Make Your Words Count

There are contradictions in writing. For instance, writing is hard, it’s challenging, it’s difficult. And yet, it’s also easy. When you’re inspired, when you’re at one with your muse or the universe, or in my case, the Divine Spirit who is the Creator of all things, the words come easy.  Inspiration is wonderful.

(By the way, I’m a believer, but you don’t have to be. I’m not offended if you don’t believe in God and I hope you’re not offend if I do believe in God. Everyone’s path is unique, sacred, and private.)

So, inspiration. It comes with a cost. When you’re on fire, when the words fly off the keys onto the monitor, the screen, or the paper, when flames fly from your fingers as you write, when inspiration burns in your very being, when you’re at one with the writing, at one with the Islamic poet Rumi’s words: “I was raw, I cooked, I burned,” then all is well with the universe.

But then comes the cost, the next day, when you have to edit, when you have to slow down and make sense of what you previously wrote. So what if the words flew off the key board or pad yesterday? You’re not the android Data from Star Trek, you’re not Clark Kent, writing for the Daily Planet, or The Flash, or Dr. Strange, or any Science Fiction or Comic Superhero. You’re you. And as you, you have to work hard to make your words make sense to others.

It takes hard work to be a writer. Even if you’re the greatest writer who ever lived, even if you’re the smartest genius ever, your words have to make sense to your audience, your readers, anyone you want to reach. You’re not dumbing things down for them, you’re trying to lift them up.

See, all writers want to make a difference. That’s why anyone and everyone writes. Oh, yes, you want to be rich, you want to be famous, you want glory and power and money and respect , but there’s one little catch: the audience, not you, decides whether you’re worth it or not. And if you don’t give a damn about your audience, your audience won’t give a damn about you.

There’s always lots of writers, young and old alike, who think rules don’t matter, that an audience will believe anything, accept anything, read anything and everything put before them. Well, that might be true of movies or TV, or of non-fiction books,such as  political Tell-All books and biographies,  maybe, though I doubt it, but it’s not true of fiction. That’s because fiction readers are intelligent and choosy, and extremely selective. They are a rare breed. And there’s not that many of them. Only seventeen to maybe twenty-four percent of the population reads fiction.

How many is that? Let’s say it’s an even twenty percent of the population. What’s twenty percent of three hundred and twenty million Americans? Sixty-four million readers. So, that’s a lot, right ? Nope. Because they’re selective in what they read. Some like Romances only. Some like Westerns only. Some like Science Fiction, or Fantasy, or Action Adventure, or Mysteries. Or Horror. And some read a bit of one and a bit of another.

You’ll be lucky if ten million readers read what you write. Well, that’s doable, isn’t it?

Maybe. And maybe not. Every year, in paper publishing and self-publishing on the Internet through Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and others, hundreds of thousands of novels are being published. The competition is fierce. And there’s a lot of garbage out there. So how do you push it aside so your potential audience can find you?

Well, some think that advertising is the key. And they might be right. But the trouble with advertising is the tremendous overuse of Hyperbole (you know, exaggeration.) When you tell potential readers your book is “the best every written,” or “the best book you’ll ever read,” Or a “page turner”, a “shocker”, “thrilling”, “you won’t be able to put it down” those potential readers and buyers put all those phrases and more into the same category as political adds and think: BULL SHIT.

And who wants to by BS?

Readers want Honesty, not Spin. They want good writing. They want writers who respect them, care for them. They want characters they can relate to, stories that are somewhat realistic, conflict and pain that will be over come. They want good story-telling with good endings. They don’t have to be happy endings, but they do have to be satisfying.

And that’s why ever story you write has to be the best it can be. Your words have to matter. And you have to respect your audience, no matter what its size may be, because small audiences have the capacity  to become big audiences.

Too many writers today, especially on the internet, when they finish with the first draft of a story, upload it right away. Then readers have to wade through the mess. Words are misspelled, sentences are choppy, grammar sucks, whole sections are missing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Agents for paper publishers will look at such work and throw it out.

Be your best. What’s the old US Army motto was: “Be All You Can Be!” Well, why not? Turn in your best stuff. Try hard. Work hard. Give it your “blood, sweat, and tears!”

Make your words make sense. Respect your audience and give them what they want to read. Give them what they want, and though it might take some time, eventually they’ll give you what you want.

Got it?


See you out there.


