Phil’s Official Writing Challenge Guidelines

I would have titled this “How to Write In Ways That Will Make You Feel Like Your Soul is Dying”, but I realized that might be a hair melodramatic. Special thanks go to my college pal Andrew Webb for texting me last night with the following texts, as he was inadvertently responsible for this topic.

Phil, I have done a terrible job with writing since I stared working full time, how do you do it?”

I responded by saying I force myself to find time every day to write, even if it’s just a little. If I get stuck working on one thing, I focus on something else. Above all else, it’s important to find time for writing. That resulted in this response:

Do you force yourself to a genre or anything goes including journaling?

My phone had conveniently been switched to Do Not Disturb mode by that point, however, because I had to be awake at 6a.m. and those texts first arrived after 12:30 last night. Feeling somewhat guilty for not answering, and finding this to be a good blogging opportunity, I decided to give a long-form answer in the form of a proper writing challenge anyone can hold themselves to (for the sake of self-destruction, really). Keep in mind that I may be a subject matter expert of sorts, but I am by no means a be-all, end-all source of wisdom on writing and so this is mostly just issuing a challenge to help writing in the same way I’ve been keeping up with my writing. Feel free to adjust it in ways, and let me know what works best for you in the comments below. It can be a sort of note-comparing among creative folks who also like finding their limits and then using those limits to inflict torment upon themselves. I’m joking, mostly.

Also, I really should note how much of a gigantic ego-boost it is to have people asking me advice on writing. Holy shit, folks, that is awesome. Right. Moving on… Continue reading

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading

Seven Deadly Sins applied to Writing – Envy

Envy is a universal thing, and I would go so far as to say if you are a conscious, sentient being of any sort (I wouldn’t dare discriminate against self-aware computer systems, alien lifeforms, and anything else along those lines), you have experienced some form of envy at one point or another.  I mean, you’re welcome to disagree to your heart’s content.  You know, in the same way I can point at you disagreeing and laugh derisively.

However, these are the seven deadly sins of writing and not the seven deadly sins applied to everything, ever, in the history of ever (because while that would give me loads of blogging potential, it would get tired and I would get tired and, frankly, no one would enjoy that; free torture for all?).  Just to get this out of the way: I actually dreaded writing this particular entry, because it’s one of the bigger ones (let’s be honest, here; writing Lust is going to make me want to jump off a bridge, too), and there’s so much Envy entails it’ll take a good bit of writing to begin with.  And then possibly self-immolation.  Who knows?  This will take a look at how writers can be envious of other writers’ success, their writing, their following (hoo boy), and so on.

Continue reading