Reality Check For Authors #26:

It is what it is#26: It Is What It Is

There are no guarantees that life will go smoothly, or that when you least expect it the universe won’t throw you a curve ball you are ill prepared to catch: one that interrupts all your best laid plans, writing deadlines and social media schedules.
Reality Check #26: It Is What It Is. Life happens, so be prepared to make adjustments to those hard held deadlines. Cut yourself some slack when the muse refuses to be moved. Stop beating yourself up because you didn’t make your daily word count. And remember, the world won’t end because that two-per-year-book you promise you made a vow to complete, isn’t going to happen – at least not now.

Reality Check For Authors #25: Great Storytelling is Like Great Cheesecake

Check no. 25 Storytelling and Cheesecake

Reality Check For Authors: #24 Are All ‘Arks’ Created Equal

images (11) #24   Are All ‘Arks’ Created Equal

We all know the story of The Flood and how Noah built an ark, filled it with family and friends, then took a year long cruise. A story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Crisis, journey>climax, resolution. A story told by innumerable cultures in vast and colorful ways. Each adding their own spin to a classic tell.

Reality Check #26: The art of telling and weaving stories has been around for – well just about forever. And in all that time, the basics haven’t really changed. Just like the story of Noah And The Ark, every story has it own ‘arc’ of creation. Adventures told in threes acts – beginning, middle and end. Characters on a mission, who have to over coming obstacles, that bring them to a climax, which then gains them a prize. The difference is in the telling  or how you, as the author and finisher of your work, tell the tellin‘. 

Reality Check For Authors #23: Knowing the Beginning From the End


“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  Ray Bradbury

Writing a stand-alone novel has as many challenges to it as writing the same story in a series. Each comes with its own blend of how-the-hell-do-I-tell-this-in-350-pages-or-less, kind of tension. For the stand alone, it’s a one time shot. For the same story to be told over a number of books, it’s the whole, bringing-resolution-without-end dilemma or, how much of the story gets revealed in book one, how much in book two and so on. Neither one is easy. Both require the author to think beyond the moment. To stretch their imagination to encompass the whole and not just the part.

Reality Check #23: Whether you’re a panzier or a plotter, knowing the beginning, middle and end of the story before you write it, is as important in the series as it is in the stand-alone (unless of course your R.A Salvatore’s Drizzit Do’urde, whose immortality gives the author endless opportunities). Why? Because if you don’t know where your going, how will your characters?



Reality Check For Authors #22: Failure – A Writer’s Platform to Success

images (11)For most newbie authors (and some not so new) getting the story right the first time means fewer moments of feeling as though what you’ve just written, is garbage. It’s a way of passively robbing the editor in your head of the power to criticize, critique or comment in general. It’s the perfectionist, type a personality disorder, that drives you into thinking that ‘real writers’ never make mistakes, never write anything bad, and the only revisions they ever make are grammatical.

Reality Check for Authors:  Just as most entrepreneurs will tell you, for every success they experienced,  there were umpteen million failures that preceded it, so most successful authors will tell you, for every bestseller they wrote, there is a wastebasket filled with ten other stories, that weren’t.  In other words, in order for an author to really succeed, they must first learn to see everything, good, bad or otherwise, as a platform for creative brilliance.

Reality Check For Authors #21: Perspective is 9/10ths of the Work

4460976042_a1c8902046_oAs writers we love the sound of our own ideas, the ratta-tap-tap of fingers on keyboards and the blinking cursor as it flies over the page. There is something profoundly accelerating about seeing our own thoughts and fantasies come alive on a white back ground, even if white is our least favorite color. And when we finally reach the end of what we believe is a truly brilliant piece of work, we can hardly wait to pick up our trusty quill and begin revising.

Reality Check for Authors; The only way to gain a healthy perspective of our work is to put time and distance between the first draft and the revision(s). Picking up that pen, marker or ‘edit-mode’, without giving ourselves an opportunity to disconnect from our work, is like letting someone who has gone to a party and drank too much, drive themselves or others home. Not! Just as friends don’t let friends drink and drive, friends don’t let writers, write and edit until they’ve had time to ‘sober up’.

