I just wanted to say that, while I have chosen to share some of my thoughts and feelings about writing, I think it is important for folks to know that I am in no way an expert. I’ve published a few books, and I keep writing and publishing, but that doesn’t mean I really know anything.

 

Sure, I’ve learned a lot, but every time I think I’ve hit a milestone, and I turn to look back at what I’ve accomplished, I always have that tense moment when I face front again, and see the light years I have yet to go! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared. Okay, maybe a little intimidated. But still, the journey is a huge part of the appeal for me.

 

I do this (writing) for the love of the craft. I do it because there is a compulsion to tell stories and a need to make my work better and better. I learn something (usually much more than something) every time I write another one. Every time I push the ‘publish’ button, I do so knowing that I have further expanded my own library of skills and knowledge.

 

I suspect that I have ‘teacher’ and ‘mentor’ in my DNA. I am an introvert by nature, but the process of ‘blazing a publicity trail’ for my books has brought out more and more of my deeply hidden extrovert. Every time someone asks me a question about writing or publishing, I light up at the opportunity; not to brag or show off, but to help. To share knowledge. Disseminate understanding!

 

I am a firm believer in the philosophy of, ‘Give a person a fish, feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, feed them for a lifetime.’ I love the energy that is shared between us as information and ideas begin to flow. I adore the opportunity to see the ‘ah ha’ light go on in peoples’ eyes. Maybe it’s because I am a father, or maybe it’s because I spent a decade teaching, training, and evaluating technicians in a past life/career. Maybe it’s just in my nature to nurture. In any case, I never claim to know everything, and I never even claim that what I know is right, or the only way (as it almost certainly is not the only way).

 

I learn most of my skills via the school of hard knocks and I am of the opinion that any time I can help someone else avoid a knock to the head, I want to. Sure, there are some things (and some people) that must be learned the hard way. After all, some lessons must be lived. But if I can help, I generally want to, and am excited to.

 

I’m not putting this out here to avoid liability, or for some other legal reasons. I’m just thinking that we should all be of the understanding that, nothing I say is ‘gospel’. There are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions or methodologies to writing or publishing. The bad thing about learning the hard way is that more often than not, learning something the hard way teaches you to ~do~ it the hard way.  The key, for me, is to always be willing to listen when someone else talks about a (potentially) better way.

 

So, I guess what all of this is about is this: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to learn something the hard way. But, if you can find someone who can help you make it easier, or better, don’t close yourself off to an opportunity for improvement just because your knowledge came about after a hard-fought battle.