To that end, the Kindle version of my writer’s handbook will be FREE Monday, March 10- Friday, March 14 during a flash promotion.
You can read the preface here if you’d like an explanation of why I wrote a writer’s handbook (based heavily upon this blog and its backlog of posts) and what I was hoping to accomplish.
For another sneak peek, you can read part of the introduction right here: it’s a reflection why we would ever be crazy enough to write fiction in the first place.
I hope you enjoy your free download! You don’t owe me anything in return, but I would most definitely appreciate any help you can give spreading the word about the promotion (and about this blog)…. Please help others know the book is free!
Also, if you do like my blog, why not pop over and “like” my Amazon author page? Any extra promotion from Amazon I can get is never harmful!
Don’t forget you can also gift ebooks to people, including free ones. Why not send a free copy to your friends, if you think they might be interested?
Before we dive into the writing process and all the madness it entails, we first should consider why people write: and why you write, in particular. Writing a novel isn’t easy, and writing a good novel is that much more difficult. If you don’t approach writing with the proper mindset and the right motivation, you can’t hurdle the obstacles that will set themselves before you.
I think any successful wordsmith could tell aspiring novelists there is one reason and one reason alone to write: for you. Of course, “writing for you” can mean all kinds of different things. I doubt two writers exist for whom it means precisely the same thing. But what it does mean is that you shouldn’t write for fame, and you surely shouldn’t write for money. The chances that any of us will make big money are smaller than small. I’ve accepted that, more than likely, I will always need a day job of some kind. So you shouldn’t write what you think will be popular because what’s popular is what sells. You write because you have a writer’s heart, and because of that, you have to write.
Never forget that fiction is art. True art. And art is one of those things that separate us as human beings from every other species on the planet. Perhaps my degrees in Spanish literature make me biased here, but I feel that the humanities matter precisely for that reason. We use art to explore what it means to be human, and being human is worth something. It’s worth holding in high regard, and it’s worth studying. Please, respect the human condition enough not to cheapen art by making profiting from it your sole or major motivation. You have to write for you and from your soul to be successful. Period.
In my case, my writing is what fulfills me. At a time when I was stuck in a graduate fellowship I could no longer stand and was contemplating some big life changes— starting a new career, moving back to my hometown— my fiction remained my passion and one of my constants. Oh, that doesn’t mean the fiction came easy. Some days it frustrated me, and some days I didn’t know where to take the story next, or I wondered if I could go through that scene one more blasted time. I trudged forward, because writing is what I’m meant to do. That I had the will to trudge forward when writing became difficult reassured me how very much I’m meant to be an author. I now have enough experience writing that I can tell myself when I hit a rough patch, “This has happened before. You got through it then and you’ll get through it now. Chill, Vic. Just chill.”
Why do I write? Writing energizes me. It guides me to ponder the big questions of life. Some days I find myself smiling with pride at the thought of a character and how he refuses to give up in a tough situation, or shaking my head in disappointment at a character when she does wrong. In some strange way, they could almost be my children. They are real people to me. They are parts of me, and their stories speak to my soul. Their adventures inspire, teach, and strengthen me. I hope with all my heart they might have that effect on other people too, but what’s most important is that writing allows me to work through my fears, doubts, and problems. I would write even if I never intended anyone else to read my work. I wouldn’t write for as many hours a day as I do, but I’d still write.
I think when you can say that last, you can call yourself a writer. I mean, what writer doesn’t have a horrid first novel she will never show the world but that she holds as dear to her heart as anything “better” that she wrote? I know that’s the case for me, and I love those first characters and that cliché, predictable, boring story with everything I am.
I am a writer, and I continue to write because I write for me. As I mentioned earlier, though, there’s no clear-cut definition of what it means to “write for you.” For most people— and for me, for sure— it means a combination in varying degrees of all of the following reasons.