Writer’s Block? See my guest post with Chris Davis

Pennyspy, Joanna K Neilson

Me, myself, and my writing at Chris Davis' blog today

It was all Chris’ idea, so after subtle amounts of vodka and the scribbling out of many Moleskine pages, I am happy to present a post about how I deal with Writer’s Block and the stress that comes with it.

You Eyeballers can read it over at Chris Davis’ blog right now!

Now for a lie down. It’s been a busy week!

Author Interview: Chris Davis – Writer of ‘Takers’ (Part three of three)

Welcome back, you Eyeballers. here I present the final section of an exclusive interview with published author Chris Davis, who released an awesome vampire novel called ‘Takers’ last year and is preparing to release its sequel in the next few months.

This interview was released in three parts.

Part One : Writing Process

Part Two: Inspiration and Publicity

Part Three: Today!

Takers Author Chris Davis, vampires, blood, Kel, Interview, writers, Hawaii-Five-Oh

Chris Davis is back for more. Part three of her interview begins today!

Chris Davis resides in Memphis, Tennessee with her cat, Ramses. She has a Master of Science degree in Project Management and is a novelist, aspiring screenwriter and currently stretches her journalism muscle working for Hawaii Five-0 Online. Chris’s first published novel, a bloody twist on traditional vampires called “Takers,” is now available on Amazon and Smashwords and her personal blog can be found here.

Following yesterday’s discussion about inspiration and publicity, today Chris Davis talks about her vampire novel Takers and the challenge of making the urban fantasy arena her own:

Takers Amazon Chris Davis, Urban Fantasy, urban horror, vampires, undead, creature of the night, homoerotic vampires, blood suckers, soul suckers, monsters, fedora hat

Chris Davis' 'Takers' out now!


Did you have an audience in mind when you started or did it just come to you?

Oh, this is a fun story. My whole life, I never was into vampires. Not at all. Then – once again because of my work with Hawaii Five-0 Online – I sat down and watched the television series “Moonlight,” which starred Alex O’Loughlin. It was good. And it was the first time I actually thought, “Hey. Vampires. Sexy!”

Then I found out it was based on a book called “Angel of Vengeance” written by an insanely imaginative and very nice man by the name of Trevor O. Munson, who also co-executive produced “Moonlight.” So I got the book from Amazon.com, read it in one sitting, and that night, my main character Detective Kel Langston showed up with his black fedora and hand hiding his face going, “Finally. Now come on, let’s write a book.”

So did I have a particular audience in mind? No. Not really. The story is one that wants to be told, and it will find its audience. Of course I think about vampire fans as I’m writing, but it’s not like what’s happened to the vampire genre recently with sparkly soap opera-like characters that happen to have fangs and be undead. My arena in “Takers” is much more noir-like, and based more on mature adult realism than it is on teenage angst. Also, my vampires don’t stop with your blood. (grins)

How do you handle the homoerotic elements? Did you expect it to be a strong element of Kel’s struggle against his inner potential evil? Do you think he’s in denial?

My first, and simplest answer to this is, “What? I like to watch guys get it on.”

But I’ll back up and be serious for a moment. One of the things that I personally find most alluring about vampires as I see them is how erotic they are or can be. To me, the act of sinking your teeth into your victim and drinking their blood – something which of necessity requires some form of physical contact – is a very intimate act regardless whether it’s actually done in a sexual context.

Many authors have swung toward making vampires be all about sex, while others have minimized that aspect and still others have struck a balance between the two ends of the spectrum. While homoeroticism may be frowned upon in broader circles, my goal is not to please the majority of anything or anyone. My goal is to be true to the story Kel wants told and by default, be true to all the characters he introduces us to.

I don’t have any hang-ups about sexuality one way or the other, so writing about men getting turned on by other men – vampires or not – is never something I’ve had to struggle with doing. It’s not like I put it in there just because I thought readers would like it. I do know that from the feedback I’ve gotten so far that they do, which is really awesome since it’s a part of what the “Takers” world is about.

