A Time to Be Thankful

Welcome Bookbrainers! Thank you for taking the time to stop and visit during this holiday weekend (for those of you in the United States). As I sit down to enjoy all my favorite comfort foods, spend time with my amazing family, and do some shopping, I wanted to reach out to all of you to talk about what I’m most thankful for.

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Other than the obvious (family, friends, health, and all of you amazing-ass Bookbrainers!), I’m always thankful for books. Not just books I get to read or ones I want to write, but every book and places that have them and people who read them. As cheesy as it sounds, books will always be the closest to real magic in the world. Books change minds and lives in ways that other mediums just can’t.

What sticks with me most (and please forgive me because I can’t remember where I read this and I don’t want to take credit), is that I once read that reading is being able to read someone’s mind through both time and space. I can read a book written by someone who died hundreds of years ago in a place I’ve never been and doing this, I can read their thoughts, know their feelings, understand their lives, and make friendships that will last until I am gone.

Now I understand that being able to read and have as many books as I do is a privilege that I’ve gotten through luck of the draw. There are people out there who are not as lucky. There are people who struggle in life for food and clean water, for education and a chance to reach for more. For many years now I’ve been a HUGE fan of an organization I mentioned on the blog before (link to old blog here) called Worldbuilders which was created by my favorite writer Patrick Rothfuss. Every year starting in the middle of November they start their annual charity event where they raise money for those in need by donating everything to an organization called Heifer International.  They basically raise money to educate and provide lasting and permanent change to people’s lives. They don’t give a man a fish, they teach him to fish then give him a pole, tackle box, and a boat.

As of my writing this Worldbuilders have already raised over $206,000 with 15 days left to donate. Now here’s the fun part!

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There are three ways to donate! You and buy items that you think are cool from The Tinker’s Pack which has memorabilia from all sorts of geeky stuff there. You could also head over to their auctions and bid on REALLY cool stuff! Or the last option is to directly donate where you can either just donate the money OR you can choose to be entered into a lottery for a chance at literally thousands of cool prizes!

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There you go guys! A chance to help books and people make a positive difference in the world just when it feels like we could all use a win. Take care everyone!

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Delay In Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Hello Bookbrainers! I’m sorry that the blog is late this week, but I just wanted to pop my head in and let you know that there is no “official” blog for this week due to it being Jamie’s birthday! So instead of working on the blog I’m celebrating her birthday. Next week I will resume the blog as normal!

Have a great week Bookbrainers!

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Off to Meet the Wizard…

Welcome back Bookbrainers! I hope everyone is having a great week! (and enjoys the new look!) I am very honored by all the responses that I got about last week’s flash fiction challenge. You guys… (Wipes away tears)…are just AWESOME! I’m already super excited for the next challenge that I’ll be doing in October!

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For this week, I wanted to talk with everyone on a subject that’s been weighing heavy on my mind for the past month….my book.

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So for those of you new to the blog I am currently attempting to write the first draft of my first book. Something that I’m VERY excited about…but with a catch. See if you jump waaaaaaay back to the beginning of the blog I started off talking about transitioning from a writer who is an asshat and only talks about writing to a writer who you know…actually writes stuff. I then gave a great update on my plans in my birthday blog where I revealed my pledge to myself to finish the first draft by January 1st, 2018.

Things went well for a while, time passed and words were written. Then it hit me around the end of July. I did the writer’s math and realized that for the length book I’m shooting for that I need to write either WAY more every day I was writing, or I need to write more frequently. That’s when it happened. I froze.

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The part of me that is stupid feels like I’m rare or unique in this reaction. But really I’m sure all of you have had this reaction to something in your lives. Let’s paint a picture…WITH WORDS!

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You have a task that needs to be done. This can be anything from a project at work to fixing your car, but for the sake of puppies everywhere let’s go with cleaning the house. You start off with your house clean as can be. Then a few things get left here and there, but you have stuff to do and you know that it won’t take long clean so you let it be. This continues for a while until finally you realize that there are piles of laundry everywhere, dishes stacked to the celling, you kick up a cloud of dust when you walk across the carpet, and so much garbage that hobos forming a Stop style Guns and Roses tribute band have moved into your kitchen. It’s not pretty. So you do the math and realize that you would need to take a whole week’s vacation to clean everything. It becomes too much, it’s too big. So you freeze.

This is how I’m feeling with my writing. I feel like I’ve made amazing strides this year so far and I’ve come a long way, but looking at what’s ahead just feels so huge and daunting that I find myself not doing anything.

