Are you an author or an artist?
These words author and artist are not as similar as they sound. Some gifted individuals can be both, but in actuality, most people are one or the other.
In the writing world, these terms are often mutually exclusive of each other. They don’t have to be, but the majority of writer’s fall in one category or another. The rise of independent and self-publishing has widened the gap between the two considerably. Neither is better than the other. It is important for writers to understand in which category they fall, so the ever-changing and always difficult market does not disappoint or devastate them.
So what’s the difference? Here’s a breakdown.
An Artist is a person who crafts a masterpiece.
Is a writer of an elegant masterpiece or two.
Struggles to let go of control of project (book cover, edits, title, etc.)
Spends months, or years, writing the perfect book.
Edits and rewrites multiple times.
Spends countless hours learning “the craft”
Takes years to publish a book.
Aims for perfection.
Desires positive reviews.
Will gain recognition for quality and win awards.
May never make any money.
Wants to see their name on the cover.
An Author is a person who sells books.
Is a writer of many works.
Does not care about control of project.
Spends days, or weeks, writing a product that sells.
Edits once, maybe twice.
Spends countless hours crafting “the sell”.
Takes weeks to publish a book.
Not concerned with perfection.
Desires reviews that lead to sells or boost marketability.
May never gain recognition or win awards.
Will sell books and make money.
Is willing to ghost write, with no recognition.
These are only some of the many differences between authors and artists. What is important to understand that there is a huge difference, and you need to recognize whether you are an author or artist.
The artist spends a lifetime crafting the perfect novel—their masterpiece. They study, attend conferences, rewrite, and edit until the book is worthy of perceived greatness. An artist’s work is high quality and unique. The book contains the blood, sweat, and tears of the artist. It embodies their soul.
The author treats writing as a business. It’s about the almighty dollar. More books published offer more opportunities for sales. The author writes with ludicrous speed and can publish a book in as little as four weeks. An author creates books that harness current market trends of rides the waves of consumerism.
In some instances, a writer may exhibit characteristics of both an author and artist, but this is rare. It is usually the result of years of writing practice and experience in the writing world. Beginning writers will lean one way or the other.
It is important to determine in which category you want to be in, and then make adequate changes to your workflow, production, and mindset to allow you to become the author or artist you want to be.
An artist who wants to have the sales of an artist, will often find themselves frustrated, because they have not invested the time and energy to learn how to sell their book.
An author who wants to be respected and win awards, will often find themselves frustrated, because they have not invested enough time learning how to write high-quality works.
A writer’s life isn’t supposed to be frustrating, it should be filled with wonder, discovery, and passion for putting words and stories on paper. Embracing who you are, or who you want to be, will allow you to find your niche in the writing world and help you enjoy an amazing life as an author or artist.
Cyle Young is a Hartline Agent who is thankful God blessed him with the uniqueness of being an ADD-riddled…SQUIRREL!…binge writer. Not much unlike the classic video game Frogger, Cyle darts back and forth between various writing genres. He crafts princess children’s stories, how-to advice for parents, epic fantasy tales, and easy readers.
Learn more about Cyle on his website www.cyleyoung.com. Or check him out on www.facebook.com/cyleyoung or www.twitter.com/cyleyoung.
Do you want to write 30K-40K+ words in a weekend? Do you want to write faster?
You can. Become a binge writer.
Binge writing is an impassioned writing session during an elongated time period. It can last from five hours to fifty hours. A binge writing session is uninterrupted—apart from limited sleep.
Many writers spend years attempting to finish their stories, but they never do. Not for lack of desire, but for lack of follow-through. I know from first hand experience that if I tried to write 2,000 words every day I’d fail. I already have, multiple times. But, if I set aside time to binge write, I can complete project after project.
It’s time for you to become a binge writer.
The results will astound you. I bet an extra 40K words might help you finish the final few chapters or your novel, or help you create an entire series of chapter books. The uses are endless.
