1/19/10

New Events!

I have some readings for "Lisa's Way" set for late February and early March. Both places are in Wichita.

Poetic Justice, 550 N. Webb Road:
Saturday, February 27, 2-3 PM
Tuesday, March 2, 8-9 PM

Mead's Corner, 430 E. Douglas:
Saturday, March 6, 2-3 PM
Tuesday, March 9, 8-9 PM

I'll also be doing a writers' workshop at the Andover Public Library on Saturday, March 20, from 10 AM to Noon. For my full schedule, check my website.

1/16/10

Happy Winter?

I recently got to wondering why there are so few upbeat winter songs. Two things got me on this track. One was Jay Price's blog entry about Advent songs (check the blog links to the right). The other was a car commercial running using "Let It Snow."

Now, I'm not a huge fan of winter. I really don't like the cold or driving in snow. I also don't like being able to get out and sell books; the holidays mess up December, and winter weather makes January and February dicey travel months. But it's not as though winter has nothing to argue for it. It's a great time for hobbies, for catching up with friends, and for staying in and writing.

Yet how many upbeat winter tunes are there? "Let It Snow" is about it. In fact, the other two winter tunes that are coming to me off the top of my head aren't exactly cheery. "Winter Song," the duet featuring Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, seems wistful to my ears. Then there's "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas & the Papas; I mean, check the title!

Contrast that with the sheer volume of songs praising summer. Summer has its faults: heat & humidity; dry heat; sweat; and everyone's on vacation so it's hard to get ahold of people or have events. But none of those stops just about everyone from singing about how wonderful the season is, how it last forever, or how sad they are that it's over.

Can't someone find something nice to say about winter? It would make the season more bearable.

1/6/10

Clearing out the junk

Saturday I decided to clear out some of the clippings files I have, mainly the folders marked "News," "Humor," "Movies/TV/Music," and a couple of others. I was stunned at how much stuff I'd acquired, and how many clippings I hadn't read since I first saved them (Buffy's changing networks! MST3K is going off the air!). I threw out everything I no longer wanted or couldn't use.

I suppose if you're a person who collects clippings, you could amass quite few folders' worth. As I writer I have to do this; clippings can mean story ideas. Writing nonfiction, clippings are even more important because that's your research material. The more you write, the more clippings you end up with. That's why I cleared away what I did. I needed to get rid of the stuff I wasn't using for the stuff that I had to keep.

Which, it turns out, isn't such a bad philosophy for life.

I used to have lots of CDs. I'm down to about three dozen, and I may get that pared down to less than 20. I wanted to have DVDs of most of the movies and TV shows I had on videotape. Now I'm happy to have the most meaningful things on DVD, and the rest can be files on a drive. (A larger hard drive that what I have, but still.) I'm not sure I can pare down my library all that much, but that's in part 'cause I did so a couple years ago.

I don't know about you, but as I get older, I want less junk cluttering up my life.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to choose between writing fiction and nonfiction. That sort of mess I can live with.

1/2/10

An Introduction

For those few that may have stumbled here by accident or referral, I'm Robert Collins, I'm an author living in Kansas, and this is my blog. If you want to learn more about me, check my profile, or visit my website. I can wait.

Okay, so now that's done, you're probably wondering what I intend to blog about. Well, there will be some shameless self-promotion here. I'll blog about my books, my events, and my shorter works, all in the hope that you'll want to spend your hard-earned money on them. There will even be times when, while I blog about something else, I'll drop references to my works.

I will try to blog about other things. Writing, for instance; I've written many columns about writing. I could devote space to Kansas history. I might do what other bloggers do and ramble off the top of my head. Heck, I might blog about something worthwhile.

As to when I'll blog, it will depend on how busy I am. Don't expect entries while I'm on the road. When I do post, it will probably be in the latter part of the day, as I write in the mornings.

To wrap this up, here's something substantial; my basic advice to aspiring writers:

1. Write at least five days a week. Six would be better. All you need is an hour each day. But you have to write, otherwise you're not a writer.

2. Don't work seven days a week. Don't work all day. Creativity, even in nonfiction, can't be forced. Give yourself time to live your life, so you'll have something you can draw from when you write.

3. Finish what you start.

4. Write what makes you happy, but remember that if you take the time to write, you ought to submit your work to publishers.

5. Unless you only have one book or short piece in you, think about the next project. Having something else to work on is especially useful if you're blocked on the current project.

There you have it. Stay tuned for more useful and useless posts.

Robert