7 Big Mistakes Made by New Authors

If you are new to the craft of writing (books specifically), avoid these common mistakes; if you are experienced, you probably made some of these, as I have. Focusing on ideas rather than execution. This is very common with fantasy writers, who like to spend time imagining an alternate world, complete with maps, magic systems, and economies. The problem is, none of those things are stories, they are background to stories. Likewise, political ideology is not a story, whatever success Ayn Rand has had. A great yarn is focused on the character drama and the action, and you should focus…

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Social time – Align Your Priorities for Creative Output, part 8

8. Social Time We are social beings. We live in groups. To that end, social time is important. Our social nature is also something that is exploited by social media to suck our time and attention away from other matters, and this is something you must be aware of. Depending on your stage of life and personal attitude, social time is something that can be either minimal or all-consuming. It’s also an area of life that few people are really honest about when it comes to acknowledging their preferences. Very few individuals are actually a lone wolf. Some people are…

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Maintenance – Align your priorities for creative output, part 9

7. Maintenance What I classify as “maintenance” are all the little obligations you have as part of living: cleaning the house, taking out the trash, fixing faucets, fixing cares, mowing the lawn, etc. I also include feeding yourself and performing basic hygiene. I think this is one area where there is an intense amount of focus for things like “life hacks” – little things that either save time or improve your effectiveness in this area of your life in the long run. I saw an add for a device called the “Y Toothbrush” that claimed it could clean your teeth…

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Creativity and Purposeful Activities – Align Your Priorities for Creative Output, part 6

Previous post in the series. 4. Creativity and Purposeful Activities Here is where we get to producing art. A creative endeavor is something you do because you have a need to create something, to put something out into the world. Painting, music, writing, or even something like wine making, are realms of passion, not merely realms of economic activity. Creativity is always something more than a job. A purposeful activity is something different from that in its fundamental drive – things like charity or volunteer work, which are intended to make a difference in the lives of others but aren’t…

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Health – Align Your Priorities for Creative Output, part 5

Picking it up from yesterday with focus area number 3: 3. Health and Fitness Health, like finance, needs to be a priority on some level for every single person. Ignoring your health will have a massively negative impact on you and your creative output. First, you will be unable to do your work with maximal efficiency. If you are tired from lack of sleep, your focus will be shot and you won’t be able to write. If you ignore a problem like diabetes, you won’t be able to function mentally, and you may lose time to being physically ill. Likewise,…

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Money – Align Your Priorities for Creative Output, part 3

Picking it up from yesterday: Let’s take a look at some of these life obligations and what they mean for somebody who has a desire for high creative output. 1. Money Personal finances, for most people, are something that can only be ignored at perilous risk. We live in a world where we cannot provide for all of our needs, so we must earn money to pay for most of what we consume. Even a stay-at-home parent has to carefully manage a budget to ensure the needs of the family are met, even if the duty of earning the income…

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The Attention Economy and Alternative Publishing

Great thread here to spark this article: I sell my books a variety of ways – Amazon, all other alternative direct sales, and through patronage on subscribestar. The problem with building alternative platforms or alternative methods of artist support is not, and has never been, the difficulty of actually programming or organizing such a venture. The problem has always been attention. Building alternatives to Amazon to sell your books is largely putting the cart before the horse. In fact, it is more like building a cart while the horse is still being trained in Arabia. Also, there are dozens of…

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Align Your Priorities for Creative Output

Life is full of demands. Life is full of obligations. Life is full of temptations. Life is often too full of things that each of us wishes to do, and the time during the day is too short to get it all done. The speed of modern life doesn’t help, and it is all too easy to find oneself caught up in the cacophony of urban activity and feel completely drained every day. This is the reality of limited time and unlimited wants. When it comes to figuring out how all of it goes together, I have found that priorities…

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10 Ways to Make Your Protagonist Likable

I’ve cautioned in the past regarding making a protagonist in a story a “Mary Sue” type of character. In short, you don’t want to make a character that lives out your own power fantasies and to whom the plot offers little resistance to the character’s overwhelming power. It’s good to avoid characters like this, but sometimes writers tend to go too far in the opposite direction, creating wimpy, base, or unlikeable characters that the audience doesn’t really care about. In order to avoid having a character feel too super-powered, they instead make them weak or detestable. This is not wise;…

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Disney Star Wars may provoke an artistic renaissance

Not because it’s good. Oh no, it was very, very far from good. And yet it may be the shock that wakes people up from the cultural stupor of the corporate period and gets them to either stop consuming entirely (starvation) or gets them to look at non-corporate alternatives, most of which are fare more original and better executed than the drivel that has been pooped out by Disney the last few years. That incentive could drive lots of money – and therefore talent – back to writing classic stories. The meta-narrative of Disney Wars, which has primarily been about…

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