Tag Archives: I want to be a writer

#MondayBlogs: My Writer’s Story: Different to the One I Imagined

9 Nov

Intro:

While many claim there is one publishing formula, there are hundreds, and the more writers you meet, the more variations of publishing journeys you hear. I find them fascinating, and I’m always eager to hear another’s story. Today’s writer is sharing his. Welcome author Shane Joseph.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

My Writer’s Story: Different to the One I Imagined by Shane Joseph

Our times are generating many more writers than demand can bear. This is due to better education, improved health, technology, inflated egos in an age of “me first,” and due to our eternal quest for immortality. The ambition to be a writer usually begins in our formative years and is inspired by our favourite writers. As a teenager, I was greatly influenced by Greene, Steinbeck and Hemingway; I dreamt of sending manuscripts out into the world where they would become best-sellers and make me a reclusive millionaire. I would hide out in some remote island and submit more manuscripts and continue to dazzle the world with my brilliance until I was invited to a cold capital in Europe to accept the Nobel Prize. And I would refuse that honour, making me an enigmatic figure like Jean-Paul Sartre, Boris Pasternak or J.D. Salinger. It was nice to dream!

The reality, even back then, was different. I had chosen to gloss over the private demons my literary heroes had to overcome in order to achieve their fame: dual lives, alcoholism, drug addiction, persecution, shell-shock (called PTSD today), hypertension, depression, divorce, estrangement, chronic pain, and suicide staring out of the barrel of a gun. Not forgetting the early struggles with rejection and penury that they each triumphed over. These trials gave impetus to their work and are mentioned only in discreet biographies, not on the glossy covers of their books.

My writer’s story turned out differently to my idealized dream. For instance, I didn’t imagine that after hacking away at this craft in my early twenties in a developing country where English was a second language, and after having a handful of stories published, I would pack up my authorly tools and try something easier to earn a living – Greene, Steinbeck et al, be damned! I never realized that the “other living,” at a corporate job, would come so easily, and earn such a handsome income, that I wouldn’t bother with the writing game again for another twenty years. I didn’t realize that it would be the curse of “guilt” that would bring me back to reopen the dusty toolbox and start to catch up to where the literary world had evolved in the intervening years.

Once “Take Two” started however, the stories and novels came easily, and are likely to continue into the future, health permitting. It was like a dam had burst and all that had been stored for years came gushing out. But the publishing landscape had changed, drastically. Prizes sold books now. And the prize money was cornered among the “1% of the 1%” in the literary hierarchy. There was no middle class in publishing anymore – there was a huge gulf between the self-published and the best-seller, and the only way to bridge the two was with a stroke of luck.

But with every closing door there were others opening. There were now many ways in which to be published, I discovered, thanks to evolving technology that had finally demolished the dominant publishing model of eons, which was: publish a large quantity of paper books on ancient printing presses until unit costs become affordable, ship them across the land in trucks into stores that couldn’t keep track of them, receive most of them back after awhile to be shredded, then start the cycle again, and hope like hell that governments or private donors supported this inefficiency in the interest of promoting the arts. That was the model in which my heroes had thrived, and now it was dying, supplanted by DIY publishing, POD, electronic media, subscriptions services, free story sites, social media, and blogs like the one you are reading. And my heroes were dead too.

Shane Joseph

Shane Joseph

I enthusiastically tried all the models available, traditional and new, and discovered that they all had their pros and cons, but as their readerships’ were distinct, this lack of homogeneity helped plaster me all over the map, assuaging my guilt for having neglected “the gift.” There was also no way I could hide out in a remote island, I realized; I had to be front and centre in the global public domain (a.k.a. the Internet, which also never existed during the time of my literary heroes) selling my wares like a shoe salesman. I even started a publishing house, using the new technology, and have helped bring other writers into print, ones who may have been sitting for years in the slush piles of the Big Five (or is it Four, now – hard to keep track!). The joy of bringing others’ work into the world, to watch them stand on the podium reading from their debut novel at their book’s launch gives me immense satisfaction. I was doing my bit to restore the middle class in publishing. And I finally faced the darker side: the rejection, the shrunken revenue streams, the even further shrunken attention spans, and the need for that other source of income to fuel this one. None of this had been part of my teenage dream.

