.
And what “things” would that be?
Uh, watching anime.
I know it sounds dorky or nerdy. But if you’re reading this then you’re probably a blogger too, which means you are also dorky or nerdy. So back off. 😉
Yes, I enjoy watching anime. Not the weird stuff. Or the romantic, pornographic stuff. The good, wholesome stuff. I like the intense action scenes, the heroism, the human emotions. I love the beautiful scenery and the amazingly choreographed fight scenes.
Just look at this picture and BASK….
This relaxes me…that might sound weird, but it does. It touches me deeply and makes me feel like me.
And, in the end, these are the same emotions I need–that anyone needs–when they right.
What makes you feel inspired? Don’t be afraid to find time to indulge yourself a little. You’ll be amazed at the impact it makes.
I hadn’t written my book for five days until today. But I just pushed out four pages on anime-inspired emotion and probably some of God’s grace. Four pages is pretty dang good. Yeah, believe me, inspiring yourself is important.
What do you think?
If you do not feel these emotions, if you do not desire this, I cannot be convinced of your convictions to be a writer.
To be a writer, you have to want to rip something out of the world.
Being a writer is crying out for change, desperately yearning to smash. Break. Burn. Destroy.
We all want to leave our mark on the world. Maybe it’s only because of pride. Maybe we’re selfish. We all are.
But sometimes we can’t change what we want. And maybe, in the end, it isn’t such a bad thing after all.
If you could change the world, how would you do it? What would you say? Who would you be saying it for?
Being a writer is like having a broken heart and writing to the person you can’t live without. It’s screaming out into the silence, believing that someone will answer. Calling out into space and hoping for an echo. Shredding the divides of the world and watching the blood pour around your fingertips.
…It’s insanity. It’s a fool’s endeavor…
It’s a lot of love…
If you don’t feel like this when you sit down to write, I don’t believe you are a writer.
If you aren’t bleeding inside, if you aren’t crying out for something, for change…if you aren’t desperate…I don’t believe you.
If you only feel alive because your deadened soul is awakened by writing…If you can’t let writing go…If you don’t want to leave the world behind…If you love the world…If you love SOMEONE more than yourself…If you believe in God…
I have nothing more to say.
Enjoy the emotion with which I write? Grab a copy of my book Elithius, Book One: The Red Captain. You won’t be disappointed. Click here.
We the Waffles
Being a writer is a lot like being a waffle. You have to compartmentalize things. Like your money, your attention, and your time. There’s a compartment for everything; your family, work, school, relaxation, and writing. No two compartments overlap or share: each compartment is entirely dedicated to itself without distraction.
And also, from time to time, each compartment experiences an abundance of sweetness from that oh-so-pleasant “life syrup”.
Yeah, being a writer is like being a waffle.
Why a wolf?
Because writers howl. We cry even when no one is listening. We scream out our defiance of the world. And we are hungry. Hungry for more. Desperate to be quick enough, to be sharp enough, to pierce others…while realizing that, at the same time, it’s really we ourselves that must bleed first.
We are also wolves because we work in packs. We work together. And we need to, because that’s the only way we’ll survive. We help one another cry, help each other pierce the world with our gleaming white fangs.
So writers are waffle wolves. Makes about as much sense as being a writer.
But that’s being an author for ya 😉
What do you think?
Hey, just so you all know, my book Elithius was recently published and is available for download or purchase here. If you like the way I write, consider showing my story some love and let me know what you think of it!
There was a time when people’s jaws actually dropped when you said, “I’m a writer.” They were impressed. They thought you exceptionally ambitious. They thought you talented and maybe a bit nerdy.
But nowadays? Say, “I’m a writer” and there’s a pretty good chance someone will reply, “Yeah, me too!”
Let’s face it. Being an author, specifically a self-published author, isn’t terribly special. First of all, it’s a lot of work. As the title of this post says, you have to do it ALL.
What do I mean?
Well, as a self-published author, you have to write your books (duh). But also, if you’re poor like me, you have to edit them yourself, or at the convenience of friends and family. You have to format your book properly. Make your own cover or spend money to have one done professionally. And you need to do all of the networking and advertising.
Believe me, as a self-published author, you have to do EVERYTHING.
I certainly envy those traditionally published authors who can sigh with relief as they finish their novel, knowing that, for the most part, their job is done. Sure, they might need to make changes at the direction of an editor. But it just seems like an easy life.
If you’re considering writing a book, or you HAVE written a book but don’t know what to do, I always advise people to try to publish traditionally first. Go for the money. Go for the big time. Go for the easy life. Why wouldn’t you?
Not all traditionally published authors make a lot of money. But there is a bit more security, in my opinion. You could be like me, still in school, working a lot, living with my family, in a relationship with an amazing woman, and still trying to write my books and maintain a blog. Is there a lot of “security” in my writing career when I am forced to become side-tracked? Uh, no…
In my case, I decided to “try” self-publishing and got rather stuck on it. There is certainly a thrill when you reel in readers, when you, personally, attract people to your story. And yes, the royalties are waaaay better than being a traditional author.
Is there a point to this rant….I’m not sure.
But, as always, I’d like to know: what do you think?
So I recently published a book. It’s called Elithius. It’s a fantasy novel with an anime feel. Sound interesting?