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Follow Your Passion

This is something I’ve been pondering for a while; one of the many ways my self-doubt has tried to mess with me lately.  We’ve ALL heard the advice.  It’s almost taken on some mythical status anymore.  Follow Your Passion!  It’s the key to the universe!

There’s a few issues that never seem to get addressed though.  The OBVIOUS first question is “What if you suck at what you’re passionate about?”   Let’s be honest, IF it’s something you’re TRULY passionate about, you’re going to work at it till you get not just good but great at it (even if you need training to grow).  95% of the time that’s true anyway.  There’s that other 5% or so that just doesn’t have the aptitude for something they’re passionate about.

Then there’s is your passion viable for supporting yourself and a family?  The financial guy I listen to on the radio rails against following your passion for that reason.  “Spending 10s of thousands of dollars to get a degree in left handed puppetry is idiotic”.  OK, extreme example, but he makes a point.  Some things are going to take more effort and have lower payoff than others.  The average engineer is going to make more than the average writer or artist.  You have to take a hard look at earning potential and decide if you’re OK with it.  Don’t blame others for the choice you make here either.

The good thing is that people can find multiple things they’re passionate about.  If one doesn’t work, look at another one.  Expose yourself to as many ideas and careers as possible.  You may be surprised what you find you’re drawn to.  There’s always the option of saving your passion as a “side hussle” also.  If it really pays off, you can always discard that job as an engineer to paint or write poetry.

Then there’s discerning a passion from something you enjoy…  This is one I’ve struggled with for ages and a couple of attempted careers.  The simple answer is that a passion is something you’re willing to endure the hardships to pursue.  It’s NOT I want to be a rock star because it’s cool and I’ll be famous.  I hate you all for not buying my music and making me live over mom’s garage.  It’s I’m willing to practice 10 hours a day, play that guitar till my fingers bleed, get singing and playing lessons because I’m only so-so right now, and treat it all as the price to pay and part of the journey.  You not just accept but embrace that there are no shortcuts.  THEN it’s a passion, and worth pursuing.

And yes, after struggling through alot of self doubt, that’s where I’m at now with my writing.

A Vader Update

I talked to the friend that first linked me to the Vader fan film that I shared a few blog posts ago.  I was curious to find out if there were any other chapters released yet, and what news he’d heard in that regard (he has a remarkable knack for finding such things out).

At this point, there won’t be any future chapters.  Disney went after the producer with everything they had and even took the first chapter away from him.  LucasArts (presumably Lucas himself) apparently still has some pull though, and get the first chapter returned to the producer.  Not before Disney’s legal bullying wiped out the producer financially though.  They’re also blocking all attempts to crowdfund future chapters of the story.

I hear stories like this all the time.  I’ve watched them gobble up more and more of the entertainment world too the last decade or so.  Walt Disney would doubtless spin in his grave if he saw how his company is being run nowadays.

Speaking of Boundaries…

I really, really hate to do this, but I’ve got roughly 80 blogs on follow now.  A wide array of subjects too.  I value all of you, BUT I’m spending over 2 hours a day just trying to keep up with a constant parade of email updates and new posts.  A few of you are posting almost 15 times a day also.

So, I have to find some balance here and regain a little of my time back.  My boundary is going to be that I’ll read and like / comment on the first 3 or 4 posts a day from everyone.  After that, I have to pass on any additional posts.  I appreciate all of you, but I only have so much time.

Keep writing, creating poetry, or art, etc…  I won’t discourage anyone from creating.

Regrouping

Why am I up at 2:45am?!?  I should finally go to bed, but I’ve had ALOT on my mind lately.  Most of more properly belongs in the spiritual blog also.

That’s actually part of what THIS post is about though.  My posts here have been more personal blog and self growth than writing blog lately.  Granted, I’ve been able to tie it into writing to a degree…  I can’t help but wonder though if maybe THAT is where my true passion lays.  It’s probably just all the crazy recent events, and my trying to put them in perspective that have me writing that way.

Be that as it may, I’m going to be trying yet again to get my proper writing going again, both erotica and mainstream fiction.  I’m also going to try to keep this blog more focused on writing related topics.

Some of the rambling has been helpful though.  Random side rant; I REALLY use the word “though” too much, LOL.  Anyway, a few of the posts and some recent events have made me realize just what a trigger that people trying to deny others their voice is for me.  I’ve been dealing with it my entire life with my family, and most of my jobs.  It’s still happening to this day with my mom.  My brother craps all over me, and I’m supposed to just forget it.

