Thursday, February 7, 2013

Breaking News: A Leopard CAN Change its Spots!

Nah, I'm just kidding. Leopards' spots are on their skin, not their fur. So if you shave a leopard (which I don't recommend), it still has its spots. Can't change 'em.

But that saying usually applies to...what? People? Yes, but what aspect of people? Personality? Habits? Hobbies? Interests? Career?

I think it's all of the above, really. I'm sure you've heard the age-old question about criminals. Were they born that way or was it the environment they grew up in which shaped them into something heinous? Did the chicken come before the egg? Oh, wait...that's a different can of worms.

I guess you can say that's it a little of both. Some people are born with disabilities which later shape them into who they will eventually become. But others have less than satisfactory home lives which causes some disabilities. 

It works the same with artists. 

There are people who were born to be writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, etc. Then there are people who, with some practice, become great. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. In school, I was always either buried in a book, had a pencil or marker in my hand, or entertained my friends with some sort of show. I've dabbled in drawing, singing, acting, and even dancing. All of those, however, required practice. I took art classes, singing lessons for six years, acting classes, and one dancing class. I wasn't born great at any of those. Now, I'm writing. And although I always had a good grasp of English and grammar, it's still taking practice to be a good writer. 

I still have an editor and I still need pointers from fellow writers. And I still get rejections. Yes, a year after I submit a query, I still get rejections. Although I still want to be traditionally published, it hurts a lot less these days. I believe the advent of self-publishing has made it easier for me to accept that I won't always get what I want, but if I keep pushing, I may be able to change my spots just enough to suit me.

That being said, I'm just waiting on one more partial request from an agent before I self-publish The Death of Me. It's been a grueling twelve months and I'm ready to push it--no matter what. 

This is the cover I designed.

I guess the point of it all is not that I want to be seen, but that I want to share. We all have something we'd like to say to the world, and it's only a matter of getting noticed, right? Artists don't usually paint or draw or sing something for themselves. Do you think Michelangelo painted an entire ceiling in a church just so he was the only one who could admire it? What about Robert Frost? Did he write all that poetry for himself? Poe? Johnny Cash? Anybody? 

All you have to do is rearrange some aspects (spots) and figure out what works best for you. It might be hard, it might take a while, but in the end, it'll be well worth it.


  1. I agree, honing your skills is always worth the struggle. Still, write to express your unique talent, never suppress it or conform, changing your 'spots' for others or on the whim of the fickle industry. I get that for quick financial success it's better to follow J.Bieber than D.Gilmour, but true art is a calling. Also, it's nice to look in the mirror and honestly feel that you have created art you'll be remembered for, as opposed to being remembered for making a killing in cash by taking advantage of the sad fact that most of humanity has the artistic perception of tightly-wound pocket lint. There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-publishing your beautiful book. The industry would LOVE for you to believe that an agent is every writer's messiah and self-publishing spells damnation and ridicule, for it's practically synonymous with vanity publishing, your work must be 'peer-reviewed, blah-blah'. We'll give them 'peer-reviewed' in a year or two! Once our community stands UNITED and strong, with a regular publication, website, etc. We will gladly review, promote AND publish the books of our members and friends. Keep on writing! :)

    1. Thanks!

      I spent a while trying to conform my writing for agents and they still didn't want it. My first book was my own creation. What I wanted to do regardless what popular fiction looks like today. And this book was my attempt to be a little more... acceptable. Although it's still my unique creation with other influences :-)

    2. Delighted to hear that, keep going! There's no 'right' way to create and if there were, reading would be a tedious and predictable exercise rather than an exciting journey into the unknown. As wordsmiths, we take common words, well-known to our readers and make them do tricks and invoke unexpected emotions. How could we achieve these magic-like feats without bending and re-inventing the rules of the common tongue? I believe that to STAND OUT from the crowd, one must make every effort to enhance and magnify one's uniqueness. Never tarnish your talent or diminish your light to blend in with the rank and file. I wish you every success.