This may not be a formal book review but just mentioning the name James Patterson is an attention getter so I will write what I recall about this memoir by Mr. Patterson and how it correlates with my situation as a writer or aspiring writer whichever I am. If I complete this blog that will make me a writer so I will attempt to do so for the title if no other reason. His name drew my attention at the local library because he has sold millions of books and for those unaware he began his career at an advertising agency in New York City.

This is my first read of any of Mr. Patterson’s books and it has made me anxious to pursue more of his work. He writes with an easy to read style for this volume with a flow of his life experiences which are notable for the era in which he came of age (he born 1947 me 1952). He grew up on the Hudson River not far from Manhattan and thus is more comfortable with all NYC has to offer than me although not entirely as he states in this volume. I will not reveal the details because for anyone whom aspires to be a writer this is a book on how to be a successful writer in my opinion and the common factors throughout are labor and persistence. His method has worked and I feel this volume will inspire me to do what I have been attempting to do, and that is gain a passion for daily writing. Having always wanted to be a writer and not having any other skills it could be an income supplement or a method to earn a living; I would be thankful for either.

He uses thoughtful preparation before starting a project which he outlines in the book, outline being the key word as this is his starting point. Okay I will give some details. The theme to success as is brought forth in this volume once again is discipline or that was the notable point for me, so notable that I am inclined to repeat it. He possesses a self-discipline with an obsessive need to write, I am seeking this spirit and can learn from masters such as Mr. Patterson. When the spirit moves me and I am able to direct my attention to the work then it is possible for me to enter the dimension whereby I can be creative and am in my element. And like many writers am able to express myself through words more ably than thru verbal speaking skills.

On a personal note we do have some issues in common in that we are both sons of World War Two vets although his father went on to earn a four year degree and my Dad was a high school dropout. We both graduated from faith based colleges and he appears to be grounded in faith while I am still struggling with mine. In reading of his success and all that it has generated in his life one could become envious but I will use his work as motivation. Not to become the next James Patterson but to become the first Stephen Barber.

New York City is returning to normal or near normal and thus the 2800 seat theatre which is near my apartment has been open for business. This concert by rock legend Dion was my first show at the venue which is in the process of being renovated and is similar to a Broadway theatre. I was in the mezzanine level with a front row seat which gave me an excellent view. For sixty-nine dollars plus a five dollar processing fee it was a bargain to see this show. The performers arrived ready to deliver a fun and professional show rather than simply appearing because they had been scheduled. This was the first rock concert I had seen since Waylon Jennings at Lake Tahoe in 1984 and upon realizing this I also noted the significance in regard to rock and roll history. Waylon of course became a country rock musician.

Waylon and Dion were on tour with Buddy Holly in February of 1959 and they were performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The group was using a tour bus for traveling but they were able to book a small plane for a flight to the next stop which was Fargo, North Dakota. The plane did not have enough seating for everyone so Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper boarded the flight and the others had to take the bus. The flight crashed shortly after take off and thus missing the flight was a life saving experience. The details may vary based on who was relating the story but Waylon and Dion decided not to fly. Dion has said that he did not want to spend the amount of the flight because it was the same amount his parents paid each month for rent at their Bronx apartment.

Enough of rock and roll history or at least for the moment. The concert was one of raw talent and not the technological stage presentations that now are common among the younger rock performers. How do I know if I haven’t been to a concert since 1984 because I have seen them on television or brief moments of them. That is what the younger audience wants to see but for those of us who are boomers I think most of us prefer the no frills just give me the goods type of show. Dion and his mates did not disappoint as they played his hits and some new ones with a vigor which suggested that they were enjoying the show as much as we the audience.

The equipment on stage reminded me of the concerts which I had attended when I was in my teens and early twenties. The speakers they were using to amplify their guitars were the old style, for me this made the experience seem as if we were returning to the true roots of rock and roll. This show revived my desire to see more concerts such as this one. I am normally more inclined to attend the theatre. Should the chance arise for me to see Dion again at another venue or perhaps once again at the St. George Theatre it would be impossible to resist.

Because I have been an undisciplined writer of late I am seeking methods of removing myself from this quagmire and then stay disciplined.  The frustration is dispiriting when the days pass whereby I am unable to accomplish even small bits of writing per day.  I detest those methods of writing for a specific time or using a word count but now realize that they can be important in regaining our discipline if we have lost it.

My first major writing project was a novel and the work drew me to it such that discipline was not an issue.  It was as though there were a magnetic force that put me in the chair and turned on the word processor, although it could have been finished much sooner by setting a time frame for completion.  I have been waiting for that level of productivity to return and now understand that it will only happen with a strategy to improve my work habits.

There are resources available, suggestions online and books on the topic, but we also know that writing is a spiritual endeavor and so it is a combination of using the suggestions and then finding what works for each of us.  Ego can be a major stumbling block for me because I feel that it should flow naturally from within me and therefore I do not need any assistance in how to be a writer.  This I am overcoming with the realization that if I am not achieving what I want, making a living as a writer, then changes need to occur.

After waiting for the spirit to move me and eventually admitting that it needs some prompting I am open to suggestions in regard to how to improve productivity.  Like any profession writing requires me to keep learning and to have an open mind otherwise I can remain trapped in my ineffective habits.  I am working on a major research project, it will never get done without changing my routine and setting goals if not on a daily basis then weekly and monthly with a targeted completion date.