Blogging is a pain-in-the-ass to the professional writer or artist, not because sharing is a pain, but because you may not always have the inspiration for creating both a decent blog and whatever else you are doing, be it writing a novel, dancing, painting, or whatever else you do artistically or creatively in your life.

And let’s get this straight, even baking and cooking can be creative and artistic. For that matter, whatever is your passion, even if it’s just driving a car, a motorcycle, or a bus or truck, or even a tractor, can be artistic. Just because the general public cannot see the inspiration and art in it doesn’t make it mundane and plain.

During the dry spells in the autumn and winter months, I hike the hills of Northern California. The grass is blond, the ground hard and dry. But there’s a peacefulness and a beauty to these hills that surpasses the most lush green hillsides you may ever find. I have met many people traversing these hills, including those who graze cattle among the hills and others who ride bicycles and ATVs. Those who use the land only for monetary or recreational purposes often only see the material nature of the land, while I look to the spiritual.

Now, a little note here about spirituality. Many people think of it only in terms of religion, while some religions think of it terms of transcending the material world. Whatever it means to you, I have no quarrels with it.

What does spirituality means to me? Peace is spiritual. Silence is spiritual. Music is spiritual.   Blue skies are spiritual. Rivers and lakes and oceans are spiritual. To me.

Deserts are spiritual. The empty winter hills are spiritual. Love can be spiritual.

For me, it’s the peacefulness and the pure beauty of the autumn and winter hills that draws me. And art, in whatever form it takes, so long as it uplifts and doesn’t debase, is spiritual.

I have learned not to blog during the holiday months because most people ignore them. They’re looking for other things, including gifts to give or receive. That’s fine.

But the thing about writing is that sometimes you have to stop and find a spiritual release. Something peaceful that doesn’t require thinking and talking and writing and touching, By the way, singing is very spiritual.

When you’re quiet and don’t think or speak, but just soak in the world around you, for at least ten minutes, then you find peace, then you find spirituality. And you recharge your batteries, so to speak. Then you’re ready to perform again.

And writing is performance.

See you out there.

Being Your Best

All writers suffer from poor sales at one time or another in their careers. Why is this? Well, for one thing, when you’re building your audience or re-building it after a long period away from writing, you have to find new readers and at the same time regain the trust of old readers.

So, how do you build an audience or re-build one? Well, you start by writing the best story you can. That goes without saying. And every writer thinks that’s what he or she is doing. But the thing is, if it’s easy, if it flows without any problem, then nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, it’s not any good.

We all want to believe that everything we write is perfection made manifest to the world. But it’s not. If you’re not frustrated with your progress, if you’re not upset because you don’t know where to go next, if you’ve lost your way and you can’t find your way back to what you want to say or where you want to go, if you can’t get the description right, or the dialogue right, or just the words right, if at times you don’t hate your story, if your story is challenging you, if you’re bored with it, then chances are the reader will be bored, too.

And a bored reader is a reader that leaves you.

Your story has to challenge you. And not just because when you’re challenged, your reader will be challenged too. It has to challenge you so you can grow as a writer. When you grow as a writer, then you grow as a person. And when you grow as a person, then you’re ready for your next challenge. This is true not only for writers, but dancers, musicians, composers, actors, film makers, architects, bakers, everyone who’s trying to make a difference in the world, or trying to express their true selves in a creative way.

Think it’s not true?

A reporter once asked Ernest Hemingway why he re-wrote the last chapter of “For Whom the Bells Toll” forty times. Hemingway’s response? “To get the words right,” he said.

Every composer struggles to get the music right. Every dancer practices the steps until they’re perfect. Every actor struggles to learn the lines and then when they’ve mastered them, struggles to perform them until the lines become part of them, so that their characters come alive in their dialogue.

Actors and writers have a lot in common. Both succeed or fail through their performances. An actor strives to become the character, sharing his heart and memories and spirit with the characters until she is at one with that character. So, too, writers have to live their characters’ lives, bringing out from deep inside themselves their deepest fears and their greatest joys.

A writer who puts everything into her writing will eventually become successful. So, too, will an actor who doesn’t hold back. Painters and other artists must become one with their work, too.

If you’re not one with your painting, if your not one with your writing, if you not one with whatever you’re doing,with how you’re revealing your most creative desires and goals, even if its in baking or cooking or house building, then you’re failing. You’re failing yourself, you’re failing your audience, you’re failing your future.

