Category Archives: Writing

How NOT to Get a Literary Agent, by Stephen King

I’m coming to the end of my sixth annual read-through of King’s classic work ON WRITING. For any aspiring writer, I consider this book to be must-read material. There is much in this book I could quote, discuss, and speak about in glowing terms. But instead, I’m going to pick on its weakest point. In fact, worse than a weak point–it’s flat-out wrong, misleading, and will give today’s querying writer no end of trouble if he or she actually follows King’s advice.

To be fair to the maestro, ON WRITING was written in a different age. By that, I mean it is 18 years old, and 18 years ago, publishing was still very much a paper-and-ink affair. Most agents accepted queries by snail mail, and few accommodated email submissions. These days the reverse is true, and, the rules of the road have changed. Also, bear in mind that Stephen King hasn’t had to write a query letter in over 45 years.

The section in question, near the end of the book, asks how one goes about getting a literary agent. On more than one occasion, King states that one really ought to get an agent if one desires to be published. That advice is generally true today, though we would now make the distinction between traditional publishing and independent, or self-publishing. Self-publishing was a much shadier and riskier business back in 2000. These days, done properly (i.e., with a good editor and quality cover design), it’s a perfectly respectable approach to getting your work in print (paper or digital–an option that wouldn’t have crossed King’s mind back then).

Assuming, therefore, you want to be traditionally published, which means you want to have an agent represent your novel to publishers big and small, and for your publisher to handle seeing your work in print and in stores, here’s King’s advice, and why you shouldn’t follow it.

1, His fictional author, Frank, submits short stories to magazines so he can build a resume that would be attractive to an agent. This is not necessary. You don’t need a prior publishing history to get an agent. Of course, if you have a good publishing history, you will pique an agent’s interest. Three or four published short story credits will probably persuade an agent on the fence to take a look at your work. However, the agent’s ultimate concern is whether or not the novel you’re querying is any good. If the agent doesn’t like what you’re offering, or doesn’t think she can sell it, no amount of previous work will help you.

2. Frank’s short story submissions are made on a “good grade of white bond paper” with a cover letter on top. Again, most magazines take electronic submissions these days (though there are a few old-school hold outs that only want mail-in submissions).

3. Frank sends queries for his novel to agents before the novel is complete. This is a major no-no. When you query an agent, your novel had better be ready to go. And by “ready to go,” I mean complete, beta read, revised, revised again, and revised even more. If an agent asks to see your work, she will either ask for a partial (maybe the first fifty pages), or a full (the whole thing). You need to be ready to send the whole thing.

4. Frank’s query letter is a disaster. Let’s see if I can QueryShark it (apologies to Janet Reid):

Dear _____________ :

I am a young writer, twenty-eight years old, in search of an agent.

The agent doesn’t give a flying fig whether you’re eight, twenty-eight, or eighty-eight. Don’t even mention your age. This is only relevant when it comes to signing the contract. And she already knows you’re searching for an agent–that’s the point of the query letter. This is a waste of words.

I got your name in a Writer’s Digest article titled “Agents of the New Wave,” and thought we might fit each other.

This is actually good. Many agents like to know why you’re querying them. It elevates your query from a form letter to something more personal.

I have published six stories since getting serious about my craft. They are:….

As I mentioned, this is not necessary, but if you do have publishing credit, it’s good to provide it. Make sure you’re listing work that has been published by reputable magazines. They don’t have to be widely-known (e.g., The Atlantic, or The New Yorker), but she should be able to track them down and find your stories without too much difficulty. The line about “getting serious about my craft” is unnecessary and should be cut. And you don’t need to list how much the stories sold for. The agent doesn’t care. The value of the story is in the fact it was published, not how much you got paid.

I would be happy to send any of these stories (or any of the half dozen or so I’m currently flogging around) for you to look at, if you’d like. I’m particularly proud of “A Long Walk in These ‘Yere Woods,” which won the Minnesota Young Writers’ Award. The plaque looks good on our living room wall, and the prize money–$500–looked excellent for the week or so it was actually in our bank account (I have been married for four years; my wife, Marjorie, and I teach school).

King has now left query mode and is in story-telling mode, which is to say, most of this is a waste of space. The only useful piece of information is the fact that one of the stories won an award. That could be included with your listing of the story above. By now, if the agent is still reading the query and hasn’t hit “form reject,” she is yawning and wondering when we’re going to get to the story. You know, the novel. The whole point of the query letter.

The reason I’m seeking representation now is that I’m at work on a novel. It’s a suspense story about a man who gets arrested for a series of murders which occurred in his little town twenty years before.

At last! And… that’s it? The first sentence can be cut since, again, it states the obvious. Also, “I’m at work on a novel” means the novel is not finished. Automatic form rejection. If the novel is not finished, you are not ready to query. And how many suspense stories are there about a man arrested for past murders committed in his small town? Answer: lots. Where’s the conflict? Is the man innocent and needs to prove his innocence? What’s at stake? What entices the agent to read this novel over and above all the other murder-suspense stories in her slush pile?

The first eighty pages or so are in pretty good shape, and I’d also be delighted to show you these.

Again, don’t bother. No agent wants to consider an unfinished manuscript. Finish the novel and try again.

Please be in touch and tell me if you’d like to see some of my material. In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

I doubt any agent read this far. “Thank you for your time and consideration” is sufficient for those few who did.

If you’ve been following Stephen King’s querying advice, I hope I’ve persuaded you not to. I would like to think this portion of the book will receive a much-needed update sometime in the near future. But after 18 years, it’s unlikely.

My advice: if you want to query well, check out the websites/blogs of the people who read the queries–i.e., literary agents. They are your audience, and they know better than anyone what they’re looking for. I recommend, for starters, Janet Reid and BookEnds. A quick Google search will pull up many more.

Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Objections?

Better-Late-Than-Never End-Of-Year 2017 Wrap-Up

I’m over a week late with this post, but here it is. 2017 was, to say the least, an interesting year. But let’s just stick with this blog and what I’ve been up to and leave the wider world to bigger blogs.

Once again, the most popular page on the blog was my Graham Crackers in the UK Update post. It baffles me why this post is so popular. After all, this is a writing/books type blog, not a food blog. Is no-one else covering this topic? I’d like to think that the many people who check out that page stick around and read some of the other posts (1,236 of them including this one). But that’s probably wishful thinking.

The biggest thing that happened on the blog in 2017 was the focus-shift to writing. I’m a writer, no two ways about it, whether it’s novels, short stories, flash fiction, articles, essays, wish lists–I write. Yes, I do other things (music, theology, watch copious amounts of Doctor Who), and I love doing those things. But writing has been that thing I’ve always done even before I learned to play an instrument. While those other things will still have a home here (Who Reviews, Sunday School Notes, Music Monday), I’m determined to give this blog more of a writer focus.

Speaking of writing, one of the biggest writing events for me in 2017 was my first ever short story sale. I still love telling people that you can read my story in the October 2017 issue of Empyreome Magazine. It’s a good one, too–even if I say so myself. 🙂

Looking ahead to 2018, I’m hoping to write more short stories, and maybe even get a few more published. I already have one story due to be published in the February 2018 issue of Riggwelter, so look out for that. Hopefully there will be more to follow. I’d also like to finish another novel, but mainly I want to keep writing, keep producing stories, and improve.

I need to do a better job of keeping this blog up to date with writing stuff. I’ve let my Facebook page go stale since Christmas, so I need to fix that. And I’m still planning to start a Patreon sometime in the very near future.

Thank you to everyone who has been following my blog thus far. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride in 2018, with, hopefully, lots of exciting things to share!

A Christmas FlashDogs Story: The Director’s Cut

Last Thursday, I submitted a story to the weekly FlashDogs challenge. Each week, the FlashDogs blog posts a picture prompt and a theme around which participants write flash stories. There’s a 2,000 character (a little over 300 words) limit, but aside from these constraints, writers are free to write what comes to mind. This was the picture prompt last week:

There was no theme prompt, so we were free to roll with the picture.

The original story I wrote was 514 words long. I liked it, but it needed some serious abridgment for the FlashDogs challenge. I agonized over every word I chopped, but I got it down to 338 words, which was just enough to meet the character count. While I’m pleased with the edited version, I still like the original. I like the slower build, each line stringing the reader along until we get to the punchline. The edited version doesn’t leave as much room for dramatic tension. At least, I don’t think so.

You can decide for yourself whether you agree. The edited version is on the FlashDogs site. And here is the original, longer version:

The girl stomped snow from her boots as she climbed the stone steps of the porch. She knocked on the door as hard as she could wearing fleece-lined leather mittens. It was more of a thud than a knock, but it would have to do. It was too cold to hit bare flesh against solid wood. She was sure her knuckles would break. Footsteps, then the door unlatched and creaked open.“Yes?” A plump lady with silver hair, round glasses perched on the end of her nose, and a rosy smile greeted her. The girl grinned, and the lady’s rosy smile blossomed.

