Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome to Guest Blogger: Sydney Avey -- Her Topic: The Writer's Journey

Book: The Lyre and the Lambs
Find Her Book Here

Sydney Avey, Author

The Writer’s Journey

By Sydney Avey

Make no mystique out of the writer’s journey. Depending on the choices a writer makes, it is a job, a career, a calling, a passion, a compulsion, a crazy quilt of motivations, random and disorganized. 

Each sojourner packs a unique talent for a journey that is theirs alone. Dan Blank, who functions as sort of a travel agent for writers who are overwhelmed by their itineraries, maintains you cannot plan for success on this journey, but you can prepare. No one-size-fits-all formula guarantees you success, but if you prepare yourself for what may be ahead, stopping to take joy in the small milestones along the way, success may present itself in unanticipated ways.

The publishing industry is a tough task master liken to the parable of the three servants (Matthew 25:14 – 30). A man apportioned money to three servants for safekeeping. Two of them invested the money and one buried his portion out of fear he would lose it and be punished. When it came time to account for the money, the two who took a chance in the market were rewarded. The one who was paralyzed with fear and did nothing lost what little he had.

The two who took a chance had no idea if it would work out. They saw the money they were trusted with as a gift and knew they were expected to do something with it. The third man saw only a powerful tyrant. He did not recognize the value of his gift.

All writers have some sort of gift. Preparation for success involves investing your words in the lives of others. That could be a book, a blog, a well-crafted letter to the editor, or an encouraging poem for friend. Success may present itself as a ranking on a best-seller list, but more often it is a heartwarming “thank you, your words helped me.”

It is easy to get paralyzed by tyrannical expectations. Put your words out there and not everyone will like them. That’s okay; it’s a long journey that requires conditioning and training to hold up against the slings and arrows that will come. I’ve put two books out. The reviews are mixed, deservedly so. I wear my faith like a bulletproof vest. The shots will hurt, but they won’t kill.

What preparations are you making for your journey? What risks are you willing to take? What protections are necessary?

I wish you joy for your journey.
About the author:
Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realistic Christian fiction.
Sydney and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work is has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Visit Sydney at www.sydneyavey.com and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers and Writers. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

What's Your Plan A?

In clearing out some of the multitude of papers in my stacks, I noticed a neat pamphlet entitled “Planning for Emergencies: Three Steps to be Prepared.” Step one is ‘create a plan.’ Have a plan so your family will know what to do or where to meet during a time of emergency. Step two is ‘prepare a kit’ to help enable survival. Step three is ‘listen for information’ to best know how to proceed.

It hit me like a thump on the head: You know what? The three-step plan applies to writing, too! 

Step one is ‘create a plan.’ 
Know what idea you are basing your story upon and where you want your story to go. If you don’t have some idea of where you are going with what you write, your story may become lost and die.

Step two is ‘prepare a kit.’ 
In writing, this means to figure out the essentials (characters, background, character goals, setting, time period, etc.) you need for your story to live. Once you have your survival kit together, you are much more prepared. Your work has a better chance for going the distance to the happily-ever-after chapter.

Step three is ‘listen for information.’
For a writer listening for information may encompass researching (murder weapons, social rules, legal standpoints), or simply being willing to listen to what your critique partner says about improving your work. Perhaps it also includes finding those critique partners so you have sources of feedback, to give your written work the best possible chance for survival on the market.

So what does this mean?
A writer with a Plan A in place, like the family who is prepared for an emergency, is more likely to be successful and to thrive.