Yes, one of the things Kel fights so hard in the war between his human half and his Taker half – having both sides is what makes him a Half-Turn – is the fact that it takes very little to turn him on, period. This makes him feel more like an animal or a monster than a human being. Anything from the fabric of his shirt sliding across his skin to simply being in the physical presence of his sire puts him into sexual overdrive. It’s one of the many things he has to learn how to deal with and control and, unfortunately for him, sometimes he learns he can’t no matter how hard he tries. In the second book of the “Takers” series, which comes out this May, there are several times he finds that he can’t control his physical reaction, and in one case he acts on it deliberately – and foolishly – much to his later chagrin.

I don’t think Kel is secretly gay or in denial, no. He’s very much the man’s man who loves women and wants women, unlike his Half-Turn buddy Levi, who’s always been gay from the get-go, even before he was half-turned. But Kel is facing the effect his sire has on him, the effect any Taker has on him, the effect that Feeding and being Fed from has on him and the fact that every sense is heightened beyond reason. Being a Half-Turn is like being one big raw bundle of nerves: it doesn’t take a whole lot to make their sexual side want to take over. Along with having to deal with being a cop who swore to serve and protect, but now has to kill to survive, Kel’s got this inner animal who just wants to – basically – screw and kill, and I think it will always be a fight for him to maintain his humanity in the face of what being a Half-Turn does to his body.

Fedora, Takers, Vampire, Chris Davis

The man with the hat. Kel from Chris Davis' novel, Takers.

You write Kel in the first person, was he a strong character to start with?

He’s an insistent bastard. Am I allowed to say that? (laughs) Well, he is. As I mentioned before, he’s the one who showed up telling me we were going to write a book, and when I say “showed up,” I mean it in the same way any writer does who sees and hears their characters. This guy comes around on his own schedule, and boy, when he does I’d better drop everything and get my fingers on that keyboard. “Takers” is Kel’s story. That’s what it was always meant to be, and it’s his thoughts and feelings, his journey through this nightmare of being changed from a normal human cop into a creature who lives off souls and blood. Everything that happens is through the Kel Filter, which is great fun but also a challenge in that I have to make sure the reader finds out enough about all the other characters through Kel, rather than him being so self-absorbed or introspective that you never get much of a clue about what Ray or Levi or Francisco are all about, or what their motivations are.

Which part of Takers was most fun to write? Which was toughest?

Here, this will give you some insight into me: the most fun parts of “Takers” to write are the homoerotic scenes. (grins) As for the toughest, well, I’m trying to remember if I really had any trouble either in the first or second book with any particular part of it. I think the hardest thing to get used to doing in the first book was making certain that Kel described his surroundings well enough from his first person point-of-view that the reader could get a sense of where he was and what he was seeing.

It’s something my editors had to work with me on, because when you become a character, so that you can write in his voice, you don’t always remember that the reader isn’t inside the character with you, seeing through his eyes. So you have to think to yourself, how would Kel describe this, being a man, a cop, a guy in his thirties, a hard-boiled egg, a Half-Turn? You know he’s not going to get flowery or overly descriptive, but you’ve got to make sure the reader knows that the alleyway is covered in all manner of nasty fluids, or that Marta’s house is made out of brick, or what Kel’s Barracuda looks like bumper to bumper.

I think I found that process a little easier in the second book, but one of my editors has clued me in that I still am struggling with that a bit, so here come the rewrites!

How did it feel to finish that first draft?

“It’s done? Seriously? No freakin’ way.” That about sums it up. Once the shock of it wore off, though, I was very happy that I’d actually finished it, and very anxious to know what my editors thought of it because it’s radically different from anything I’ve ever written before. And believe it or not, I was all about, “Okay, when do I get to write my next one?” (laughs)

What can we look forward to in Takers 2?

Kel’s going to find out more about who his sire Francisco is, and why he (Kel) was half-turned to begin with. Questions are going to arise about who’s really in control of the Los Angeles-based Takers, and Kel’s relationship with Ray becomes really complicated. The title of the second book is now officially “Takers II: Family,” and that’s what it’s all about: family, in the many different forms that can take. There are lots of twists, turns and surprises and…of course…more eroticism – homo and otherwise!

Are there already plans for Takers 3? Do you think it will be an ongoing series or a trilogy?

