Thursday 3 October 2013

This Is Not About Cheeseburgers, by Briane F. Pagel, Jr. #Indiestructible

Briane F. Pagel Jr.
I am not very good at guest posts.

The last time I wrote a guest post for a blog, I asked what it could be about and the author told me it could be about everything in the world, even cheeseburgers, and so I wrote about that.  

ALL of that.

So this time around I didn't bother asking Jessica what I should write about, because frankly, that was a lot of ground to cover and I wasn't sure I could fit in the time again.  And because of that, Jessica said nothing about what this guest post should cover, and that is what I have to write about.



*drops microphone*

*looks to stage right*


I'm supposed to keep writing?

Also, there's no microphone? Or stage?

Cover for me for a second, will you?

Ooooooooooooookay.  Let's try this all over again.

If you've read this far, then congratulations! You have the patience of a saint. And you're getting an idea for how I write, which almost certainly isn't how anyone else writes, as the peculiar mixture of day-old pizza, fresh coffee, and insomnia that creates my usual mental state is very difficult to re-create outside of a laboratory.

But that is the great thing about America writing, no, I was right the first time: America. No, wait, this is about writing.  Try again: that's the great thing about writing: it is an art

And as an art, it can be done any way you want to do it, and in fact should be done any way you want to do it.

When I first started writing, I did a lot of reading from people who seemed to know what it took to make one into a writer: editors and other writers and bloggers and this one really, really smart crow that lived near our house and whose advice to me was:


I haven't figured out what he meant yet, but the way he said it was so serious, so literary, that it must be important.  (That's how Geoffrey Chaucer's work keeps getting taught, so I may be on to something here.)

And I tried to do all those things that people said should be done: I wrote every day and I wrote query letters and I worked on my adjectives, which was really hard: I was running 6, 7 miles a day and avoiding carbs until someone pointed out that adjectives were words, not a muscle group.  

But gradually, as I tried all of those things, I began to hone in on what I really liked doing, which was, of course, writing, but it was a particular kind of writing for a particular audience.  

I discovered that what I liked best was writing stories my way -- not writing query letters, not writing books for some editor in New York City

not trying to get a certain word count or style or theme.

What I liked was just telling stories however I wanted, which is what I began doing.

I wrote blog posts about me, or my kids, or my job. I wrote essays about politics.  I wrote an epic poem about the end of the world and cheeseburgers.  (Well, I'm writing it.  It's also got angels and dragons. It turns out to be a lot harder to write an epic poem than I thought, but the research is delicious.)

And I posted them or made them into books and occasionally I still send some stuff off to other publishers because I think it might be suitable for them and I'd like to reach a wider, or different, audience than some of my stuff does now -- but if they accept it, or if they reject it, it doesn't much matter to me, because I'm having fun doing this.

It's not like I've given up making money at writing: while my income from writing pales in comparison to my income from lawyering (which is my job, as opposed to my hobby), the money I've made from writing has sent our family on a vacation, bought a couch and a chair and paid for some car repairs... why does my stuff keep breaking? -- and nowadays I use it to finance shopping trips for my wife, Sweetie, and our kid.

But the money was never, and has never, been the important thing. I mean, sure, would I like to be a full-time writer, spending all my days living in Hawaii and writing for a few hours each morning while spending the afternoon frolicking in the surf with my family and our friends, who also just happen to be superheroes and who take us on adventures around the galaxy, including to a planet where I have superpowers and am treated like a king and once I saved Power Man's life this time when the entire planet was cracking open from Armageddon's megabomb, and unbeknownst to me a rip in the space-time fabric meant that all of this was being shown on every television channel back home, even that one channel that is usually blacked out but sometimes it's a free movie channel and I can set my DVR to tape all those first-run movies, which isn't so important now that I have Netflix, and so when I got home I was given a parade and they put up a statue in my honor and everywhere I go people applaud me plus they all buy every book I write?

Well, yes.

Where was I again? 

Nevermind.  The point is: Indiestructible is a great book.  It's got real stories from real people working as real writers, and each one of them has a bit for you to learn from, whether you are an experienced author, a mommy blogger, or an indie writer.  Finding out what other people do is step one to finding out what you should do -- and until you know what you want to do, you won't do it right and won't enjoy it.

Ha! I almost wrote you won't do it write.  That would be a great slogan for the book: Indiestructible: Indie writers tell you how to do it write.  Jessica, you can use that, but I get royalties. I will accept payment in the form of giant statues of me.

Just $0.99 on Amazon
100% of proceeds will be donated to, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Contributing authors:

About Briane F. Pagel, Jr:
Briane F. Pagel, Jr.once told his wife: "These are the rules for lunch. Every lunch has a sandwich course, which is a sandwich. Every lunch has a Ramen noodle course, which is Ramen noodles. And every lunch then has a fruit or vegetable course, which is Doritos." Then he got attacked by bees and nearly died twice in one week, after which he swore off Ramen noodles. Mostly.  He blogs about his life at Thinking The Lions, and writes short stories, shorter stories, longer stories, and the aforementioned epic poem at lit: a place for stories.  His latest book, Temporary Anne, is a gothic horror story about a woman too evil to stay out of Hell, but too evil to go there, also.  Get it here for just $0.99!

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  1. Yeah, how we write - what we write - has to be us. Might not have a great appeal but it's genuine.
    I still have no desire to be a full time author, although if I were a much faster writer it would be a real possibility, but it's been a heck of a fun ride.

  2. I love writing just to be me, the stories I'd love. It's the best way to go - or so I've heard. :)

  3. Alex -- That is the first time we've heard there's a limit to your power!

    Laura: I agree. As you'd guess!

    Jess: I'm about 78% sure that you'll just be getting randomly-submitted guest posts from me from here on out, as my addled brain tries to remember who I've promised a post to. You can just ignore them. Thanks for letting me essentially take over your blog this week!

  4. In the end, all that matters is that you spent time doing what made you happy. Sure, it's great if that thing that makes you happy pays the bills, but if you write every day and you still can manage to pay the bills, then you're still doing what you love!

  5. Stephanie: I'm supposed to PAY bills? NO WONDER THEY KEEP SENDING THEM TO ME.

  6. This was an extremely fun guest post to read. And I totally agree with you when you say we should write the way we want to write. :P I do think it's invaluable to read others' thoughts on how THEY write write (ya know?), but we don't necessarily have to write the way they write in an attempt to get it write. :)

  7. That was fun!! Love the charity of choice :)

  8. Fun guest post! It is so important to write for yourself. :)


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris