New Year: Planning your progress

The beginning of a new year is one of my favourite seasons. Everybody is genuinely trying to be a better version of themselves. I think this is a noble cause. We can affect our environment a little bit by bringing some positives vibes.

At the same time, we wonder how long we’ll be able to maintain our goals and turn them into a reality. While it’s a long journey that requires a lot of energy, I recommend focusing on solutions rather than resolutions to obtain realistic results.

Here’s a few more thoughts and my list of personal objectives for 2020.

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Write for yourself

This is wise advice.

Writing is about finding your voice. Some will like it, some won’t. Some will tell you how you should be doing it. The truth is, you decide how to develop your own style. No one can tell you how to be unique.

Actually, no one can actually teach you how to write. Sure, you’ve taken courses that tell you about grammar and proper punctuation, but the art of writing goes beyond that. All you need to do to become great at this craft is writing a lot and reading a lot. That’s all.

The occasional workshop can guide you, yes, but you gain real experience with your hands on the keyboard and with your eyes on a book.

Thoughts on prolific writing

I recently read an article about becoming a prolific writer. The key is pretty nice and simple: Write a lot.

It’s a simple truth and couldn’t agree more with it. It makes sense to write as much as possible to offer multiple readings in multiple formats. One of the first forms of writing that comes to mind is blogging. While you’re working on your manuscript, your online presence should stay active in some way. Posting a couple of entries per week (or per month) keeps exercising your writing skills.

If you have an audience that enjoy hearing from you and your work, it’s also a way of keeping them informed on your most recent activities. On the other hand, if your blog is not popular yet, it’s always a good idea to start building an audience and tell them about your writing.

That article also reminded me of one of the many ideas that Joanna Penn has shared around multiple streams of income. It’s not enough to publish one book and hope it sells millions of copies. It’s working on new ideas to keep producing more books.

Consider different genres and different formats like audio books, workbooks, and ebooks. The more you create, the more sources of income you’ll generate.

What do you think?

First drafts are for your eyes only

For some reason, the other day I woke up with this song playing in my head:

This song reminds me of my childhood. My parents tuned in the radio quiet often, and this song would be playing. Back then, I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics, but now I can really feel it has a powerful message.

Sing a song (…) don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.

I feel the same thing happens when writing. You compose a story, and then you wonder if it’s good enough. However, the first draft is for your eyes only. Nobody else is reading it or judging you. All you need to do is write and edit later on.

As long as it all comes from the heart, the next improvements will follow. That’s what the song says to me. What does it say to you?

Confronting Fears: What if your loved ones disapprove the stories you tell through your art?

Your art is personal and intimate. It feels safe to keep it for your eyes only.

However, the time comes when your work urges to reach the public light. How will others receive it?

What will your family and loved ones think about your creations? What if they are your harshest judges?

It’s natural to have these questions in your head. It’s natural to be scared of reactions from people who know you so well. Famous artists, at some point, went through the same situation. Dave Gahan, lead singer of Depeche mode, came to mind. As the band gained more popularity in the 80s, Dave didn’t want his mom to see him on stage singing and dancing. One day, Mrs. Gahan went to a concert and saw his act. She seemed to have mixed feelings.

Whether she liked it or not, that was Dave being himself. I guess they made peace regardless of any confrontations. His dancing style didn’t change over the years. Here’s proof.

So, the art you create might not delight your family or loved ones, and that’s okay. They may not be your audience, but you will find it. There’s always public for anything and everything. Your priority as a creator is producing quality work and improve yourself.

Meet your own expectations and take pride in your accomplishments. Your family and friends will always love you for who you are.

Working one day at a time, and writing one word at a time

Some people are able to write 10,000 words a day. I’ve always thought that’s impressive, and I’m really happy they can reach a high word count. At the same time, I also think it’s fair to say that this goal is not for everyone. That’s okay.

Each writer sets different standards and, therefore, different goals.

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The Inspiring World of Magazines

I recently visited a bookstore and spent hours thumbing through the pages of different magazines.

It’s impressive how these publications can target really specific audiences. On the one hand, you have your typical politics or sports magazine; on the other hand, some revolve around chicken farms or philosophy in our day and age.

This got me thinking. Magazines can teach us so much about writing. They’re an endless source of ideas.

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What mom taught me about writing

Today my mom is coming to visit me. She’s staying for three weeks, and I’m writing these lines as she’s making her way through the airport in Vancouver. Then, she will fly to Calgary.

I’m getting married next month. Her presence, support and guidance means the world to me. There’s a lot of things going on in my life right now. Big and exciting changes are coming my way, and I wouldn’t be able to get through them without her.

I’m thinking this is also the case for writing. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be motivated to be a writer. Here’s four tips she gave me to get started.

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Writing fanfiction: A cure for writer’s block

In my teen years, I used to read a lot of fanfiction about anime characters. I remember spending hours online discovering stories and making sure I reached the final chapter.

A few days ago, I retook this habit and decided to read with different eyes. I realized that fanfiction is a type of creative writing with tremendous potential to cure a case of writer’s block. Here’s why.

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Somebody’s dream: that’s how everything starts

Today I want to share a few things that have been on my mind lately.

The clothes you are wearing, the products you consume were once somebody’s dream. That dream came true through the use you give them.

The notebooks or journals you write on are the result of somebody’s effort to design them and put them in stores. It was their dream that you would buy them.

The books you read and re-read existed in a writer’s imagination first. The author dreamed to publish his/her work, and it reached you at some point.

Ordinary people started writing songs in their rooms or composing melodies in their garages with friends. Eventually, they became your favourite singers/bands. It was their dream to go on stage and perform for you.

You sit and write everyday to publish your book someday. You share pieces of yourself here and there to show your work. You don’t know what the result will be, but you have a dream, and it’s important to believe in it.

Life is made of dreams that can come true.