Over the years I’ve tried many things; some were successful, others were disasters. But none were a waste of my time. As writers, we all want our writing to be beautiful and our books or other writing projects to be a success. But over time, some things are going to fail – and I think it’s important to realize that those “failures” are really successes in disguise because each is a valuable experience. Plus, you’ll never find the success you dream of unless you’re willing to take risks – and that’s what this post is all about.
Years ago I was an avid Mah Jong player. The mother of one of my friends used to live in Singapore and when she came back to the States she brought us all Mah Jong sets and taught us how to play Singapore style. Because the audience for Singapore-style Mah Jong was so huge (ha!) I wrote and published a newsletter titled The Wriggly Snake – the name based on one of the “fancy hands” of the game. I think I had four or five readers. Fun to write, but a commercial flop. Crash and burn. . . . keep reading
As you know (if you’ve been around here before) I write books about writing. But over the last several days I’ve been thinking about writing a book totally outside of the Writing Genre. To be honest, I have a stack of book ideas about writing, but this one kept making its way to the top of the pile.
For want of a better explanation – it’s a travel book about the Ancient Sites in the American Southwest. That means pre-settlers, as in Anasazi and their brethern. I have picked a dozen sites that are my favorites, ranging from well-knowns like Chaco Canyon to ones you probably never heard of, like Kinishba.
My idea is that people interested in traveling to these sites can pull up my book on their smartphone, read my thoughts about the place – you know, as in why I love them; and then scroll on down to find directions, hours of operation, more of the history, etc. In truth, this book may be a bust in the Kindle store, but it keeps nudging me to write it. So I will.
I’m wondering – do you have a book like this – one that’s always skirting around the periphery of your mind? If you do, leave a comment below and tell me what you’re thinking of doing. If this is your first time commenting, I have to manually approve the post (this saves us all from spam) – but I usually get it done really quickly.
p.s. The image above is one of the ruins at Wupatki, north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
My writing friends – I’ve decided to use each Monday as an opportunity to post a thought-provoking quote and write a few words about how I see the idea coloring my writing week. Let me know what you think about this idea.
I’ve written a lot of really bad stuff over the years, and tossed the majority. I’ve also come to understand that allowing myself to make mistakes (or, as one of my readers said: allow yourself to be terrible) is a more valuable piece of advice than I could have predicted.
I remember sitting on the steps of my patio years ago, reading the opening paragraph of an article I was writing for Astronomy magazine. As I reworked and reworked the graph, I realized that the only thing I had accomplished was editing the heart out of the piece. The words were perfectly fine and perfectly correct, but the feeling – the “getting it” – was gone. I had allowed myself to make mistakes but I hadn’t known which of them to keep. By discarding all of the words, I’d thrown away the blood.
I worked hard to get some creativity back into the opening paragraphs and this is what I ended up creating. (It was written about visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona) . . . keep reading