“I’d like to see Mr. Claus,” the girl said. The lady chuckled.

“Of course you do, my dear! Won’t you come in?”

“No, that’s okay,” the girl replied, her smile disappearing. “I have some private business to discuss. Better outside, I think.” The lady shrugged her shoulders.

“If you insist,” she said. “But it’s a mighty cold day. Not that we’re complaining. Nothing like a good chill to spur on the reindeer…” Her voice drifted as she disappeared into the house.

A few moments later, a familiar figure appeared at the door.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” said Santa. “And what can I do for you, young lady?”

“Let’s take a walk, please, Mr. Claus. I’ve come a long way, but this shouldn’t take long.”

“Very well.”

“Are you well, Mr. Claus?” the girl said as they walked.

“Yes, very,” Santa replied, clearly confused.

“And the reindeer? All ready for tonight? Rudolf’s nose glowing nice and bright?”

“The elves are polishing it as we speak. Supposed to be quite a blustery exit from the North Pole this evening.”

 “Glad to hear it,” the girl replied. Santa was used to childish enthusiasm from girls her age, and this girl’s lack of it disturbed him a little.

“What can I do for you… Anneka, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s Anneka, Mr. Claus. Did you get my list?”

“I did,” said Santa. “It was quite… um… extensive.”

“But it won’t be a problem, right?”

“Well… not everyone gets everything they want, you know. I don’t want to spoil you.” Santa tried to smile, but something about the steely look she gave made his mouth falter.

“But this time, that won’t be a problem.” Before Santa could respond, Anneka stopped and took out her phone.

“Oh, wasn’t that a present a couple of years ago?”

Anneka didn’t reply. She removed her gloves, swiped the screen a few times, then held it up for them both to see. Santa’s eyes nearly popped from his head.

“Last year, Mr. Claus. You didn’t notice, but… I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus. Underneath the mistletoe. See?”

Santa grumbled. “Umm… yes… but I can…”

“It’s simple, Mr. Claus. Everything on my list, or this picture gets sent to Mrs. Claus. Do we understand each other?”

Santa grumbled.

“I didn’t hear you, Mr. Claus.” Anneka glared at the old man. “Do we understand each other.”

“Yes… umm… yes.”

Anneka pocketed her phone, put on her mittens, and walked away.

“Merry Christmas,” she said without turning.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Original or Edited…?

NaNoWriMo 2017 Reflections and Dissection–and an Exciting Announcement!

The 2017 NaNoWriMo challenge finished yesterday. As regular readers know, I participated in the challenge this year (hence, the sparse blog content for the past month), so I thought I’d give you a run-down on how I did and what I learned. There’s also an exciting announcement embedded in this report, so read on!

We Know You Told Us One Time, But What Is NaNoWriMo Again?

The purpose of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is to encourage aspiring novelists to quit talking about how they might one day write a novel, and actually do it. The original organizers hoped that out of the project, more people would appreciate what it takes to write a novel, many would feel the joy of being creative, and some would end up launching a writing career. I’m not sure why they chose November. Seems a bit arbitrary. And with Thanksgiving in the US being the last Thursday of November, it isn’t necessarily the best month for it. But that hasn’t stopped it being insanely popular. Participants are required to write at least 50,000 words by November 30th. Again, that seems a bit arbitrary. Unless you’re writing Middle Grade, 50k doesn’t make for a novel. Okay, and unless you’re Nicholas Sparks. But for most of the rest of us… 🙂 I think the organizers reckoned if you haven’t ever written a novel before, 50k seems like a lot, so actually writing 50k is an enormous achievement (and it is for anyone). Also, if you manage to write 50k, writing another 20-30k isn’t as daunting as it first seems.

What Did I Do?

As I mentioned in a previous article, my NaNo project this year was a re-write of an epic tale I wrote about ten years ago, then shelved, promising myself I would return to it some day. The original was about 300,000 words long, and full of clunky sentences, indulgent world-building, and awkward descriptions. I liked the story, however, and thought it worthy of the work. Coming to it again I decided that, even after editing, it would end up being at least a two-novel series, so my NaNo challenge would focus on writing a new first draft of Book 1.

How Did I Do?

