Sometimes, a long look in the mirror is more frightening than you expected…
I start each morning by taking a long look in the mirror and reminding myself of the goals I have for the day, whether it be “Take out the trash,” “Be the change you want to see in the world,” “Chew your food before swallowing,” “Don’t run a social media platform into the ground in less than a week” or, as with this morning, “Dude, do something with that HAIR!“
In my defense, I am growing it out for our upcoming community Christmas show where I play an Elvis-like elf named (what else?) “Elfis.” I will also be dying my hair black which, while adding a level of believability to my character for those three performances, will undoubtedly fuel rumors that I am suffering from a midlife crisis every day between now and opening night. I briefly considered just wearing my Elfis jumpsuit any time I have to go out but, as my wife thoughtfully explained, “That is a really terrible idea.”
I’ve simply accepted that my hair will remain taking on a life of its own, growing like a nesting tribble on my head for the next three weeks. But as they say, “When life gives you melons, you might have dyslexia.”
Because everyone is busy working on their novel this month! Who has time to read a blog post — even if it’s about writing — when they have 30,000 words remaining in their 50,000-word manuscript, no to mention a 30-lb. Thanksgiving turkey already thawing in the sink?
Plus, in just a few weeks, many NaNoWriMo participants will be following up their day of giving “thanks” by attacking fellow shoppers on Black Friday for the last pair of “Walking Dead” slippers! What if their fingers get broken during a tussle at Target? Or they get walloped at Walmart? Mauled at Macy’s? Shanked at Sears? Body slammed at Bloomingdales?
You get the idea.
Even though it’s less than a week into NaNoWriMo, a lot of writers are feeling the pressure to finish their manuscripts before Nov. 24 because anything can happen once Thanksgiving Day arrives. No one wants to take the chance of being within 500 words of finishing their manuscript, only to have it consumed in a sudden turkey flashover fire thanks to the combustable nature of aunt Renee’s new whiskey stuffing recipe. Continue reading Not even bad Tofurkey will stop you NaNoWriMo writers!
Yesterday afternoon it became official! Any typos that I, my publisher or book editor may have missed are now on their way to the printers, where they will live forever in black and white to haunt me at book festivals, workshops and conventions.
“Hey Mr. Hickson! Will you sign my book on page 50, right above where it says ‘If you want to be a writer, you can never give up dope?'”
All joking aside, after reading through it for the final time before signing off on it for my publisher, I pushed the “send” button feeling truly excited to share this book. While my weekly columns and blog posts are certainly an extension of me, this book is even more personal because it’s an opportunity to take what I’ve learned over the last 16 years and share it directly with other writers (as opposed to just sitting in a bar and mumbling to whoever’s next to me). Continue reading My pearls of writing wisdom are now totally shucked
With my new book coming out in little more than a month, it seemed like a good time for another sneak peak at a passage of writing wisdom that isn’t actually in it.
That’s right! If you like what you read here, there’s more where that came from!
Just not in my book.
You may be asking, “Why is he even doing this?”
I know my publisher is.
My hope is that you’ll read what I didn’t include in my book and think to yourself, “Man! If this is the kind of stuff he left out, imagine how much he must be kicking himself for the @#%& he left in!”
As some of you may know (and by “some” of you, I mean my publisher) I’ve been working on my manuscript, Pearls of Writing Wisdom:From 16 shucking years as a columnist, for the last few weeks.
I am now on the final chapter, which will be done tomorrow, depending on what time of day I decide to start drinking.
Ha! Ha! Just kidding! There’s no need to pick a time.
Anyway, this book is particularly special to me because, if you are a writer (or fear you might be one), I wrote this book for you. Think of it as the conversation we’d have about writing if we were sharing a cold beer. We’d talk about technique, style, personal experience and hopes. We’d encourage each other and share a few laughs. We might even get a little rowdy and start using air quotation marks.
As many of you know (meaning literally dozens), after harrassing you every Friday for two years with my writing tips, I put Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing on hiatus while turning that series into a book: Pearls of Writing Wisdom From 16 Shucking Years as a Columnist.
Set for release this August (no, really), it’s a writer’s survival guide that Editor’s Weekly is already heralding as, “A handbook for writers as inspiring as a life-skills pep talk from Dr. Jack Kavorkian…”
And what Master of Horror® Stephen King has touted as “An essential part of every writer’s tool kit, unless they know a good mechanic.”
But enough accolades!
The reason I bring this up is because, yesterday, the first of 12 video vignettes from my book was released at Gliterary Girl Media and Port Hole Publications. Thanks to Hollywood director J.J. Abrams and special effects wizards from Industrial Lights and Magic, the imagery and storytelling are truly spectacular! And by that, I mean in the latest Star Wars movie. Neither J.J. Abrams or ILM had anything to do with my video.
When you consider that there were nine Muses in Greek mythology, you’d think finding yours would be pretty easy. In fact, I’m looking for mine right now. The Muses, as you probably know, were all extraordinarily beautiful women (remember, philosophers were all men back then), with names like Fallopia, Urethra, Tetracycline, Chlamydia, Herpes, etc., and were the daughters of mighty Zeus and the goddess of personified memory… uh, whose name escapes me. Each muse served as inspiration for different art forms, such as literature, oration, sculpture, music, Reuben sandwiches, and others.
I realize that last paragraph probably guaranteed that my muse is now hovering over our unsuspecting copy editor who, at this moment, is jotting down an outline for the next blockbuster literary franchise. But that’s OK! I like our copy editor. If she achieves fame and fortune with the help of my angry muse, I will be happy for her. I won’t buy her damned book, but I’ll be happy for her. Continue reading Finding your writing muse: it’s always the last place you look
Ok, so let’s suppose you’ve read every weekly Nickel’s Worth On Writing I’ve posted here during the last two years. And let’s also suppose you aren’t my mother. That means you understand the importance of developing a voice, know the tools you need to establish that voice, are prepared to send your work to potential publishers, have established a writing routine and are now sitting at the keyboard ready to write!
…um, but about what?
As a writer, recognizing and developing story ideas is your bread and butter. Or biscuits and gravy, depending on your proximity to the Mason-Dixon line. The point is, whether you are a romance novelist, sci-fi short story writer or weekly columnist, generating ideas — and recognizing the difference between good ones and not-so-good ones (There are no bad ideas in my opinion, and I’ll explain that in a bit) — is the most important skill you must develop. Continue reading Learn to distill story ideas like a moonshiner