Saturday, July 27, 2013

Change is a Two-Edged Sword

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By Keith N Fisher

First the news . . . No, I didn’t get a new publishing contract. Although, I wish it were true. I just want to let you in on the changes to the blogck. As you know, G. Parker is taking a break. She promised to be back after things cool down a bit. Michele, is also taking a slight break. Life gets in the way sometimes. Send them an email and let them know how much you appreciate them.

After a Long deserved break, Weston Elliott (Wendy) came back to the Blogk. She took the spot left vacant by Donna. She’s been posting on Sunday, but Michele is going to trade with her. That leaves Michele on Sundays, Wendy on Tuesday, and Connie said she’s coming back, so she’ll be posting on Wednesdays. Gaynell, (G. Parker) will post Fridays, and I’m here on Saturdays.

Tell your friends, The LDS Writer’s Blogck is back. Not that it ever went away, but I’m looking forward to having more minds posting again. Make it a point to stop by often, and get a boost from those who understand your struggles as a writer. Leave a comment if you can, and let us know what you’d like us to write about.

The Blogck has always been a place you can go to validate your decision to be a writer. Stop by often and we’ll join hands.

Change is good, but a lot can be said for sameness. I’ve been a member of the Blogck for a long time. I’ve seen writer’s come and go. I’ve read a lot of great comments and heard people tell me how much we’ve helped them. I’ve seen many visitors stop by, a few stayed, became better writers, and started their own blogs.

For me, it has been a blessing to have a weekly deadline. I’ve posted a few thought-provoking posts. Some of them were just thrown together at the last minute and you can tell. I post on other blogs too, but the Blogck is where it all began.

From the title of this post, you might think I’m leaving, but don’t worry, not yet. There will come a time when I’ll give up my spot and move on. For now, however, I’ll try to keep offering sound advice and insight.

Since I first posted here, I’ve suffered many changes in my life that left my head spinning. I’m still trying to recover from some of them and I’ve recently discovered answers to questions that revealed more questions. Change is hard, but it forces us to grow.

My writing has also changed. I started out writing general fiction, best described as Dean Hughes type novels. I now write women’s fiction. It was a natural change, since I was the only male member of an all women critique group.

Even my critique group has changed. It started when I recognized my need for help with my writing. I sought out my close friends at a Storymakers conference to propose the group and the Super Edits group began.

We started on a Saturday with six members. Two, were published authors, one was a beginner, Me and two others had been writing for a while. We lost one member after the first meeting. I cooked a Dutch oven dinner for the next meeting. (I figured I’d keep them by cooking for them).

Many publishing contracts came. Other books were self-published and life’s demands began to take members away. One lady with six kids got married and inherited four more. Another member got a national market contract and moved to another state. (Those two things were unrelated.)

Demands on our time have been hard to overcome, but we are, (and always will be) family. We’ve had a few writers come and go since then, recently adding more members, including another man. I’m no longer the only male influence. I’ve bonded with the new members now, and I hope I’m helping them as they help me.

One of the members keeps coming, I’m sure, because she knows I need the help. Her friendship is invaluable because she cares more about improving my writing than she does her hectic schedule. She helps others, too, but I’m sure she welcomes the friendship and the chance to get away for awhile.

Now, another member is threatening to leave and move to another state. I’m resisting the change. Actually, I’m trying to block it out of my mind. Before long, I’ll be one of the last original members, and like this blog, I’ll keep going. Did I mention I hate changes?

I’ve learned something in the past seven years, though. Change is like a two-edged sword. One edge is sharp and cuts deeply, but the other edge brings growth. The Super Edits critique group has helped me become a better writer. I’m also a less argumentative person because of the ladies. I’ve learned more about women, too.

I guess that someday, something will come up in my life, also. Something, that will force me to move on. That seems to be the way of things, but for now, I hope I can help others on the blogck and in my group.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What Do You Say?

By Keith N Fisher

When you greet another writer, what do you say? When a person says they’re a potter how do you respond? What about sculpting, or writing music? When your friend tells you he quit his job to have more time to develop a computer program, how do you answer?

On the other side, Are you impressed when you’re daughter introduces her boyfriend and says he’s a doctor? Do lawyers have your respect? What are your feelings about physicists and stockbrokers?

I’m reminded of these questions after I tell people I’m a writer and hear the initial response. Often, it’s, "Oh . . . what have you written?" They expect to hear about all the books, from which, I’m collecting royalties. What they really want to know is how can you waist your time doing something that doesn’t pay the bills? Why didn’t you grow up and go to work, like the rest of us?

A writer’s first response is to defend their choice. We list all the books we’ve written and how close they are to being published. We seek acceptance from a closed minded, judgmental, person.

Recently, I’ve noticed a different response when I mention that I’m currently working on my cookbook. For some reason they approve. I leave out the part about my activities of trying to sell my fiction. I could list all the books I’ve written and where each one is in the process, but they don’t care.