It took me 21 days to complete the 50,000-word challenge. I ended up writing 62,537 words at the end of 30 days, finishing the first draft of the first book in the series. So, YAY! I won NaNoWriMo 2017!!

Does this mean I have a novel ready to go through revisions, beta reads, and querying for an agent and eventually publication?

No. Not in the slightest. Let me explain.

I’ve learned quite a bit over the ten years since I first wrote this story, not only about writing, but also about what makes a story work. Everything from the age of the characters to the amount of conflict to pacing, and a whole host of other things. I knew from the opening paragraph that there were structural issues that needed to be addressed. The first thing I changed was the characters’ ages. In my “synopsis” I said the characters were college-age. I decided the story would work better, and appeal to a wider audience, if I aged them up a bit and set them in a work environment, not a school environment. This worked even better than I expected. But it became clear to me as I approached the end of the first book that there were still problems. While there are moments of intense conflict, I don’t think there’s enough early on to keep readers interested. But more than that, this story has some major motivational issues. The reasons why the characters do some fairly radical things, and make some life-threatening decisions, seem flimsy at best. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to make some deeper, more consequential changes to the plot structure for this to work.

Another consideration that tells me this story is not ready for prime time even now is the fact that I want to get an agent and go the traditional publishing route. This means my debut novel MUST be self-contained, even if it’s intended as part one of a series. If you look at any series published as an author’s debut (e.g., the Harry Potter series), you’ll notice the first novel ends in such a way that you could stop reading there. Yes, there are loose ends and questions, but at the end of the story, the hero wins, and the villain is, at least seemingly, vanquished. There’s good reason for this. Publishers invest a lot of money in the books they publish, from editing to cover design to printing to promotion. Not to mention the author’s advance. This isn’t such a big deal with an established writer. The publisher is guaranteed to make their money back, and an ongoing series will keep the fans coming back for more. With a debut novelist, however, there’s a lot of risk. What if that first book doesn’t sell? What if the author quits writing? By giving the publisher the assurance that the first book, while part of a series, can be stand-alone, the debut novelist (and his/her agent) stands a better chance of selling that novel.

Book one of my series is NOT stand-alone, and I can’t see how it could be. It’s more like THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING*, where you know the story isn’t over. Or like the end of A GAME OF THRONES, where the conflict between the kingdoms is gearing up, Daenerys has her dragon eggs, and it’s clear you need to get the next book to find out what happens.

This is why I’m shelving this project again. This is not going to be the book I query to get an agent. Not only do I need to work out the structural and motivational issues, this is not the right time in my publishing career for this series. I think it has a lot of potential. It just needs some further marinating, based on the work I’ve done this month, and it needs to wait until I’m more established as a writer.

Lessons Learned

To wrap up this reflection/dissection, here are some things I learned this past month:

  1. With a bit of discipline I can be quite productive. My average word count was over 2,000 per day. And it didn’t take me all day to churn those words out. At that rate, I could be popping out a novel every couple of months! Now, realistically, that won’t happen because books need to be edited, and writers need reading time, and, well, life. But I could certainly be writing more than I am. In fact, during the first week of NaNoWriMo, I wrote a short story that has been accepted for publication by Riggwelter! (That was my exciting announcement, btw.) Look for it in the February 2018 issue. I’ll remind you closer to the time.
  2. I could actually do this writing thing full-time. I’ve often wondered whether I would be disciplined enough to write if writing was my day job. When I get time off work, even if I intend to write, I don’t always take the opportunity, and I end up doing other things. This NaNoWriMo, I took two weeks off work (one near the beginning of the month, and one the week of Thanksgiving). During those weeks, I disciplined myself to work on NaNo in the late morning and afternoon, leaving evenings free to do other things. And it worked! I got stuff done.
  3. I’m a writer. I hear you saying, “Well duh!! Look at your banner!” But that’s not what I mean. Have you ever done something that makes you feel complete, like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing? The thing that sends electricity through your particular wiring in a way that nothing else does? Music does that for me to an extent, but this past month has confirmed to me that writing is that thing for me. Why writing over music? I’m not sure. It’s one of those weird things that I know is true, but I couldn’t for the life of me explain it to you.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. That was my NaNoWriMo month in a very large nutshell. I’m glad I did it, and I might well do it again next year. We’ll see.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how did you do?

* By the way, THE LORD OF THE RINGS series was originally written as a single volume; it was the publisher who split it into three novels due to war-time paper shortages.