I know with one hundred percent certainty that there is a Takers III. I have a feeling that Kel’s not going to let me off so easy as to leave it at a trilogy, though. I guess that remains to be seen!

And finally…

Any message you’d like to send out to the lovely readers of the Eyeball?

Listen to Jo. She knows what she’s talking about. If she says something’s good, then it’s good. And she’s a damn good writer herself.

Oh, you wanted some sort of witty personal message from me? Well, all I can say is this: I love writing “Takers” and I hope your Eyeball readers will enjoy reading it just as much. And keep your eyes open. One of these days you might actually see my name up on a movie screen somewhere! (grins)

And on those words, space folded in on itself and Chris disappeared leaving only a flurry of printer ink, flashing red lights and strongly smelling coffee splatters. She will return, though, you can be sure of that! Keep an eye out for Takers 2 and thanks for reading.

That was the last part of the interview with Chris Davis, so please check out her book and her blog, and remember you’re always welcome here at the Haunted Eyeball.

The links to the other two parts of the interview are here (part one) and here (part two)

Author Interview: Chris Davis – Writer of ‘Takers’ (Part two of three)

Welcome back, you Eyeballers. Once again I am extremely happy to present an exclusive interview with published author Chris Davis, who released an awesome vampire novel called ‘Takers’ last year and is preparing to release its sequel in the next few months.

This interview is being released in three parts.

Part One : Writing Process

Part Two: Inspiration and Publicity

Part Three will be released: Wednesday 7th March

Takers Author Chris Davis, vampires, blood, Kel, Interview, writers, Hawaii-Five-Oh

Chris Davis is back for more. Part two of her interview begins today!

Chris Davis resides in Memphis, Tennessee with her cat, Ramses. She has a Master of Science degree in Project Management and is a novelist, aspiring screenwriter and currently stretches her journalism muscle working for Hawaii Five-0 Online. Chris’s first published novel, a bloody twist on traditional vampires called “Takers,” is now available on Amazon and Smashwords and her personal blog can be found here.

After yesterday’s discussion of the writing process, today Chris Davis shares her opinion about inspiration and the trials of publicity when you’re an indie author.


Haunted Eyeball: Did you have a favourite author growing up?

Chris Davis: You know, I had several sets of books that I read over and over and over again. Largely it was the “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. My favorite book of all-time, however, was “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

But while I can tell you what I read voraciously as a child, I have to caution you that I honestly can’t possibly name one single author as having been a favorite, either as a child or now in my adult years, any more than I can state I have a single favorite musician/band. My tastes in books are as ridiculously eclectic as my taste in music, and have been since the time I was able to read. So for me, it’s always been more the book itself (or certain series of books) that I liked rather than all the works of Author A or Author B.

Favourite author now? It’s funny, just a week or two ago, in a group I’m a member of called Tracy Island Writers Forum, there was a lively multi-post discussion on everyone’s favorite authors. If I’m not mistaken, they were geared mostly toward the sci-fi genre (which makes sense considering that most of the members of that particular forum are gathered there because of a television series that leans strongly toward that genre). But I sat there reading everyone’s responses thinking to myself, “You don’t even have a favorite author anymore.” And it’s true, I don’t. Because I’m a hypocrite. I write books that I want people to read, but I don’t often take the time to sit down and read books myself these days. Isn’t that awful?

I think that stems from the fact that between the ages of about seven and twenty-five (give or take), I read – and I’m not exaggerating – thousands of books. And I don’t mean little kids cute books with only four words per page. I’m talking novels the size of Stephen King’s “It” or “War and Peace.” Classics from Shakespeare and Hemingway. Science fiction that bordered on incomprehensible for all its terminology when you’re the tender age of eleven. Fantasies, C.S. Lewis, horror, true crime. Biographies of the famous and infamous. Books based on television series like “Star Trek” or “Murder, She Wrote” or “Knight Rider.” (Yes, I grew up in the eighties, what can I say.)

I spent the first half of my literate years reading every free second of every day until I also started writing, and then it was probably a fifty-fifty split of my time. I think I filled myself to the brim with input, and now I can’t do anything but output. If I sit down to read it’s usually something a friend has given to me either because they thought it was really good, or because they want my opinion or critique.