Anyway, I realized that’s an influencer for me with things like political and social issue connected hate.  The level it’s hitting out there is insane.  So many examples, but there’s been enough bitching in recent blog posts.   I just want to grab people, and shake them until they get through their heads they’re making the problems worse by responding with hate and refusal to listen.

So yeah…  Personal challenge while I regroup here, LOL

Not Backing Down

I”m just about properly caught up on all those 114 email notifications and all the ones that followed after it over the last 11 hours.

One thing I did discover is that the closed-mindedness of Twitter tried to follow me here.  One person I *thought* was a friend went on a tirade about evil conservative (they HAD to be conservative) women criticizing a celebrity for having been a stripper. Overall, I agreed with her post.  I mainly thought she went over the top with the venomous way she handled it.

I *tried* to point out that she missed an opportunity to try to reason with these women.  That rather then trying to oppress women and derail female empowerment, they feel (right or wrong) that stripping and sex work perpetuates the stereotype of women as nothing but sex objects.  If she tried to communicate with these folks she might find they shared concerns and could find a middle ground they could both live with.

Her response: Delete my comment, and remove me from her follows / followed by lists.  Very mature.

First, if you’re going to post something, you should be enough of an adult to be prepared for polite disagreement.  If you’re not, turn off your comments.  You have EVERY right to expect that disagreement to remain polite and open to your counterpoints.  I’m tired of the hate I see everywhere though.  I challenged her thinking because I thought she was capable of rising above that venom.  Sometimes, being the light means means you have to politely stand firm against the darkness too.

Some of Y’all…

There’s a headline that will grab attention, LOL.  Some people seem to thrive on controversy or looking for the next train wreck to watch though, and the implication is there with the headline.

That’s not what this is about though.  This is just a heads up to some of the folks in my “circle” here.  Some of you have no visible follow button and I only got  the option to follow you after I liked a post and was asked if I wanted to follow (in mice type) below the like button.  A handful of you don’t even have a like button.

No comments I can understand.  People can be mean spirited and sometimes it’s not worth the BS.  Same with buttons for sharing on social media; sometimes that draws the wrong crowd to your blog and you’re more concerned with expressing yourself freely than drawing huge numbers of followers.  I get that. 🙂

At least double check your site settings to allow the rest of us to follow and like though.

Fixing A Train Wreck, LOL

My last post seemed to confuse people, so I’m going to try this in a little more straight forward way without as much parable to distract or confuse.

The point of that now deleted post was that I often wonder if we as authors let the extreme elements of society have too much influence over our voices as authors.  The topic was inspired by a discussion with ComixFana over future plans for our respective stories.  That’s all that was going on there, LOL.

I see stories like the Star Wars prequels that were so heavily laden with political commentary, or about a half a dozen TV shows I could name that try to force certain social beliefs down our throats…  I wonder if that’s robbing the voice of authors that do want to write characters with more moderate views…  That they worry they have to tailor their characters to certain expectations or their writing won’t be accepted.  I know that’s certainly the case on Twitter.

My failed point to the original post was that if you want your character to have more mainstream beliefs, you should go for it.  It’s OK to have a feminist that’s married with kids.  It’s how she defines herself, not a piece of paper that makes her a feminist.  If you want to keep her single and independent, or in something like a live in arrangement or common law marriage, that’s cool too.  Just have your own reasons for your character’s actions and personality.  Don’t let others take your voice.

Vindication

I’m in a better mood today.  Time away from the toxic wasteland that is Twitter has helped that.  The Vindication I feel from all the replies I got here helped put everything in perspective.  Yesterday crushed the blog’s best views stat by 20% and daily likes by 50%.  And that previous best day was when I begged twitter to look at the blog to help me break a former record.  I picked up 4 new followers also

Views are great, but it’s the comments and likes that really made my day.  I’m resilient and bounce back pretty quickly.  It’s a survival trait combined with pure redhead stubbornness.  That said, it always helps to know people empathize or outright agree with you when you’re at a low spot.

