Tag Archives: TED talks

#WW Being A Writer Isn’t Everything

2 Mar

The other night, I was wallowing on the couch. I do this a lot. I can admit it shamelessly. But that’s probably because it’s a fake wallow. I enjoy the dramatics of it…and I do it all alone…with my three cats watching me. (Call it a guilty pleasure.) There’s something about hearing myself pointlessly complain that kicks my ass into “Oh, get over yourself and get back to work” gear.

Still, sometimes it takes something else to get me out of a slump, and two weeks ago, this TED talk was it.

 

Now, I’m going to write the rest of the article like my link is broken, but I highly suggest watching it, even if you’re not a writer. From the title, you might think it’s just a reenactment of Yes Man, but I promise you, this speech is about a writer’s passion overtaking everything—to the point of workaholic destruction—and that same writer both overcoming it and coming to terms that being a workaholic writer is who she is.

Despite not having any children, I can relate to her speech a lot.

She discusses the “hum”—that place where you disappear while you write—and how without the hum, you can feel nonexistent.

“I love that hum. I need that hum. I am that hum. Am I nothing but that hum?”

I am passionate. I have been here before. “Writer” is only one part of my identity, but sometimes it feels like my only identity. In those moments, writing was all I did, all I thought about it, all I planned to do, and everything I wanted. I still struggle with this every now and then. (Hence the wallowing sessions on my couch.) Sometimes, it even takes someone close to me to remind me to step away from my computer. Writing will be there tomorrow. Writing will be there a month from now. Writing will always be there. It’s okay if you have to take care of you first. It’s okay to just be you. For me, this means going out for a coffee…without my laptop. For me, this means sitting outside…without a notebook. For me, this means going to bed at night…without trying to dream up the next novel. For me, this means having a conversation with a loved one…minus books, publishing news, and movie adaptations.

Don’t get me wrong. I still go to coffee shops and write, and I still go to bed with future books on the brain, but I consciously need to remind myself to keep living outside my pen and paper. Living life inspires writing anyway, right? Well, yes, but again, it’s important to live life without pre-planning to use it in one of your books.

It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by your dream job. It’s okay to just be you.

This was my reminder.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 9 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you.

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win hereThen, read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, on your Kindle Fire for FREE: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads 

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WW How To Be The Perfect Writer

7 Oct

The other day, I went to pick up my father at the airport. Knowing it might be a long wait, I decided to listen to NPR, a favorite station of mine. The theme of the day was creativity, and considering how suiting it was, I knew I would love it no matter what, but much to my writer’s delight, the main speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, blew me away.

Sir Ken Robinson actually is a “sir,” knighted by the queen herself due to his contributions in the arts in general and in regards to education. To this day, he’s even the most popular TED talk out there. Naturally, I felt compelled by him, but one quote said during the discussion has not left me, nor do I believe it ever will.

“Practice doesn’t make us perfect, but it helps you realize you don’t have to be.”

The phrase stuck me when he said it, and the phrase strikes me now as I type it out, really feeling the words for what they are. Let them sit with you for a moment if you will.

We, for most of our lives, are pounded with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” We are told failure is more or less the worst thing that can happen to you, and if you fail, it is 100% your fault and something to feel shame from. The concept “practice makes perfect” is disheartening, and at its core, it prevents us from taking risks, from reattempting, and mainly, from growing. Now, I’m not saying that practice isn’t great. Of course it is great. But weighing “practice” against “perfect” is where we go wrong.

No one is perfect. I would have to bet J.K. Rowling even finds spelling errors in her work, especially after sending it off to her editor, but I doubt she tells herself she’ll never try to write again because she forgot the “t” in “the” and Microsoft didn’t catch it because “he” is also a word.

See? Even programs aren’t perfect—and they’re literally designed to be.

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A part of art is failure, because a part of the soul is failure.

We seek out imperfections in heroes and heroines because they are flawed just like we are. It is what makes them human, and it also why we find ourselves able to love them.

Practice is vital, continuing to hone your art is necessary, and striving for better is always the ultimate goal. But do not allow yourself to be discouraged by imperfections. Find the beauty in them. Overcome the ones you can. Strive forward knowing you’ve grown from them. And realize, none of us our perfect. I mean…none of us are perfect. 😉

The “perfect” writer is not perfect at all.

