Can I be an activist and still be an author?

Does your opinion matter?

That question is a from one of my followers that took the time to e-mail me. I told her to read my response here on the blog.

  • Do you want to right wrongs, or sell books?
  • Are the two mutually exclusive?
  • Do you feel like tilting at windmills?

With social media today everyone is an activist. The trouble is most people believe exactly what they heard last from whatever news source they listened to.

If you watch or listen to Fox news only, or perhaps CNN, the two are diametrically opposite of each other. Since journalism in this country is dead, the two are furthering the divide or chasm in this country. That assist the political elite as they must have us divided so they can herd us to the polls when the time comes. Yes, we are being manipulated by the gods, (little g).

Social media has turned so caustic that I have all but removed myself from Facebook and just about refuse to spend much time reading tweets from trolls.

Yes, you can have an opinion but with a stipulation that you are so committed to your belief that you don’t care if it cost you readership or “translated,” sales.

Firstly people pick up our books “novels” to escape from their world.
The same types of people go to the movies to be entertained and escape.
Again we go to baseball and football and soccer and hockey etc. to be entertained.
With the television, we can turn the channel or switch it off.
At the game, we are stuck for whatever nonsense they do.

If we pick up a book that you wrote, we don’t want to have your political views overarching our fantasy to the misty moonlight over the garden. We want to know if he will show up as promised, or will it be his miserable old stepmother that will crawl out of her hole, and greet us with a cackling voice?

Some of these “celebrities” are stuffing it up big time.
Like many, I will not see a movie if it has some activist in it that I can see them in my mind’s eye spewing hate speech or some view based on talking points. I don’t want to think about politics or rich vs. poor or guns or any of that trash.

The reason they should keep their opinions to themselves is that we think we know them from the roles that they play.

We see them as altruistic, and we think we might like to know them. Thank writers like you and me for that one. The chances are good that some of those people on the screen that you think you love are vapid, narcissistic, slime from the black lagoon. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. I have known too many that had much money in their lives, and they are hollow inside. The veneer on my desk has more depth to it than most of them. They get paid to regurgitate lines and emote.

When a good part of the country are sycophants for these “idols,” you can see why we don’t want to alienate them.

Writers, on the other hand, are not insipid beings. We cannot be, or we could not string a noun and a verb together in the same sentence and make it coherent. When you read my novels, you get a small sense of who I am.

Growing up with friends whose parents were very well to do, I watched them transform from human to god status. Soon I was too much of an insect to be friends with. The truth of the matter is, they were also hollow and had bought into the lie.

I worked through school; they did not. I bought everything that I needed from the toils of my labor. They had a credit card and checking account from mom. They had beautiful new cars, and I had what I could afford.

When I was not available to hang with, because I had to work, they soon found others to hang with that did not work. These were childhood friends that I grew up with. I lost contact with them after this time of my life. Money and power just screw some people up severely.

If you should choose to share some opinion and call others out on it, the odds are good you will offend half of the population or possible readers of your work.

It is a free country and by all means, follow your heart. I was asked for an opinion, so I am opining.

A natural question that you might have is; after all these years would you like to catch up with them?

“No. They were obviously fair weather friends. Since I am still working a day job, and writing by candlelight as it were, I would still be an insect to them. Am I ashamed of my status you might ask?”

“Hell no! If it is going to happen, I am going to make it happen. This is my passion in life, and that is worth more than their silver spoon, credit card from mom!” I treasure the memories of our friendships before they lost their sole.

Onto more exciting news, Saga of the Starduster is September’s number one seller for me, and for October thus far it looks like it is going to continue. If you are one of the readers, thanks so much for that!

I am halfway through my 26th novel and am taking a small hiatus as I came up with an idea for a short story. I Usually don’t do this as it is hard to get started again but this story I think will be perfect for Asimov magazine. I know that limits what it will make in revenue to a one-time flat price but, I like to keep myself in print in other places too.

That story is close to halfway through so stay tuned; I will let you know what goes on with it.

Follow me here or on @authortwscott
My website is http://www.authortwscott.com

From my website, you can find out all sorts of things including my Amazon page.

Much Love! -TW

“How do you manage to produce so many books while working a full-time job?”

Learn how to find more time to write.

Paraphrased, this is probably the question that I get asked the most.

Action plan

To know what direction you are headed you need what?  You need a goal. If I, for instance, wanted to drive to Chicago from Dallas how would that work?