I got a response the other day that surprised me. He asked if I’m still writing. I said that yes I am and I’m working on my cookbook. He asked how I plan to market it. I stuttered and joked about letting the publisher take care of that.

The truth is he was being critical. Of course I plan to market it, but I’m chin deep in getting it written. Let me do that well, then I’ll sell it. Yes, I know, times have changed and every writer should continually sell their brand, but I have problems with the concept of using every sales scheme you can think of to sell a poorly written book.

I’ve listened to writers preach about doing that very thing, but perhaps that’s the subject of another blog post. Let me just say, I fumbled my response. Then I read an article in Writer’s Digest about those who would criticize the choice. According to the article, one of the main responses is, you’ll never make a living as a writer. Do you know how many people have tried and failed?

I like the suggested reply, Most of the classical musicians had patrons. Would you like to support my efforts? I think every writer who ever lived, doubted his/her choices. I’ve heard successful authors express fear and frustration. It doesn’t help to hear negatives from those you care about.

How did our society become so slanted, that we pay sports players million’s of dollars yet creative artisans get a pittance if they get paid at all? Heartless CEO’s and hatchet men make fortunes cutting the life’s blood of those who do all the work in their company.

I love the concept of the future as expressed in Star Trek. They eliminated greed from their society and everyone is free to pursue a career they love. Be it poet, painter, or Indian chief.

According to the article I mentioned, there are many reasons some people rain on your writing parade. One is they wish they could write but they don’t have the guts to try. It’s hard to be a writer, especially, an unpublished one. To borrow a phrase from the seventies, Just keep on, keeping on. Oh, and the proper response, is how is your writing going? Then, let them tell you.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Have a Suggestion

By Keith N Fisher

When I was a kid, we had to save money for the fireworks store. They didn’t have stands on every corner like we do now, and when we got our booty we put it away for the big event, Independence Day.

It was hard to wait. Those fuses mocked us in our struggle to control the urge to strike a match. We knew, however, we wouldn’t get anymore, so we controlled our desires.

We live better these days. Even poor people seem to have enough money for fireworks. The selection is more sophisticated, too. There are laws in Utah limiting the number of days on which fireworks can be displayed, but people still succumb. A couple of my close friends make a good profit from selling fireworks, so I make my suggestion tongue-in-cheek.

Still, if I could think of another way for them to pay the mortgage . . .

I admit, this year is not as bad as last, but I work at night and continually get woken by the pop-pop, bangs, and whistles of other people’s fun. Where does all that money come from anyway?

After loosing sleep for the third day this year, I devised a plan. I suggest that everyone save the money spent in home displays (except on the actual holiday). I believe if everyone gave that money to the poor, we would have full food banks. We could pay the debts of many struggling families with what we save on emergency services alone.

If you add the cost of everything over two holidays, (the 4th and the 24th in Utah) the totals are staggering. How much do you think we could add to the pot by eliminating private fireworks displays entirely? We could all get our fix by watching the municipal shows.

Wow, just think about the medical bills we could pay, but then, there is the thrill of striking the match . . .

As I said above, I’m being facetious. I mentioned this plan to a customer the other night and his rebuttal floored me. I suggested the money saved, would eliminate the poor entirely and he said "No it wouldn’t. People choose to be poor."

I’ll leave you to debate that issue on your own. Meanwhile, writing has been good to me this week. I went to a family party and listened to more criticism about my choice to be a writer. I’ll talk about that next time.

Good Luck with your writing—see you next week.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Good Distraction

By Keith N Fisher

I know, I know. My cookbook is overdue, but a new character actually woke me up the other day. Do you know how long it takes to format a new document while a thirty-eight year old woman taps on your head telling you to hurry?

I woke up after having an unusual dream. It had nothing to do with the new character, but as soon as I woke, her story popped into my head. I typed the first pages as they came. You’re going to love this character.

After that, I felt guilty about not working on the cookbook and went on to revise the first pages of the new story. Hee hee. Okay I created a new breakfast dish, cooked it and wrote the recipe. I think you’ll like it, too.

During my writing time lately, I switch back and forth between the cookbook, Rebecca’s story, Christy’s story, Denise’s story, and the new girl is Claire. Have I ever told you I write women’s fiction? I also write camp cooking cookbooks.

I combined the two mediums once. It was in the sequel to Denise’s story. She attended the tail end of a Dutch oven cook off I cooked in, once. We did very well with our bread in that cook off, but Denise got soaked in the cloudburst that hit just as the presentations ended.

At the risk of sounding crazy, do you remember Robert Duvall’s character in Apocalypse Now? He said, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

To paraphrase that quote I’d say, I love the smell of a new story in the morning. I love starting a new book. My senses come alive, and excitement grows. I hope you can feel the same way.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.