Saturday, May 25, 2013

Writing on the Roof

By Keith N Fisher

As many of you know, because I work at night, it’s hard to make daytime connections. I have to adjust my schedule and sleep at odd hours. When I woke at five a.m. for the LDStorymakers Writer’s conference this year, I decided to get ready anyway.

I figured I could stop somewhere along the way and get some writing time in at a restaurant or something. On the way, I realized that I intended to park in the garage at the hotel anyway, and many of you also know, I like to write while sitting behind the wheel of my parked truck. So, I headed to the conference.

It suddenly dawned on me how cool it would be to park on the top of the parking garage and write while watching the sunrise. I drove up there, parked, pulled out my work in progress, and took a breath.

Writing is a good way to release tension but the early morning light and fresh air made it all the better. I caught movement in the corner of my eye and looked up. There were two birds standing on the hood of my truck talking to each other. It would’ve been a great picture but I reached into my bag and couldn’t find my camera. The birds flew away and I kept my eye on the impending moment when the sun would peek over the mountains. I went back to my writing and didn't get the camera out.

I had a specific moment in mind, but I got caught up in my story. Oh yeah, the words were flying off my fingertips and I wrote terrific paragraphs. While writing one of those thoughts, my perfect moment came. I finished the sentence, and reached into my bag. Yep, you guessed it. I couldn’t find my camera. I tore the bag apart looking. The moment passed, but I took pictures anyway.

The conference was terrific and I even got some writing done. I got reacquainted with old friends, made new ones, and passed the hugs around. (you’ve gotta give them to get them). The Authors Incognito mix and mingle was great. So many new faces, I want to apologize to the organizers, however. I really hate get acquainted games.

Next morning, I rose early. (Occupational hazard). I decided to try for that perfect picture again. Downtown Provo, Utah, on a Saturday morning, before sunrise, is a different world. I’ve been in other places where the hustle and bustle never quits, but the quiet on that morning, impressed me. I got some quality writing done and I was ready for the moment. What do you think of the pictures? Yeah, good thing I’m a writer and not a photog.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Getting Caught Up & Your Public You

By Keith N Fisher

In 2006, after accepting the invitation to post on this blog, I started writing my articles with a vengeance. I had a backlog. It was a matter of picking and choosing which one to post. I never missed a week. Over the years, I’ve gotten behind.

I’ve got a backlog again. I didn’t know why at the time, but I sat down one day and wrote one post after another. I have a backlog again and now I know why. There are big things in the works and I'll tell you about it later. This post was originally written May first.

Your Public You

How is your writing coming? I have a friend in the retail side of publishing. She lives down the street. She asks me how my writing is going. I tell her fine. I don’t tell her about the times when I get discouraged.

As a purveyor of writing wisdom, (I write for a blog about writing), I want to offer advice you can use. I want to put concepts in your head that will help you in your writing endeavor.

As such, let me suggest keeping it to yourself. Discouragement will come. Trust me, it will come. You can tell your close, writing friends because they care about you and will understand, but if it all possible try to present an image of yourself complete with living the dream.

Why? You ask.

In the nineteen seventies, when I first started to write, authors were a reclusive bunch. They were never expected to promote anything. Publishers did that. Those days have passed into the dark ages, along with the twentieth century. Now you must promote yourself and your work. If you don’t, there are many writers who will pass you by.

You must promote your brand, and discouragement is never part of that brand. Would you purchase a house from someone who told you about how hard it had been to pay the mortgage? Would you buy a car from someone who told you how they couldn’t make the payments. The answer to both these questions is no. You want to hear how cool it would be to drive that car up highway 101 on the California Coast.

You want to hear about the backyard parties, and Family barbecues you could have in your new house. You want to hear about how easy it would be to add a swimming pool, and how the snow practically removes itself.

I’m not talking about misrepresentation. I’m talking about presenting your brand in a positive light. How you see yourself is how agents and publishers will see you. Like when you ask the seller of that house, "Then why are you selling?" Agents will know you suffer from discouragement. It’s part of the job. Readers on the other hand, are drawn to writers who are positive and make people feel good about themselves.

I don’t want you think it will be easy. It’s excruciatingly difficult sometimes, but its easier if you remember there is a public you, and a private you. Make sure the public you is living the dream. In reality, that’s what you’re selling anyway. A bag full of beautiful dreams bound in a cool cover.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reunions and Writer's conferences

Authors incognito group 2012
By Keith N Fisher

Several years ago, while camping out with my extended family, I heard my younger cousin say, "What I want to know is when do I start making the really big money?" He’d been talking to somebody else about his Engineering degree and the new job he had.

