Happy Independence Day, my friends. My apologies for not posting sooner, but the last few months have been a whirlwind. In addition to finishing up book five (editing is almost complete), I’ve been in the process of starting a vineyard here on the farm. It will be far easier to show you the process than to attempt to describe it, so here is the journey in pictures:
If you want to change your life, you have to change your mind first. One of the most important steps is learning to think positively, especially in negative situations. When you learn to see opportunity in every moment and teach yourself to make the best of your circumstances, your life will begin to improve. Seek the positive throughout each day, and cherish all of your blessings.
Just a quick update, editing on book five is progressing nicely, so hopefully, the book will be ready for release by the end of this month or early May. I can’t wait to share this final installment of The Brotherhood of Dwarves series with my readers, especially those who have been waiting since book four was first released.
Because I’m back to being a self-published author, I had to find some cost cutting measures to get this book ready for publication. I decided to knock off some rust and polish up my artistic skills to do this cover myself. I think I managed to mimic the style of the first four covers quite well, and I think readers will love it as much as I do. So without further ado, here is the cover for book five:
When I was still an educator, I stressed the importance of persistence to my students. Every semester, I would share the famous quote from Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Life has a way of placing obstacles in your way, and they will test your resolve to follow through on achieving your goals. It’s no secret that I’ve faced my fair share of adversity, and many times, I’ve thought that I would never overcome some of the challenges I’ve faced. On the darkest nights, I felt as if my life had been meaningless because I hadn’t been able to complete all five books of the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. That shortcoming irritated me like a splinter in my psyche.
However, last night, I finished the rough draft of book five. It took a total of 14 years (probably twice as long as it reasonably should have), but through perseverance, I was able to see it to the end. No matter what else, that story has been told the way it was envisioned when it first came to me. Obviously, there is still a lot of editing to do, and then the hard work of promotion begins, but the story is there. At this moment, it still doesn’t feel real, but I have achieved the primary goal I set for myself.
Finishing a book is a great rush. There’s a sense of accomplishment that not much else measures up to. Finishing a series is something else entirely. These characters have been a part of my life through so many ups and downs, and in some ways, they were the solid ground beneath my feet when everything else felt like quicksand. To have finished their tale is bittersweet, albeit more sweet. Now, I get to begin the other projects that I’ve wanted to work on and start achieving the other goals I’ve set for myself. And as I conquer these new challenges, I will press on with persistence.
I got busy yesterday and didn’t get to post my Monday Motivational, so I guess technically this is a Tuesday Titillation. However, building on the theme of some of the previous Motivationals, you are in charge of your future. You are in charge of your road to success, even when it seems like obstacles are in your way. Every obstacles is an opportunity to prove yourself, so if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. Take charge, don’t make excuses, and work a little harder today to achieve your dreams.
Just a quick update, book five is almost complete. All fourteen chapters are written, and I’m currently writing the epilogue. The editor is already at work polishing, and the cover art is nearly finished. I can’t wait to share this cover with you. The work is absolutely beautiful, richly textured with depth and energy. It’s a fitting cover to close out the series. I don’t have a firm timetable for release yet because I want the editing to be thorough, but we are close. Hopefully within the next month or two.
I’ve been working pretty hard on the farm lately. I may try to post a couple of updates on the things I have going on here. The labor has been intense, but I enjoy it. Also, it’s good to feel productive with something that I’m building with my own two hands. I’ve wanted to get this going for some time now, and despite the setbacks, I’m still motivated on achieving these goals. So over the next week or so, please look for a post on what’s going on.
I admire the doers–the people who step into the arena, throw down the gauntlet, and give everything they have in pursuit of their goals. Even when they fail, the doers achieve something the talkers never will. The pride and sense of accomplishment that doing offers survive even the most crushing defeat. Also, failure can be our greatest teacher, and those who have fallen yet found the courage to try again do so with renewed strength and wisdom.
Whatever your dream, get started today. Write that book. Start that business. Pursue that degree. As long as you give it your best effort and learn from the experience, you will not regret the decision.
Stop talking; start doing.
An aspiring writer asked me to share my process for outlining. First, let me say that there’s no one right way to outline. If you find a process that works for you, follow it as long as it feeds your creativity. The process I’ll describe is mine and works for me, but it might not be the best fit for you. So please keep in mind that anything that doesn’t help should be discarded. Only hold onto the pieces that allow your writing to flow. Also, this is my process for outlining a novel, and there are different processes for other types of writing.
My first step is to figure out the beginning and the ending of the book. I need to have a rough idea of those two before I can do anything else. Typically, I’ll sketch out a few notes about each, but for the most part, the details are just in my head. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is that the ending I envision beforehand may not be the final form. In fact, there are almost always changes and alterations as the story comes into focus, but I have a general idea of where the story will stop.
From there, I sketch out each chapter individually, noting the primary scenes. I jot notes to myself on the characters involved and the basic components. These are usually in keyword form that will trigger my memory later. What I try to develop is a skeleton of the entire book so that I have a clear vision of the overall story arc before I begin writing. Much like the ending, the scenes that are developed during the outline may change through the course of the writing, especially as the characters surprise me in the flow of the action.
When I begin writing, I refer back to the outline regularly to make sure I’m staying on track with the overall story, but I also make changes to it as the story evolves. Quite often, I’ll realize that a scene belongs in a different chapter to make time line up, or I’ll scrap one altogether because it’s just not needed. Also, I may realize that a new scene is needed because some details are missing. However, by the time the book is complete, the outline and the book remain relatively consistent with each other.
So that’s my basic process. It ends up being fairly middle of the road between a rigid plotter and a seat of the pants writer, and for me, this allows me the best of both worlds. I have a good idea where I’m going and how I’m getting there, but I also have the latitude to allow the story to grow organically. Hope that this has been useful for you if you’re an aspiring writer, and for the rest of you, I hope this has been an entertaining insight into the mind of a writer.