But if you never embark on your binge writing journey, you may never accomplish your writing goals in a realistic timeframe.
Here are some binge writing tips:
- Cram your brain.
- Fill your mind with pictures, ideas, and research on the topic you are writing about. If you are writing a novel set in Paris, inundate yourself with French music in your car, watch French foreign movies or documentaries, and visualize the world around you as Paris itself.
- If you are writing a non-fiction about training dogs, spend time with dogs. Train them, observe them, and watch movies with dogs as characters.
- Let your mind absorb the images, actions, and ideas that you want to flow effortlessly out of you and into your story or book.
- Schedule your binge session.
- Pick your time and place. Don’t let anyone infringe upon your session and don’t make plans close to the start and finish of your time. You’ll only be able to binge write, if you hold fast and firm to your timetable. So when your brother-in-law calls to invite you to dinner and board games, you say NO even though you really want to go. You make a date with yourself.
- Set the mood.
- Before your session download music that will stimulate the proper mood for your writing. Epic soundtracks for fantasy, love songs for romance, etc. Have them preloaded and ready to go.
- If you like the lighting low for romance or suspense. Get your candles ready.
- If you are writing a story in a bakery, plan to have fresh bread baking in your house. Or, if your story is set in a field of flowers have scented candles or oils to help create the right aroma and atmosphere.
- Prepare your meals.
- Nothing can ruin your session like a rumbly tummy. The moment you stop to fix a meal, you lose thirty minutes minimum. If you go out to get something, you lose an hour. That is if you can get back into the swing of things when you return. Hunger pangs are the enemy of the binge writer.
- If you have an amazing spouse who will cook for you, recruit them to make and deliver your food. I know this sounds like they are your servant, but if you want to be a serious writer… you have to write. And if your spouse wants you to be a serious writer and actually finish a book… you have to write, and they have to support you.
- If you are single, pre-make the food. I eat a lot of leftovers when I binge write. You can also use frozen meals. The microwave is a binge writer’s best friend.
- And don’t forget about cereal. It’s easy and quick, and you can eat it for three meals a day if you have to.
- It doesn’t matter if you are slow at typing or fast at typing—just write. I only get about 25 words per minute, but I can still churn out around 12K-15K words a day. Just imagine what I could accomplish if I could double my speed.
- Forget about editing, forget about grammar, forget about punctuation, and forget about ensuring details are accurate. That’s what the editing process is for. It’s not called binge editing—It’s binge writing, so write.
- BONUS: Exercise
- If you don’t move—you die. No, seriously, this is true. You should always try to move around for five minutes once every hour. I like to do air squats, lunges, jumping jacks, planks, knee lifts, and pace around the room.
- I use this time to think about what I am working on, and then create a game plan for how I am going to write it all over the next hour.
If you follow these 5 easy steps, you’ll be binge writing in no time. And, you’ll be well on your way to new projects and new stories.
Do you have any more tips from your binge writing sessions? Share in the comments below.
Every day as a new literary agent, I have wonderful, exhilarating, and often very humorous interactions with people, editors, manuscripts, and prospective clients.
These first few months at Hartline Literary Agency have provided me with an ever-growing wealth of insight that I hope will help aspiring authors on their journey to find publishing success.
I am fortunate to represent clients across three continents and to engage daily in equipping them to become successful authors. Much of my time is spent teaching and training my clients to help them avoid many of the trappings of novice writers. With the right tools, polished and edited manuscripts and proposals, and a lot of had work, these authors continue of their journeys a few steps ahead of their competition.
As always, I continue to be passionate about assisting writers who desire to become authors, and I hope these five takeaways will help you acquire an agent or get your manuscript accepted by a publisher.
- Don’t tell an agent your husband/wife/friend edited it for you. Unless you are married to Stephen King or your best friend is J.K. Rowling it’s a good chance this describes a novice writer. I receive cover letters that mention this at least once every two weeks. If they are lucky, I will read the first page, but I can usually tell by the end of the first paragraph that indeed they are not married to Stephen King.
