Validation

All of us need validation. That’s why a toddler looks back at his mother when he’s made a big accomplishment, a single step, a Cheerio successfully stuffed into a drooling mouth.

Somehow, writers seem to think that we need to be accepted by a publisher in order to be validated. Like, any rave reviews we get from friends, other writers, or family don’t count, it only counts if you actually get published, and that big advance.

Yup, we gotta eat. After all we spend way more hours at our craft than any other kind of employment requires. (Okay–maybe not truck driving). But our validation– yes, you are an author–need not come from a stuffy publishing house.

Are we any less of a success if we self-publish? Somehow, I seem to think I won’t be a real writer unless somebody else publishes my work. Somebody else has to say so, then I can say I’m an author. I’m a writer. I could put it on a business card, and it would be okay.

I am slogging through the self-publishing world to get my first two books published. That part is actually not that difficult, but I’ve spent countless hours learning everything I can about book marketing. That’s where the hard part is.

It’s not so much the social networking, ads, and e-mails, it’s the self promotion part. It is the Impostor Syndrome, the need for validation from somebody that counts. Somehow that gets ingrained from an early age.

Jennifer Poyntz is young, and a writer with budding talent. She has amazing insight into what matters most in life, but she is still searching for the validation that says she is a writer. I say she is a writer. I’m not a publisher, or editor, I’m a reader. And the reader is the one who matters.

Cutting the Bullshit 

Jennifer Poyntz

I am not sure if everyone in the world feels emotions as I do. Or experiences anything the way I do. How can we be sure that one person’s experience of a rainbow or the flickering light of a candle is really the same?

I cannot speak for anyone other than myself. Yet as a race we agree to an understanding of the experience of certain emotions, despite knowing that there are shades of experience in between.
We all know happy.
We all know anger.
It is due to this knowing, that I ask if you have ever felt a deep sense of certainty that overrides all else in any given moment?
It is a feeling of unshakable, undeniable certainty towards a situation or experience.
I know I do and have done ever since I was very young. Yet now that I am (unavoidably) an adult, I am having this…

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The Impostor Syndrome

Reading my Facebook Ninja Writers group posts, I stumbled on a post that seems to resonate with a lot of indie writers. The Impostor Syndrome. You know, that annoying little feeling, kicking you in the back of your brain. The one that says, “Who the heck do you think you are? You aren’t supposed to be successful. Why do you think you could write a book?”

I think we’ve all experienced a moment when that voice gets the best of us. It can happen when ever we try something new or different. It’s the same feeling you had on the first day of middle school when you realized the outfit you spent half the summer picking out was-not-cool.

Even when, by chance, you do get it right, and someone says, “Nice,” or “I like your work,” how often do you find yourself brushing off the compliment. “Oh this old thing,” (when it’s your all-time favorite, best thing ever!) Are you afraid if somebody validates you, then OMG, you’ll have to try to live up to the compliment? 

Calm Down. Take a deep breath, say, “Thank You,” you deserve it.

Life is a learning process. The more we learn, the more we scrutinize our skills. When you were a toddler learning to walk, you didn’t beat yourself up because you didn’t know everything there was to know about walking. You were just thrilled about what you had just learned. It didn’t make you stop trying to learn, it made you want to do even more.

When Impostor Syndrome tries to walk around in your brain, throwing a fit, just ignore him. Carry on. Nope, you’re not Hemingway yet. Well, I hope not, we already had one of those. What we really need now is what you wrote, in the phase of development you’re in right now.

You are not an impostor. You are a writer in the process of learning. We all are in the process of learning, everyday.

The Inside Scoop

Okay, okay, I’ve changed the title to my second book, again. Sorry, I’m not even sure what the final title will be. I’ve been checking Amazon and KDP Rocket to find out if someone else already has my title. Apparently I’ve got all the same Ideas as everyone else…I’m just a step behind. Rats!

Here it is: (for now), the title will be Driving Traffick. I feel like I have to publish fast before somebody beats me to it. Maybe I need to keep this quiet…Shhhh!

As promised, here is the inside scoop. This is a little writing exercise that helped me to form my characters and actually helped to direct the story. I have the character write me a letter (or else I do an interview with them on paper). It gets me in the character’s head, lets me know where they are coming from, why they do what they do. It doesn’t all end up in the story, but it gives me the background.

This is not an original idea, I got it from one of the zillion books on writing I’ve read. I wish I could tell you which one, I’d love to give the author credit, but I have no idea…

This is about Arnold, the main bad guy in Driving Traffick. (by the way it is a first draft, warts and all.) Warning: the N word is in there…I hate it, but this is my bad guy speaking, and he would use it. It helps me to hate him even more.

Arnold

Life sucks. But I’m going to get everything I deserve, they owe it to me! Who is “they”? Everybody! I don’t care what it takes to get what I want, and I want it all.

