Authorpreneur's Journey

Making The Dream Real

Category: Writer’s

Writing Every Day and Deadlines

Happy Leap Day, February 29th

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Now that my network issues have remarkably resolved themselves, I can once again post to this blog.

Even though I haven’t been online since last Friday, I’ve been writing every day. I’ll have to post the handwritten notes I kept later on.

Not only did Hugh Howey talk about the importance of blogging every day in his Guaranteed Success Writing Plan, but so did Seth Godin in his recent interview with Tim Ferris. After only two weeks of writing every day, I get it.

  1. It gets me back in the habit of writing. It sets me up to feel bad if I don’t do it, like there’s something unfinished, incomplete.
  2. It gives me the sense of having to meet a deadline. I am used to deadlines in the corporate world. Whether they are real deadlines, or just arbitrary ones set up “just because,” they do work. Having a deadline gives you a sense of urgency to get things done before time runs out. The mind perceives that if it doesn’t get a task done in time, there are negative consequences involved.

That negative consequence? A feeling of failure.

Nobody likes to feel like they’ve failed, especially when they knew it was an easy deadline to meet. Failure is not a good feeling. We also know deep down that making excuses is just a lame way to cover up that feeling of having failed.

The combination of writing every day and meeting a deadline is a great habit muscle to build – especially if I’m working to be an Authorpreneur.

To Kill A Mockingbird’s Harper Lee is Gone at 89

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Harper Lee, the author of the iconic novel To Kill A Mockingbird, has passed away at the age of 89.

Spencer Madrie, owner of Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe, a small, independent book store in Lee’s hometown that focuses largely on Lee’s works, said: “The world has lost a brilliant mind and a great writer.”

Ms Lee was born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. She was a very private person, respected and protected by residents of her town, and rarely gave interviews.

Growing up Harper Lee was a schoolmate of famed author Truman Capote, with whom she remained close until his death in 1984

To Kill A Mockingbird was published in 1960, and was an instant hit. This powerful and haunting story gives the reader a glimpse of putting yourself into someone else’s skin and experience the loss of innocence. The novel gave us the unforgettable characters of Scout, her father Atticus Finch, her brother Jem, their friend Dill, the mysterious Boo Radley and the poor doomed Tom Robinson.

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Mockingbird was the only novel Ms. Lee wrote and published for 55 years until 2015, when Go Set A Watchmen was released. I’ll leave the controversial debates of this novel to others. Watchman is the sequel to Mockingbird, portraying Jean Louise “Scout” Finch as an adult returning home, and finding herself struggling with her father’s seemingly change of heart in regards to racial issues.

Ms. Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the US in 2007, by President George W. Bush.

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It is indisputable that Harper Lee made a real and lasting difference in her life.

Rest in Peace Ms Lee – life well lived.

 

A Talk With Lee Child and Stephen King

On September 9th, Loly and I attended a talk given by novelist’s Stephen King, and Lee Child (of the Jack Reacher novels). The meeting took place in the Sanders Theater, at Harvard University, in Cambridge Mass.

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The purpose of the presentation was to promote Lee’s new novel, Make Me.

This is the third time I’ve seen Stephen King in person, and it’s interesting to see him age. His body has changed quite a bit from the first time I saw him in NYC in 1985, when he had a stocky build in his late 30’s, to now where he’s a lanky skinny-ass 60-year-old now.

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His writing and his stories have gotten even better with time, but one thing about Steve King hasn’t changed – his acerbic Downeast Yankee personality remains very much the same.

I always enjoy seeing King in person, but I was really looking forward to seeing Lee ever since he engaged  Joe Konrath in a debate last year, on Konrath’s blog Newbie’s Guide To Publishing.

Konrath is a formidable pitbull when debating the issue of traditional versus self-publishing. I pretty much agree with Joe’s well thought-out and logical arguments.

However, I was really impressed with Lee Child on how easily he stood up to Joe’s scrutiny. With intelligence, and blunt wit, Lee made a lot of good points himself and engaged even some of the most aggressive commenters of the post. The way Lee Child approached the event made me respect him and made me a fan.

The conversation this night was pretty laid back. They talked about writing stories, Lee’s background and how he became a novelist and talked extensively about his character Jack Reacher.

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During the Q&A, one young woman inevitably, and creatively asked the tired old question, “Where do you get your inspiration/ideas for you novels?”

Instead of replying, “Read a lot, write a lot,” as he had in the past, King said, “The stories just come to me, and it’s the story that tells me what to write.” Lee added, “We’re stenographers. The story is being told to us, and we write it down.” Yeah, well whatever…

Lee told a cool story of being a school boy in 1968, and was in a rock band called Dark Tower. They were finishing up their studio time when a young, well spoken 19-year-old with long blond hair came in to start getting set up for their band. He helped Lee’s band pack up their equipment, then Lee and his band helped the older kids set up their gear. The blond young man was Robert Plant, and that was the second ever rehearsal for Led Zeppelin.

The discussion was uncharacteristically short. Steve King, often goes on for a couple of hours, but this time the talk only went an hour – including the Q&A. His excuse was that he had to catch a flight to Washington D.C. because he was going to the Whitehouse to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.

Loly and I left with two signed copies of Make Me, and I did enjoy myself. What I took from the talk was that Lee was a late bloomer, having begun his writing career at the age of 40.

He talked about how he was tired of being treated as something that can just be discarded at will, by a company that decides they no longer have any use for you.

So, Lee Child decided he was going to become, not just a novelist, but one who will conquer America with his books.

Considering Lee Child has written 20 novels in 20 years, selling well over 100 million copies – I’d say he’s on track.

 

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