Notes Of A Storyteller: Hit The Gym!

.“The rain felt so good, I felt like Mother Nature had given me a kiss on the lips.”

 

Those were the first words to come to mind when I sat down at this laptop, so I wrote them. I was casting around for words to describe what I felt like this morning.

 

At 5:45 AM Central time, I threw on shorts, a T-shirt and some polyester and went to go work out with some friends. There were push-ups, and crunches, and running, and indoor football, and other nasty things that make we Americans quiver with fear. I grunted my way through it. I sweated like a pig.

 

When I stepped outside an hour later, the rain was coming down. I can’t describe the chill to you. It didn’t cut to the bone, but it thrilled my skin. It was the perfect cld temperature for a man whose body was flaming from exercise. On a sprite-like impulse, I dashed into the rain, and ran some more. By the time I made it back to the dorm, I was a soggy mess of flesh, fabric, and hair.

 

Here’s the thing that gets me thinking. The very first thing that leapt to mind when I started writing this wasn’t that arduous, sweaty hour. It was the moment in which I was done, and reveling in the water (the shower in my dorm room couldn’t hold a candle to this). I felt new, somehow. I felt like I had squeezed something slimy and poisonous out of my blood; life ran through my veins. In that moment, I felt like I could outrun a cheetah.

 

And now here’s my question to you: if you’re a writer, do you work out on a regular basis? How do you do it? Do you watch CNN and sweat on a treadmill? Do you rise with the sun and jog 3 miles? Do you benchpress or throw dumbbells around?

 

If you’re not, I truly recommend it. Do you feel comfortable right now? You shouldn’t be. All good stories are about a man or a woman removed from his/her comfort zone. Why should you be any different?

 

There’s something about pain that makes human beings excellent at describing themselves. When you do more than you think you are able to do, you gain power and you gain insight about yourself and life in general. You defy the American “good life” of couches and beer; that perspective will be invaluable in fiction and other places.

 

Are you hitting the gym? If not, do it before today is over. If you are, push yourself even harder. I have great confidence that it will make a mark on how you write and how you think. It might even make a mark on how you live.

 

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Hello! I don’t know if you heard, but this blog is moving to a new one. It’ll have all the same weekly features, and news about The Kingdom Trilogy. It will also acknowledge the other projects that I dip my toes in. Check it out here. I’ll post the weekly features on both sites for a while, but before long I’ll make the full transition to the new site.

 

2012 Announcements

I don’t know if anybody told you, but we started a new year a couple weeks. In light of that, it’s time to make some huge announcements about this blog and about The Kingdom Trilogy.

1. The Kingdom: The Quest is coming out in paperback at FastPencil on January 22, 2011.

2. The Kingdom: The Stand is coming out in Summer 2012 to Smashwords and the Kindle Store.

3. While you wait, there’s at least three short stories coming out in the spring of 2012. All of them will be free.

3. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, I am launching a new account on January 22, 2011. Over the next month, I will transition to doing all my tweeting on the new account.

4. This blog is moving into an even better blog. You’ll get the same weekly features on a new site that will keep you updated on not only The Kingdom Trilogy, but also everything else that I’m up to.

Over the next few weeks, I will post the weekly features on both blogs. All of the news and updates will be on the new blog. Slowly, I will begin using the new blog exclusively. I’m excited to make this change and excited for a big 2011.

What are you waiting for? Check it out!

Notes From A Storyteller: Death and Thanksgiving

In the sprawl and squalor of post-Thanksgiving suburbia, I ran into Death.

He had ran into me long before, but I didn’t know it. All through Thanksgiving, as I had gorged on turkey and cranberries, he had watched my every move. He knew every song I had blasted through my earbuds on Spotify, and every play I had made playing football with the guys. He knew me through and through.

I started thinking about him today. Yesterday, I could have died at any time, at any hour. Being a writer, that was something I couldn’t ignore. It was a notion one normally finds in storybooks, and here it was in the ordinary world I lived and walked in. I was sitting in a plush armchair when it came to me.

“I’m a writer,” I said to myself, “I haven’t written a line these past few days. Am I going to Death catch me off-guard? I want to get a few more paragraphs in before I go!”

Thus I found my way back to this blog, and back to you readers. It’s been a lazy week, hasn’t it? We get so swept up in Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and forget completely that we are mortal beings. Our days will end. The bear-trap is waiting just around the corner. How many of us have made their final gasp, just while you’ve been reading this blog post? Maybe if I walk out of my room right now, I’ll trip and fall down the stairs and break my neck.

If I do, I’m glad I wrote this first. I think that might be what I’m most thankful for this Thanksgiving, besides my family and friends. I’m thankful I got the chance to do a little more of what I enjoy before I cross over to the other side.

I don’t know what you believe about the other side. I don’t even know if you’re a writer. But whatever you are, you’re a human, and you know what you want. Will you have it before you die?

Notes Of A Storyteller: A Writer’s Peace Is Only Temporary

BEFORE WE CONTINUE WITH OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING…

I have an announcement. Some of you may be wondering when I’m planning to upload the Kindle Edition. Originally, the plan was to upload it a week after the Smashwords edition. However, I hadn’t anticipated how much time it was going to take to learn the HTML necessary. I also hadn’t anticipated that college life was going to catch up with me.

Therefore, the Kindle Edition of The Kingdom: The Quest, has been postponed to Christmas 2011. Get excited!

END OF MESSAGE. CONTINUE WITH REGULAR PROGRAMMING.

When my friends found out I was writing a novel, they did what any good friend might do. They gave me a pat on the back.

“Wow!” they would say. “I could never do that myself! You’re the best writer ever! Go for it!”

When I released the Smashwords edition in October, another round of applause followed. It got intoxicating, to be honest. I truly felt accomplished. Insecurity had been a chronic disease for me while I was editing; all this praise was refreshing. I sat back and basked in the glory of what they said to me.

A few days ago, reality hit home. I got back from a literature class, and turned on my smartphone.

“It’s about time I read this book for myself,” said I. I flipped to Stanza and got started.

“Mmmm…” I murmured, uncomfortably, a few minutes later. “I don’t think that word choice was the smartest idea…”

“Ew,” I said about halfway through. “I want to rewrite that dialogue. Needs more foreshadowing.”

“Augh!” I said by the end. “I want to rewrite this whole thing!”

My writer’s instinct had turned back on, and it taught me something. A writer’s peace never lasts. It’s our nature to always seek perfection. There’s a rhythm and a reason to good writing, and no one has ever gotten it just right. That’s why we spend all those hours hunched over a laptop. That’s why I cringed reading my published work.

I’ve been told by other people that I’m fine. But I know I never will be. If I want to be fine, I must lay down my pen and cut out my heart. Unless I do that, I will never be satisfied with my work.

Neither should you.