My big goal right now is remembering above all else, that the enormous task before me is nothing more than the Wizard of Oz.

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What I mean by that is this, whenever you’re looking up at the huge task at hand and you feel that there is NO FREAKIN WAY IN HELL that you’re ever going to accomplish it, just remember it’s all an illusion and to just look at that little shit behind the curtain. Many problems are like the Wizard of Oz, just over blown smoke and mirrors our own self-doubt create. The real problem is actually much smaller and more manageable, if only you look behind the curtain of your own insecurities.

That’s what I’m focusing on! I’m going to realize that it’s ok if I don’t finish the rough draft by the end of the year and that as long as I keep writing, little by little I’ll get there. And no matter what floating disembodied wizard head is in your way, you can little by little beat him too!

Now go forth and kick ass!!!

Curiosity: Why This Blog is Late

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you’re all doing well out there! So as I’m sure you noticed by this title and by the fact that this blog wasn’t posted until Saturday this week instead of Friday afternoon that this blog is a bit late.

(Unless you’re one of those readers who catch up when you can…in which case just sit tight crouching tiger we’ll get to you in a second! Enjoy this very cold pineapple while you wait!)

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Now those of you who know me might be sitting there and thinking, “I bet he was procrastinating writing his blog this week and didn’t make the deadline and now he’s just covering his ass with this blog’s theme or my name isn’t Batman!”

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…or maybe I’m attempting to talk about one of the greatest tools any writer can use, curiosity. (This is where you come in couching tigers! Hope you enjoyed the pineapple!) Anyone who noticed that the blog was off schedule or thought about the title may have been curious about what this blog would be about, making them want to read on. The need to see where writing is going or what’s going to happen next is what keeps most readers turning the pages. It doesn’t matter if you need to know if the boy in the hospital will get a new heart in time, or if guy working at the gas station will get his head out of his ass and do something about the rich married woman flirting with him every Friday night, or if grandma will drop a pair of aces during the illegal poker game to win and thus get the money she needs to win this year’s Better Homes and Garden’s competition!

My point is this; if you can’t keep your readers wanting to know more, regardless of the reason, then you have some work to do as a writer. (I’m personally always worried about my writing not keeping their curiosity up, so no worries if you’re a writer and suddenly spastically freaking out, we’re in the same boat!)

Now that you’re curiosity is sated, please go and enjoy your weekend….or whatever day of the week it is for you if you’re reading this not on a weekend!

Today is My Birthday!

So in case you missed the title of this blog (and are apparently blind) today is my birthday!

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(Boom Baby!)

That’s right! Today I turn 28 years old. To some that only means that the Earth has gone around the Sun 28 times since I was born. To others it means that I, like a bottle of fine wine or whisky, ONLY GET BETTER WITH AGE!!! The downside is that I have to deal with the fact that it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school…

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So on this auspicious occasion, I thought I’d take some time and instead of look at where I’ve been (mostly drunk with good friends) and look at where I’m going (only sometimes drunk with good friends).

Looking ahead I’ll be married to the world’s most wonderful woman a year from September. This is something I never thought would happen and now that it’s happening I can’t speak to the joy she brings me every day (I can speak to the annoyance I bring her every day though…). A few short years after that the man that the world doesn’t know what to do with one of will start to have children. I’ll call them…my Mini Me!

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(Cue evil laughter)

From there in my personal life, who knows? There really is no limit to the simple love and joy that can be found in the everyday life of a family. It’s honestly the only goal in my life I ever really thought I’d achieve. But now with the boost that I feel each week from all of you reading I think that maybe…just maybe I can reach my other life dream of being a real honest to God published writer.

My Writing Goals are thus:

  1. Finish the first draft of my book by the end of 2017.
  2. Complete editing my book by the end of 2019.
  3. Find an agent and get my book published by the end of 2021.

There you go! By January 1st, 2022 I’ll be 32 years old and if all goes will I’ll be able to walk into a Barns and Nobel and see my book on a shelf. Now you may be asking yourself, “Batman, why will it take Spencer that long to publish his first book?” Simple answer? Editing takes a LOT of time. Many books are long and I have a feeling mine will be too when it’s finished. Editing something like that doesn’t just happen with a twitch of a nose or the bob of a head; it takes years of work and dedication to making it the best it can be. For me this is important because I think I’ll probably only get one shot to impress an agent, and damn it…I want to make it count.

Now let’s get down to business, to defeat….wait wait wait! It’s my birthday! That can wait for now! I’m off to have some fun!

*gets up and walks out of room*

*cricket chirps*