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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Wilderness

Jake is a 15-year old fan.

He told me so. He wrote me an email, thanked me for writing stories, thanked me for stories I haven't written yet. Said I probably hear this all the time. No, I don't. In fact, most of the time I don't know if anyone is even reading my stuff and if they are, I don't know if they like it.

Thing is, writing is best served like a fine meal, shared with good company. When someone writes me, I'm grateful they took the time to read it; I'm thrilled they connected with the characters that lived in my head for all those months.

Jake wants to write, too. That's a good thing. That's a daunting, tortuous, frustratingly good thing.

He has characters in his head and a story arc blazing in his mind. Trick is, weaving them together and laying them down a brick at a time until a road takes his story to a gratifying, very satisfying ending, one he can share with the world. His journey will start in the middle of the wilderness. It will involve a lot of excavation, a lot of backing up. It could be years before those bricks resemble a path.

In a month or so, I'll release Bricks, the third novel in the Halfskin series. It has been one of the more challenging stories I've written, and most gratifying. In it, dreamlands are the culmination of creative wit, the consolidation of our hopes into new realities that exist on another frequency in an eternal universe. It is our imagination that gives rise to these new universes, an endless loop of creation.

It's this concept I enjoy, the thought that the creative process is something bigger than entertainment or a summer blockbuster. It's this concept, preposterous as it may be, that gives our creative nature purpose, that we exist to create not only buildings and roads but universes, too.

Jake asked for advice on how to approach writing. I can only share my process and hope that some of it helps. He'll find his own way through the trees, but it helps to know how others navigated the pitfalls. However, none of that digging will matter one iota should he be missing the main ingredient, the component that is essential for every world born of the mind.

Love what you're doing. Love the process, the pain and frustration, the challenge of finding your way through the wilderness. You do that, the rest is easy.

And by easy, I mean super hard. But loving it means you don't care how hard.

To be continued...

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