To be successful, you have to start with your best and keep seeking to achieve your best.

Good luck. See you out there.

Truth in Writing

Every great story has a bit of Truth in it.  Personal truth, societal truth, the truth of humanity, something that the writer has learned. Such as the unlimited and pure love a mother feels for her child. Or the sadness a father feels when his children have grown up and don’t need him anymore, when they abandon him for their own loves and lives.

A frequent theme throughout life is someone giving up their life to save someone else, be it friend, family member or stranger. We see it in war, we see it when a building is burning down, we see it on the streets when complete strangers throw themselves on others to protect them from a sniper’s bullets. We think of that as the ultimate  act of valor and compassion.

In a book I read about American soldiers in Iraq, there was this one young soldier that everyone in his platoon thought of as a screwup. They even expected him to be the first one to bail out of the humvee they road around together, if a grenade was thrown into. Then, one day, an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy threw a grenade into their humvee. Everyone stared at it, expecting to die. And this young man, who everyone thought of as a coward and a colossal screwup, flopped onto the grenade, saving the other four men in the vehicle and while his chest and abdomen were shredded by the blast. They couldn’t believe that he loved them so much, thought of them as family so much, that he sacrificed himself so they might live. They were so ashamed of themselves for previously thinking so poorly of him.

This giving up of your life for others is not a new thing. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John,  Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about truth in writing. I just finished reading a book by Molly Guptill Manning titled, “When Books Went to War: the stories that helped us win world war two.” The United States in particular, and the Allies in general, didn’t just save the great art works in Europe from destruction by the Nazis, but they fought Fascism with books. From the 1930s through the end of World War 2, the Nazis burned more than one hundred million books. Anything that opposed hatred and fear, anything against Fascism, was destroyed. Not just great novels and plays, but Bibles, copies of the Qu’ran, even copies of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s (pronounced “Lou See”) Tao Te Ching. Anthing that uplifted humanity, they destroyed.

So the United States printed small little pocket books to entertain and enrich the lives of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen throughout the world. It was not just a war of strategies, a war of weapons and violence and destruction, it was a war of ideas. Just as the war against ISIS is a war of ideas.

The Nazis destroyed more than 100 million books, but the United States printed more than  123 million books and sent them overseas, first to American enlisted men and women, then to some of our Allies, and then to some of the emptied-out libraries in liberated countries.

I recommend every writer read Molly Manning’s book.

Books are more than just platforms for stories. More than just a means for making money. More than just for entertainment. They can help you process your life. They can lift you up. Then can teach you about yourself and others. They can lift you up out of the dull and deceptive world we sometimes seem to live in.

In the introduction to Manning’s book, in a young Marine’s letter to author Betty Smith, who wrote the classic “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” a book now almost forgotten, he tells her that at age 20, he had seen and felt such suffering that he was a hardened and cynical man, incapable loving anybody or anything, that he was dead to the world and the world was dead to him.. Then, while confined to a field hospital bed, suffering from malaria, he read her book. He had read it twice and was so uplifted and so moved, he wrote, that he was re-reading it a third time. He explained that her book had released him from the hardness and hatred that he had felt and that he could live again.

Smith’s book is set in 1900 Brooklyn. It’s about a twelve-year old girl growing up in poverty. The father she loves and worships is a dreamer, but also an alcoholic. He can’t keep a job. Her mother works herself to the bone day after day, often working fourteen hours a day. When her father dies of pneumonia, it breaks her heart. But she continues on.

There’s a million billion stories like Smith’s book, throughout all history and throughout the whole world. And for this book to lift up a battle-hardened Marine, to give him hope for his future and life once more, that’s part of what every author should be aiming for.

Don’t just write about other people’s experiences, about the truth they’ve discovered. Write about what you’ve learned. Write to uplift. Adventures and action and romance and all these things are fine, but some character of yours somewhere in each story you write should have learned something about life, about moving forward, about personal growth, about living, about hoping, about loving.

Some authors want to bury the reader in the past, making the reader feel guilty for the suffering others endured. That’s not lifting up, that shaming people, that’s tearing them down. You can write about these things, but you have to find a way out of all the sadness and suffering that has gone before, for your characters’ sakes, and for your readers’ sakes, too.

What has happened in the past is in the past. The past is dead and so are its victims and victimizers. Don’t victimize your readers. They won’t love you for it, they’ll hate you for it. Then you, too, will be a victimizer.