The phrase time is money did not mean anything to me when younger but I am much more in touch with my mortality and the fact that procrastination is not only the thief of time but also of self-respect.   Another way of stating my feelings is impatience for success and the realization that to deny myself what I am capable of achieving is the very cause of the self-loathing that leads to poor work habits.  So I will proceed with being aware that the clock does not stop and a game plan for success is necessary.

It should be noted that I work a full time job and some overtime to survive but I also have enough free time to launch my writing career.  This is the general I will speak of the specifics in another post after incorporating them into my routine and thus being able to speak from experience.

I am writing about confronting this portion of becoming a successful writer because my inattention to it has meant that I am not one.  I remain in the aspiring range although am assembling a body of work which with proper marketing and faith in self could propel me to the next level.  The matters of business have never been my forte although I do have a degree in Business Administration.  It was while receiving this degree that I became interested in literature perhaps for something more pleasant to read than all of the economics and accounting chapters which I was supposed to read but did not.

The point being I have no interest in business affairs and therefore have not put my attention toward them.  I have what I believe is the creative mind because it wanders aimlessly and the only method to control it is to find a book to read or sport on tv which I enjoy and then it will stay focused.  After being a writer in training for over twenty years with no success I began to consider my situation and how to advance my career.  I want to be a writer who makes a living as a writer.

Therefore I began to focus on marketing and all that is involved on the business side and find that it is not as intimidating as I had imagined.  There is an infinite support system for those of us whom are less than confident about beginning the process; people who will show us the way.  I am plugging in to this resource and my confidence that it can happen for me is slowly building.

The support on this site and other writing sites is giving me the tools and it is then a matter of doing it regardless of whether I want to or not.  Then measuring my progress by  setting goals and organizing my effort, because without a plan I find that I procrastinate and lose my focus.  And therefore remain an aspiring writer rather than a writer.

This has been my weakness as a writer and therefore that which requires my attention and the admission that I need assistance in this area.  I enjoy the pleasure of reading and this lead me to a place whereby I began writing.  However the process of working my way thru the publishing quagmire has been intimidating to such a degree that I have avoided it.  One way to avoid rejection is don’t try and perhaps that is what my subconscious mind was doing.

I have taken classes in how to get published and in promoting myself as a writer, then the task becomes to follow thru and utilize the information which they provided.  After more hesitation than I care to admit getting on wordpesss and starting this blog was the initial phase in terms of a breakthru.  A part of me wanted to continue to procrastinate yet that was overcome by a desire to find a little victory to get me out of the starting gate.  Also to continue to delay was imposing upon my self-respect and I was condemning myself for not making any progress.

I had actually started a facebook account first but the benefits of using it cannot be obtained without having a blog or website or both.  Of course Linked In and Twitter are next for me in addition to starting a website but by finding a starting point I am able to build upon that and find that the blog lead to many other sources of information.  Getting on Writers Digest email list also opened a new source of information along with the freelance writing journal site.

With all the resources I have tapped into it now seems that there is almost too much information but I am sorting it out.  I want to join the freelance writers den so I have someone to guide me thru the process of making money as a freelance writer; this could produce my first writing credit which would be a major leap for me.  So this is where I am, no longer living in fear and slowly building my faith with the resources available online being helpful to someone who is not a natural at self-promotion.

I intend to use a portion of the new methods to promote myself and also some of the old in that I will also try to get an agent and a contract.  So that is my situation, a work in progress both as a writer and a marketing traineee.

Choosing A Genre

It is almost a given for many of us whom want to write that the novel has the most appeal.  The potential income and prestige can motivate us.  So it was for me and after reading many novels and biographies I decided to begin my first one.  It was completed about seven years later and has yet to be published but now with e-publishing I can become a published writer.

Before completing it I decided upon a children’s book as my next project.  Having spent all of my energy and spirit on my first novel another one was too much for me.  I eventually completed this project while beginning number three.  A book of research.

A research project seemed the best direction for me because I would be reading and researching and not having to be entirely creative.  I have committed to finishing this project but find that it requires greater discipline than the novel because it does not draw me to it nearly each day as the novel did.  This failure to work on it regularly may be personal issues rather than the project itself or a combination of the two.

One final note on choosing a genre: the theatre has much appeal to me but it is a collaborative effort which appears at this point to be beyond me although perhaps finding success in another area will give me the confidence to pursue this avenue.  To clarify I know I can write  a play but the process of getting it to the stage is the intimidating step for me.

So it is for this writer, I am creating a body of work and moving to the next phase of becoming a published writer and then promoting my work via this blog and other methods.

Launching My Blog

I am not certain what I want to write about in my first post so I am simply sitting at the keyboard and allowing the process to unfold.  Probably after sending this one I will feel that it does not quite meet the high standards which I set for myself as a writer.  However having had no commercial and thus monetary success the bar is actually quite low for me.

Having always wanted to be a writer blogging gives me the opportunity to go public without having to get a contract and have my work formally published.  For this I am thankful and will attempt to utilize my blog to promote my writing and to build a community of friends and associates  whom will support me as I will them.  Marketing myself has been my shortcoming not only as a writer but throughout my entire career.  What is happening now with WordPress and all it has to offer is the missing part of the puzzle for many of us whom are not instinctively inclined to promote ourselves.

After reviewing the above it seems enough for my first post and so will keep it short and thus a quick read.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

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