So modern-day authors? Well…I honestly don’t have a favorite one out in the paid/published novel world.

Favourite type or particular area of art?

Just like my taste in book and movie genres or in music, my taste in art has little to do with a specific style or type. If I see something I like, I know it. I could have an abstract hanging on the wall next to a black-and-white inner city photograph because I like what I like irrespective of whether anyone else thinks it goes together!

Do any TV shows or films inspire you?

Two television shows: “Thunderbirds” and “Hawaii Five-0.” “Thunderbirds” has been a love of mine for about a decade now. There’s just something about the characters and their relationships, as well as the central idea of there being this family who has dedicated itself to anonymously saving the lives of strangers with unbelievably advanced technology at their disposal that makes the blood sing.

As for “Hawaii Five-0” (and we’re talking the reboot that premiered in 2010, not the original series with Jack Lord), what inspires me hands-down (other than the sexy silver Chevrolet Camaro who’s the true star of the show, of course) is the bromance between characters Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny Williams (Scott Caan). I guess I just have a thing for bromance!

I have to give credit to actor/writer/producer/director Scott Caan’s movie “Mercy” for giving me the screenwriting bug. (Well, either give him credit or blame him for thrusting me into that world, one or the other.) I initially started watching movies containing the lead actors from “Hawaii Five-0” as part of my work as Head News Writer for the website Hawaii Five-0 Online, and “Mercy” happened to be the first one I saw. Not a month later I had my first completed screenplay.

There was something about how the story was told that fascinated me. It was non-linear, it was “real life,” it was a combination of things that it would take too long to explain here that made me say, I want to write like that. I want to do that. So…I’m trying. I call myself an “aspiring screenwriter” still because I have yet to actually get anywhere with it professionally! But it’s great fun.

Other than “Hawaii Five-0,” which shows, films or publications would you love to write for?

(laughs) What, I can’t say “Hawaii Five-0?” Of course that’s my first choice.

Other than that, I really would love to see some of my screenplays come to life, and I would also very much enjoy working with an experienced screenwriter to transform my novel “Takers” into a movie. I’m interested in writing more of my own original screenplays, but I really don’t follow any other current television shows besides “Five-0” simply due to time constraints. I have to choose what to spend my time on, and watching more than one hour of television a week isn’t conducive to my mantra of “Write, write, write!”

Sort of along the same lines, I’d enjoy collaborating with the aforementioned Scott Caan simply because I find the movies he’s written fascinating in terms of how the idea is both presented visually and told as a story. (And I’ll admit, he’s the one I know the most about because of the research I do for Five-0 Online.) I think working with, and learning from, anyone who’s gone out there and written a screenplay, and then actually made it into a movie, would be an invaluable experience because they’re not just the writer selling a script and then going and writing something else. Independent filmmakers know what comes after that script is written, and I think that helps a lot when you’re writing your screenplay because you can foresee things that someone who’s never actually gone through the whole process of making a movie might not know.

I’d also really enjoy working with someone who’s seen success in both books and television, like Trevor Munson (more about him later) or “Hawaii Five-0” Executive Producer Peter Lenkov, who’s done graphic novels. Once again, these men know the whole process, and Trevor especially is familiar with the differences between writing an actual book vs. a television script vs. a movie screenplay. The kind of experience these men and others like them have can’t be book-taught. It’s something you learn by doing, and the insights they’ve gained into what works and what doesn’t, and what types of things you have to think about writing a TV episode vs. a feature-length screenplay are the little things that fascinate me and make me want to seek out people like them. I’ll be honest: one of the original reasons I sat down to watch the new “Hawaii Five-0” to begin with was simply the success Lenkov had prior to launching it. I mean, the guy did “24” and “CSI: NY,” not to mention “La Femme Nikita,” all of which I enjoyed immensely as well-told stories with riveting characters. Who wouldn’t want to apprentice themselves to success like that?


How do you think social media has helped writers? Has it made it easier or more pressured to become a successful writer?