When I was a lot younger and had no deadlines pressing me, I might throw some clothes in a couple of bags, hire someone to watch the house, get into the car and point it north.

I love road trips without real purpose. However, we have stated that we have an end goal of arriving in Chicago.

Heading north as stated earlier would not get me to Chicago but North Dakota or Minnesota if not Canada. Again all great destinations but, missing our goal entirely.

Firstly we must map out our route which even with the technology we have today, there are several possibilities.

There was a time in my life when driving for twelve or thirteen hours straight was no big deal.  Now, not so much.  I would at least stop halfway.  Planning my trip today would include points of interests along the way, and I would indeed drive out of my way to see or visit something along the way.  These types of activities often provide fodder for manuscripts.

Let’s face it, if time were a real issue, I would hop on board a plane and be there within hours.

My action plan would include proper clothing for the season, as well as places to stop along the way.

The action plan would indeed include something known as “Time management.”

Writing a term paper or a novel is not much different.  With time being the common denominator that we all share, it is also the one thing that we must all guard against wasting.

What do you do with your time?

If you are uncertain about the validity of what I am saying; for a week log every minute of your day.  Don’t cheat.  Much like writing what you eat to assist you in a diet, try keeping up with what you did during the day.  Time management is crucial, and you must be good at it to be successful in life.

I think that sitting in front of the TV being conditioned continuously by whatever you are putting into your head is possibly one of the worst ways of wasting your precious time on this earth.  I truly think that it also dulls your senses and might rob you of who you truly are by supplanting what you know for ideas which are just bullshit.  Someone’s ideas that are put forth in a way to convince you that your long-held beliefs are false.

That is my opinion, and possibly you have a differing one.  We all know people who live through the TV.  Cancelling the cable might be not only a good money saver but, you might find you now have time to do other things.

Not only do we have TV and Netflix but, we have the computer or internet, and of course we have our tablets or phones to steal our time.  We spend so much time communicating nonsense with countless others, that we don’t communicate with those that we are the closest to.

How do you manage to write so much and work a daytime job?

What little I see of TV in passing makes me shake my head. Hundreds of cable channels to fill and they come up with some of the lamest stuff ever.  I am waiting for one of the channels to be of grass growing or paint drying.

Our Culture is changing and in many ways, I don’t think for the better.  Morality has taken a hit as our role models now often spend time behind bars for beating their wives or some other criminal offense.

I could go on and write a complete book about narcissist and sycophants but that is outside the scope of this blog post.  If you want a role model, my friends, look into the mirror and become that which you seek!

Years ago I was on a cruise to Alaska and we parked by one of the glaciers watching it melt.  Yes, if it were not just a glorious day to be outside on the balcony watching ice melt, I would have been pissed.  Finally a large chunk of ice “calved” and that was the highlight of the afternoon.  The massive ship rocked as the ripple from the tons of ice falling into the abyss reached out to us.  Feeling the effect of the displacement of so much water, made the time spent stationary that afternoon, and subsequent sunburn, more tolerable.

Don’t misunderstand me, you must do things in life, especially if you are a writer.  You must travel.  You must speak with people of all walks of life.  I make it a point to learn people’s names and something about them wherever I go.  People are what make life worth it to me.  You are interesting.  Sitting in front of the TV like so many do, getting spoon fed someone’s idea of what is morally acceptable changes the entire audience over time.

The Stepford wives come to mind as so many people around the globe watch things produced in Hollywood.  Our values or Hollywood’s values reach far and wide.

In Saga of the Starduster, I have my aliens tune into our TV to see what they are about to deal with.  Finding Sharknado on the screen, their first impressions are that the sharks are the apex life forms, and humans are their prey.   Not too far from reality except these sharks travel by manipulating vortices and attack bipedal creatures who have chainsaws mounted on their appendages.

When the Ularins tune across a football game, my aliens think that this is some sort of war and the football must be explosive.

If Aliens were listening to our radio and watching our Hollywood version of life, what would they think?

“How do I manage to write so much?”

I try not to waste time, and I scheduled several hours a day to either write or market my books.  Having said that I also look for opportunities to go out into the world and be part of it.  Watching it through the eyes of some Hollywood producer is not the way I care to figure out who we are as a people and why we are the way that we are.

Time management is key to life in general, not just creating your first or twenty-first novel.  Make time for what you are passionate about.  If that is writing, don’t let a good idea get lost in the shuffle of the noise in our lives.