When we watch adventure movies, movies with Indiana Jones in them, with Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, we have a great time. What lifts us up in these action movies? The heroes, their promises of overcoming evil with good, that they’re out there defending us. That we’re protected. That we’re safe. That someone will stand up for us.

We not only experience a great fictional adventure, but we come out feeling hopeful, for our day, for our future.

Hope is what refugees fleeing from war feel when they travel to a new country. Hope is what those whose houses are on fire or threatened by fire feel when they see firemen coming their way. Hope is what you feel when you’ve been lost in the wilderness and suddenly you spot a plane or a helicopter or someone coming toward you. Hope is what keeps farmers going when their crops have been destroyed by the weather, or insects, or the carelessness and selfishness of others. Hope of next year being better is what keeps farmers going.

Your characters have to have hope, even as you as writer has to have hope. You hope that the story you’re writing will be popular. That you’ll be recognized. That you’ll make money. That your audience will grow.

And what you need to put into your stories is hope. Your characters, no matter how awful what they’re experiencing is, need to have hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that they will survive.

Yes, your characters need to suffer, as much as Jesus suffered carrying his cross to his crucifixion. But they have to have hope, too. Hope that their suffering will end.

So, put whatever truths you’ve learned about life, put them into your stories. Give them to some of your characters. Even Romeo and Juliet had hope that they might live together in love and peace. The fact that it didn’t work out for them makes the story much more dramatic. But let some of your characters learn, love, and have their hopes fulfilled. Don’t make it too easy for them, but don’t make it too impossible, too.

See you out there.

Good Storytelling

What’s the secret to good storytelling? Ready for it? It’s simple. Study the writers who are good storytellers. But who are these good storytellers and why is good storytelling so important?

The reason good storytelling is important is because you want an audience. And once you have an audience, you want to keep it, even expand it. So, as I have often said in other posts, if you want to keep your audience happy, you have to respect them and like them, and yes, even love them. Make your audience your friends. Even better, make them your family.

And how do you that? By catering to their tastes. Tom Clancy did that with all his techno-thrillers. His audience expected suspense, they expected fancy technology, they expected good heroes and dastardly villains. They expected action and they expected terror and suspense. And they got all of that.

Terry Pratchett fans expected great humor, fun characters, impossible situations and even more impossible victories, as well as great heroes and wicked villains.

With Shakespeare its wit, and romance, villainy, humor, incredible dialogue, good guys and bad guys. You have suspense, you have drama, you have irony, you have love. You have it all, including great sets and great locations.

But even Shakespeare had his master: The Bible. For those who disregard it as religious dribble, think again. Look at the stories. You start out with Adam and Eve, who live in Paradise, and maybe have for thousands or even millions of years. They live in perfect harmony with every  beast of the field and yet, they’re bored. They want more. So a lowly snake convinces them to steal from the Lord God. And for that, for trying to make themselves into gods, they are banished for eternity from Paradise.

Then you have Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. But the greatest story in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, isn’t any of them. Nor is it Moses, or Joshua, or even the Jews exiled to Babylon. The greatest story is the story of King David, God’s beloved one, the conqueror. David starts out as a lowly shepherd boy who saves the day by killing a giant warrior with a simple smooth stone drawn from a creek. He tosses the stone with a sling and slays this great warrior, driving the stone into the man’s fore head.

From there, he becomes the king’s servant. But the king is jealous of David, as he grows into manhood and seeks to slay David, even as David avoids slaying his king. But the king eventually dies and David is made king and conquers everyone and everything.

But, having nothing more to conquer, he conquers a beautiful married woman who steals his heart. He sleeps with her, committing adultery, forbidden by the law. So he has her faithful husband, who is also David’s faithful servant and warrior, sent into battle and then left behind for the enemy to kill. Then he marries the woman, Bathsheba.

What a story there, and what great storytelling. You have a youth who defeats a giant. You have a jealous king who seeks to slay the youth because the people love him more than they love their king. Later, the boy becomes a man and conquers his little world. But he takes a married woman to bed, breaking the law. And to cover his indiscretion, he has the woman’s husband killed, You have the innocent and pure youth, who loses all of that when he becomes king and abuses his power.

You have everything there for a great story.