I know I’m growing as a person too.  My usual response to getting shut down on something in the past has been “screw it, it’s not worth the drama” and walk away.  This time I’m determined to prove them wrong.  I know I’m a good writer.  It’s easy to hide behind “haters going to hate”, but I’ve had past enemies admit to others that they destroyed my writing out of jealousy.  Am I Hemingway, or James Patterson?  Hell no, LOL.  There are areas of my writing that need serious work.  On the other hand I’m great with plot and character development.  I also have a solid grasp on grammar and how to structure a sentence.  When I have a better mastery of things like show, don’t tell, avoiding white room syndrome and a couple other things, I KNOW I’ll be successful.

For those following the blog here; Thank You.  It means alot to know people find me worth reading.  I do my best to follow back people and comment or at least like posts also.  The major exception being if you’re a prolific writer and are posting several times a day.  I just don’t have the time to keep up with everything then.  As it is, I’m averaging 2 hours a day on the blog and related emails.  It’s worth it though.  You’re all real people to me and I value your support

 

About Done With Twitter

I think my time experimenting with Twitter as a networking and marketing platform to build my brand as an author is coming to an end.  I like the superficial support of the Writers Community there, BUT superficial is the key word.  Yeah, I’m going to be burning some bridges here, but the people I’ll alienate are already shutting me out anyway.  So what the hell.  Where are the problems?

First, there’s Twitter’s policy on adult content to begin with.  It’s virtually non-existent and very helter-skelter.  With the laws about adult material getting crazier and crazier, I don’t feel safe posting anything adult there.  Hell, it bothers me greatly that WordPress doesn’t have an adult filter thing that will at least put up a “are you over 18?” button before entering a blog.  That’s a side rant however.  Point is, I can see an eventual backlash against it like happened with Tumblr.  Tumblr isn’t evil, it just didn’t want to deal with all the crap that sites like Craigslist, Backpage and several others have.  In an age of lawyers & lawsuits, it’s easier to just go zero tolerance.

The irony to all of this is that my goal isn’t even to be an erotica author.  I want and plan to branch out into other genres.  I’m good with Sci-Fi, fantasy, paranormal, romance…  I enjoy erotica but RIGHT NOW, it’s a way to prime the pump financially to do full blown novels.  I love erotica, and I plan to keep doing it.  I just want to be known for more; as a multifaceted writer.

That leads us to the second issue.  Try as I might to deny it, there IS a definite bias against erotica writers in the Writing Community.  Romance writers as well, it seems.  If you’re not writing mainstream fiction or non-fiction, you’re not a real writer.  Even children’s books get more respect, and John freaking Cena wrote one of those.  Granted it’s not an all out boycott or anything, but it’s there.  “Real” writers get 1000+ followers overnight.  Nearly 3 months later, I’m struggling to stay above 500, and that’s with spending 12 hours a day trying to make friends and be supportive of others.

There’s an even greater and more obvious bias against unpublished writers.  You’re not a real author unless you have a book for sale.  The irony is, ten years ago, half the people saying or thinking this crap were getting told they weren’t real authors if they were indie or self publishing.  Now this next remark is NOT directed at anybody I know on Twitter.  Everyone that writes erotica in my circle seems to be very talented.  That said, the part that pisses me off is that I am SOLIDLY better than at least half the erotica writers on Amazon.  Half of the stuff I’ve paid money for there was so shitty they should be paying ME to read  it.  “The Wife’s BFF” is only on a blog though, so I’m not a real author.

Then there’s politics, and to a lesser degree social issues.  Everything is presented to the extreme.  You can’t be in favor of women’s rights unless you think all men need to be marched off to the gas chamber.  Anybody that wants to argue that should just look at the majority of tweets in response to Gillette’s virtue signaling “TheBestMenCanBe” campaign.  You don’t LOVE everything Democratic and declare Trump the anti-christ, you’re the enemy of everything decent, etc…  Anybody that owns a gun is out to go on a mass shooting.  Cops have a genocidal hatred of mnorities.  There’s NO rational discussion.

I tend to highlight liberal examples because they’re more common on Twitter.  All but the most rabid and insane right wingers have been shouted into silence on Twitter.  For the record, I used to describe myself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative; kind of a classic libertarian.  As I see more and more of the extremes on all sides though, I’ve become a moderate across the board:

Yes, I want women’s rights.  I’m just sick and damned tired of seeing all men labeled as shit as part of the process.  Hate only fuels the backlash complained about and SLOWS THE PROCESS!!!

