Tag: living

Time’s Railcar

Time’s Railcar

Time. It is the one thing that no human can stop.  The year 1906.  Was anyone thinking about the year 2000?  I find myself thinking only of 2040.  My mind doesn’t wander to the year 2100.

 

This peek into 1906 was just 4 days prior to the great San Fransisco earthquake and fire that devastated the city which had broken every building code in the books and nearly every home built of wood was burned to the ground.

It’s a feeling I can’t put my finger on when I watch this footage.  The music; the fact that I am being transported in a rail car, in 1906, down Market Street as newspaper boys, carriages, trollies all dart and cross over in some unseen syncopated rhythm. Upper class, working class, all real life – no Hollywood stuff – just real people 111 years ago, now gone, and I get to share an ephemeral ride with them all because someone decided to click the ‘on’ button. And that’s just it…

I know.  I already know that in 4 days, it’s coming for them. But now, in this illuminated flicker of time, they carry on, eating, dining and being married as the ancient scripture reads. They are doing what they do everyday; criss-crossing the rails between carriages, trollies, cars, bicycles; hitching rides, waving hello, curious folks, busy folks, high society and working class folk doing their thing, carrying on with the day’s tasks, making money selling newspapers and making their way forward, ever forward, all unknowing, all unsuspecting and without a clue what’s waiting for them down the rail car of time.  And it’s moving, that rail car, it’s moving all of us along. Their was no stopping it, it kept moving steadily and unswervingly towards the end of those 3 days until the morning at 5am on the 4th day.  And then…

It kept going, time that is, it kept moving along those rails, through the earthquake, through the fires, through the heartache and the pain it kept right on moving without stopping to mourn or rejoice or reflect or congratulate.  Through the year of 1906 and into 1907, through the confetti and the resolutions, through the wars and the peace treaties, the good decisions and the bad ones, the new technologies the new ways to save people and the new ways to kill them, through catastophic floods, volcanos, storms, through dreams broken and fulfilled it moved, steady until finally it would stop in 2000 – but it did not stop – and here we are now in 2017 and time is flowing past me, over me and through my fingers, my skin my heart my thoughts it flows through and leaves its mark on my face, my mind and my life.

Who’s going to be watching us on a digital playback in the year 2117?  With whom will we share our ephemeral existence somewhere down the railcar’s tracks, careening out before us into the future – who will meet us on our planes, in our cars, crossing our busy intersections at midday and say “they didn’t know – look at them – that it was coming for them in just a few days, see how they go about their lives with their dreams, their hopes, spending, eating, celebrating, mourning, working and being distracted by the joys and trials of life, look at them – and they didn’t know.”

Where does that put us on the rails of time?

Writing Across Genres

Writing Across Genres

As someone with a pretty wild imagination, I find myself drawn to fiction writing. I love making up stories and watching characters develop and make decisions in their worlds which I’ve created for them.

But as a Christian who loves to help people, I also love writing what I have experienced, what I know and how to apply it in other’s lives to help them along their journey in life. I’ve also read that it is important that authors stick to one genre so there is no confusion for the audience which makes it easier for the agency/publishing company to brand and sell your books.

Hmmm, this is a disappointing discovery. So I started searching online to see what information I could find about writing in multiple genres or fiction vs. non-fiction. My heart was lifted when I read some of the blogs below addressing these questions.

Concerning the execution of writing in different genres, here are two key thoughts that I love from Joel Friedlander’s blog The Book Designer:

But ultimately, your goal is to link your name to an organic and dynamic brand that’s based on you and arouses a positive, emotional experience for your targeted readership–regardless of genre.

It’s your style, your unique voice, and the combination of recurrent themes, character types, settings, and ideas that make up the familiar elements characteristic to your writing.

-The Book Designer

Click on the link above to read the full article – it’s encouraging. As a writer, I don’t have to be stuck in one niche when I have so many ideas floating around in my head. It’s a natural bridge that I’m looking for and one that will come about organically because if people know from the start that I write in different genres, then it won’t be like a betrayal or that I’m trying to be something I’m not – it will be I already am. Well, I hope anyway~

So in trying to think about this for myself – we as writers all go through this when we are starting out – I would be writing Christian non-fiction and Suspense fiction. I can’t see how in the world this could possibly work but sometimes you don’t see how the future will pan out until you get to the fork in the road.  Here’s another perspective from Rachelle Gardner:

It’s a little different if you’re talking about writing both fiction and non-fiction. If you want to do this, understand that you’ll be working to build two different audiences simultaneously. Sure, there may be some crossover, but you can’t count on it.

-Rachelle Gardner

My plan is to seek representation for my Christian non-fiction and submit to individual magazine publications for the fiction short stories. We’ll see how well this works out for me – that’s one thing about starting this blog – I’ll have a history of what works and what doesn’t.  I believe everyone’s path is different and there are many ways to get from point A to point B. You just have to choose the one that best suits you – and then go for it!

Launching a Writing Career Part II

Launching a Writing Career Part II

So now that you’ve got your writing software, you’ve been practicing writing in a journal or similar way just to get the wheels spinning again and you’ve learned a bit about writing and the industry, where do you go from here?

It’s time to start exploring what type of genre and what type of books you want to write. And the only way you’ll find this out is by reading books and practice writing about the things that interest you. So here are 5 ways that you can set out on the next leg of the journey.

1. Buy a Writer’s Market Guide

This is an excellent guide to publishers and agents that will help you connect to the outlets and venues for which to submit your work. You can read about what the magazine or publishing company is looking for, details about length and subject matter. The Writer’s Market provides contact information to send queries and a whole lot of other great details to get you started. It’s organized in a way that if you want to write about travel, you look up Travel in the table of contents and you have a whole handful of magazines that would accept articles on your traveling adventures. Or if you are a scientist and want to write an article on your profession, just look up the info and take your pick.

2. Look up writing competitions online and enter them.

Sometimes writers will enter contests to challenge themselves, never intending to actually submit what they’ve written. But I enjoy the anticipation of entering a contest, no matter the odds, and it gives me something to think about besides pushing paper around on a desk all day. This will increase your writing proficiency and challenge you to work on a deadline. Also, the more you write the more you will begin to develop your voice and craft.  There are contests for short stories, novels and poetry.

3. Start a blog or website

This is a great way to get into the habit of writing and to build a fun community of people who love what you love. My other blog, Ebeye Island: A Spacious Place, I started in 2008 just before I left for the Marshall Islands for two years. The blog has been super fun with people commenting and enjoying all the photos and adventures we had on the island and with the Marshallese. It was so much fun and a great tool to keep me writing and in touch with people.

4. Join a local critique group

You may have some trial and error here to get exactly what your looking for. Some groups will focus more on reading and sharing than critiquing, others on networking and sharing information about events and activities but mostly it’s a great way to meet up with people who have similar goals and interests. Just make sure the majority of your time is spent writing – because that’s what it’s all about. Everything else is in support of that dream.

5. Create a cozy little writer’s nook and set it up with the essentials

I find writing in my living room on the couch is a recipe for distraction. The only desk I had at the time was covered in art supplies, canvases, turpentine and a stack of bills I didn’t want to file away. The rest of the room was no better organized – paint cans, stretchers, cleaning supplies, tubs and bins – it was a big storage room. So, I determined to clean it all out and put things away properly. I cleaned off the desk and bought an average comfy office chair and this is now my writer’s nook.

 

Hopefully these few baby steps can help someone just starting out to get your feet under you and have firm ground from which to launch. These simple things can really help you start learning about writing and give you a bit of confidence so you can begin to make your own success out there in this industry.

 

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