"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are Human's Natural Born Writers?

As a writer, I love meeting new people and discovering what they do for a living, and over the years, I have met people from all walks of life.

In addition to meeting teachers, doctors, dentist, veterinarians, mail deliverers, (you know most professions we deal with in everyday life), I’ve had the fun of meeting, and in some cases working with, famous Hollywood actors, (I once had a chance of Hollywood stardom as a movie extra!); an NFL Superstar; a Vietnam Cobra Pilot and even a NASA Test Pilot.

As varied as my encounters have been there has always been one thing that has intrigued me. Whenever I would talk about one day pursuing my dream of being a writer or, as in more recent times, when I told the person I was a writer, the general response has always been, “'Oh, I too want to write a book one day.'” How about you, do you generally get the same response?

Recently, this has led me to wonder if human beings are natural born writers or if it’s something else.

Let’s explore:
Whether it is to tell a story or record history, it seems ever since the dawn of man, humans have had the desire to write. One can only imagine how the first storyteller felt when he had his clan fans huddled together around the stone walls of the cave as he depicted his version of his first encounter with a bear. Regardless if it were fact or fiction, their drive to tell the story was probably the same as it is for you and me today!

Often times when people ask me why I wanted to be a writer, my answer is pretty much the same, “'I don’t know I just know I’ve always wanted to write.'” I believe this to be true for most writers, established or aspiring. But as with anything, there probably is an exception of a few writers who write simply because they see it as a way to make a living at something they’re good at.

Having said that, for the most part I believe mankind has an inherent desire to write. For most, it’s probably to one day just write a story, journal, keep a diary or tell stories to the next generation. And for others, it’s to become a published author or make a living at something they’re really good at.

No matter the motive, perhaps the need to want to write comes from our human instinct to want to leave a legacy behind. After all, every life has a story to tell. What’s yours?

Until next time,

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author    

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How My Sabbatical Paid Off

There comes a time in every one’s life where they must make the difficult decision between staying safe inside their comfort zone or stepping outside its boundaries and crossing into unfamiliar territory. As a writer, these decisions should inspire you to rise to the challenge and push yourself to the limit. Otherwise, you may never know what you are capable of.

Recently, I was faced with making this same choice. In fact, the timing was perfect. I had just written my post, Break Free from Archaic Fear, when one such challenge approached me, forcing me to put my words into action.

Let’s explore:

After the inception of this blog a year ago September 27th, I became comfortable in my writing life of balancing between two middle-grade novels, an adult mystery, maintaining a weekly blog and keeping pace with my household duties. Not to mention the occasional story of the century idea that sits neatly tucked away inside my computer . . . never getting past the premise stage.

Since then, I’ve added social networking to my writer’s schedule with Twitter, Facebook, Book Blogs, She Writes, LinkedIn and a second blog,The Cat Vamp Diaries: All Things Scary, where I contribute a flash fiction short to Vamplit Publishing's Friday Flash Fiction. So every day when I sat down to work, I delighted in my ability to work on my novels, which I knew one of them would be my first published story, and communicate with fellow authors. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Then it happened. A trigger was written into my life and I found myself having to decide between staying comfortable or creating what I thought at the time, chaos. 

What was the trigger? An announcement in July from Angelic Knight Press for submissions for their first Halloween Anthology, Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls. The deadline for submissions was August 31, 2011 and I hummed and hawed before making my decision to go for it on August fifth.

Once I made my decision, I knew I had choices to make. Some things were going to have to be my sacrificial lamb. So I finished my Break Free From Archaic Fear post and took inventory of my writing projects. 

At first, everything seemed important, but once I analyzed each one I was able to determine where my energy and concentration would best be utilized and that meant I would have to take a sabbatical. So I put blogging, writing flash fiction, my WIP’s and social networking on hold; with the exception of an occasional tweet or shout out on Facebook. After all, I didn’t want to disappear completely.

What did I learn from my sabbatical? Firstly, that the writer’s world is filled with encouraging and supportive authors who know and understand, because they too walk in your shoes. Secondly, epiphanies do happen outside of fiction. I took a step outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to the limit and discovered what I was capable of.  How about you, have you ever discovered something about yourself by taking a sabbatical?

And how did my sabbatical pay off? I’m honored to announce that my short story, Mr. Jingle, will be published in the upcoming anthology, Satan’s Toybox: Demonic Dolls in October 2011. Stay tuned for more information on its release, and I can’t wait to add another fish to my publication tank!

Next time, we'll be exploring what it took to develop, write, edit and submit a short story, approximately 6,500 words, in less than 17 days!

Until then,

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author