So Shakespeare, and the Bible, and who else? Charles Dickens. JRR Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury (one of my favorites), and hundreds, maybe thousands more. And every one of them respected their audiences, giving them what they wanted.

Too many writers today, too many artists, musicians, poets, dancers, actors, comedians want to do what they want to do, disregarding  their audiences. “If you don’t like what I’m doing, F— You!” That’s how you lose your audience. Without readers, without viewers, without listeners, how can you make any money, let alone a difference?

And making a difference, whether you can admit it to yourself or not, is what it’s all about. If you’re not mature enough to understand that, maybe you should set aside whatever talent you have and find a different career. Too many people, with great talent, waste it on selfish intentions. Don’t be one of them.

Value your readers, your audience. Give them what THEY want, not what you want. Let someone else worry about whether it’s art or not. Lift your audience up. Make a difference.

To do that, you have to put everything into your work. Each story has to be as perfect as it can be. Think about each character, each event everyday, if not every moment.

Good storytelling makes a difference.

See you out there.

Good Stories

Most people think it’s easy to tell a story, and most people are right. But just because you can use your imagination and tell a quick little story doesn’t guarantee that you can write good short stories or a good screenplay or novel. It takes commitment and hard work, not to mention lots of thought and research, to write good stories. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts several times.

Imagination is important. But so is listening to how people talk to each other, so you can write good dialogue. It’s also important to observe people, to see how they treat each other, to notice what hurts them and what heals them.

Good stories also require good plots. And the thing is, finding a good a plot isn’t that difficult. First you have know what a plot is.  And the important thing is knowing what a plot is versus what a story is. I’ve mentioned before that the story is what happens to your characters, how they treat each other, what they experience. The plot is where the story is going, what happens along the way, and how it ends up.

For instance, if you meet a publisher or a literary agent, they usually what to know what your story is in two short and concise sentences. If you ramble on, they’ll know you’re an amateur and ignore you. However, the two-sentence story-line has to include the plot.

Here’s a good example: “There are two feuding families: the son from one family and the daughter from another fall in love and want to get married. The families forbid it; tragedy ensues.”

If don’t recognize it, that’s Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Or the musical “West Side Story.”

A more simple way to describe that story is like this, “Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Girl dies. Boy kills himself.” Eleven words, short and sweet.

That’s the plot. The story fills in with who they are, they are like, what are their friends like, what are their families like, where do they live, when do they live, who’s responsible for her death, how did it happen, why did it happen, why did he kill himself, what happened after they died?

The last part, “What happened after they died?” is the resolution. Keep that short, but not too short. The aftermath should show the friends and families reaction, but not much more. A few lines, maybe a few paragraphs, a couple of pages, but not much more. Not if you don’t want to make the end overly melodramatic and ruin the story.

A good example of a short and sweet resolution is the end of the 1930s “King Kong” when a crowd gathers around King Kong’s corpse. One of the main characters says, “It was love that killed the beast.” That sums up the whole movie. Impossible love.

Another part concerning a good story is what it says about the human condition. Love, for instance, is an important part of the human condition. Even if you’re not writing a love story, love should still be present. You love your sweetheart, you love your friends, you love yourself, you love your family, your pets, nature, your life, your privacy. Maybe you love your job. Maybe you love your church or your home or your community.

Maybe you love chocolate, or reading comics. Maybe you love music. Maybe you love Star Wars. Maybe you love helping people. Maybe you love writing. Maybe you love money. Or your car.

A good story should help the reader process his or her life and experiences. So, some sort of small truth should be there for the reader to relate to, to help the through his or her life.

You might think that’s bull crap, but its true. But don’t try to approach and define big truths, for stories about that tend to do so get too big and boring for the reader and to fail. Try to keep your personal beliefs out of stories, including your personal prejudices and hatreds. You want your readers to be entertained and to learn, but putting your anger into stories can backfire and you writing career can fail. You want your readers to love your stories and love your writing, not to despise or hate you.

So, what are small truths? Love, friendship, faith, family, respect for others, respect for yourself, self-confidence, self-sacrifice, redemption, courage, loyalty, honor.

Of course, there are opposites to all these things, too, such as loss. Loss of love, loss of companionship, loss of self-confidence or self-respect, loss of others respect or trust or confidence. But opposites are the challenges your characters need to overcome. If your characters go into darkness and stay there, your readers won’t find any hope and examples for them to overcome the darknesses they feel they’re trapped in, whether real or imagined.

