Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Dream: Guest post by KD Rush

The latest blogger to donate a guest post on the best and the worst of his writing is KD Rush of South Carolina, who describes himself as an "author in training." 

His output belies that: his website is extensive, and makes use of some slick coding and mashups that I haven't figured out, yet. He also produces a called The Rush Report. He reads extensively, judging just by the scrolling display of books on his Kindle, and he writes a lot of reviews, comments and tweets. Just thinking about catching up with him leaves me breathless!

As for the training: his writing shows he knows what he's doing. Take it away, Ken!

A Dream
There are moments in life when things may become surreal. Reality takes a back seat, and you find yourself in a situation where time itself crawls to a stop. Whenever this happens, my response is typically phrased in the form of a question; the utterance of a single word: seriously?

Scott Bury asked a question the other day, and it stopped me in my tracks. He wanted to know if I would write a guest post on his blog. Seriously? Me?

Guest posts on a blog are a spotlight. In another generation, it would be similar to five minutes on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. A stage like this is most often associated with, and reserved for people that have something to promote, or happen to be extremely talented.

So how in the world did I end up here? I have no books to promote, and as for the extremely talented bit, well... I once drove my car to and from school in reverse because the transmission was messed up. Come to think of it, this may have been the only time in my life that I actually drove within the speed limit. What does this have to do with writing though? Nothing of course. That's my point. And yet, Scott thought enough of me, and more importantly, trusted me to ramble away on his blog.

Without a body of work to stand on, the only platform I can speak from is that of an aspiring author with a dream. However, according to Kristen Lamb, I should probably drop the aspiring author part. She says that, "Aspiring is for pansies. Takes guts to be a writer." Those are words of wisdom, and lends a certain inspiration to people that dream of publishing the things they write.

The Best
For this blog post, I was asked to give an account of the best and worst parts of being a writer. Much like Johnny Carson would sometimes do on his show, Scott Bury has given an unknown talent the opportunity to stand in the spotlight. How can this not be considered one of the best parts of the job?

When I made the decision to pursue my writing dreams late last year, I had no idea of what to expect. Many times in the past, whenever this dream of mine would bubble to the surface, instead of writing or developing a story, I would read 'how-to' books on writing. This time though, I thought it would be different. I jumped in, head first, and quickly found myself drowning in a world of indecision and doubt.

The act of writing was not the issue. In fact, the story I worked on was at twelve thousand words in a short amount of time. The problem was the nagging little voice in my head that kept whispering words of discouragement. It also didn't help that I decided to document my writing journey on the website, with the goal of inspiring others to chase their dreams. How then could I possibly inspire others when I had serious doubts about my own ability to succeed?

In the age of the Internet and Google, it occurred to me that there may be resources available to help guide me. The last thing I wanted was to read another book on writing. What I needed were real people, with real experiences that faced the same doubts that troubled me. Two months of Internet research can be summarized in four words; you are not alone.

The best part about being a writer? Sharing your experiences, frustration or doubts with other writers. Without this community I seriously doubt whether I would have found it within myself to continue. Support from your family can only take you so far. Having a group of people that have been there, or happen to be going through the same things you are is worth a golden fortune.

The people that I've met online are, more often than not, supportive and willing to help. They offer advice and tricks of the trade. These are the people in the trenches, doing what they love, and what I would love to do. For some, having a book on the bestseller list has been a dream come true.

For many though, becoming a bestselling author is not the primary goal. A bestseller would be nice, but they're not delusional or egotistical enough to expect it. They write because they enjoy it. Some of them, including myself, are just insecure enough to hope that others will appreciate what we've written. Can I get an Amen from the comment section? (see what I mean about insecurity?)

It's people like Scott, and blogs such as this, that make the world a little smaller, more comfortable place to live. The best part about being a writer? Community.

The Worst
What's the worst part about being a writer? I could sum that up in one word as well, and no, the word is not verbosity. However, I'll wind this down as I can picture Scott drumming his fingers on the desk. I think my five minutes are just about up.

As much as the community of writers can be helpful, it can also be a distraction. Social media, if you're not careful, can easily become an addiction. You have a book to promote? Fire up Twitter, make some status updates on Facebook... oh, and don't forget to update your blog with the latest reviews. Speaking of reviews, what's the latest info from Amazon and Smashwords? Wow, four new reviews and wait... more than thirty mentions on Twitter today! You can see where I'm going with this.
I have a problem with spending too much time on the Internet, and hey, I don't even have a book to promote... yet. Don't quote me on this, but I have a feeling that if Hemingway were alive today he would be on twitter writing haiku, or slumped over his keyboard in a chat room debating the merits of invading Iraq. The Internet is an addicting place, especially if you have an addictive personality. Be wary.

Much of the time that I could spend writing is chipped away by distractions. For me, there is no bigger distraction than the Internet. That's the worst. In order to get any writing done at all, the cable modem must first be unplugged. The most important piece of advice that I could offer to new writers (and some of the published authors as well), is to have a schedule and try to stick to it.

