Creatives: you can do this.

Writing takes confidence, just like any creative endeavour. I’ll use writing in this case, but you could probably substitute it for any other kind of creative work you’re involved in.

Creativity all comes down to a little self-confidence. If you don’t have at least a scrap of confidence in the first place, then you’ll never get any of your writing out to the world.

If you can’t get your writing out there, then you’ll never get honest feedback from the marketplace. You’ll miss out on countless opportunities to find out what readers actually think. Not just friends and family who’ll tell you you’re brilliant… but total strangers who can give you a true feel for your writing and its place in the market.

The worst thing you could do for your writing is to work in an echo chamber. You need the beats and hammer-blows of the real world to pound your writing into shape. You’ll hurt, you’ll rejoice, and you’ll evolve as a writer. You’ll reach more readers and establish an audience of people who like to read what you write – so long as you stay committed to improving your craft tirelessly, every day… and every hour you can spare. That’s just what it takes to make a living as a writer, or indeed as any kind of creative.

I know it may seem like a tall order, when you’re starting out. But it really isn’t all that bad once you get into the swing of it. You can, and you must, train yourself into the habit of getting your work out there. You’ll have to roll with the punches of the negative reviews, and go back to the drawing board accordingly. Your readers, your marketplace, will tell you exactly where to tighten up and improve.

In return, your readers get better stories from you next time around, while you become a better writer every day. It’s a win-win situation… and it’s essential if you want to make a living wage from what you create.

The trick’s in building up a well of creative confidence to draw upon. You can’t create without the right mental fuel, so make sure you’re absorbing the ideas you enjoy. Pay just as much attention to your mental diet as you do to your physical diet. Keep the creative well topped up every day.

Finally, pay close attention to your daily routine. I’ve said before that finished books are merely the side effect of an effective writing routine. They don’t get written at the weekends, or when we feel like it. Books come about as a result of daily efforts; pushing the whole thing forward a sentence at a time.

There are tons of great apps, as well as the trusty old paper checklist, to make sure you’re staying on track with your daily routine. Establishing a routine that works for you, packed with beneficial habits to keep you in your creative zone, is the best step you can take towards writing and releasing books into the marketplace. It’s really all in the process.

I’ve found that creative confidence isn’t something you can force on-demand. It tends to come about when your passion and joy, your enthusiasm for a topic or an idea, far outweighs the fear and negativity that might stop you from creating it and sharing it with the world.

So watch the movies you love, listen to the music that gets you right in the chest, and fill your hungry brain-sponge with all the insane visuals and wordy goodness it can take. That’s where creative confidence comes from.

So go on – get to it. Set up a routine that’ll get you churning out a thousand words or more every day. Use your downtime to fill up your creative well to the brim. And get your work out into the world. Your writing will be sharper, tougher and more efficient once it’s taken its beats and put in some miles on your readers’ minds. That’s the only path there is to becoming the writer you’ve always dreamt of being.

Don’t waste another second. It’s time to get your creative work out there, into the marketplace. See it as resistance training for your creative muscles. In time, those muscles will be strong as all hell.

Creativity is a practised skill. The more you can put out there, the more effective, creative, and skilled you’ll become.

You can do this.

 

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Hey, Tabitha fans – thanks!

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone reading and reviewing Ghost. Your comments have made my year, just like they always do – I’m really glad you’re enjoying it! I’ll do my damnedest to keep more stories coming your way.

Overshoot your creative goals.

It’s a common theme among successful people in every sphere. But I’m more concerned with the creative process, and what it takes for creative people to do the impossible: to make a living from their art.

The general idea is that we, as flawed human beings, will never achieve our ambitions to the fullest. In order to be successful at anything we attempt – especially in business or entrepreneurship, where it’s all on us to succeed – it’s essential to overshoot and over-deliver on our grand ambitions.

For example: I don’t just write books for the sake of writing them, or to sell a few copies. As deluded as it sounds, I prefer to overshoot and attempt to write masterpieces. That’s what really fires me up to create those worlds and characters: to know that I’ve truly gone all-in with my efforts.

