Thursday, January 16, 2014

Finding Purpose

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I think the reason that my blog never lived very long in the past is because it lacked purpose. It lacked focus. It lacked reason. It lacked any kind of anything. Having seen a lot of other author's blogs out there, it seems like the most successful ones really have a lot to say, and a lot of people to say it to. Chuck Wendig's for example is one of the best out there. If I can cultivate a blog one quarter as good as his, I'll be doing pretty well.

Now, there is in my mind a kind of chicken or the egg thing going on here. I don't really know what came first, the audience or the blog. It probably differs from situation to situation. Anyway, without either of those things (a message and an audience) I floundered.

Which is it anyway? Come on, science.

And so, I came to the conclusion that, since I don't have a ready made audience, I should at least have something to say.

But what to say?

Let me back up a little bit.

This last fall, when it came to writing, I had no direction. I have been writing fiction only a short time. Somewhere around 2009 I started writing what was basically fan fiction. I felt like it was pretty good as fan fiction goes. All the main characters all have sex with each other. That's how you do that, right? I kid. I don't want to shit on the fan fiction crowd. They are passionate about what they do and I can't fault them for it. But I have this itch to do more than just play in other people's sandboxes. I want to make my own box and put in my own sand.

I've always felt like I was pretty good at writing. I did well in school, and tested out of freshman level English in college. I had never written fiction before. I fell in love with it immediately. Since I started, I have written tons of MMO related roleplay fiction for character backstory, and stories involving my characters and my friends' characters. I've also attempted NaNoWriMo a few times, as I think I mentioned before. I "won" in 2011, meaning I wrote more than 50,000 words, but what I actually wrote was a mess. It was a mish-mosh of anime tropes and post-apocalyptic old west zombiepocalypse madness that went nowhere. But it was all mine. I consider it a learning experience and leave it at that.

Yeah, it's kind of like that.

What is my point? Do I have one? Does anyone care?

My point is that, until last fall, despite a love for writing, I had very little to show for it save a few good friends from MMOs that enjoy writing as much if not more than I do. We mentor and cheerlead each other, and one of us has actually gotten a deal for one of her novellas. I would mention her by name, but I don't want to embarrass her. She'll probably read this anyway. You know who you are.

I'm rambling again, but my point is that I hadn't finished anything. I didn't have a reason to. Then, I remembered an independent publisher called Bards and Sages had an annual writing competition. I had a short story that was close to complete that would be perfect. So I checked the rules and everything and set about completing, editing, getting some readers' critiques, editing some more, until I had something I could be proud of. I had a goal. I had something to shoot for. I submitted it last October.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that, I am a new author, but I AM an author. I authored something and I sent it out into the world. I've created. I started with nothing, and made a new story, and people read it, and enjoyed it. Isn't that really what this is all about? Is it? IS IT!? BETTER SAY YES, DAMMIT...

Ahem... sorry.

So anyway, the best thing that I can think of when it comes to giving this blog a purpose is to chronicle my journey. This is for those out there who are just starting out, who are raw, green, wet behind the ears, however you want to put it. I think a lot of us can share in the experiences of others, and to take heart that there are other people out there that are doing this thing. You can see where I stumble, where I succeed. Maybe you can learn a little something from it. Maybe you've been there and you can teach me something. I don't know. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I have no idea what I'm doing. But, I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway.

At this point it's all I've got.

Oh, and my story. I took third place in that contest, and they are publishing my short story in their anthology available this summer. Turns out maybe I am sort of good at this. Now I need to build on that success.


  1. "I am a new author, but I AM an author."


    There is no exclusive club, no membership card, not really. Just, 'I did a lot of damn work and holy crap I made this thing and hey I might make another one' and BOOM! author. And for crying out loud, we have to start somewhere. Everyone is a n00b at some point. So yeah. Awesome post. I particularly like the determination I'm seeing here--cheers me on--and oh yeah, also the horse picture.

  2. As a personal purveyor of the fan fiction world, I can say that even though it might not feel like you've accomplished anything, you HAVE. Mastering writing is a long road, but you've spent *hours* working on your craft - and that's frickin' awesome. Also, technically the newest Star Trek movies, the Doctor Who reboot, and even the original story of Fifty Shades of Grey are all fan fiction. Funny world, huh?

    1. That's a good point. I hadn't thought of it like that before. I'm not dumping on fan fiction, it's great fun, and the examples that you mention are prime examples of when it is done well.