Well, for me, social media gets me out there as a writer, period – I’m a novelist, a journalist and an aspiring screenwriter, but if no one reads what I write or even knows I exist, what’s the point? Whether it’s tweeting or Facebooking my latest blog post, or giving people a sneak peek at my new book cover, or getting immediate feedback on anything I’ve written (whether journalistic in nature or fiction), I have people who know who I am thanks to Facebook and especially Twitter. In “the olden days,” people didn’t know who a writer was, necessarily, until they saw a book in a bookstore or on a library shelf that intrigued them, and then they’d read the blurb about the author on the back cover and that’s all they’d know. We Average Joes certainly couldn’t connect with television or movie screenplay writers, nor with their fellow novelists. Now, we can.

These days social media not only brings into the spotlight authors who aren’t already bestselling novelists, but it also allows them to communicate directly with those who read their work. My personal blog at authorcdavis.com gives people a way to find out more about me as a person (if they care to), if through no other way than seeing what it is I blog about. My work on Hawaii Five-0 Online shows off a different skillset, and social media is crucial to the success of websites like that.

I don’t know how other authors feel about social media pressuring them, but I do know that I have an awful lot of fellow authors who follow me on Twitter and whom I also follow, which tells me that lots of them are using it. Personally, the only pressure I face as a writer is whatever pressure I put myself under. If people don’t like what I’m writing, I love that they can tell me in 140 characters or less how much it sucked. If they think it rocked, it’s great fun to get that feedback as soon as they’ve finished the last sentence of the book. For an author to connect with their fans is for an author to find and keep their audience – the people who will keep coming back to their work time and time again. I’d much rather know what people are thinking and feeling about what I write, than get some stodgy report sent to me every six months telling me how many copies of something have sold. It’s personal, it’s real and it’s how I keep my finger on the pulse of whatever it is I’m doing.

What sort of process do you have for maintaining your blog? Frequency of updates, subjects, etc?

There we go with the process thing again. (laughs) My process is that I don’t have one. At all. Generally speaking, I write a blog post when a subject comes up that I want to talk about. At first, I was trying to post one new thing every day, but it’s difficult to maintain that kind of schedule around a day job and with all the other writing projects I have going on at any given time. So once again, I had to choose what to spend my time on, and unless an idea or event presents itself that I feel strongly enough about, I don’t push myself to update according to a certain schedule.

To be continued…

I look forward to see you Eyeballers here again tomorrow, when in the final part of the interview Chris shares some exciting news about Takers 2 and 3, and how it feels to write about the more erotic side of her character’s vampiric nature.

Author Interview: Chris Davis – writer of ‘Takers’ (Part one of three)

Greetings, Eyeballers. Yes, that’s what you’re called now. I am extremely happy to present an exclusive interview with published author Chris Davis, who released an awesome vampire novel called ‘Takers’ last year has a sequel to it coming very soon.

This interview is being released in three parts.

Starting Monday 5th March: Writing Process

Parts Two and Three please follow links.

Takers Author Chris Davis, vampires, blood, Kel, Interview, writers, Hawaii-Five-Oh

Author of "Takers" Chris Davis

Chris Davis resides in Memphis, Tennessee with her cat, Ramses. She has a Master of Science degree in Project Management and is a novelist, aspiring screenwriter and currently stretches her journalism muscle working for Hawaii Five-0 Online. Chris’s first published novel, a bloody twist on traditional vampires called “Takers,” is now available on Amazon and Smashwords and her personal blog can be found here.

Today, Chris shares her opinions about the creative process and explains what drives her to write:

H.E: Welcome to my Haunted Eyeball, Chris! So, when did you first start writing?

C.D. I’ve been writing since I was a pre-teen. I’ll go out on a limb and say I was maybe about ten years old when I first put pencil to notebook paper, back in the dinosaur days when we actually had to write longhand.

Do you have a writing routine? How do you fit it in with the day job, etc?

I can’t say I have a routine, per se. Unlike many writers, I don’t do the thing where I say, “Between the hours of X and Y I’m working on Project #1 and then I’m doing this and then I’m doing that.” My schedule in terms of day job doesn’t keep me from writing when inspiration hits, which is very lucky for me. Instead, I have enough writing projects going at any given time that if I open up one document and don’t feel it flowing; I simply go to another project until I find the thing that feels like I should be working on it. I very much let the Universe flow in, around and through me and guide me to what I should be working on, what’s the right thing to be doing in that moment, rather than trying to force square pegs into round holes.

