David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “writing”

Ta Da! The Debut of My Author Website

When we step out in faith and use the talents He’s given us, we show that we trust God, that we believe He will bless our actions and cause us to succeed.

-Victoria Osteen

A few years ago I met with Bob Hamp, then Pastor of Freedom Ministries at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, to interview him for my book, The Epiphany of Joy. As soon as we sat down to lunch, the conversation quickly took a side path that led to the creation of this blog site. At his prompting, complete with an explanation of the geometric outreach potential of Facebook sharing and re-Tweeting (using Kari Jobe‘s Twitter account with 637,000 followers as an example), I excitedly set up both a Facebook account and a Twitter account to get the word out about my upcoming publishing debut.

For a quiet introvert (okay, nerd) growing up in the 70s and 80s, this social media thing was quite foreign to me. The closest I ever wanted to get to anything “social” was curling up on the couch with a book and the potential of a good nap between chapters. “Reaching out” was something I did when I tripped over something. Both Facebook and Twitter appeared as black holes on the event horizon of my career, sucking away every flash of time needed to write. I just didn’t get it. Wasn’t my publisher supposed to be doing all the marketing for me? Why did I have to toot my own horn, something I don’t care to do in the first place?

But times, they were (and still are) a-changing. In the eighteen years since I’d written and released You Might be a Writer, the publishing world has morphed itself completely, from a predictable little self-addressed stamped envelope of a caterpillar into a frantic, internet-driven Mothra. Sheesh! But if I wanted to make a go at this new lifestyle, I realized I had to merge onto the internet highway to increase my odds of actually selling my work. Even if I was driving a virtual Volkswagen Vanagon with an air-cooled engine.

Recognizing (and finally giving in to the fact) that, when it comes to selling books, I’m the one and only expert on my own product, I built this blog site, stood up a Facebook account, and dipped my toe into Twitter (which I’m still trying to wrap my arms around). Then Amanda Thrasher, CEO of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, my publisher, suggested I build a writer platform to complement their marketing efforts. The last time I built a platform, I erected a garden shed on it, so I knew I could do it. Then I realized she meant an online platform. Ugh! So I purchased Chuck Sambuchino‘s (awesome) book called Create Your Writer Platform, and took copious notes. And from this focused study my new author site, www.davidchughesauthor.com, was hatched.

Creating the site wasn’t as scary as it looked from a distance. Once I procured the domain (from GoDaddy.com) and secured an affordable hosting service (eHost.com), I selected a theme (it turned out the theme I’m using is essentially blank, allowing me to tailor the site to exactly what I had envisioned) and began to build. Since I’d cut my web-building teeth on WordPress and, to a lesser extent, on learning HTML and CSS for my engineering job, getting around eHost.com’s site builder was relatively straightforward. But what excited me most about building my very own site was adding an e-commerce store to it (and stocking it with my books!). Woo hoo! Now to design my T-shirts and coffee mugs . . . .

So please take a moment to visit www.davidchughesauthor.com, poke around a bit, and let me know what you think. I welcome any and all comments to help me improve the site, and if there’s something specific you’d like to see (such as more of the writing curricula content I’ve developed), let me know. My goal is to serve you, my readers, so this website is as much yours as it is mine. In fact, the only reason this blog site and the website exist is to serve you. I pray I’m doing it well.

God bless you!

 

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Motivation and the Writing Life (Part 6 of 8)

THE MYTH OF WRITERS BLOCK

 

Speaking of brick walls, what about writer’s block? Personally, I don’t believe there’s any such thing. I’ve heard horror stories about writers cut off from the flow of their creative juices. Karin Mack, Ph.D., author of Overcoming Writing Blocks, describes writer’s block this way: “You’re paralyzed. You feel panicky, terrified, your mind is blank. You put a fresh page in the typewriter . . . and then you freeze. Nothing happens. Zero. Zilch.” Come on. Did your fingers freeze up? Did you get bitten by an Amazon arachnid, shutting down your central nervous system?

There’s a simple way to break this supposed writer’s affliction, and that’s to simply write! Jot down anything that comes to mind—anything! Write about your goals, your hopes, your aspirations. Write about your dreams, your past, your hurts. Write about your fears. Make up a character. Make up a character that starts to talk to you. In complete sentences. Out loud. Play with the words. Write a simple poem, write a complex poem, write an epic. There’s no such thing as writer’s block as long as your fingers are moving and words are spewing across the page. Even if it’s the same word over and over again.

When I lived in Los Angeles back in 1986 and 1987, I took a continuing education class through UCLA Extension. The teacher, whose name I’ve long forgotten, taught us a simple but extremely effective way to warm up before a writing session, or to unblock a constipated muse. Called the Ten-minute Timed Torrent, you merely write for ten minutes whatever pours out of your mind through your fingers and onto the computer screen or paper. Just set a timer and time yourself. This is a brainstorming technique which loosens the grip of fear from your creativity and gets it moving. It allows the creative artist to come out and play while your internal editor twiddles his thumbs in the background, waiting for his turn.

We writers actually suffer from MPD, containing within us at least three separate personalities critical to our writing success: the artist, the critic and the business person. The key is to get all three of these guys working together for your good, and working when they’re supposed to.

The first personality, the artist, is the free-spirited child within each of us, the side of us created in God’s image, the personality that creates. This is the aspect of our personality we most like to hang out with, the poet, the dude sitting cross-legged on the beach and staring at the sunset with a journal and pen lying next to him. Left alone, what the artist can achieve is boundless, inspirational and life-giving. To unleash the artist and participate in his creative ability is why we write.

The second personality is the critic, the editor, the old schoolmarm who growls, “A preposition shall never be used to end a sentence with.” This is the personality that gets on your case while your fingers are hammering the keyboard and the words are zooming across the screen. “Oh no! That verb does not agree with that subject. And couldn’t you think up a better transition than that? C’mon! This is horrible! What happened to your point of view? Tsk, tsk, such lazy writing.” The editor must be taught to keep his mouth shut until the artist has finished spitting out the story, then he can be allowed to go hog wild with his red pen. The editor’s catch phrase is, “Writing is not writing, it’s rewriting” (Thanks, Dennis Beck).

The third personality is the business person, the salesman. This is the one who takes the artist’s creation, polished by the critic, and peddles it to agents, publishers, editors, and swarms of art festival and craft fair enthusiasts.

There’s a saying that writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration (and, according to Lucky Stevens, 50% procrastination). Writing is a lot of work. Most of the time, if we’re actually paid for it, our writing may only be worth pennies per hour, hardly a wage worth bragging about. But most writers I know would gladly give their writing away if they were promised publication. There’s a sense of accomplishment in seeing your name in print, standing proudly above an article, poem, or short story in a book, magazine, or newspaper. All it takes is doing it.

(Next up: Developing and Sticking With the Writing Habit, Part 1)

Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes

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