Category Archives: Writing

Rene-

So today we were informed that one of Ashley’s best friends growing up lost her father, Rene Daignault. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, daughter, son, son-in-law, as well as his four grand children. It is never easy under any circumstance to see someone you love go.

I remember the first time I ever met Rene & Nita. It was in August of 2001. I had just accepted a position to serve as student pastor at a small church North of Edmond called Woodcrest Baptist Church. I was a young 23 year old kid who thought he had life already figured out. I had no idea that the next three years would be some of the most challenging days I would ever experience.

I remember within my first year the church went through a tough financial patch. All five paid staff members eventually saw their salaries cut by 30% for over the course of twelve weeks. I was young, single, and still in college and wasn’t getting paid a ton already. So 30% was pretty much forcing me to live off of Ramon Noodles, spam and Moon Pies. I was dead broke.

I still remember those nights after that church business meeting. I had thoughts swirling in my head about whether I was in the right place and doing the right thing. I was on the verge of giving up and walking away. I must have typed a letter of resignation at least ten times.

That first Sunday after the cuts happened I remember running into Rene in the hall. He held out his hand as he always did and gave me a big shake. As he walked away I felt something in my palm, something he left. When I unfolded it I was stunned to see it was a fifty dollar bill.

For the next several weeks, for as long as the cuts remained, Rene would walk up and slid a new fifty dollar bill into my hand with such ease and smoothness that no one ever saw or knew. At a time when my salary was to drop 30% I actually saw my salary increase.

Rene didn’t say much. He didn’t comment on controversy and he rarely voiced his opinion unless asked. He whistled the old hymns and praise choruses instead of singing because, well, whistling them was just something he did.

I observed by watching that he was a giving man. Later, I experienced that thoughtfulness. He touched my life during that time when I had a lot of doubt, and I have never forgotten those sly handshakes on Sunday morning.

So Rene: You go quietly, but leave us trembling.
Your example was priceless… See you on the other side.

J. J.

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5 Top Writing Podcast…

Have you ever just starred at the screen and not been able to find an idea or the words to scatter across the page…? Have you ever just felt like you are in a slump and need some motivation…? I know I have. There have been countless times where I’ll type a word, only to turn around and delete said word. Writing is without question one of the most enjoyable hobbies, but it can also be one of the most frustrating as well…

Over the years of studying the craft I have asked many authors how they overcome this plateau. Everyone is different and I have heard many different ideas. Some take long walks, others read, some exercise, and one person even said they go hunting.

I do two things… One I’m a yard fanatic. I love to have a fresh mowed lawn that clean and clear of weeds. So I do a lot of yard work. But while I’m doing yard work or house projects I also listen to a lot of podcast. There are tons of writing podcast available out there to listen to- But for the sake of time I’m only going to list my top five…

1. Writing Excuses: One of my favorite… Released every Monday writing excuses is a fiction podcast run by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal. Their tag line is exceptional:

“Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.”

The podcast is one of the most popular and garners over 10,000 downloads per episode. Their topics range from creative writing, plotting, techniques, as well as discussion on the current publishing industry.

2. I Should be Writing: An award winning podcast that’s about the writing journey. It’s hosted by Mur Lafferty. Lafferty has a variety of the credentials that range from freelance writing, podcast producing, and editing for the escape pod magazine. I highly recommend this podcast for anyone unpublished and looking to break in to the industry.

3. Thrillercast: Not to be confused with Michael Jackson by any means. Thriller cast is hosted by David Wood and Alan Baxter. It’s a podcast for readers and authors of the thriller genre that features interviews, reviews, current publishing trends, as well as discussions on the craft of writing.

4. Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing: Hosted and produced by Shaun Farrell. With over 200 episodes this podcast covers everything in Fantasy and Sci fi publishing from interviews, publishing, as well as reviews.

5. Grammar Girl: Let’s face it… Most of us writers hate grammar. But this little podcast is very beneficial. Grammar girl is hosted by Mignon Fogarty who is also the author of “Quick and Dirty Tips,” an exceptional grammar resource that should be on every writers shelf.

Note: Please understand that not all of these podcast are the most clean… There are a few where there may be some language… I would recommend that you research each one and find the one that would benefit you most.


FREE SHORT STORY

compulsion

My Short Story COMPULSION is FREE all day today April 19th on Kindle…

If you have time check it out- Follow the link below-


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The Daydreaming Writer Has Moved

The Daydreamingwriter has moved to http://www.jjjohnsonwrites.com
Please got there and subscribe and check out my new blog on- Reasons You Should Stop Trying To Write


47 Drafts…

Can you imagine re-writing the ending of your book 47 times…? I mean seriously, shoot me in the head now; normally when I make it to the end I’m so exhausted I’m ready to do just that, simply end… But think of the greats. King, Koontz, Hemingway, Chandler… If we were to read some of their first drafts I bet we would find that the polish isn’t quite there. That the work isn’t quite up to par. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in their studies. To be able to quietly observe them as they banged their head against the desk in agony over what word to put next. I’m only saying this because I recently have thought about this.

I personally get very insecure about my writing. But I’m discovering something important, so does every other writer. I remember the first time I showed my writing to a published author. I cringed as she read through that short story. I was worried about what words would come out of her mouth. I remember the time and effort I put into that writing, and then the re-writing, and then re-writing it again and again… Then I remember that feeling of relief when she looked up, smiled, and said: “This is really good.”

Now it’s true she could have been lying by all means and afraid to mention it to my face. But I know her and I trust she is honest. But regardless it gave me the confidence I needed to continue on. I discovered this weekend that real writing occurs in the re-writing… It’s true. Dean Koontz writes one page at a time. He will re-write that one page twenty times before he ever moves on to page two. He then continues this process with each page until he gets to the end… Stephen King tossed the first draft of Carrie in the trash because he thought it stunk. His wife later pulled it out, dusted it off, read it, and said “Steve, you’ve got something here.”

Then there is my favorite. I recently discovered while at the ACW writers conference that Hemingway re-wrote the ending to “A Farewell to Arms” about 47 times… Some of those earlier drafts are still available and as you read them you will more than likely discover that some did indeed need to be re-written… When I came home and mentioned this to my wife her comment was simple- Shows you the importance of persistence… I didn’t realize it but that was the lesson I needed to hear.

I recently had some interest in a novel I wrote about a year ago. I hadn’t looked at the project in some time; in fact several months. Okay I’ll be honest; I haven’t looked at it since I finished it over a year ago. But I pulled it out and asked myself what was wrong with the story. As I read through the pages with a fresh set of eyes it became apparent very quick what the issue was. I’m now taking some time to re-write something I had previously given up on. I let my insecurity take control and my lack of confidence deny me the ability to be persistent and finish the project.

I think if I’ve learned anything it is this: Great writers stay at it until they get it right… The questions we need to ask is this: Do we…?

Follow this link for more on Hemingway’s 47 drafts of A Farewell to Arms. Scroll down. Should be the 2nd post.
http://altongansky.typepad.com/writersconferences/


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