Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fellow Writers Blog Hop: Question of the Month

Learn more here.
Friends, I have to apologize to you.  I expected to be writing about the Hypocrisy of Religion today.  However I must forebear, because I made a commitment to use the second Tuesday of each month to share a thought for the Fellow Writers Blog Hop (or the FWBH).  This is only my second blog hop that I've tried out and I know there is Mark Hoopmans "Got Green" Bloghop taking place this week, but I thought it would be wiser to just do one at a time and just take things nice and slow.  I find myself blogging with too much of my writing time as it is.  I love you, but I have needs too.

So each month at the FWBH they ask a question that they want us to answer as writers.  And this months question was:

Be it a full size novel or a short story, a writer has to prepare for writing. What steps do you use, how do you research your information, what tips do you have to gear up for page one?

For me this is a loaded question because there are a lot of things I do to prepare myself for each kind of writing that I may need to do.  I'll try to approach all the different things I need to do in a manner that makes the some sense.

1. I try to read or listen to the Word of God before I write.  I find this ritual puts my mind in a much better place to do anything writing related.  I'm more at peace, more receptive to inspiration, and most of all I'm much more focused when I begin my writing.

2. I prefer to world build and idea monger before I actually start any story.  Much of this has simply to do with designing the background of the story that I'm working on.  Without any background it makes it really hard to write anything.

During this part of my process of writing I am developing everything for the story except the story itself.  I search for ideas to build my world, the setting that the story will take place upon, a series of events that could take place during the story, but I refuse to outline the story at this point.  I am not only a seat of the pants writer, but also an organic writer.  If I set up the events the characters should be able to play through them naturally in such a way that I get to the ending I have envisioned.

3. This is a more recent thing, but I build a community of people around myself of folks who I can share and gather energy with.  Sometimes it is as simple as just myself and my wife, and other times it is as large as my Google Plus writing group, my #wordmongering friends on twitter, and my #ROW80 friends too.  Each group serves a certain purpose in helping me with my writing and I'm glad to have them to help me.

Because right now we are celebrating the first birthday of #wordmongering I thought I would share a story with you.  Hopefully this describes how a community helps me with writing.  One of my blogging friends Asrai Devin, the Mavin of Mischief and I were #wordmongering together trying to get through our words.  But she was having a hard time with thinking of something to write about.  I was smoothly working through my words, but she had serious writers block.  I gave her a writing prompt and shared with her that she should write about what she enjoyed.  She began a fan fiction that night and the words flew from her fingertips.  But a couple of weeks later, during my own slump in working on my story she came back with encouragement and words of advice for me to get me through a hard time.  I rely on my community of friends I've made online to help me get through the hard work of getting a story written.  For me it is more than just a social experience.  It is the energy and lifeblood of my writing.

4. Lastly, I take the advice of Stephen King to heart.  In his book On Writing he states: "Never come to the blank page lightly."  This means you didn't come to just play around and doodle on the page, or give less than your best effort.  You came to create, you came to learn, and you came to inspire.  Make sure that is all reflected when you put your words on the page.  Like even for my blog.  I don't write with the strokes of my keyboard like you may think.  The ink left on these pages is white (once blue cause that's my favorite color) because I'm writing with the material of my soul.  I work hard to be honest, because that is what I want my writing to reflect.  I strive for sincerity, because I want you to believe me.  I labor for love, because that is what I want to share with my readers my love for them.

For me the blank page represents the relationship that I have with my readers when they first meet me.  Whether that is through my fiction or through my blog when you first read what I say we begin a conversation and a relationship.  I must share with you the gift that God has given me to express myself through the written word.  One day in the future I know that this will be a business where I'll receive from my readers cash for what I have written.  But these exchanges are meant to be something precious, even something holy.  Because by giving you a book or a blog that you might learn something from that comes from the inkwell of my soul, I hope to have given you things that might make your life better.  When that is given back to me in your time reading what I've written or paying for what I've written it is a donation to the welfare of my family.  To explain the concept better, I'd rather use a full post to describe the culture I hope to build for when I am paid for my work.

I believe like Howard Taylor (author of Schlock Mercenary webcomic.  Read it, for it is made of awesome.), that an artist should get paid for their work.  Is this art?  Sure it is, but my payment right now isn't a financial one.  I'm paid through the development of my writing skills, the comments you leave on my pages, and the opportunities to share what I've learned with others.  Just like any other job when you are training you don't get paid much, but what you learn when you aren't getting paid magnifies what you will be worth when you do get paid.

Which is part of why I give away books here.  Its part of the time, sacrifice, and love trilogy necessary for me to create good art.  Which is why I share with you you of our books of the month.  Tankborn by Karen Sandler and Dhalgren by Samuel Delany.  Both of these are excellent books and I'm giving them away this month to a lucky follower of the blog.  Cause I know that not everyone can follow my blog there are two ways to get entries.  One is to actually follow the blog this will get your name put into my hat three times, and the other is to leave a comment on the blog.  For each comment I receive on my blog during the month of February I'll put your name into the hat once.  I enjoy doing this because it gets me reading different books, supporting authors I love, and it allows me an opportunity to give back to you, my audience.

Next time our discussion will be on my weekly mashup and recap of #ROW80 goals.  And I promise that on Friday or Saturday morning we will have a post on the Hypocrisy of Religion.  It is always a juggle here at the Garrett home for time to make this work and also get everything else important in life done.  This is Jayrod Garrett, the First OG, with one question for you:

What do you need to create your art?

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