Pocket Full of Ideas, Stopped at Writer’s Block

Writer’s face a great deal of challenges. You’ve read how jobs and bills can get in the way. Sometimes, the worst enemy of an author, is well, the author. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had ideas about a chapter or short story binging around my brain. As soon as I get in front of a computer, I just go blank.

I was psyched about finishing a particular chapter today. All of sudden, I just flat-lined. I was totally lost between one scene and the next. I leaned toward writing a outline, but I didn’t want to ruin the spontaneity. Now there’s the wall, the Writer’s Block. No expenses paid, blocked by the subconscious.

Where should I go from here? I have a few other ideas to explore. I wonder…

Which way should I go?

Can’t Find a Niche for a Blog

I admit, the reason my blog goes weeks without an update is because I have no idea what to post. The initial focus for my WordPress Blog, Black Board, was to talk about my freelance writing career and self-publishing news.

Like any other working adult, I find it difficult to dedicate my time to my blog when there’s so much to do. What takes up most of my time is three social media accounts, two jobs, freelancing, a gaming hobby, and procrastinating.

Now, there’s a blog. The endless possibilities are almost overwhelming. A decision has to be made. For me, that decision was to talk about a self-publishing journey. The challenges of self-publishing are worth documenting.

Looking ahead, I have no clue what the next blog post is going to be. Anything that’s absolutely awesome is placed on the idea shelf for a self-publishing endeavor. So, I guess I playing this blog and niche thing by ear, or in this case, by brainstorm.

What good are FAQs and How-To blog posts? They don’t necessarily teach a person how to manage their blog.

But in the event that someone is searching for answers on what their blog content theme should be, I suppose you could post whatever comes to mind until you find something that sticks. Be sure it’s something you like rather than something that gets a click. You could run into blog that feels more like a chore.

What are your thoughts on blog niche? I’m short on answers and abundant in frustration. Comment if you have insight.

 

Marvel on Netflix: Iron Fist Review

In between writing, freelancing, and gaming, I watch T.V. shows on Netflix. Honestly, I prefer it over cable T.V. especially when there are shows that tickle my superhero fancy. 

For the past few years, Marvel has teamed up with Netflix to bring us heroes and villains of the Marvel universe that may have been forgotten by the casual comic book fan. 

Dare Devil kicked things off. The show followed the story of Matt Murdock, a vigilante to protect Hell’s Kitchen. Next, we had Jessica Jones, a femme fatale looking for redemption for her past mistakes and get revenge against a self righteous mind mutant. Then there was Luke Cage, an superpowered escaped convict who set took on a crime syndicate in Harlem. 

Now we’ve come to Iron Fist. Right out the door, social critics complained that the cast and plot was “white-washed.” 

As a storyteller myself, such surface reviewed assumptions is unfair to creators. I gave Iron Fist a chance leaving my bias until after I watched all 13 episodes.

The character Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is a strong willed, likable, unreliable, and frustrating. His worst flaw is his idealist view of the world. He has this awesome potential yet he just can’t grasp it. I’m sure the writer did that on purpose. But the flaws make him believable.

The plot, of course, didn’t disappoint. Wish it could have been longer. 

The best character on the show is Ward (Tom Pelphrey). He’s a dynamic, support character whose psychological battle is so much greater than Danny’s. How could it not? I won’t spoil it. Just watch the show.

So, my final thoughts about the show: Good. But the hype is not close to Dare Devil. Dare Devil Season 2 set the bar high. 

Return of the Resolution

With Christmas over, we’re all getting psyched for that moment, counting the last few seconds until, bang! 2017! Along with celebrations, there are declarations of change. How long they will last is up to whoever has made such a promise.

Those promises are known as New Years’ Resolutions, the promise we all want to follow through with as Father Time ushers us into the new year. However, consistency is more difficult than it seems when we attempt to alter our routines and old habits.

Sure, we all know the malarkey that comes with a resolution, but the fun in its creation and creativity is unparalleled.

Exercise the right to set a goal, yet push for stability. Once that first week passes by, prepare for procrastination. Fight it. Tell it, “Go to hell!”

For me, I have a few items on my list of things to accomplish in 2017.

My personal and somewhat realistic resolutions:

  • Increase persistence of freelance endeavors 
  • Blog more
  • Work on multiple projects at once 
  • Make better investments in regards to self-publishing

I’m certain that one of these will stick more than the next. They’re all great ideas, but they need some substance.