It’s dangerous to write about good and evil, but if you don’t, you won’t have any stories to tell. Your characters need to overcome evil in their lives in order to grow. If they don’t grow, your story may fail. And if your characters don’t grow, don’t overcome evil, your readers won’t either.

There’s a responsibility when writing, just like there’s a responsibility when driving. Bad judgements in either can lead to personal disaster.

No one is innately evil. All babies are born pure and innocent. People are pulled to the darkness or the light by the fear they experience in their lives and their ability to overcome it, or their failure to do so. Psychologists say there are only two basic human emotions, love and fear. And I would say that fear is painful.

In my next post, I’ll talk about where to find good story examples. Shakespeare is always a good place to start.

See you out there.

Your Audience

Every writer, every singer, every actor, comic, dancer, musician, poet, painter, DJ, reporter, journalist, worker, politician, everyone, wants to make money in their chosen path,  be successful, be adored, be famous. In short, everyone want to be a rock star. And everyone can be. However, it takes time to develop an audience.

We live in a time where the internet and television bring us instance gratification. Computer games and social media cut away at patience. We want what we want and we want it now!

But it takes time to create a good book, a great painting, a hilarious act, a fantastic performance. And while some people can do it within a few months or maybe just a few years, it still takes commitment, patience, and time.

And courage.

So many of us give up so easy. Some begin to doubt themselves, even doubt the world. “No one notices me”, “No one recognizes talent anymore”, “People want crap so I’ll give them crap”, “F… the world”. These are common feelings among creative people. Everyone, since the dawn of time, perhaps even some of the first cave painters, has had times when they doubted themselves or felt angry at society because their talent wasn’t instantly recognized.

Sure, there may have been some people who have never felt this way. But secretly, maybe they did, even if only for a nanosecond. Even Jesus had doubts. In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night before he was taken prisoner, he doubted himself, if just for a tiny moment.

Self-doubt is a common theme in Society and in fiction. Look at Barry Allen in the CW series “The Flash”. Here he has this wonderful super power and yet he constantly doubts whether he’s good enough, fast enough, brave enough. (I so tired to this. Let’s give the boy a little ego boost for a change.)

And Ego is just the problem for all of us. We want to be recognized and we want to be recognized now.

But what we forget, or choose to ignore, is that it takes time to build an audience. That’s why politicians, generally, start out small, running for mayor or state senator before going on to Congress or the Senate, or even the Presidency.

Everyone needs an audience, recognition. But all the advertising in the world won’t bring you success or sales if you don’t have a good product. All advertising brings is people willing to look at what you have. Then it’s all your responsibility to hook them with good writing, crisp dialogue, great singing, hilarious jokes, whatever it takes to accomplish your goal of recognition and fame.

Whether you’re trying to move up in your business, or make money selling cars or food, it takes time to gather support. Author Ray Bradbury said it took ten to fifteen years to gather the fame you need to live modestly on your work. And a few more years after that for more success.

We all know that success takes hard work. But we all think that the handwork will bring us instant success. Yet an audience isn’t developed by advertising, but by word of mouth. One person reads your book, or listens to your jokes, loves your singing, loves your art, or watches your show and recommends it to someone else. Eventually, like falling dominoes knocking the next domino down, you develop an audience.

Recognition takes time. But don’t suppose that because you’ve gained some recognition, you can take off for a few years and come back and your audience will still be there, because a fledgling audience is like a fresh egg, delicate. Run off for a few years and your egg rots away. The same’s true of your audience.  One or two followers may remember you, but everyone else will most likely have forgotten you.

And don’t think that your audience will be happy with one or two works. Nowadays, people want new work from you every few months, or at the very least, once a year.

Successful artists live off of new works. Lots and lots of new works.  Shakespeare didn’t write just “Julius Caesar” and “Romeo and Juliet” and leave it at that. He wrote dozens of plays.

Likewise, one Ironman movie wasn’t enough, nor one Star Trek movie. Your audience wants more and you have to give it to them. And even if your audience starts out small, be patient and give it time. If you constantly put your best efforts into your work, your audience will grow.

When the first Star Wars movie came out forty years ago, I was one of maybe fifty people in the theater. It had been out for a week and no one really knew what it was. But a week later, I stood in line for hours while waiting to see it a second time.

So, be patient. Work hard. Keep producing. And don’t give up.

See you out there.