NaNoWriMo Has Begun!

Here we are… November 1st! Doesn’t it seem like this year has flown by? Soon it’ll be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then before you know it, it’s 2018! But never mind all that, because for the next 30 days (including today), I’m going to be writing a novel. I wrote about my NaNoWriMo project last week, so I won’t get into what it’s about again… though, thanks to an idea I had a few days ago, that little synopsis is already inaccurate.

Anyway, all this to say this blog probably won’t see a lot of activity for the next month. Please feel free to drop notes of encouragement either in the comments here, or on Twitter, or Facebook. I’ll try to post quick updates in those places as I have time. If you’re doing NaNo too this year and would like to be “buddies,” my NaNo name is cds.

Thanks for your support and encouragement! 😀

NaNoWriMo 2017 Novel Reveal!

In a little over a week, I will begin a month of anguish, joy, frustration, elation, and sleep deprivation known as National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

What Is NaNoWriMo?

Willing participants spend the month of November writing a novel with a minimum word count of 50,000.* The thinking behind this mind-boggling proposition when it was first launched some years ago was that many people say they want to write a novel, but few ever actually try. This is the month to try. And setting a word count and time limit forces you to be disciplined and actually do it. Not everyone who takes part has aspirations to being a professional novelist. There are those who do it just to check that goal off their bucket list. Some simply want to see if they can. Not everyone makes it to 50,000 words. Life sometimes gets in the way and they have to bail early. No-one’s judging. Though you do earn a cool banner if you “win.”

I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and used the month to write a 77,000 word novel, mostly from scratch. That novel went through revisions, beta reads, and polishing until it was ready to query. After taking through the query process for a number of months, however, I shelved it. Agent response and writerly intuition was telling me it still wasn’t ready. Maybe another time. Given my renewed zeal for my writing, I decided this would be a good year to give NaNoWriMo another shot.

My 2017 NaNoWriMo Project

I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel about 10 years ago. I wrote it all out by hand in notebooks, and had a blast doing it. When I finished it, I put it away and moved on to other writing projects, a couple of novellas, some short stories, flash fiction, eventually two more novels, all the time reading and improving both my understanding of the publishing world, and my writing skill. But that story in the drawer has haunted me ever since. I like the characters. I like the story. And while I’ve always known it’s far from perfect, and needs a lot of editing (it’s about 300,000 words long), I’ve also believed it deserves being crafted into a saleable novel. Sometime.

After thinking over various potential projects for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I came to the realization that this is the year. This is the time. I’m ready to take this:

and turn it into a novel I can shop to agents and maybe, hopefully, one day see published.

I’ve given it the working title of PORTALIS. That will undoubtedly change, have no fear! But it’ll do for now. I’ve also thrown together a brief synopsis for my NaNo profile that is also inadequate, but will do to give a hint of what it’s about. For those who can’t access my profile (you have to be registered with NaNoWriMo to see profiles), here it is:

English college students Jason and Jessica meet a strange man who whisks them away to an alternate world, where a colony of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Celts, Gaels, and Danes have been living since the turn of the 11th century. For the last thousand years, they have co-existed in relative peace, building a society untouched by the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil Wars, British Colonization, and two World Wars. But past rivalries are not easily forgotten, and our heroes soon find themselves embroiled in a power struggle that threatens the future of this world, and their own…

I’ve classified it as “Fantasy” since that’s the closest category that fits, I think.

So, expect November to be fairly light on the blog. I’ll try to post updates to my Facebook page. If you’re on FB you can follow me there. Also, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, feel free to make me a Buddy so we can cheer each other on!

*FYI, a 50,000 word novel is, in fact fairly short, unless you’re writing Middle Grade. Most Young Adult novels are between 70-90,000 words. Adult novels can range anywhere from 80-100,000 words. Even more if you write fantasy, or you’re Stephen King. But 50,000 is a reasonable goal for most, and you can always add to it later.

Published!!

The October 2017 issue of Empyreome Magazine went live yesterday morning (Saturday, October 7), featuring my story, “Time in a Bottle”!!! I’ve been throwing exclamation points and being generally obnoxious all over the internet telling the world, so I thought it about time I announce it on my blog.

To answer those questions I posed last week:

What’s it called?

“Time in a Bottle”

What inspired it?