Reality Check For Authors #20: What To Do When The Muse Runs Amuck


svablogslimer I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose. – Stephen King




Every writers felt it, experienced it and been plagued by it; be it first thing in the morning while enjoy that first cup of joe, in the middle of your 9 AM coffee break or during that last hour of the day when you’ve bullied yourself into staying at your laptop, notebook or whatever thingy-a-bob, until you’ve written at  least 2500 words; your muse is running amuck. Be it the challenge of simply sitting still, going to the bathroom for the umpteenth million time (in less than an hour) or being attacked by a sever case of the heebie-jeebies, the muse is running amuck and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. Seriously. Even if you shot her, she’d just find a way to rise from the dead, get into your head all over again and make you feel bad about your failure to meet your self-imposed writing deadlines.

Reality Check For Authors #20: when the muse is loose and refuses to be caged, even if you have promised to take her to Starbucks if she’ll only let you finish those last five hundred words, it’s time to put on the big panties and do what all muse-dependent writers do – let her ripe. That’s right. Why make yourself and her miserable by demanding something she’s unwilling to do, and you, even with all your super powers, can’t make her. As long as you’ve backed up your MS (just in case her evil twin comes along and tries to delete everything) the work will still be there when you guys return. Who knows, if you indulge her enough today, she might even be willing to inspire you into writing more than the designated 2500 words tomorrow.


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Reality Check For Authors #19: Nothing Lasts Forever


images (11) There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people  in California who couldn’t write. – Terry Pratchett

Traditional Publishing, Vanity Press, Indie Publishing, Self-Publishing; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes; Borders, Blockbuster, Hollywood video; everything changes, nothing stays the same. Including the gravy train of eBooks, POD, $.99 Bestsellers and what it means to be on Amazon’s KDP Select, top one hundred list. Ships sail and ships sink, but the one thing never changes is – nothing, not even publishing, lasts forever.

Reality Check For Authors #18: Be it the way we write, what we write or how we intend to share it with an ever-changing readership, our willingness, as authors, to be the captains of our own ship and begin embracing-experimenting with new genres, new publishing platforms, different marketing strategies and innovative author-novel-discoverability, is what will separate the faint of heart, from those who know how to put on the big panties, cow-boy/girl up and be willing to do whatever, go wherever and write whatever it takes to weather the changes ahead.


Reality Check For Authors #18: One Size Does Not Fit All

“Indie publishing lets me feed my inner control freak.” ― Michelle M. Pillow

One size dimages (2)oes not fit all. What works to power the sales of a Traditionally Published author, will not necessarily work to fuel the sales of Indie-Self Published author. Why? Because in Traditional Publishing, the goal of the publisher is to sell an author’s book to distributors and retail outlets – not the reader. In the Indie-Self Published world, the goal of every author is to connect and sell directly to the reader. No middle man – just you and whatever venue you’ve chosen to make yourself known on. (Even should you choose to sell your POD from a retail outlet, it’s still you doing the ‘distributing’, not some person in the middle.)

Reality Check For Authors #19 is: if you’re planning on being an Indie-Self Published author, then you’ll need to start thinking like an Indie-Self Published author (instead of a Traditionally Published one). And one of the fastest way to begin making that metamorphic changeover is, stop trying to imitate the Traditional boys and girls, and start paying attention to what successful Indie-Self Published ones are doing instead. Including, but not limited to, the way you see yourself (Are you an author, a business person, or both?), to how you intend to make the connect between your book and the reader (Are you looking for one night stands, or are you willing to invest in the long-term relationships?), to what will you do when the well runs dry (What kind of marketing plan do you have in place for your book (s)?).

Reality Check For Authors #17: TDQ Too-Damn-Quiet

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“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

It’s 6 AM and this is the second day, week, maybe even month, that you’ve sat down to work on the great American novel and . . . nothing. Nada! Gar nicht! Not a darn thing. Blank. No words. No images. No ‘What if’s’. No ‘Who done it’s.’ Not even the ‘Sound of Music’, with Julie Andres and Christopher Plummer, running around your head. Like the aftermath of WWI – all is quiet on the Western Front.

TDQ: Too damn quiet for a writer trying to finish a novel.

Reality Check For Authors #17 is: Anyone and everyone who has ever written anything, will tell you that there will be times when the characters and or plot of their story will have absolutely nothing to say. This is when the smart ones know (and that would be you and me), having multiple projects in the hopper (such as a 500 WC Prompted Novella called ‘The Remnant‘, or a weekly post like ‘Reality Check For Authors‘) can do wonders for helping the muted Muse in your brain to get over herself, and start talking once again.