How do you start writing? Do you listen to music?

Funny you should ask me this question, because it occurred to me a few weeks ago that when I really started hitting the ground running in terms of producing profusely (around a decade ago), I always had to have music playing, whether via headphones or stereo. These days, I find that sometimes it helps to be playing my music, but other times I write like gangbusters in complete silence. Still others, you’ll find me able to produce multiple chapters of a book with so much noise occurring around me you wonder how I can think. Again, I go back to the fact that I just allow things to happen as they’re meant to, and if that means I’m supposed to write four chapters of my next novel today, then a twister could be spiriting me off to Oz and I wouldn’t be aware of it until those chapters were complete!

Where’s your favourite place to write?

I find that I’m most productive sitting at a desk, whether it be in a corporate workplace type of environment or my own home office. I have successfully written sitting up in bed, but for the most part I guess me being seated at a desk tells my brain “time to work,” and so that’s usually how I do it.

Does Writer’s block ever hit? How do you deal with it?

Absolutely. But I always know it will pass. I’ll go back to how it is I work: if something isn’t flowing in that moment that I think I should be doing it, I close it and come back to it. Generally speaking it always works out so that I’m not missing deadlines or getting something done too late. If I planned to write something for a writing challenge, and it’s simply not coming and becomes clear it’s not going to happen, I take that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be written and I either see about writing something else for that challenge, or simply don’t enter it. There have been times when I’ve tried to force myself through a block moment, but I find that when I do that, what I produce is crap, so it’s literally not worth it for me to do it. If it’s meant to be then it happens, is how I live, while at the same time doing everything in my power to keep up my end of the bargain – which is to keep writing, no matter what it is that’s getting written!

Is there anything you wouldn’t consider writing about, and why? 

I have never been fond of politics in any way, shape or form. It’s simply a subject which holds no interest for me. Admittedly, my interests are skewed much more toward what you might term the supernatural, or fantasy worlds, but over the past year I’ve challenged myself to write in more “realistic” arenas as well, so that I have to practice abiding by the laws of what’s accepted as “real life,” instead of skirting around them by writing in arenas where I can make up my own laws and rules. Hence my screenplay “Fractured,” which I’m intending to enter into the Nicholl Fellowship competition. “Fractured” is about as far away from my ‘normal’ fare as you can get. It’s much more the real life independent film sort of thing, whereas my novel “Takers” (urban fantasy) and my first screenplay, “The Healer” (supernatural) are worlds where I made up my own rules. To get back to your original question, however, I think that other than not wanting to write something with too much political content, I’m pretty open to anything from G-rated fare all the way to stuff that would curl your grandmother’s hair, on any topic.

How long do you allow for research?

I have to make a confession here: the majority of the time I research as I write. Now, I know I have to have some modicum of understanding of my subject matter prior to coming up with a story outline or diagram, but more often than not I’ve already got that hammered out in my own mind because it’s just there. However, in a recent story I wrote, which focused on two men climbing Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska, I had to do lots of research prior to even starting the story, because I haven’t got a clue about mountain climbing! By and large, though, as I’m going along writing, when I hit something where I say, “I don’t know this,” that’s when I stop and research for as long as I need to until I’m confident I’m writing with some authority, and then just keep going. It’s sort of a pay-as-you-go feel rather than spending weeks doing research and taking notes and then writing the story. For me, that’s far too mind-numbing. I need to be “Action, now, do, write!”

Whose writing advice do you really listen to?

My friend, editor and publisher, Jaimi Sorrell, who runs Plotfish Press. While I do listen to the opinions of a handful of others, for the most part she’s the one whose word I trust implicitly (though I’ve been known to fight her on stuff now and again). She’s been working with me for…holy cow, I think it’s been something like eight or nine years now? Over that period of time you develop a mutual trust and respect, and you see that when you put something into practice, it either does or doesn’t work for you. Nothing I write professionally gets out the door until she’s satisfied with it, whether novel or screenplay, because as she always says, “If you can get it by me, you can get it by anyone,” and I think that’s true!

