Know Where You Want to Live
On today’s installment of Kelly’s Random Life and Writing Advice, we’re going to talk about better living through understanding what you want.
*grabs Henley’s shirt as he tries to sneak out the door*
AF Henley: Oh maaaaan…
Sit. Learn. Abide.
AF Henley: … …*pours wine… lots of wine*
I think you’re missing an “h” in there.
AF Henley: *mumbling something about “Oh just ask for what you want, it’s so simple, isn’t it?”
AF Henley: I’d like to meet him one day. Oh wait, I have. *eyes Kelly*
Don’t mind him, friends. He realizes better than anyone that knowing what you want is a moving target; about the time you understand it, the thing changes. And that’s okay.
AF Henley: Unless, of course, we’re talking about writing goals, yeah?
AF Henley: You’re never going to let me be right, are you?
Of course you can be right. On the blue moon on the third Tuesday in November of 2045. We discussed this.
AF Henley: Pffft.
But seriously, you’re more or less there. And thank you for such a lovely sarcastic introduction into a rather serious topic.
AF Henley: *raises glass for a toast* I’m here for you.
I get asked more often than I’m comfortable with how to write and how to “make it.” The first thing I ask somebody asking me this is, “What does success look like?”
Sometimes they know. I’ve heard, “Being published.” Or “Best-seller.” Or “Writing the end of that movie so the characters don’t DIE, damn it.”
All of these are excellent answers because it means you…
AF Henley: *bangs on table off-rhythm*
Know where you want to live.
What this means is you’ve carved out a theoretical niche of happiness somewhere in the writing world and know you could move into that new house at the end of that street and be happy. The thing is, we ain’t all gonna be bestsellers. If you think about all the authors in the world that you’ve read and enjoyed who have quit their day jobs and are living – and living well – on their salaries as authors, you’ll probably get to about twenty. Maybe thirty.
That’s twenty… or thirty. In a cast of billions. Even if you can name one hundred… You get the picture.
So know where you want to live. You’ve got this gift, you love your craft, you respect the words… What do you want to do with it? What does success mean, how does it feel, how will you know when you’ve made it? Forget somebody else’s interpretation of what being good means.
What does it mean to YOU?
You’re not just the author of the stories. You are also the author of your own life and the light you find within it.
So, fanfiction? Go for it. Become Internet in-damned-famous and hey, someday, change the names on your fanfiction and self-pub that on Amazon and make ten million in selling the movie rights. It can happen. Clearly.
AF Henley: Please God, don’t let it happen again.
I know, I know. But maybe next time it will be done well.
Or, hey, you want to write romances about alien races? Shifters? Vampires? Go for it. You want to write gay fiction? Gay erotica? Do it. Screw the naysayers. Actually, don’t screw them. They’re not worth it.
You want to write the next Great Novel? Learn how and go for it. You want an agent? Get one. You want a contract with a major publishing house? Work your ass off and get there. You want to write books for your kids? Do it. You want to self-publish poetry on Tumblr? There’s an App for that.
There are a thousand ways to tell the stories. Knowing your way is the key to being able to continue writing.
I remember the day my first stack of author copies came in the mail. I remember my first glowing review. I could probably still quote you from my first bad one. I remember signing my first contract. I remember the first time the royalty statement would pay for more than a tank of gas.
And none of those things made me feel quite the way I wanted to feel. I wanted to be elated. I wanted those measurements of success to… I don’t know. Mean something. Make me see some worth in what I was doing that I hadn’t seen before.
It was nice, all of those examples above, (aside from the threatening letters and the negativity) but it didn’t move my spirit. It didn’t make it easier to chain myself to my desk and write six thousand words in a day. Or edit. Or, God forbid, rewrite.
The stories did that. The characters. The people who have taken up rooms in the Waystation Hotel in my head.
I live for them. I live for the connection to Something Other. Every time a plotline shows up and I cannot even fathom how or why I have it, I know I’m a part of Something Other. Bigger. Vaster. More important than I could ever be standing alone.
That’s where I live; in a wide open field with swaying grasses and a single tree… With a view of forever in the distance. There’s a story under every rock and on every hint of breeze. I live there. I don’t live in the world of contracts, publishers, or cash.
I forgot that once. I had a nervous breakdown.
In the famous words of Monty Python: I got better.
No doubt I’ll forget it again.
But in saying unto you, Know Where You Want to Live, it helps remind me to remember my address in the Land of Words. I want to tell the stories, any way I can – free, self pub, publisher, agent, who knows? – that still allows me to respect the story about the people whom I love. I will honor and do right by those people, no matter what it takes.
That’s where I live.
How about you?
Light, Love, & Looking for Friends in the Land of Words,
A supernatural reincarnation romance novel.
Outer Banks bookstore owner Hyacinth Silver Fox has a secret millennia in the making: her soul was magically entwined with another, and at night she dreams of every lifetime they’ve ever spent together. The rules of their magic are simple: Hydee always knows her lover, but he, or she, doesn’t remember her. It’s up to Hydee to find and make her soulmate see they are destined for each other, and this lifetime is no different, but there’s one problem: her soulmate is Theo Monk, heartthrob actor and Hollywood’s sometime-infamous bad boy. Hydee’s hope of reuniting is wearing thin, but she has no idea how dire the situation really is.
Because meanwhile in California, Theo Monk is losing his mind. Anxiety and paranoia rule his life, along with his on-again-off-again girlfriend and her entourage. When fear and frustration push him to an edge, Theo cuts and runs as far from his problems as he can without knowing Fate’s giving him one last shot to unite with the only person who can help him. Hydee and Theo must save one another before hope runs out and Hydee’s despair and Theo’s fear keep them apart forever.
Kelly Wyre enjoys reading and writing all manner of fiction, ranging from horror to romance. She used to work in advertising but is now happily chained to her writing desk and laptop. She believes she’s here to tell stories and to connect people with them. She’s written several novels, novellas, and short stories and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Kelly relishes the soft and cuddly and the sharp and bloody with equal amounts of enthusiasm. She’s a coffee addict, an avid movie lover, a chronic night owl, and she loves a good thunderstorm. Currently Kelly resides in the southeastern United States.
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