And so I have accepted that my writer’s story is different from the one I had visualized in my youth. Creative visualizers, take note: it doesn’t always turn out the way you paint it in your mind. But it can be a damned sight more interesting and surprising. Why go on a trip where every stopover is carefully laid out, predictable and boring? Where would the thrill of the unexpected lie? Isn’t that what we try to create in our work – the unexpected?

So Dear Reader, what was your writer’s dream, and how did it pan out?

Bio:

(Shane Joseph is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories, and was the winner of the best fantasy novel award at the Canadian Christian Writing Awards in 2010. His short fiction has appeared in international literary journals and anthologies. His latest novel, In the Shadow of the Conquistador, will be released in November 2015. For details visit www.shanejoseph.com

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

1 Apr

SURPRISE – This is not an April Fool’s joke

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway April 1 – June 23. On June 23 – coincidentally on my birthday – three ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset will be given away to lucky and awesome readers (such as yourself). Enter here or below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends June 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

This first paragraph is more or less an intro, but I feel like it was important to add it. I don’t normally have an intro for my posts, but this one wasn’t written in my usual, positive self. I wrote it about two weeks ago, which – coincidentally – was also the same day of the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been 12 years since she passed, but the day still affects me in many ways, and I had a day full of doubt. I wrote down how I felt about it, and since I know many writers have many days full of doubts, I decided I wanted to share it on here. Hopefully, it allows fellow writers to feel less alone, more normal, and accepting toward an array of other emotions I think we’ve all had at one point. The photo you see below is of my father and my mother. It’s one of my favorite photos of them, and if you follow me on Facebook, then you already know how much these two people have influenced me by encouraging me to follow my dreams. Encouragement is a never-ending type of love.

parents

I’m having one of those days – you know them, I’m sure. The days where we doubt ourselves can seem like the longest, most dreadful days. I am already counting the seconds between now and tomorrow, knowing that I will, most likely, feel better tomorrow, but for this singular moment in time, I am writing out how I feel because writing has always helped me slow down those overwhelming emotions that drown you with fear and frustration and frivolous ideas like, “why did I ever think I could do this anyway?”

I don’t think I’ve ever believed I could do this – this writing thing – but then again, I’m not sure it’s about thinking you can do something but rather doing it anyway and trying to do your best every day, even during the days where you question it. I love writing. I love sharing my writing with readers. I love connecting with fellow writers and readers. I love everything that revolves around words and sharing them. That’s what matters. And most days, that’s enough to push me forward, but hard days still happened.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this unsure, but I’m sure I had another day just like this not too long ago. I’m only 23 years old, after all. Any life experience in writing I can think of is probably (at most) a little over a decade away. I, hopefully, have many more decades to go, but I know I’ve always believed I don’t have many decades in front of me at all. Perhaps it stems from watching three of my grandparents, three dogs, and my mother die before I was a teenager. I just can’t bring myself to believe in a long and prosperous life, so I’ve focused all of my attention on a meaningful one, no matter how long or prosperous it could be.

I’m uncharacteristically sad today, but that knowledge doesn’t lessen the depression much more. I normally write about continuing forward and confidence and love and a peaceful state of mind. I want this website to be a cheerful place, an encouraging place, and I promise I’m still trying to bring out the inspiration for the day.

There will be days that doubt takes over. There might even be weeks or seasons or years. But there will be another good day if you let it come, and there will always be more to say, to think about, to write about. It’s a matter of picking up that pen, accepting the doubt, and writing down your words anyway. It’s a matter of doing exactly this – expressing it, even if you don’t know if you should – and moving forward into the future, knowing you’re one word closer to meeting a new goal.

My goal today was to continue forward, no matter how much doubt suddenly rushed into me, and I did, and I will, and I do so by reminding myself of the love and passion that goes into my writing career as well as all of my readers who’ve shown support and care to me.

We stick together, and we keep our pens up until we run out of ink.

(And when we run out of ink, we walk to the nearest CVS and pick up more pens.)

Thank you for loving me – I love you in the same way I love this peace that has come by sharing it.

~SAT

servicesAlso, who else is looking forward to writing during the rainy month of April? 

Personally, I write at night, but during the day, I help authors find readers and interviewers. I also edit manuscripts and manage social media accounts. I can even create promo photos for you.

Feel free to check out my services as well as some reviews.

Message me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you have any questions – or even just to say hi!

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