Yesterday I joined up with Jeff Goin’s 15 Great Habits of Great Writers challenge. I’m number 1082 on the list, and people are still slowly joining.
This post is my attempt to catch-up with the challenges so far – there are five of them, so apologies in advance for the length of the post.
Please scroll to the bottom two, however, where I ask something of you.
I am a writer. I even called this writing blog “Hunter’s Writings” – there, that proves it.
My origins as a writer go back to when I was around ten, eleven or twelve, can’t quite remember. Giving away my age, it was the year Star Wars (the original) came out. I lived in a neighbourhood filled with boys my age. We all went to watch the best movie ever – according to them – and came back to pretend we had light sabres and stuff.
To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Star Wars, even as a pre-teen. Although the special effects were awesome, I hated the fact there was only one woman in the whole thing, and Princess Leia, in the first movie, wasn’t exactly kick-arse. In fact, she apparently needed an entire planet, some robots and several men to rescue her. I hated that.
The boys around me loved Star Wars. So, that was the origins of my writing. I wrote, in a notebook, in pencil, an entire space opera, full of robots, starships, and possibly even something akin to the Death Star. I have my biggest recollections of a day where instead of going out on bikes and things, I had eight boys of various ages, sitting on my front porch, enthralled as I read them my tale.
It went downhill from there. Creative writing, in High School, wasn’t the done thing. I went into the technical writing and business analysis field for a lot of my career, and a decade ago, discovered blogging in it’s infancy. I also wrote magazine articles for my particular field of hobbies and crafts for some time. But for many years, I had decided that my true colours and calling as a writer would happen in my 30’s (why that age, I have no idea). As it was, it started mid-late 30’s once I left full time work. I was a little late in my own timescale, but made up for it by pushing out several trial novels (now File 13’ed) in one year.
My first real declaration as a writer now, outside of my blogs, in real life, to a stranger (I don’t count my in-laws, who consider it a little bemusing that I write novels, but haven’t been published yet, or some old neighbours who showed little interest) came only this year.
It was a school social thing – we were meeting other Mums at a morning tea, for the new school year. I’m not great socially, being an introvert, and also not great with names and faces of people I’ve previously met. But I ended up standing with two new Mums who had joined the school this year, and we got to talking, as you do. And they asked the normal question – what do you do? And rather than lying and telling them my usual – I’m a truck driver (Usually shuts them up), I announced I was a writer.
I was hoping that would be the end of it, but one stalwart, an ex-police officer who apparently did interrogations quite naturally, asked me what I wrote. Erk.
So, I told her I was currently writing a psychological thriller, and she offered to help if I ever needed any advice, as she was just beginning to study psychology at Uni. Since then, I have been surprised to find just how many Mums of a certain age around here are taking up psychology at Uni during their spare time, and want to offer advice for psychological thrillers.
Anyway – I’m Hunter Emkay, and I’m a writer.
Jeff’s second day talks about believing. He also sets the task to get up two hours earlier the next morning, to write.
I refuse that one, I already get up at 6:00am, and have dropped off my daughter to school by 8:00am. I write from then on, and have several hours. That’s a luxury I know many other writer’s can’t fathom, forced to write at night, or while toddlers and babies are sleeping (something I’ve done, too).
Knowing how fortunate I am recently, to have all this time, I have a dedicated routine in writing.
Jeff talks about Belief, and for a bonus assignment, sends us to a link: The One Fear We Refuse to Talk About. Loved reading that, because it puts a title on something of me, also.
For over thirty years I kept my own “I’m going to be a writer” a dirty little secret. I don’t even know why – it was something of a stigma, and was the one thing I kept away from close friends, ex-boyfriends, even family.
Bonus : Jeff’s link about facing the fear (above) also talks about Luke Skywalker. How kizmet is that?)
This day’s habit is about beginning writing. As I said above, I’m not going to get up any earlier, I suffer too much from sleep loss. And I am working on a couple of works in progress at the moment (shouldn’t really be spending time on this post), so I’m happy. I have initiated.
Choosing myself is a different matter. I once said on here I have a five year plan of being a NY Times Bestselling Author. Cue the horror. Several people suggested saying things like that out loud is asking for trouble. Oddly, the whole NY Times and other bestselling lists and algorithms have changed drastically since then, and the ramp up of indie publishing, so that may well have a bearing on my own intentions. But I think an overall huge goal is worth stretching for, and have kept it.
A non-secret challenge for myself is to claim the “author” title – which I equate to being published. Coming soon, same bat channel, same bat time, I hope. No, I know.
Jeff tells us to practice in public. But he doesn’t count this blog. **Sigh**. He wants us to go pitch a magazine, or submit a book proposal. I have nothing on that.
He’s also talking about challenging us to take more risks in the future. I think he hit on something hard here. If you read many of the comments on Goin’s Practice post, a lot of the commenters consider their blogs their risk, and their practice, (and their safety net). They’re not yet willing to try out something a little more publically risky. Like, oh, sticking up a too long short story on here (done it), lol.
The only thing here I can work on is a guest post situation.
Want to Guest Post on this blog?
With a reciprocal post on yours? Roll up, roll up. Leave a comment. Go on, take a risk on me.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Goins suggests, taking Seth Godin’s approach, that real writers prepare for their big projects by firstly shipping something out. First ship it.
Did I say ouch enough times? He poked me (I seem to be channelling Seth today). I don’t think I can do it.
Nothing is ready to ship. Nearly, yes. My wicked plans are coming true. So, here goes on some of the many shipping steps I have planned:
- In a few weeks, I will have my first novel ready, a collection of short stories, and will be searching for a small group of beta readers, and a critique partner, so that I can get the much needed feedback.
- Once completed the revised edits (I’m on track for end of June), I will also be putting up a poll on cover art, something quick to vote on for you.
- I will also be posting a few excerpts.
Want to Be My Beta Reader / Critique Partner?
If you have some spare time, I will have a series of stories ranging from 1000 words – to just over 4000 words, and would appreciate some feedback. I am looking for beta readers, and also a critique partner.
I am prepared to reciprocate the task for you, if you are a writer also,and have fiction (or non-fiction) to have read.
If this interests you, please leave a comment.
Okay, caught up. Phew.