You Mom’s and want to be authors, don’t allow your dreams to get cast aside.  God invented Bed Times so parents can still live a life. Enforce them while killing the internet and other things that might keep the urchins up and in your face.  We had quite times an hour before bedtime which meant they could read.  Lights out was strictly enforced. Not only so they got enough sleep, but so we could still have some modicum of life.  Phones are taken away at dinner time, and bedtime.  There is no excuse to allow a child to take an active screen to bed with them. Like us, they need their sleep.

Laptops and writing worked just as well as reading for me as an author.  Just saying.

Shameless plug for my work.

While many of you are downloading my books, I need many more to follow me here, and on Twitter.  I spent way too much time working on my novels and not enough time marketing them.  I just knew that once my first book was published, it would sell millions and I would be able to stop the day job.  HA!

The sales are enough to give me hope, but not near enough even to let me think about chucking the day job.  I have some great ideas that are waiting to come out on paper!  Share my work, follow me and tell your friends.   Thanks for the follows and of course the purchases!

Much Love–TW

www.authortwscott.com

@authortwscott

@twscott823

https://www.amazon.com/TW-Scott/e/B01M6CUM1Y

 

 

Dear Grammarly

 

I thought I would document some of the things I find using your product for others, so we could collaborate on such things and possibly find a fix.

Firstly I would point out that what your program thinks is right or excellent English; Word disagrees with at times.  While I do not believe that one should totally rely on artificial intelligence, I do feel that examining what your program and word think is incorrect is probably worth looking into.

When using your product to examine a manuscript, often toward the end of the document, Word slows to a crawl and at times dies causing one to lose their work.

I have learned that as soon as the program starts to act wonky, save your work and reboot.  I can only assume that there is a memory leak, either in Word or Grammarly.

The fact that you disable word’s native autosave when Grammarly is active is a “just a wow, how damn stupid is that?” moment.  I am sure that your programmers needed to do that for some reason but guys, rework your program, that is just insane!

With the add-on running, Word becomes less stable.  Disabling autosave starts to set one up for the perfect storm.”

Having lost a manuscript like this, I have workarounds which I will share now.

“Never write with Grammarly running, period, end of story.”

Save your work and then turn Grammarly on but, be careful not to enable too many of the “filters” at one time.  If it is a small document, you should have no worries.  Larger documents, I would limit what you ask of your computer via Grammarly.  One filter at a time perhaps.

Hidden crap!

When editing a manuscript as I have laid out, I often find “crap” inserted into my document at random.  It might consist of letters or numbers as in the example here.

IMG_3449

If you turn off “show hidden” the crap goes away but guess what, it is still there and will show up when you upload your manuscript to your favorite e-publishing site.

IMG_3450

This novel which I was just editing I took the time to document some of the things I found.  Not always but sometimes Grammarly will identify them as spelling errors as there is an extra letter or numbers.  Not all the time but again sometimes you can tell Grammarly to correct it by clicking on the correction and it will.  The problem is that Grammarly nor Word’s spell check will reliably flag this nonsense, so it is incumbent upon the author to go back and look at every sentence to make sure that there is no hidden crap.

IMG_3447

Editing with Grammarly will work fine for a while.  If you should find an awkward sentence and rewrite without disabling Grammarly, soon, you will notice that clicking on the corrections to the right will not work.

“That!”  That is your cue to disable Grammarly and save your bloody work as the application is at the precipice of dying a horrible death causing you to lose your mind, not to mention your manuscript!

For $130 or so US dollars a year, I expect and demand better!

This is word 2013 Professional edition if there is such a thing, and this computer is no slouch either.

If you other writers out there are using Grammarly I would be interested in knowing your experiences.

In spite of my obvious frustrations with the product, I will say that I just renewed my subscription with them.  Notwithstanding the issues, the program is better than word’s native spellcheck.  I want them to succeed as it makes me a better writer.

Paying attention to what the program flags, I find that many of my mistakes are not really mistakes at all.  They are what a computer that thinks in 1’s and 0’s  tries to make of English, which is not math.  The program is only as good as its algorithms.

The ubiquitous (comma) is my largest flagged error.  Sometimes it is correct, and sometimes it is not.

Saga of the Starduster was recently edited and released once again both on Smashwords and Amazon.

If you have already read it and want an updated version, it is ready for you as REV 3.1.

I made a few minor changes to some awkward sentences and removed some hidden numbers that ended up in the released version.

 

Much Love!

TW