I dislike New Year’s Resolutions. Probably because they make me feel guilty when I fail utterly at keeping them. However, this year I’m putting together a list of writing-related resolutions that I’m actually a little bit excited about.
Have you ever noticed that our most brilliant moments of creativity come when we are completely unable to do anything about it?
Most often when we are asleep. There you lie in the supine bliss of slumber, snoring and drooling into your Snoopy pillow, when your subconscious comes along with the best idea anyone in the world has ever had, ever. It might be a story, or a song, or a way to solve the global energy crisis with corn syrup and unicorn eyelashes.
As many of you know, I recently slapped a big neon “The End” on the bohunkus of my latest novel, The Confessor.
It’s been quite the marathon, and I can’t say it’s been as enjoyable as my previous novel. In fact, I spent most of the second half passionately wishing I was doing something else.
But like every story I’ve written, this one was a huge learning experience. Now as I tuck it away to ferment for a few months, I’d like to share some of the lessons this 111,000 word adventure taught me.
The genius. The vibrant brilliance of the artists. Most of my all-time heroes are artists. The greats, like Steve Jobs, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Hayley Williams. Indeed, these people are artists of such skill and talent that they simply cannot help being great.
It’s hard to imagine any possible link between masters such as these and more ordinary sorts of “artists” like the rest of us, but no matter who you are, if you’re an artist you have something in your core that is unique to your creative mix. It’s your ID card to the International Artists Club, and it’s called failure.
I recently had the opportunity of traveling to Texas to take a lesson from Joey Mackenzie, a world-class western swing musician. It was a great experience—Joey is a fantastic player and teacher, and gave me a lot of really good feedback and advice.
The thing is, I’m not really a western swing fiddler. I’ve been playing around with the genre for the past year or so, and I enjoy it a lot, but I haven’t