And now…a video from Sir Ken Robinson. (It’s his original TED talk that became very popular, and it’s about the education system, so it’s not necessarily about the topic I discussed above, but I thought you all might like to listen to it, since I just talked about him.)

~SAT

Help me out and vote for Minutes Before Sunset on Dalitopia Media for a chance to win a free book trailer. All you have to do is click this Facebook link and “like” the photo on Facebook. Any and all “likes” are appreciated. 🙂

I still have 1 Halloween-themed box set of The Timely Death Trilogy available. Each box set includes 3 signed books, a signed bookmark, a bat or spider ring, and a personalized note from me. They cost $40.00 with free shipping in the U.S. Email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

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Also this October, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases on October 19! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

bixserMinutes Before Sunset: book 1

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

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Death Before Daylight: book 3

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#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations

8 Apr

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations.

By now, you probably know that Clean Teen Publishing is running a Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset. And if you’re involved in the publishing industry at all – and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this – then you already know how widely debated giveaways are. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a reader, or a publisher. I’m sure you’ve seen the debates about giveaways. I’m sure you’ve also seen a few debates about donations as well. We all have our opinions, and both topics are deeply complex – probably too complex to completely cover in this article below – but I did want to try to explain why I choose to participate in giveaways and donations.

I’ve considered both deeply, so much so that I’ve spent hours researching all the pros and cons. I’m sure you can already tell from my website that I am all for giveaways and donations. That being said, I want to start with donations.

Let's start off with this bookstore I found recently - almost all books were donations.

Let’s start off with this bookstore I found recently – almost all books were donations.

Donations:

Some like to call it panhandling. Others – like me – like to call it support. I never consciously started my website with the idea of donations in mind. In fact, two years of blogging passed before I ever added a page. The first time I considered it was when a blogger – who I had gifted one of my novels to – asked if I had a donate page because she wanted to support my writing. She informed me that she had already bought my books and shared them with friends, but she wanted to do more.

I was touched – and a little bit insecure. I didn’t feel like I was worth any extra help. I didn’t feel like it was “right”, and we spoke about it for a while. She explained that she does this for a lot of her favorite authors, and I remembered something. I donate to my favorite authors and musicians. I have, and I still do when I can. But I was always the donator – not the receiver – and the flip of the relationship felt odd and surreal.

That’s when I started researching.

While I can’t share every article I ever found on the topic, I will share THE ONE – the one that ultimately changed my mind. It was a TED talk: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: and I suggest watching it whenever you have the time.

She is absolutely right. The donations become an exchange – a loving exchange. It’s not forced or expected or lazy. I donate to show my appreciation, and when I receive donations, I like to give unique photos of Bogart to supporters to show how much I appreciate them. (Since I’m not a statue actress with flowers like Amanda Palmer).

Now – my addition to this topic is something I’ll never forget. Last year, when I lost my old publisher, my job, and my car at the same time, I was walking around in the rain with holes in my boots just to try to find new work – and you all saved me. Quite frankly, you all kept me on my feet. And you kept my feet dry. Without you, I’m not sure where I would’ve been. But with you, I was safe, and for that, I am forever thankful, and I hope I can continue to move forward and helps others in the way you all helped me. Helping and being helped out of the goodness of your heart – finding ways to support one another when we can – cheering everyone on – and working together for a better future, that is love.

Now, for giveaways: (whew)

The main judgment I see in giveaways is generally worded like this: “Giving away your work for free devalues your work.”

This saddens me. As an author, I trust my readers to bring joy to giveaways, to be positive and uplifting, and to enjoy the event. I do not feel like it devalues my work. To me, that is like saying all presents aren’t valuable because they were given to you for free. Some of the closest trinkets I own are presents. They are immensely valuable to me. If someone handed me a free book – a free trinket or free cake or free notebook – I would never think, “This isn’t valuable.” Instead, when I received a notebook from a reader, my day was filled with warmth, and I have been filling up the notebook with poems ever since – poems I send to that reader, poems we discuss, poems we talk about, poems we build friendship on. That isn’t just valuable. It’s invaluable. Giveaways are gift-gifting opportunities, but they are more than that: they are friendship opportunities.