- Don’t address an email to every agent in an agency as a group. Agents don’t have time to read manuscripts that are not specifically submitted to them. You may write a genre that I don’t even represent. When I am trying to find time in my day to read submissions, I always read the submissions that are specifically addressed to me first. Many times I don’t even look at “shotgun” submissions, because there’s just not enough time in the day some weeks.
- Don’t send lots of emails to a prospective agent. This business is slow; I can easily receive 100+ emails/day. If you annoy or pester me as a perspective client, I know you will do the same of worse as a client. That’s not something I want from my clients, and I may reject you simply because I don’t want that kind of relationship with my clients.
- Don’t tell an agent how great your book is. Your book should be able speak for itself. I read hundreds of manuscripts. I’m going to have a pretty good idea about the quality of your book in the first few pages. Typically, when writers tell me how great their book is in their cover letter, I find that it is less than impressive. But, on the flipside, do tell me if the book has won awards. If other organizations have said your manuscripts is good, that carries some weight.
- Don’t submit to an agent unless the book is completed. Unless you are a successful published author. I can’t help you. If the book isn’t completed, I will typically ask you to resubmit when it is completed. I will not read your sample chapters or proposal until then. I want to sell your book, when it is ready. In the meantime, I am going to work hard to sell books for my other clients that are finished.
Before you submit, take some time and think like an agent. If you were an agent, how would you respond to what is said in your cover letter?
Those answers matter.
The goal is to get the agent to read your sample chapters and fall in love with your writing. Do your finest to avoid some of these missteps and ensure that your manuscript has the best possible opportunity to find representation.
Previously published under a different title at www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com
A couple of months ago, I began the new and exciting adventure of becoming a literary agent with Hartline Literary Agency. The last few months have brought a whirlwind of information, learning, emails, reading manuscript submissions, and signing clients.
In just a matter of days, my inbox became flooded with submissions from authors seeking representation, and as I reviewed manuscript after manuscript and proposal after proposal, a few significant trends came to light. In an effort to help other authors on their writing journey, I will share a few of those insights with you.
I am passionate about assisting writers who desire to become authors, and I sincerely hope some of these takeaways will help you acquire an agent or get your manuscript accepted by a publisher.
- If you don’t know what a book proposal is or what it should look like, then you are most likely a novice writer that still needs to learn more about the craft. Don’t get discouraged, every author started there too. My advice is simple, attend some writing conferences, get a writing coach, and/or take a writing class. Continue to learn more about the publishing industry and the submission process while you improve your writing ability. You will get published faster if you hone your craft first. If you try to get published before your writing ability is at an adequate level, you may find yourself rejected and discouraged.
- If your manuscript is full of red and green highlights in a word processing software like Word—don’t submit it—it’s full of mistakes. Take time to properly edit your manuscript, and at the minimum, run a spelling and grammar check before you submit. I’ll be honest, when I see a document that’s all marked up, I know the writer isn’t serious about the manuscript. Unfortunately, if the writer isn’t serious about his book, then I won’t be either. Always put your best foot forward.
- If you’ve never written a book before, make sure you follow writing rules and standards. Your book needs to be completed before submission. It should be written at an adequate and predictable word count for your genre. Make sure your manuscript has been edited and reviewed by someone other than you, preferably someone who has a good deal of industry experience or knowledge. I want to read your book, but I’ll be able to tell by the end of the first chapter whether or not someone else has edited it.
I hope these observations help you if you polish up your submissions. No one wants to have their manuscript rejected because of some simple mistakes or oversights. Take time to raise your industry awareness and hone your writing ability, it’ll pay off one day. The publishing industry moves at a snails pace, so take a little extra time and present your best work first.
Previously published under a different title at www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com
I will never forget my childhood friend named DeDe. She was smart and had a great sense of humor. But that is not the main reason I remember DeDe. She is the one friend in elementary school who taught me about being a friend to the friendless.
