You’ve got to sell your heart

heartIn 1938 aspiring author Frances Turnbull sent a copy of one of her stories to Francisc Scott Fitzgerald. In the feedback he offers her there’s one great piece of advice: “You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.”

You can read the rest of the letter here. It’s really worth the time, and it’s the kind of advice writers give only to closest friends. It’s not something you can tell anyone about, because most people will think you’re crazy.

Now, about selling your heart… Continue reading

That moment…

A couple of weeks ago I almost gave up on this blog, on writing, on basically everything I was. Quite a strange moment. I was afraid that I might never become what I’ve always wanted to be.

Because, as any self-publisher can tell you, summer is tough. Book sales always go down. In my case, they almost stopped. Even though I released a new title, that just wasn’t enough.

Sometimes things happen, and we can’t explain them. This was one of those times. Continue reading

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On letting go

books

The moment you buy any of my books and read it, that’s when that book becomes yours. And only yours. And you can take from it anything you want. You can love it, you can hate it, you can love me or hate me, but at that point I no longer care.

I find that’s the only way to actually “survive” as an artist. At least, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head every time someone tells you they hate your work. And it’s the only way to actually get past that paralyzing fear of rejection, that stupid voice inside your head telling you, over and over again, that your book is not good enough yet, that you need to work on it a little bit more… and so you spend so much time editing the same fifty thousand words that they stop feeling yours anymore. Continue reading

Are writers crazy?

crazyOr artists in general?

I’m sure this is not your usual Friday type of post, and I could easily answer with another question: who isn’t? And then I could go back to writing and stuff.

Instead, I’m going to write an actual post. About crazy writers. And stuff.

So here goes nothing. Continue reading

What we write about tells us who we are…

write

“What is the issue that is eating you up? What is the personal fear that you can’t resolve and you can’t tolerate? Are you getting old with fucking NOTHING to show for it? Then, write Invisible Monsters. Are you worried that your brain or talent isn’t capable of creating anything interesting or unique, and you’ll die and rot and be forgotten – failing everyone you love? Well, then write Diary. My point is, use the story to explore and exhaust an issue of your own. Otherwise, you’re just dicking around, playing “let’s pretend.” If you can be ruthless and honest about your own fear, you express something that other people can’t express. You can resolve your own anxiety – through research, discussion, experiment – and that freedom is what brings you back to writing.

What could you never talk about in a million years? Then, write about that.” – Chuck Palahniuk Continue reading

The ideal reader

reader2I’d say that I’ve come a long way from my high school years, when I was struggling to find people who’d be interested in reading my stories. I’m not going to lie: it’s important to know that someone reads your stuff, that someone cares. Makes you feel less alone, and isn’t that one of the reasons we write?

And I appreciate that, and I’m truly grateful for being able to present my ideas or ask questions, to expect a response every single time I need one. But the truth is, we never write for a bunch of people. Yes, we talk a lot about finding our target audience, about all the ways we can improve how we reach our target audience, but that soon becomes a vague term, one that is used to define different people, who only share a number of preferences. Continue reading

Art and obsession

obsession“OK, I got Velazquez portrait of the Pope Innocent X. Quite an ambivalent study of absolute power. And here comes Francis Bacon. Despite never having seen this painting in person, Bacon became so obsessed with it that he compulsively repainted it over and over again, each version more horrific than the previous. […] It’s not until an artist finds his obsession that he can create his most inspired work.”Anamorph

Continue reading