Now, this is where another concern slides in. Some people sign up who just want to resell your work: no reviews, no reader connections, just people “stealing.”

We choose to give it away. It is a gift. We cannot have expectations for what people do with the gift. That’s just not how gifting works. Granted, I do hope that people stop entering giveaways just to sell work – because yes, that’s unfair to the readers who actually wanted it to read it – but we must trust the readers to come through for authors, and I trust that we can work together to make it a better gift-giving system.

On a side note, I mentioned TED talks earlier, and now I will mention them again. I’m a TED talk junky. I have spent many nights – probably too many nights – watching TED talks. I have learned from TED talks and grown from them and shared them, and guess what? They are all free.

I recently watched a collection of six on forgiveness, and another one about poetry in prison, and the danger of the single story. Arguably, the last one – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – is my ultimate favorite. The single story is damaging, and I think the “single story” theory goes beyond just hearing a single story. It stretches to any type of judgment, and that brings me back to Amanda Palmer’s speech, The Art of Asking.

We are quick to judge things like giveaways or donations and we are quick to praise them as well, but there are always two sides to the story, two sides to the pros and cons of an act, and two sides to debate.

I choose to stay on this side – as a reader and as an author – and I hope to stay on this side, even when things get tough.

~SAT

And in case you haven’t entered the giveaway (and you want to), click this link to the photo below for your chance to win 1 of 3 ARCS of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. Clean Teen Publishing will be picking winners on my birthday! (Because what better way to celebrate?)  bel234

Website Wonders: For Readers & Writers

20 Jun

Website Update: 2.40 p.m. The host of Goodreads has clarified the poll is working and no one is cheating. She’s excited when new members join and vote, so I’m still in, and I feel much better about the situation. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me, voted, and even returned to explain who you are, so your identity was verified. I really appreciate this. I couldn’t have better people helping me 😀 (If you didn’t see my last post, some authors accused others of cheating to get votes last night.)

If you all recall, Minutes Before Sunset needed nominations for “Book of the Month” on Goodreads, and you all succeeded! But I need votes. PLEASE VOTE BY CLICKING THE LINK. We’re in first place thanks to your votes, but I need all of the support I can get to stay in this position.

Thank you for voting: Gregory S. LambChristina ChannelleAmber ForbesBob WilliamsMarie BaileyLaura B., Raymond, Silver WolfChristieKristy Feltenberger GillespieDale SpillerDan PawlowskiPeter JohnTuan HoRaul DiazNada FarisChrisJessicaMerilyn DignumAndreeCharles E. YallowitzVickie KayukKerriSarahKy Grabowski,David ThompsonChris the Story Reading Ape, Hereswhatsgoingon, Daryl Stewart, Emma, Heather, Abbie, James, Kendal, and Camrin!

So I used to do posts under the topic “Website Wonders.” Basically, I’d share a website that I thought was good for writers and/or readers to use in order to enhance their artistic lives. However, my “last” one was back in January, because I really stopped labeling them as such. (Mainly because they’d be a part of something else, like a Writing Tips post.) But today I bring it back.

On December 8, 2012, I wrote Website Wonders: Twitter: ShanAshleeT23, which directed followers to my Twitter while also giving tips on how to promote yourself via Twitter. I did this for an important reason. I often share websites I come across on my Twitter, and I do this on a regular basis. So today’s post will be the top sites I’ve found and shared on my Twitter in the past month or so:

Writing & Publishing:

 

 

Click the pic to join me on Twitter!

Click the pic to join me on Twitter!

Reading

I also share funny things on my Twitter about my every day life: This is a giant cinnamon roll I ate! It came with a steak knife. How awesome is that?

I also share funny things on my Twitter about my every day life: This is a giant cinnamon roll I ate! It came with a steak knife. How awesome is that?

Cinnamon Roll

If you all find any websites you like as a reader or a writer, comment below to share it 😀 Also, I hope you voted. It really helps me out. I’m simply flattered you support me here! And I’m excited, because so many more people are supporting Minutes Before Sunset now that the paperback has been released through all major retailers. Check it out if you haven’t already:

Click the picture of Minutes Before Sunset! Available as paperback and ebook on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

~SAT

June 23: It’s My Birthday :]

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