All artists have those dark nights of the soul when they question their talent, their work ethic, their commitment.
When you’re struggling, sometimes you have to reach out.
I was struggling last week. Making no sales. Frustrated by authors in my genre that seemed to be making over $2K a month on books with terrible grammar on the first page and ad-hoc covers my four-year-old son could design better using his palm print and a broken crayon.
In my search for answers, I happened to run across Dean Wesley Smith’s website. I had never heard of him before, but it didn’t take long to figure out he was the type of writer that had real experience and knowledge to share with budding writers. I read some of his blogs, and they resonated strongly with me. A former professional hotdog skier and poker player, DWS has more character in reality than most cowboy heroes in the pulp novels I enjoy so much.
I wrote DWS, and he gave me some solid advice. On top of that, he sent me a link to one of his lectures that he usually charges $70 for. Why? I don’t know, I guess he sincerely wants to help people. This is a man that has published over a 150 novels (100 via traditional publishing houses), including Star Trek and X-Men related series. After reviewing his lectures, I went out and purchased two of his writing instructional books, and one of his novels, a pulp western.
Reading DWS has given me the confidence to do what I’ve been aching to do:
Outline? It’s in the trash.
Creativity? Sweating from every pore.
Productivity and efficiency? Up 200%.
DWS stresses Heinlein’s Rules:
Marketing? You don’t need it beyond some good covers and a solid website.
DWS believes the real reason a writer isn’t selling many ebooks is because… the books aren’t that good yet!
So now I’m following Heinlein’s Rules, and admitting I need to bring my books up a notch or two creatively. I’ve allowed myself to be too restrained by outlines and the misguided belief in rewriting to save bad stories. You can’t polish a turd, as my grandmother used to say, bless her soul. As DWS points out, one of his mentors told him, “You can stir crap in a bowl a thousand times, it’s still a bowl of crap.” So, he suggests you make one draft, correct as you go, let a beta reader read it, fix a few things, then send it out. He makes three drafts or if its so terrible, tosses everything and rewrites it all, so max is 6 drafts.
Following all this advice, my new novel has sprouted wings. It’s gone to places I never imagined from my outline. I’m having so much fun, the most fun I’ve ever had writing. That’s what leads to being able to write 10K a day, that’s what leads to consistency, that’s what leads to a career.
Please buy Dean Wesley Smith’s books, and check out his website: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com