Maybe an alert on a smartphone will help. Or maybe I should just…

We’ll see what happens…

Self-Publishing 2.0

I’ve visited self-publishing many times through WordPress. It’s something I have to try, but it’s also one the costly processes I’ve researched thus far. Of course, I can go with the traditional route and submit my work to a publishing house. As we all know, getting through a publisher with an unsolicited manuscript could land in the discard pile no matter how good the writing is.

Self-publishing seems to be the way to go. It’s DIY process to getting the content out there. The upside: The author becomes the publisher. They yield 100 percent of the profits. They get all the credit through copyright.

The downs: All of the work is on the author, and the process is extensive. Promotion, marketing, and cost is all on the self-publisher. Let’s not forger editing. And yes, as an author and publisher, an editor is required to polish the written content. As the author, you’ve seen the story over a hundred times. A second or third pair of eyes will help flesh out those characters and inconsistencies you might have missed.

It’s quite a journey, but I imagine that a future publishing house will take you more seriously if they see you’ve gone through the proper channels to get self-published.

What are the proper channels?

From my research, here’s what I found.

In the event that an author wants to self-publish, the author should:

  1. Purchase ISBNs from the website Bowker. The website suggests 10 ISBNs which costs $295 (price subject to change). Barcodes (about $25) are designed to stand on the book cover, which hosts the ISBN along with other vital information on the book edition such as Hard Cover, Paperback, or eBook.
  2. Purchase copyrights from the Library of Congress. By right, the author is entitled to copyright for creating the work. Registering your work with Library of Congress sets it in stone further protecting your work. It’s a safeguard investment everyone should take.
  3. Make sure manuscripts have been edited by others. All solid, good books have editors. CreateSpace seems to be a good source to start. If not, find an editor that can do several rounds of editing ensuring the content.
    1. Find a graphic artist whose skilled at book covers. It’s part of the investment. If the self-publisher is an artsy person, then time will be only invest there.
  4. Promotion and marketing. Getting the word out is easy but like this entire process, it will take time. Self-publishers have to funnel through hashtags and posts to get the message out, “Buy my book!” Don’t forget a solid synopsis. If you can, see if you schedule an interview with your local media.

Again this is my research. I haven’t actually done all of this yet, but I’m really close. Soon, I will purchase the ISBNs. Finding an editor for the nine (or ten) short stories I’ve written is much tougher than buying the ISBNs. But I’m coming along.

 

Recovery

I’m not sure if I posted anything about this, so I’ll just talk about it to cover my tracks.

On December 1, 2015, my stuff was stolen due to my carelessness. I forgot to lock my car door, and my laptop, flash drives, writing guides, camera, and tooth brush was stolen. What hurt the most was the stolen writing that I worked two years on.

It was devastating.

But I recovered.

Currently, I have a new laptop and two more flash drives (one containing some of the rough draft stories I wrote over the two year period).

For the past couple of days, I’ve been reading, editing, and proofreading these stories. Somehow, I’m working faster and more efficient than before, so I guess the setback wasn’t really a setback. In a strange way, by having my stuff stolen, it made me appreciate my work more than ever.

And I’ve noticed my work, my writing is getting better. I wish I had this mind when I left college. But hey, we live and learn, right?

Letter to the Undergrad

Hello Undergrad Student(s),

Don’t take this the wrong way, but your career is going to suck if you don’t arm yourself with as many skills as possible.

The purpose of this letter is a warning. Be careful. Don’t take your college career for granted or you’ll be going a through loop trying to figure out what you should’ve done while you were in college.

I know this because I believed that one degree would opened all the doors for me. It’s not like that any more. Bachelor’s degrees are a dime a dozen. These days, a person must be a jack of all trades.

Use your resources. Professors are not just there to piss you off, they get you ready for the rugged edges of rejection and bluntness from employers. Unpaid internships does put a damper on finances, but they can help build experience, which is just as valuable as education. Hoard professional experience. The more you have the better your job search will be.

Let go of your entitlement issues. Take the stick out of your ass, you got student loans to pay. If rejection bothers you then bitterness will be your best friend. And its a crappy friend that throws blame at everyone. Misfortune and scarcity is life’s way of preparing you for the hurtful moments to come.

Appreciate these great times in college. Use them wisely. Use those expensive books that miraculously become cheap at the end of the semester. Actually, keep those books, they’re great references for the trials ahead.

Stay focused.

Cordially,

 

 

Elijah B.