I’ve been kicked around enough, now it’s my turn to do the kicking. I had to spend my childhood riding around with my Dad in a truck, being his nigger, while he stayed warm and dry in the truck laughing while I struggled hauling his tarps, and chaining his tires. I froze my fingers, and strained my back when I should have been playing football with my buddies from school. I would have been good, maybe even pro by now. But that won’t ever happen now that I’m all busted up thanks to trucking with my lazy-ass Dad.

It never should have happened. We shouldn’t have been on Loveland pass in a snowstorm, we shouldn’t have been running two sets of logs, and I shouldn’t have been driving at all. Not that anybody will ever know that I was driving. Hell, I was only 17 and I barley had my driver’s license much less a CDL.. I should have been in school like my pansy-ass brother, but my Dad wanted to make the big bucks hauling heavy equipment over the mountains.  He told ‘em he could get it there overnight even though it was a 25 hour haul.

Dad was tired when we started, he kept popping some kind of pills to stay awake, but then they quit working and he got sleepy, almost had us over the edge a couple of times. Finally made me drive, I’ve driven plenty before, but not with a big equipment load, not in the Rocky Mountains at night in a blizzard. I never got paid for nothing, he kept it all. I just did it ‘cause I knew he would kick the crap out of me if I didn’t. He got what he had coming, wrecked my life, and ended his.

I was screaming for him to wake up and help me, but he wouldn’t wake up, and the trailer started sliding and I couldn’t see where the road was. I just let it go, and we rolled over the cliff. Hell that big crane is probably still laying twisted up at the bottom of that gully.

I had a hell of a time dragging the old man’s body over so it looked like he was driving, I was pretty beat up and in a lot of pain. Funny thing, he never made a sound when we went over, I think he may have already been dead from all the stuff he was taking. Nobody will ever know.

I ain’t never gonna work like that again, I got a way to make a fortune off of trucking and I won’t have to do much of nothin’.  I got some ladies to earn me some big bucks, and I got a inside scoop on moving some “Hot loads,” really hot, radioactive waste. It’s not legal to move, but the company needs to get rid of it and they will pay me half a million bucks for each haul. I can’t drive with my bum leg, but that’s what I got my kid brother for. Besides, it’s better for him to get caught than me. What do I care? Just dump the stuff far away from where I am.

I’ll get my brother, Bruce to steal the equipment for the haul, and make him haul that shit. Hell I don’t want to get near it, it’ll kill ya. I’ll just stay with my ladies, bringing them to the truck stops, while I provide a much needed service for the drivers. I’ll be raking in the cash, while relaxing in my super decked out Kenworth.

It cost all of my inheritance and my brother’s too to get that truck set up just like I want it. Why should he get anything? I was the one that had to do all the work, while he stayed with Mom and went to school. He thinks he invested in the business, but he won’t ever see any of that money again. It’s mine, I deserve it all.

Supertruck, that’s what I call her. It’s a classic W9 Kenworth, the top of the line. I put in all the luxury I could. That thing could pull the state of California up over the rocky mountains, but it will never pull anything but the special trailer I had built. It’s a brothel on wheels, got a place for my ladies to hide out until it’s time to send them out to work in the parking lots. When their work is done, I lock ‘em back up in there until I need them again.

It didn’t even take me long to gather up the girls I needed for my business, they are everywhere. Just talk sweet to them little girls and buy them a couple of things and you own ‘em. I just take the trinkets away from them once I got them tattooed and working.  I got to protect my property ya know, so I put my mark on ‘em.

 

The Jar of Life: First things First

OK all my whining about not having enough time to do social media (or social anything) is invalid.

Balanced Action

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When life overwhelms us, when our mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and we are afraid to go under, it is important to refocus on what is truly important and dear to us. The story of the “Jar of Life” tells us that even if our life feels full, there is always room for an evening with friends or family.

Why stories are important
When life gets tough a simple, well told story or metaphor can help us look at a situation with new eyes. The distilled essence how a character in a story copes with the challenges of life can teach us an important lesson. For a short moment a story helps to quiet our mind, which allows us to take a deep breath and regain some serenity. In this sense a good, powerful story can act as a wise, compassionate guide.

I hope you enjoy the story of…

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From My Library…

A.R. Morrison

Hey guys!

I wanted to share a neat little book that I picked up a while back called The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, & Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig.

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I stumbled across this awesome find during a family trip to Barnes & Noble about 2 years ago and the title immediately grabbed my attention. I thumbed through a few pages and instantly knew that I needed to add it to my collection.

Chuck has compiled everything from what you should know about writing a novel, to writing in specific genres, to self-publishing and so much more into an easy-to-read-and-apply guide that benefits a range of skill levels. The way he breaks the book’s components into lists of 25 tidbits of wisdom makes it a great reference, especially since you can peruse the index to find specific information within the text to suit your…

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