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Co-Authoring, Writing Everyday, Lifelong Learning

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It’s a busy life. Every day I’m either teaching writing, reading about writing, reading or writing. When I relax, I’m studying a film for its writing or reading something to gain inspiration about someone else’s mastery of writing. Occasionally I let myself meditate and play the ukulele or piano, but that’s been on hiatus since I sprained/fractured my wrist. Ouch. Ah, well, at least I’m keeping busy. I wanted to share some news.

In the effort to build a stunning, complicated and rich world for my Elsewhere Chronicles I decided to take a full on class in WorldBuilding at the Game Writing Academy at UBC. UBC is an amazing school for creative writing, and the program is run by an active game writer and developer, Sean Simile. I’ve decided to take the whole six credit game writing academy program, along with the courses I’ve been taking for fun in UBC’s “Certificate of Achievement in Creative Writing” program, online grad-level classes essentially designed as informative and interactive writing prompts in a variety of subjects.  These dozen classes have been so much fun, and I see my Elsewhere-WorldBible growing in amazing and meaningful ways every week. I spent about 60 hours for example on a very detailed world map, which could feed ten books easily, and have ideas about what lies beyond. It’s pretty exciting.

I’m also applying for my grad programs this month – been sending writing samples, letters and recommenders to a handful of great Universities for Masters of Letters, Masters of Fine Arts, etc. programs. It’s been exciting!

I sent a story off to a great Canadian press this week and will hear back soon one way or the other. I put a ton of work into polishing that story, and I hope they love it almost as much as I do.

I’m taking today to revisit my Masterclasses with James Patterson and Aaron Sorkin. I admire them both so much for their different talents. If I can write half as prolific and as organized as James Patterson and with half of the snappy dialogue and brilliant understanding of human nature and obstacle vs. intention that Aaron Sorkin does I’d be doing great. So they’re in my stew, and they’re adding a lot of flavor at the moment.

I think about my writing life a year ago – mostly in my head; a dream, or a future goal. Compared to today where I write every day, live and breath good writing and make a point of learning something new and failing at something difficult that I want to improve upon as a daily goal and feel really happy with the progress I’ve made. Shutting down my old music blog was hard, but it was a distraction from my next dreams of success as a published writer. Opening a writer blog and watching tumbleweeds gather was embarrassing and difficult but it spurred me to work hard to create a new healthy catalog to replace the old one I’ve moved on from in music. Moving from an avenue of dreams to a daily practice rooted in reality brings amazing results that are satisfying in such little ways, but meaningful all the same.

 

I wrote my first Novel this year – finally finished, using an extensive outline and the motivation of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). That was a huge milestone for me, one of many more to come. My “author twitter” hit 1000 follows last week, and it’s a small milestone. Far from 1million, but it’s a step in the direction to having some traction. On Twitter, I found out about Scribophile, a wonderful writing and critiquing community that’s been invaluable already in workshopping my writing. Grammarly and Hemingway are my constant companions when revising and editing and I’d feel alone in the dark without them. Little things, like critical comments that improve writing, the very rare “We’re not worthy! Your story is amazing!” or “Feels like rediscovering Neuromancer for the first time” letters I got from beta readers (both actual comments that came in last week) melted my heart and made all the blood sweat and tears worthwhile.  Workshopping with editors and chatting with literary agents is a real thing now. Moving from a world of dreams to a real place in time just takes hard work and comes day by day.

Patrick Rothfuss, one of my writing heroes once said on his podcast “the worst pommel horse routine in the world is better than the best one you can imagine” (paraphrased) and it’s really important advice, because the most poorly executed project is infinitely more marketable and enjoyable than the pale shadow of a dream that you’re too afraid to approach. And with work, your creativity and mastery of craft will grow. Dedicated daily practice yields results.

Today I sent a proposal to co-author a book with a literary giant of our times. It’s nerve-wracking. If we green-light it, it will mean huge exposure, money, and some notoriety. But it’s also my story, and close to my heart, and I’m not sure what giving it up would mean for my dream.

Either way, today is a precious moment of life, and it’s important to make it count.

Memento mori – Carpe Diem!

Jorah Kai

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