Sunday, January 1, 2012

Getting Started

The one big resolution I had for the coming New Year was to get this blog up and running, so I guess you could say I am off to a good start in 2012.  Resolutions are a tricky thing.  I used to make them and break them like so many others.  Year after year, the same thing would happen - the total decay of best intentions.  Why?  Did I strive for too much?  Set completely unrealistic expectations?  Was the list too long?  Too daunting to achieve because it would have called for a seismic shift in my entire lifestyle?  In the end, I came to believe that vagueness was the biggest culprit.  Write more.  Spend more time with the family. Watch less television.  Exercise more.  Eat right.  Volunteer.  All good resolutions, right?  But what does each of those really mean?  How can you gauge them?

I'll focus on the first one…write more…since I get a lot of questions at conventions, signings, and on twitter about being a writer, and trying to answer any such question in a limited time (especially in 140 characters or less) is difficult.  It goes to what I hear many writers respond with when asked about writing.  If you want to be a writer, write a lot.  Sounds simple enough to follow, but what does that really mean?

Writing is hard because, like anything worth doing, it takes discipline.  There is no easy way around it.  You have to plant your butt in front of the computer (or typewriter, or pad of paper, or stone tablet, etc.) and just do it.  Try to avoid all the things that get in the way of writing - television, Internet, phone, and even food. Pick a dedicated time and place if you can.  Set a schedule.  When I still had other jobs, nighttime was the only real choice for me.  And as much as I love it, there were times when all I wanted to do at the end of the long day was zone out in front of the television, play a video game, or have a drink.  I'd set a benchmark goal for myself.  3 hours.  3,000 words.  10 pages of script.  Or if I had a deadline, there was no goal, no choice.  The work had to get done, plain and simple. Deadlines can be a writer's best friend.   Did I always hit my goal?  Absolutely not.  Did I spend the next day beating myself up?  You bet.  And, it took me awhile to realize the next day was the best thing for my failure the night before.  It was another chance to get it right.  To hit my mark.  Get the job done. Make progress. 

I grew up in a family of golf lovers.  My grandfather, father, and older brother all played it.  I did too, but it's not the easiest sport to enjoy.  A good golf swing has a list of things to remember - head down, follow through, keep your eye on the ball, and so on.  Miss any one of these, and you were sure to hit what my father called a "worm burner."  The ball would sputter across the ground for twenty feet or so, never taking flight.  In my time, I hit many a "worm burner."  Frustration was a regular emotion for me on the course.  But, sometimes I did it right.  I connected, heard that strong crack in the air, and watched my little white ball sail down the fairway, bouncing along the grass, inching closer and closer to the pin.  Each time I stepped up to the ball was another opportunity.  I had the chance to get it right.  Just like every time I sat down at my computer, I had the chance to write.

Keep at it.  No matter what. 

I am not sure what this blog will ultimately be.  Sometimes, I'll talk more about writing.  I'll share artwork and information for upcoming projects.  Hell, I'll probably talk about great hockey games and maybe the occasional new beer I discover. 

Read, enjoy, share, respond.



  1. Congratulations for your blog. Very interesting tips for writers. I´m gonna be checking regularly.

  2. Love it!! As proud of you. ~Melissa

  3. I'm keeping this in my check regularly feed, however I'd like to see a post about a television pilot you'll be writing called Wayne Gretzky Hockey Detective.

  4. Good luck on the new years resolution, JT.