At the time I was lucky to be making about $30 per year including benefits. He was making $48 – 49 K plus benefits. I’d been in the workforce for over twenty years. I’d gone to college and my younger cousin outdid me right out of the box.

Reunions are like that. It’s hard to not compare yourself to your more successful peers or family members.

Although there is much to learn at writer’s conferences, they’re a lot like reunions. I get to reconnect with all the friends I’ve made over the years. I get to meet new friends and finally shake hands with those I’ve met online in social media or from blogs.

Also, like the family camping trip I mentioned, there are numerous opportunities for comparison. Especially when you’ve been working as long as I have. It seems there is always someone new who never attended a single conference, has only been writing for a year, and they announce their new publishing contract.

I admit, I’m jealous. I would’ve loved to have that happen to me. The truth, however, is I wasn’t good enough. I’ve gotten better as the years have passed, but my first manuscript just wasn’t what I wish it had been. My first submission was rejected with a note that suggested I attend some workshops and writer’s conferences.

If I had, already, been doing that, I might’ve gotten that book published. Then, again, I’m a much better writer now, and I might’ve regretted having a lower quality book in my list of accomplishments.

So, having said all that about jealousy. You should know that some of my best close friends were published with (what seemed to be) little effort, but I know the real stories. Before we make judgements, consider we all have different struggles. Some things are easier for some than for others. The things that come easy to us totally devastate others.

I’ve also considered the possibility that I might be doing more good through supporting others. Simply put, there are players and there are cheerleaders. Each role is necessary, and everybody plays a part, even the spectators.

I know my publishing goals will someday be realized. At that time, I will have more cheerleaders than I deserve. Simply because I’ve been a friend. The truth is I’ve gotten more from our friendship than I ever gave.

At this writing, I look forward to the 2013 LDStorymakers Writer’s Conference. I can’t wait to renew my friendships with my writing family. I hope there are many who realized their publishing goals over the past year. I applaud those who continue to work day after day. To be fair about my cousin, he felt insecure in spending so much time in college. He had a family to support and loans to pay off. He felt he was being judged.

See you at the reunion . . . uh conference. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Joyful Refrain

By Keith N Fisher

One of my best friends is having a party. After suffering discouragement and going through extreme rewrites, Nichole Giles is launching her book, Descendant, today. It’s actually been available for a while, but it’s time for the big party at King’s English Bookstore 1511 South 1500 East Salt Lake City, Utah from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

The book, published by, Rhemalda, has gone through many changes since Nichole brought it to critique group. Nichole has, too.

This is not meant to be a book review. I do those on another blog. I want to tell you something about the author, and provide food for thought about your writing.

As I mentioned above, Nichole is one of the original members of the Super Edits critique group. We all came together when I realized my need for help in my writing and I sought out a few of my friends at an LDStorymakers Writer’s Conference, the rest is history.

Anyway, I hope my story doesn’t embarrass her, but there is a valuable object lesson. While waiting for the others to arrive at critique group one time, Nichole and I, chatted about her projects. I asked her why she didn’t pursue the LDS market and she looked thoughtful, and told me about her goals.

She is a very talented organizer and directed many of the activities of Author’s Incognito for years, but she gave it up to concentrate on her writing goals. Her writing talents are evident with publishing credits in the LDS market, including The Friend magazine. She even wrote on this blog for a while, but all those things were distracting. She wanted to get published in the national market.

Over the time I’ve known Nichole, rejections have piled up, but she kept rewriting and resubmitting. In 2012, she taught a class at Storymakers in which she presented:

The only way to truly find success as a writer is to finish what we start, believe in ourselves, our abilities, and our work, and to never, ever give up. In this industry, the path of persistence and perseverance is the only one that ends in publication. In the words of Master Yoda, "There is no try, only do, or do not.

Nichole taught that rejections will come. Someone asked her how many she’d had and wondered how she felt about that. She battled her emotions and answered the question. She continued to apply the principles she taught and landed the publishing contract she wanted, with others to follow.

Now the lesson here is obvious. Nichole believed in her dream and herself. She had obligations and family to take care of and she persisted. I’m looking forward to visiting with her and her family in one of the many beach houses she dreams of owning. Its part of the vision, and I’m sure she won’t rest until she achieves her goals.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.