Monday Musings: Not Starving As An Author Is Hard Work! a.k.a. The Artist’s Burdens

The idea of the starving artist may be a stereotype at this point, but it’s far from an unfounded one.

I’m lucky in that I’m not technically starving, but there are times I come way too close for comfort. Many of my fellow authors would argue that I’m lucky to be doing THAT well, and I won’t argue with them on that point. I am fortunate to be in the position I’m in and I feel like I’m near the cusp of a real breakthrough in my chosen career, my passion.


Monday Musings: Fish Or Cut Bait a.k.a. Deciding What I Want To Be

This past week, I had a bit of an emotional snap.  A crisis of faith, an overload of frustration, or the straw that broke the camel’s back, any and all of those might be apt descriptions for my state of being at the time.  They say, and I agree, that being an author is a battle of attrition and the greatest asset needed to fight that battle is an abundance of stubborn determination, and my own supply seemed close to spent.

My closest friends sought to console me, bolster my confidence, and provide their own advice as to the cause of my problems.  What they concluded on I then put forward in a more clinical fashion to some of my colleagues.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised when they all fell into agreement.  It seemed that the ultimate cause of my issues was that I spread myself too thin.

You see, my foodies, it came down to a choice, one that I will paraphrase here: Do I wish to be the guy who supports authors and does work for them who does some writing on the side or the full-time author who also happens to be very supportive to other authors?  My fellow book bloggers out there who are consistently active in supporting and reviewing will understand, but for others, you may not realize how much time, energy, and resources goes into a consistent schedule of reviews, interviews, and advice.  A lot can go on behind the scenes, especially follow-up to reviews if the author is looking for deeper insights to your critiques.

Not only that, but my advocacy was crowding out my own writing not only in the matter of time, but in the matter of what some would call ‘branding’.  My book reviews and writing articles were drawing far more attention than my own works, the thing that actually is my primary career.  Instead of seguing from reading reviews or articles to then go on to the books themselves, the average visitor halts there.  J. B. Garner, Author, is lost behind the guise of the Starving Reviewer.

Does this mean the reviews and articles are stopping to be replaced by daily book promotions?  No, I’m not that kind of guy.  I have supported authors to try to pay it forward for those few that have done the same for me, and my conscience would be ill at ease if I abruptly cut off all those who are still waiting in my TBR list.  All the same, expect more content here to be directed or to reference my own works.  The fact is that I am an AUTHOR first and I must act like one, instead of the nice guy who pats other authors on the back.

Monday Musings: No Matter What, Keep Moving On

I was sick as a dog last night.  Today, I don’t really want to do anything but sip on some Gatoraid and stay in bed.  So I will apologize ahead of time if this isn’t some lengthy discourse or deep philosophical thought with underpinnings that will change your life.  There’s the disclaimer out of the way!

To keep it simple, don’t give up.

Many times, we find what we are trying to push forward, our passions in life, don’t make the impact you want them to.  People don’t seem to care, don’t seem to be paying attention.  You could argue that disinterest may be even worse than hate.  At least if someone hates what you are doing, you are evoking passion, even if it’s negative.

However, don’t let that make you lose sight of your own passion for what it is you do.  Don’t let that disinterest or hate force you from doing what you love (assuming you’re not a serial killer or something, naturally).  It takes time to build interest, to catch attention, and, most importantly, to temper and refine your own work.  Keep pushing, keep striving, and keep refining.

Until next time, good reading, good writing, and good luck!

Writing is a Bad Habit: A Writer’s Most Vital Quality

This is going to be as short and sweet as I can make it.

There are many important qualities to being an effective writer.  So many, in fact, that to gauge them in importance against each other can be difficult at best.  However, this past year has shown me one quality that shines above all others.

To me, that is determination.  I think it’s a truism that hardship and adversity can breed the best stories.  The best of those adversities and tragedies are the ones we experience ourselves.  To live through these and to be able to express the pain and emotion of them requires determination.

On top of that, every aspect of our trade is one of overcoming the odds.  Continuing to write no matter how many rejections or ‘no’s we receive.  If we can’t do that, if we don’t have the determination to overcome, then we will never ever succeed at our craft.

So yes, no matter how creative or innovative or evocative of a writer we may be, we are nothing without determination.  I’ve struggled through the death of my best friend and now I have just dug the grave of my dog.  I don’t want to write another word, and yet I have to do so.  Not just to honor their memories, but to craft something positive from the pain their deaths have given me.