Yes, I want LGBTQ rights, but without the same toxic crap they complain about being directed back at straight people.

YES, I want minority rights, but again without the toxic crap.  Remember what I just said about backlash; it’s created by fighting hate with hate.

Yes, I want immigration reform and people to have a shot at the American dream.  The VAST majority of Latinos are moral, honest, hard working people.  I want border security too and for our cops and citizen to NOT be gunned down by the bad that come in with the good.

Ultimately, I don’t blame the extremists for all of the above either.  I blame the moderates  who supposedly agree with me, but can’t be bothered to take a stand and say “We don’t want to hear it until you’re prepared to act like a rational adult.  Until then, piss off.”  Too many moderates are enablers.  They’re afraid of taking a stand and/or losing “friends” who they’d barely tolerate in real life. So instead they give people drunk of self righteous hatred the drink of passive agreement.

Amazing how many people have re-tweeted my “Be the Light” post, but I have yet to see anybody take a real stand against the BS at Twitter.

Instead, I’m the villain for having the courage of my convictions.  I spend hours trying to build a brand and a network, liking and commenting on countless things, trying to joke and cheer people up, etc…  People barely acknowledge my existence anymore.

There’s no “Brand building” as marketers like to call it.  I can’t comment on half of what’s said on twitter for fear of being crucified.  I’m vilified for saying that so long as you don’t want to hear a reply, I don’t want to hear the hate.  I’m not taken seriously as a writer…

What the hell is the point?  I have 546 followers now.  10% of them never even read my profile to see the “politics = blocked” in it, and they have #resistance or similar crap in their profile.  Another 25% or so are just marketing bots / accounts that I have no interest in and they have NO interest in me beyond selling.  Out of the 2/3 remaining, I can count on my fingers the number of people who regularly respond to my tweets and actually give a damned about me as a person.

 

A Little Background…

So I’ve decided to let loose a little information about me as a writer, and why I’m fairly private as a person.

Privacy, I’ll keep simple.  I’m an introvert till I get to know people.  I’ve also had more than my share of bad experiences online and offline, so I do have some trust issues.  Overall I consider myself to be fairly well balanced though.  I also have an Associate’s Degree in Network Security, which for the record is largely useless beyond scaring the crap out of you over how many ways there are to get and exploit your personal information.

Writing is something I’ve always had an interest in.  I’ve always been good in English related subjects.  I first got serious with it when TSR released the Marvel Superheroes pen and paper RPG (role playing game).  I had always liked comic books and this gave me a format for creating my own heroes and telling my own stories.  I ended up with about 20 of my own heroes, and about as many villains, and created the stories that my friends and I ran through.  We never got into acting out the roles of the characters, but the creative process was fun.  Then came video games…

Yes, that’s right.  As crazy as it sounds, a video game helped make me a writer.

It started with the City of Heroes MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game.  It had  one of the richest character creation systems ever seen in video games.  This led to many people who used to roleplay on old pre-internet BBS sites to jump into the game.  These were serious roleplayers that made up their own adventures and acted out the roles of their characters.

Why bother when the game had content, you ask?  The content ran out fast, then you were either left re-running old stuff again with a new character OR putting your imagination to work.

Yes, I know it sounds weird.  It did to me also, BUT I gave it a try despite being somewhat shy.  It took a short time to break through my reservations.  Being about superheroes probably helped.  Once I did, it was an AMAZING experience though.  Think of it in terms of a never-ending, constantly ongoing class in creative writing and improvisation.  We did live stuff on the server, kept notes and did cooperative written storytelling on our forums site.

Suddenly a locked up imagination that had been discouraged by parents and others burst into full bloom.  I was creating detailed characters, directing plots and having the time of my life writing out all of it.

Well, online roleplaying communities have kind of fallen apart.  The good players have moved on and largely been replaced by people who can only play ultimately powerful characters or see it only as an opportunity for cybersex.  I’ve developed characters and stories for City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Conan: Exiles and a few other games.

My work was generally well received too, but I never considered myself “good enough to turn pro”.  As my health became problematic and I grew sick of the increasing drama with multiplayer games, I started to look at it more seriously though.  Now here I am, hoping to make a go of it.

As for liking superheroes in the first place…  I didn’t have anyone to truly look up to while growing up.  They became my examples of people who did the right thing, stood on principles, and had the ability to make a difference and help others.