It's out of print now, but one of the books... one of the tools that changed my perspective on writing books was "Spider Spin Me A Web" and other one was "Telling Lies For Fun & Profit." If you're a fiction writer, and if you really want to be at the top of your game, read these two books. There are others, and if you bookmark this page, I shall add them at the end of the post. Meanwhile, besides reading ABOUT writing, I had to learn by reading other writers. But then, besides learning the craft, I had to hone my skills and also use my own savvy. My own sense of awareness.
You see, just like any new venture there are always things you assume that may relate to things you've heard, possibly addressing a subject you have no idea about.
That's right, a lot of times it's the smoke and mirrors of life that keep us from doing the very thing we want : drinking the juice of life.
So many times we hear it's "who you know not what you know." But in my experience, it's what you know and how good you know it.
I say this all the time, that I am the exception to every rule. That is not to say that I am super human and you are not. That is not to say that I am smarter than you. For sure, everyone does not luck out like I lucked out in the book business. So then what is it? How does one "make it" in a world where everyone is scrambling the same eggs? How do we get out of the "slush pile" and into the substantial funding necessary to drive our dream home. How do we get to the "juice" if we don't know where the juice is; if we don't know how to make the juice?
Essentially I'm asking how do any of us get ahead, not just in book publishing but in a particular field? How do we avoid the hurdles that others have run into? How do we prepare to take on the necessary tasks if we don't know the necessary preparation? Where are the so-called mentors at, the ones that have walked the walk, that would show us the ways of least resistance; mentors that would lead us home free?
And while those questions and answers can more or less address any subject or industry, we can only speak what we know, right?? Why would you go to one source for ALL the answers to ALL of your questions? And so since I know books and I know writing and I know publishing and I know the marketing necessary so that all of the above makes sense; why not share that with you in this one post?? HA!!! That's a BOOK! And that book is somewhat of a Bible with more value then can be respected in a single article. But I will drop you a few jewels that you can walk away with, look up in the sky and go "that man touched me today."
Since this is so broad a subject we will start with storytelling. Storytelling has generated billions and billions of dollars over the years concepts that were once a mere "idea" that when generated into a cohesive, inspiring storyline became food on someones table and money in someone's bank account. There's always new content to be written. There are always new experiences and new tragedies and new joys to experience through writing. But I wonder if you know that there are no rules when it comes to writing. Sure, we had writing class and English class and literature class in school, but none of that can turn you into a bestselling author. None of that can help you write a story that's relevant to this generation, or the last generation, or future generations. Something about storytelling requires you, the writer, to dive off of a cliff with absolutely no safety net. Something about writing requires you, the writer to experience a "breakthrough" where you are dropping jewels that are intense moments for your readers. And every moment adds up to a session. Numerous successful sessions add up to your further "authority" in a particular field of interest. You are now creating engaging and perhaps transformative text (or content) that your readers will want to return to get more of over and over again. Don't ask me how I know this so many dozens of books later.
So here are the misconceptions:
- Everything has already been written.
- You can't tell the story because there are other people involved and you don't want to incriminate them.
- You need a writer's education to compete in the literary marketplace.
Family I promise you that everything has not already been written. For as you're saying that to yourself, a brand new story or idea is being created and crafted in and in fact delivered to a certain audience. We have got to stop sabotaging our own potential by first telling ourselves what we can not do or what's not possible or what people will not enjoy or, or, or...but, but, but... If, if, if... Do you understand where I'm going with this? We will be quick to defeat ourselves before we even pick up a pen or begin to set down our story. One thing is for certain: you cannot measure up to great writers or great writing by following or duplicating average writers and average writing. So then you have only one other option, and that is to do the work. There are no shortcuts and the moment you begin to copy someone else you will be revealed and people will see that you are phony and a copycat. Nobody will publish your work or create a product and invest in your marketing only to have that snatched up in a lawsuit.#RobinThickeMarvinGaye
The second misconception about offering your story has to do with other people that have been involved in your life. Family, of course "it takes two to tango" and "no man is an island" and "there is no action without a reaction." So in theory there is always going to be someone else that has peopled your life and your experiences. With that said, if you feel the individuals who took part in your life are going to be upset or who are going to want redemption or profit or involvement in your story, then why would you go there? Why seek the challenge? Why would you use the names and likenesses and locations and time and place and exact experiences that are going to weigh-in on future profits or with confrontations or conflict or civil suits? Why not simply change the names and the locations and the atmospheres and the time frames? Why not entirely fictionalized something that took place so that you can go on in peace and do what it is that you love. And that's another point: you've got to love storytelling and writing and sharing all of the above. Why would you get involved with something that you don't love? Or on the other hand if you just want to tell the truth about folks and experiences and whatnot, and you don't care about the fallout or the recourse then go right ahead and tell it! There are so many of these tell-all testimonials in the world and they create movement whether it's good bad or ugly. I'm reminded of the chick who slept with all the rappers and then told the world after work. I'm reminded of the mother and the daughters who slept with all those college football players while they were in that sensitive window of time/pursued by NFL teams. But its your choice. Not only that, you need to consider if this is going to be your career or if you're going to be a one trick pony. If it's going to be your career and if there might be a movie as a result of your work then trust me when I tell you things will change about your story anyway so that it couldn't reach the market with as little stress and with as much impact as possible. The last thing you or your investors want is for a person or a group to later come out of the woodwork to say "Hey, that's my story! "
Okay, finally this whole thing about a writer's education and being able to compete in the marketplace is all hogwash. Granted, folks will look at you like you're crazy when you say you're an author or that you "wrote a book," especially if they've got a number of books that they've written or published through traditional means. Yeah, they went to school and studied and spent thousands of dollars to get an education to write a book (that maybe no one cares about) and yet have hit paydirt with your small market or your unique idea or your own special brand of energy. Trust me when I tell you that such is likely to if you did not go to school for writing. I've experienced it myself on every level, big small, fat and tall have all hated on Relentless. There are writers that are not up to speed and there are writers that are established and renowned and looked upon as if to question my audacity for claiming certain success. "How DARE you???" It will happen everywhere in every industry this is not just about storytelling and books. You will experience that animosity and judgment and ultimately "hate" on every level, because nobody understands what it's like to be in your shoes. Indeed we are all crabs in the barrel of life, all of us clammoring and climbing and reaching for available resources. The greatest of these resources is time. The least of these resources is a damned idea. So take your damned idea and climb up out of that barrel! #relentless