Are there any books on writing and creativity that you’d recommend?

Okay, another confession for you: I don’t read about writing and being creative; I do it.

For me, the best way to learn and grow as a writer is to actually keep writing, keep putting your stuff out there, keep asking for feedback, and then incorporating what you get. The two hours I spend reading a book someone’s written telling me how to get characterization right, I could’ve produced two or three chapters of my own book, which I find much more productive than reading someone else’s opinion about how I can improve. I commend people who can quote “helpful” books left, right and center, really, I do. But for me, personally (and this is no judgment of anyone else), reading about being creative or reading about writing is a waste of my time, because it means I’m not actually writing.

The thing I think lots of people don’t quite get is that writing is very, very personal to each individual writer. What works for Joe Cool in his four hundred-page book about how to plot out your novel before you write it, may be more painful than being skewered and raked over hot coals for someone like me.

Can I tell other people how I do what I do? Not really, because I am blessed in that it just sort of…happens. It makes me think of all those books people write about how male/female relationships work and how to be successful at them. I’m sorry, but blanket statements drive me bananas. Telling me that “all men think this way” or “this is how all women feel” is such a load of you-know-what because it is empirically impossible for every single man in existence to think precisely the same way about Subject X. Similarly, if a writer has found something that’s made writing an easier or more fulfilling experience for him, that’s wonderful and I’m very happy for him! However, that doesn’t mean that what he talks about will necessarily have any bearing on what I do, will work for me even if I try it, or is going to be of any use to anyone other than him.

I find my own path, and if it’s not there I keep whacking at the undergrowth until I’ve made one.

Your golden rule of writing? Tips for new writers?

Write every day. I don’t care if it’s 100 words on what your water bottle looks like or the next bestseller. I don’t care if it’s fan fiction, biographical, a TV series script, a feature-length screenplay, a book, a short story, a poem or song lyrics. Write something every. Single. Day. Period.

For new writers, I’ll put it to you this way: anyone can read all the books they want about surfing. About how to catch a wave. How to stand on the board. How to balance. What to do when you wipe out in a barrel. They can learn what the backdoor is, how to carve and how to make a cutback. In theory.

But until that wannabe surfer picks up a board, paddles out into the ocean and takes the drop, do you think they’re going to actually be able to stay upright and mimic the lifelong surfers you see in almost every opening scene of Hawaii Five-0 just because they read a book? Of course not! Reading about it does not equate doing it. Actually writing is exercising your brain the same way lifting weights is exercising your biceps.

So I’ll say it again. My golden rule, my tip: Write every day.

To be continued….

Hope to see you Eyeballers here again tomorrow, when Chris discusses Inspiration and the challenges of Publicity for ebook authors

Review: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are plenty of books out there about writing. In fact, there’s an unlimited amount of advice on every possible platform. Stephen King has done a particularly influential book, and I wonder if the market on ‘how to write’ doesn’t make up half the publishing world’s revenue. However, what Steven Pressfield’s book does is deal with the way creative minds deal with self-sabotage. He examines the strange behaviour of those close to people attempting to create, and discusses the mindset and sheer force of will required to make a success out of inner talent. Basically, something called ‘Resistance’ is out to stop you freeing your muse.

War of Art is a quick read, but contains some excellent advice and a very different perspective on being creative. The best part involves how to break through the dreaded ‘resistance’ but it’s a good study of the mental seizures that can hit once you try to create anything. Knowing what to look out for is definitely a good portion of the battle.

While in places it drifts into fairly spiritual musing, it also makes some very VERY good, very solid points about creating. The most important to actually CREATE. Gaining the mental discipline required to achieve this, building up the hard-headedness, summoning the sheer strength to continue creating, and making the time to make it happen is all dealt with. While it isn’t exactly a step by step guide, War of Art exposes the mental blocks that pop up, and it takes a strong line on dealing with fear and procrastination.

Best of all, it reminded me what was important in order to get the writing done, and that no matter how hard it is, the final result is always worth the fight and sacrifice. If you’re looking for inspiration when creating, or wondering why you can’t quite bring yourself to type a few words for that novel you’ve been planning, then War of Art is perfect to give yourself a healthy mental push.

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