Step Up 3: The Geeks . Blogger Alasdair Stuart says it's time for you to put pen to paper and prove you can do it like the rest of them
Geeks have X-ray vision. We can see the bones of a story, whether it's a game, a film, a book, a comic or a movie, we're so steeped in signal that we can see how a story fits together, how it works and sometimes how it doesn't.
When that happens, it's like the grit in the oyster, the pea at the bottom of the bed, the gun that wasn't built at that time being used in a period story. Sometimes it doesn't matter, sometimes it does – and sometimes? Sometimes it frustrates us so much because we know we could do better if only we had the chance.
Let's say you have an idea for a story. Turn the TV off, don't listen to any music, disconnect the phone and the internet and sit down with a notebook or a laptop and a timer. Write everything you can think of about the idea down, and do absolutely nothing else, for thirty minutes. Then save the file, or close the book and put it away for two days. Come back to it after that, and do the same thing; no signal, just you and a page, for half an hour.
Then, if you think it's a book, write it. Make time to write every single day and believe me, you have that time. Get up half an hour earlier, stay up half an hour later, do what a friend of mine did and write for fifteen minutes at a time whilst you're doing the washing up. It will hurt, it will feel awkward, it will get in the way of other stuff that you want to do. Deal with it. Write, every day, for the same period of time, until it's done. Then, put it in a drawer for a week and don't even think about it. Then come back, and revise it, same process, same discipline. You'll hate it. Do it anyway.
Of course, the problem with a book is working out what to do with it when it's done. The process of getting an agent, or a publisher, is a difficult one to say the least and the obvious solution is equal parts simple and brutal; get used to rejection. Buy a copy of the Writer's And Artist's Yearbook , get to know the agents and publishers section, send the book out and then forget about it. In six to eight months you'll start getting rejections. Keep them, cherish them, they show that you've instantly done more than ninety eight percent of everyone else does; you've shown up. Keep showing up, keep sending it out, keep writing something else whilst the book's out there. That's the first solution.
The second is more brutal, but more fun; reprogram the test so it's possible for you to win. There has never been a better time to be a writer looking to make a name for themselves because we have never had better tools than we have now. If you want to publish the book yourself, you can, either through Lulu ( www.lulu.com ) if you want a physical book or Smashwords ( www.smashwords.com ) if you want to go down the ebook route. Both have problems; Lulu cover their costs by folding them into the price of the book whilst Smashwords has set pricing schemes. But they both have a lot to recommend them as well. After all, Wil Wheaton put a book out through Lulu.
The other option is to podcast it. This works, it's really that simple. Countless authors podcast their work as a means of raising awareness and several have got print contracts based on that. If you want to podcast your book, do some background reading ( www.wikihow.com/Start-Your-Own-Podcast ), and check out any of these authors:
Then, get free accounts at Podcast Pickle ( www.podcastpickle.com ) and libsyn ( http://libsyn.com/3/alt-index.php ) and buy a microphone. I recommend the Blue Snowball model but there are good ones out there. Download Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) a free audio editing software package and play with it. Learn how to cross fade, learn how to drop in music, learn how to write a good promo and press save. A lot, trust me. Then , when you've got your promos done, send them out to other podcasters and ask politely if they'll run them. Once that's done, keep recording, keep writing and get it out on time.
What if it's a comic rather than a book? That's easier. If you've never written a comic script before, you need to learn. The Comic Book Script Archive ( www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/ ) will show you the various ways a comic script can be laid out and pitch a story whilst the forums at Digital Webbing ( www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/ ) are a good place to find the other creative team members you will need. Once you've got them, go to Millarworld ( http://forums.millarworld.tv/index.php?showforum=1 ) and look at the artist and writer community there as well as the rolling talent search looking for short stories for CLiNT magazine or for 2000AD ( www.2000adonline.com/submissions ).
The final stage is the most important one; tell people about your work. If you have problems with social media, get over them, this is your work, your career and more than enough people will run you down without you helping them. Get a Twitter account. Start following people you know, people who's work you like, people you respect. Start tweeting links to your work, and do the same thing with a Facebook page. Update them regularly, respond to mentions or messages, be nice, be courteous and make friends. Joint projects may be suggested, go for them, chances are they'll put you in front of people who wouldn't normally see your work. Talk to people, write with people, keep showing up.
Geeks have X-ray vision and sometimes that's all we have. We spend so much time pulling apart the things we love, or the things we hate, that we forget that we can do better. So do better, get writing, make something. Then tell people about it.