I may never come close to writing a bestseller, or my coveted idea of the gothic-Baroque masterpiece… but at least I’d know that I tried my damnedest to get there. Nothing else inspires me, or fuels me up for the work involved to produce my books. I keep that goal of “gothic masterpiece” in mind, and strive towards it every day, and finished books are just the side-effect of the process and routine.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a creator too. So maybe you know what I mean. It’s much more about keeping that transcendent vision in mind, and clawing your way towards it, than all the steps and failures and shitty attempts that it takes to get there.

What matters is the vision. The masterpiece you want to put out into the world. Don’t listen to anyone who questions you about being obsessive, or irrational in your pursuit of your ambitions. There’s an instinct in you that’s driving you to create. It doesn’t matter what that is, or why. All that counts is that you’ve spent every day of your life chasing that vision down, and making it a reality. There’s a masterwork in your head, and you won’t feel at rest until you’re turning it into something real. Doing anything less than that with your life will, in my experience, make you frustrated and unsatisfied.

That’s exactly why you have to strive for over-achievement, and perfection, and why you must overshoot your creative goals. Because you know, almost by primal instinct, that you’re capable of so much more.

It’s far better to spend your life in the pursuit of your highest creative potential. Never wait to do that, and never let anyone try to dissuade you from your vision.

Just set up a daily routine that works, and put the time in to get better. Never miss your daily slot to make your creative vision a reality. You’ll get better with every attempt. There are only so many times you can fail, and you just have to go through those times to get to the really good stuff.

Everyone fails at first… but it’s the creators who just kept trying who come out on top. Whatever your skills and talents, you can always be the one who works harder than the rest.

Always aim for the masterpiece. Anything else is a waste of your time… and your incredible creative potential.

Nothing to do with writing.

I took a break from the wordages lately to doodle n’ draw. I’m not sure who this chap is, but he strikes me as a kind of magical soldier. Some kind of bio-tendril scarf going on, with spores and such like.

(It made perfect sense at the time, anyway.)

A sketch of a soldier-sorceror

GHOST: Synopsis.

Serenity has fallen. Lurking in the darkening skies above the ruined capital, the Watchers are breeding their deadliest monstrosities yet. An army grown for a single purpose: to annihilate the peoples of the Ministry worlds.

Among the vast ruins of Capital City, the old Ministry fortress stands alone. Inside its towering walls, survivors of every species endure the Watchers’ global siege. Defended still, by an unlikely alliance of ancient tribes and galactic soldiers. Standing defiant at the end of their worlds.

Protecting this brave resistance is a human hybrid, and her fearless misfit companions. Plotting fierce bloody vengeance on the endless hordes, and on the lurking black ship that breeds them. On the sinister figures who stole her world and ended her species. And on a man; a murderer. Stark-eyed and grinning in the dark.

The battles for Stormworld are over.
The War of the Watchers is about to begin.

GHOST (Teaser)

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A dark figure pulled on dull gauntlets. Flexing clawed fingers, with a sound like writhing chains. The vault around him glowed like dim winter, and stank of strange metal. His silhouette reached for a long cruel blade, sheathing it with an icy grind. Alex’s blond hair glowed like a halo. A deathly deity, shrouded in thick church dark. A blue corpse lay at his feet; stiffly contorted and pooled in bright blood. Half-devoured. The soft silver of the ship’s fake daylight painted his tail-whipping shadow. An armoured angel, burning too fast. Alex’s face blurred and sharpened in the room’s lurking atmosphere. Quiet breaths, the only sound. His stark gaze rose slowly; scorching in the moonlit silence. Murderous.

*

A young woman clipped on a thin meshed chestplate. She tied her red hair in a ponytail, walking quickly through a sunlit stateroom. Fastening on a tactical belt, she filled its pouches with glowing ammunition. Watered her hybrid plants and pushed a living pistol into its holster, with a coarse rustle and a click. Golden daylight streamed through the Ministry windows, painting her face in a warm summer glow. Tabitha’s gaze lingered on the wasteland beyond the plaza. Serenity’s darkened ruins; the corpse of paradise. Lurking on the horizon, the Watchers’ monstrous ship. And him. She stared for a moment, a silhouette against the bright dead city. Standing tense; armed and armoured. Ready to make her war.