There was a girl in our class—I’ll call her Jennifer—who was afflicted with a congenital problem that left her with difficulty speaking, an awkward gait, and an odd look to her face. Jennifer was shunned by most in the school, except for DeDe. She was totally unafraid of what others thought and she made every effort to be kind to Jennifer. Her bravery caused me to be kind to the shy classmate as well. I admit I was still a bit uncomfortable hanging out with Jennifer, and it took patience on my part to wait until Jennifer could painstakingly speak even just a few words. But DeDe always cheered Jennifer on in her attempts to communicate. It was such a lesson in kindness to me.
In Promise of Deer Run, the character of Sarah Thomsen befriends the social outcast of the village—Nathaniel Stearns. The young veteran is seven years her senior, but Sarah has memories of the kindness that Nathaniel had extended to her when she was a little girl. It was a kindness never forgotten. Sarah looked past the recluse who seemed so different awaiting the return of his father from war. Many in the town laughed behind Nathaniel’s back. Why would this veteran who frequented the local tavern on a regular basis and who still believed his father was alive, be of a sound mind? Even the churchgoers snickered and avoided him like the plague.
But not Sarah. She saw past the exterior to the heart and soul of Nathaniel Stearns. She dared to speak to him. She dared to befriend the friendless.
It reminds me of DeDe looking past the physical anomalies of Jennifer.
A few years ago a friend from high school told me they found out Jennifer had become a nurse, helping others in their need. I was amazed but pleased—and I remembered DeDe leaving her comfort zone of hanging out with the “cool” kids. I sometimes wonder if DeDe was the one who had given Jennifer hope for a future, years before on the playground at school.
I wonder how many other lives can be changed for the better by befriending the friendless. I pray that I will be the brave one.
Check out Elaine’s book here: http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/promise-of-deer-run/
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made a staggering sum of money since opening 6 months ago. It has been a boon to the movie industry, but it should also serve as an encouragement to writers everywhere.
I’ve compiled a list of how The Force Awakens should encourage writers everywhere.
- Science fiction is as strong as ever.
A well written story can exist in any setting, and even though romance drives the market, science fiction stories are primed for a resurgence in the coming year as Star Wars is set to dominate the box-office for the next decade.
- Lead characters don’t have to be Caucasian.
Early reviews of the movie revel in awe of an african-american character playing a lead role in The Force Awakens. Authors can be inspired to take risks in developing ethnic and multi-cultural characters for their stories.
- Well-placed humor can make all the difference.
Sometimes a story just needs that hilarious moment or snarky, well-timed comment to break tension or allow the reader to relax and “take it all in”. J.J Abrams is a master of this and used properly, humor can bolster many stories across all genres.
- George Lucas testifies that Star Wars is just a family drama about grandparents, parents, and their children. He tells an interwoven story in a uniquely sci-fi setting, but at its heart, the story is not about adventure or war, it’s about family. And over the last 40 years, fans and reader alike haven’t been able to get enough.Readers always want more of a good story.
- The “series” is alive and well.
Seven episodes in, and Star Wars is going as strong as ever. Writers should feel free to expand upon their characters, world, or setting and allow the reader to get lost in their imaginary world for multiple books, titles, stories, or novellas.
- An excellent setting sets a glorious stage.
Can you imagine Star Wars without light sabers or the force? Neither can I. It wouldn’t be Star Wars without those things. A properly crafted world and setting can heighten a story and allow the reader to escape the reality of every day life and get lost in fantasy.
- Almost forty years later, and people are more engrossed in Star Wars lore than ever. There have been thousands of books and movies released in the last four decades, but a story that captures the hearts, minds, and imaginations of the reader is always one that’s hard to forget.A great story is hard to forget.
No matter what genre you write, remember the lessons of a successful story learned from the Star Wars saga and try to apply them in your next novel.
Which is your favorite Star Wars movie? Who is your favorite character?
Previously published under a different title at www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com