If you can't write every day, then write as often as you can. If you can do so in a coffee shop, great! If you're the type of person that requires seclusion, such as myself, then hang a sign on the door and lock it. Unplug the phone and the Internet then show us your imagination. The only thing better than reading a good story is writing one.

You can read my post about my experience with social media so far on his blog. But first, leave a comment, below!


  1. Excellent post!

    Community is the BEST part of being a writer. You meet other writers, reviewers and readers who help you, inform you and best of all, make you laugh.

    My tip is to write every day, even if it's grabbing a quick ten minutes waiting for an appointment. Jotting down a description where you are, or a few lines of dialogue that have flown into your head - that's also writing.

  2. You can quit "dreaming" of becoming a writer, K.D. You IS one!! lol Fine write.

    1. Thank Jo. ;-) I have a long way to go though.

  3. Amen KD, tell it like it is! Social media can be/is an addiction but I have to say that meeting fellow writers (there, I said it, I'm a writer and you're a writer!) has been almost(not quite but almost) as rewarding to me as writing itself. My life is much richer having met you (and a few other folk) and I think ultimately my writing is enhanced from having a wider range of opinions, thoughts and ideas coming into my world. Great post KD. Scott is one smart fellow to have you guest blog!

  4. Thanks Alison, that's very good advice. One of my favorite times to write is while driving from one location to another while at work. Sometimes the destination is a four hour round trip, and I've had several breakthrough 'ah ha' moments at 70mph.

    Oh... and I love your site by the way. ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  5. Very good post, KD, very honest. I'm not so convinced by all those say that one can just "be" a writer. As you know, KD, the craft of writing fiction requires studying, it's so much more than just imagination. By claiming that one "is" a writer, it implies that one "knows" that craft. Every day I write, I reminded again of all the things I need to keep in mind to write the best story I can. And I always remember a quote for H. G. Wells. At the end of his life, after publishing 100 or so books, he said "Some day I will write a real book."
    That may have been a little too self-effacing given what he achived, but it works for me every time I get a 5* review.

    1. Writing is, like any craft, a never-ending quest. I remember my Karate teacher, who had a 5th-level black belt, saying he was just starting to learn karate.

    2. Chris, thanks for posting a comment sir. It's always great to see your thoughts.

      As for writing, my philosophy is a simple one. If more people took the time to write, there would be more readers. Hopefully I can inspire a few before it's all over with.

      Lord knows, authors such as Scott and yourself inspire me.

  6. As called for I shall say "Amen" Rush, amen.:)) I agree that social media can be a distraction from the actual writing part of being a writer but I think its all about deciding why one is 'connected' in the first place. For me, I've gone through several stages. Initially, I was thrilled and enthralled by the how-to info being disseminated on character development, plot points, what to do, what not to do, etc... There was no stopping me in wanting to read & take in all of it! The second stage was to be completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume - another tweet, another link, another post, another blog, another tweeter, another thought, etc...

    Luckily, the third stage seems to be a more balanced approach where I am able to tune into specific items that interest me, tuning out the rest as noise.

    The best part of all of it has been to read and engage with great people I never would have met otherwise (hmm somebody named KD is near the top of this list) who raise perspectives, opinions and thoughts (and bad jokes)that I would not have accessed otherwise. Ultimately the whole experience has been for me, a very good thing indeed.

  7. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Jo-Anne! It's that kind of encouragement that I speak of whenever the word 'community' is mentioned.

    We're all in this together. Some may have a nicer house on the block due to their success, but I've found that most new writers have relatively the same insecurities.

    There are only a small number of people that I've come across with an overinflated ego, but even they are still nice, for the most part. ;-)

    As for the stages you speak of, I would have to agree. The transition from the second to the third stage is the most difficult. Once you have reached out to the community it's tough to climb back into your cave to actually get some work done.

    There are many, let me say this in caps...there are MANY great sites offering a TON of advice for writers. Being overwhelmed with this, sometimes conflicting advice, is to be expected. I've said it before on my blog, but it's worth repeating...

    The best advice for a new writer is to 'write'. It's really that simple. Outlines, plot points and character development all have their place, but unless you put pen to paper (symbolically speaking), then you will never experience the joy of what it is to create...and destroy.

    The destruction can be just as exciting. ;-)

    New writers, start small if you need to; flash fiction and short stories or even poems will help sharpen your writer tools. Above all though, write, read, write.

    Okay, I went off on a tangent for a moment. I'm back. You can tell when someone is passionate about something.

    The writer/reader blogging community is an awesome experience. The only way I can actually get any work completed on the book is when the Internet is unplugged. ;-)

  8. Amen!
    Insecurity is the worst part.
    Insecurity is the best part.

    Because I'm insecure I am terrified I'm not good enough.
    Because I'm insecure, I try very hard to be better.

    It's the problem that solves itself.

  9. Thanks for the comment Gina. Loved the post on your blog...

    "Luckily, I don’t have any illusions of becoming a best seller. I like to write. I hope some people buy my book…enough so I can pay the editor and maybe a little bit more so I can take the hubs out for dinner or something."

    I wish you all the success in the world with Casting Stones, and hope you have enough left over for dessert. ;-)