Believe it or not, the Jim Croce song, “Time in a Bottle.” In the song, Croce yearns to be able to bottle up time, so he could have an endless supply to spend with loved ones, and do the things he wants to do. Jim recorded the song in 1972, and it was released as a single in 1973 after his untimely death in a plane crash.

Where can I find it? When will it be available?

It’s available now, right here: Empyreome, Vol.1, Issue 4.

I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Breaking News: I Sold a Story!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen–I’m going to be published! The folks at Empyreome Magazine (that’s pronouned em-peer-ee-ohm) have deemed one of my stories worthy of publication in their illustrious journal, and to that end are willing to part with hard-earned money to place my story in their October 2017 issue. Granted, it’s not a lot of hard-earned money since they are a young enterprise, and still growing. Nevertheless, like the widow’s mite, it’s not the amount that matters. In this case, it’s the fact they saw value in my work that matters to me.

I’m particularly pleased this story is going to be published. It’s one of my favorites, and through Empyreome, more people will have the opportunity to read it than I can reach with my meager online presence.

What’s it called? What inspired it? Where can I find it? When will it be available? I will post a link to it on this blog when the October 2017 issue of Empyreome goes online. You will be able to read it on their website in HTML, or you can purchase a digital copy in pdf and other e-book formats. I’ll also answer these and any other questions you may have at that time.

Until then… 😀

NaNoWriMo 2017, Here I Come!

NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–is soon upon us. For the month of November, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people will attempt to write a novel at least 50,000 words long. The novel can be about anything, and the author can approach it however he or she wishes (plot, edit as you go, “pants,” hybrid plot-pants (which has nothing to do with gardening), etc.)–in fact, there aren’t many rules. To do it “properly,” you must start the novel with a blank page, and complete at least 50,000 words by November 30th. You can plan, research, draw characters, create character bios, even cast the movie version of your story as much as you want prior to November 1. However, you are not supposed to begin the actual novel until day one of the challenge.

I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and completed a 70,000+ word novel. After editing and revising, it plumped up to around 80,000 words, and I even queried it, to no avail (obviously, otherwise I’d have an agent and maybe books published). But it was fun, and showed me how productive I can be if pushed. Given my renewed focus on writing, it seemed only right that I should give NaNoWriMo another go. So that’s what I’ll be doing for the month of November.

If you’ve never tried writing a novel, you may think 50,000 words is a lot of words. You’re right. It is. There are many who start NaNo and don’t finish. So you will excuse me if blog posts are a little light and perhaps not as frequent in November. I will try to post quick updates to Facebook and Twitter, so follow me there if you want to find out how I’m getting along.

If you’d like to give NaNoWriMo a try, go to the Official Site and sign up! If you’ve signed up, hunt me down (my user name is cds) and be my buddy. 🙂

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

Some Changes to the Blog

As you might have noticed, I’ve made some changes to the blog. There’s a new banner, and I’ve moved the tabs around. Why?

For too long I’ve resisted promoting myself as a writer, despite the fact that’s what I do most of the time I’m not doing something else. Whether it’s stories, blog articles, or notes for my Sunday School class, I’m usually tapping away at the keyboard, or jotting things down on paper. So why deny the obvious?

Perhaps a good way to describe the point I have come to is by adapting a popular meme. I’m sure you’ve all seen the “Distracted Boyfriend” picture, if you’ve spent any time on social media. Here’s my take:

Get the idea? I can be comfortable, give in to my doubts, and put off promoting my writing and trying to establish myself as a writer in any professional capacity… but that’s hardly living. Sure, it may not work. It’s very possible no-one will want to read anything I have to say, or follow my social media accounts, or take me seriously at all as an author. But the only way I’ll know for certain is to try. And the fun of trying is what gives life its spice.

So the changes to the blog are my attempt to be more focused about what I’m doing here. What about the Music Mondays, the Who Reviews, the Sunday School Notes, and all the other non-writing/book-related stuff? I’ll still write those, and all the past posts can be found under the “The Rest of My Life…” tab on the top. However, the focus of the blog from now on is going to be more reader-ly and writer-ly.

But that’s not all that’s going on. I mentioned in a previous post that I’m setting up a Patreon page. I have also set up a Facebook “Writer” page–a “business” page for my writing. As well as blog articles here, I’ll post stuff there from time to time. If you’d like to follow me on Facebook, the link is at the side. It’s also HERE.

I think that’s everything. I hope you like the new look, and enjoy, or at least appreciate, the renewed focus. 🙂

Questions? Comments?