Just going to drop this here, but we will be at the L.A. Times Festival of Books Saturday, April 21st looking for authors for interviews.
Authors N Focus makes its return interviewing authors and what better place to do it than at the Festival of Books? #bookfest
Look for the return of ANF on the Chatmon’s Books YouTube channel.
Here’s a couple of clips to refresh your memory!
This is it. We have finally reached the end of a project that I was really proud of and enjoyed with pride. As they say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. So it is time for this good thing which I’ve owned for eleven years, Authors N Focus, to come to an end. This is the last post.
What Authors N Focus meant to the literary community, I can’t say. I’ll leave it up to the readers and authors I’ve interviewed over the years but personally, it was a good thing and a project I felt served the cause of literature well. Once, there was a chance Authors N Focus could have taken the next big step, up a level to where we could have our own television program as evidenced in this video and on the Chatmon’s Books You Tube page but it wasn’t meant to be. It would have been special if it moved in that direction. It didn’t, so I have to let this go.
It’s not easy to let Authors N Focus go. This isn’t a decision I treat lightly. Truth is, I plan to write more books, articles such as the commentaries I hope you’ll take time to read, and enjoy life. Although I’ve decided to ‘call it a day’ for this blog, it will remain so others can see the work and resources which I hope will help them in their own literary journey. For me, this part of the journey for me is finished but who knows if I’ll ever go back and return with interviews and commentaries? No one can predict the future, but this is the present so therefore this decision has been made.
I would like to thank the first time and new authors willing to share their written works with me, their ambitions, their dreams and their successes throughout the years this blog (and website) played a role in helping them with the exposure they needed. There are a ton of websites and blogs that play the same role, but my online conversations with them meant a lot.
Closing this chapter is hard. I didn’t plan on turning this page but I must. Authors N Focus in these eleven years held a place in my heart that I enjoyed a lot and at some point perhaps I’ll get back into it. Then again, maybe not. This is the time for Authors N Focus to end and for everyone who supported this blog (and website) since the beginning, I hope and pray you find your own success in life even if you’re not writing a book.
Take care always and for the last time, always stay in focus.
Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus
Greetings, my name is Charles L. Chatmon.
Most of you who follow me on this blog know that I’m an author. I’m also the owner of Chatmon’s Books, a mobile and online bookstore. If you like to see what I’m up to with the store, you may follow me using the Chatmon’s Books link to the right or click on https://chatmonsbooks.wordpress.com
Most of you know me as the creator of the Authors N Focus blog, but I’m also a published author and writing workshop instructor. I write on topics either found in my books dealing with the issues that affect us all in today’s society. My blog, Thoughts on a String can be found on the blogroll to the right or by simply clicking on http://charleschatmon.bravejournal.com
So, here’s the million dollar question: why do you want to be a writer?
There are millions of advice floating throughout the internet (some even offered here in the past) telling all of you aspiring to be one what it takes, what you must possess, what Master of Fine Arts classes you must take and then, what you must do to be successful.
Thankfully, I just decided to be one and then work on it. I practiced by writing a lot of rough drafts (some even to this day are unfinished), wrote articles for community newspapers and start up magazines, even church bulletins. At the stage I’m at now with only two books published, there is no way on earth I have ‘made’ it. I’m thirsty for more. I had a taste of ‘success’ when I published my books, but I want more. How do I get it? Writing on this blog for example. In order for me to accomplish my goals, I have to spend less time on social media (yes, you read that right), less time searching on the internet, pull up a file I’m working on and get right to it.
I grew up without the expectations placed on writers today. In today’s world, you have to take a Master’s class in order how to write. I may have mentioned in one entry that one of my old college textbooks taught me more about how to write, what to use such as metaphors and similes. Even now when you have individual literary artists believing they have the answers on how to become great writers, it would be a mistake after a couple of books to believe there’s no reason for me to stop working on my future projects, take up my scepter and declare myself ‘King of Literature’. It doesn’t happen that way. You’re only as good as your last project. Readers can care less if you proclaim yourself ‘great’, you have to keep working at it.
The late, great Leslie Banks could have easily sat on her laurels as the creator of the ‘Vampire Huntress Legend Series’ and her accolades speak for themselves. She continued to work on her future projects understanding there was more she could do as an accomplished author. Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to see what she could do but I bring her up as a reminder that even the best writers feel the need to grow and develop their projects and themselves. I’m at the crossroads right now. For now, Storm Over South Central is halfway done. My part’s finished, but I’m working on two more projects that hopefully will see publication in the future. Like I said, there’s more to be done and I want to do my best before it’s my time to leave this earth.
As you can guess looking at the archives of this blog, I love to write. It’s the one thing which I feel I’m at my best once I’m engaged in the process. From the age of twelve, I only accepted writing as a hobby, something to do when I needed to express myself. Years later, it’s natural like breathing to me. I hope anyone who aspires to be a writer, take it seriously but don’t be bombarded by today’s expectations of your art. With millions of people already publishing books, your time will come. Don’t rush it or expect a giant financial payoff. It rarely happens but the payoff in enjoying what you do, the characters you create, the fun you have involved in your own work, that’s the payoff. That’s where it counts.
So to answer the question, this is why I decided to become a writer.
Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus
This is an old clip, but author Charles L. Chatmon explains the reason why new writers must find a target audience for their literary projects. Helpful tips for anyone who plans to write a book one day in the near future.
So I took a month long break from the grind of writing just to have time for myself and rest. Now that I’ve written about it (getting rest), I felt a need to ‘rewind’ and ‘recharge’ myself so I can get back into the write mode. This past weekend, I made a visit to the community college where I started my goal of mastering the English language in speaking it, writing, and analyzing words. While I felt I have lost my way as a writer, this weekend was a revelation into what I believe is the big lesson I missed out on.
Loneliness is a social killer but for the serious writer, it can be what is needed to fully use your powers of concentration and creative thought. I had to remember the after class hours I spent in an empty classroom to write a short story, watching from the third floor people walking around campus. I had enough discipline to force myself to return to my seat and finish the pages I had planned to write for that day. Over thirty years later, it is close to impossible with the rise of the internet and social media to maintain that focus and commitment to the work. Not saying it’s impossible, but the need to check our statuses, pokes and notes are tempting and if one doesn’t develop the right mental control to continue the written (or typed) work, it’s easy to lose attention to what’s important.
A writer also needs an environment where he or she can thrive in creating their works. There are many, many suggestions over the internet and print media advising scribes when, where and how to write in a stable setting with or without the use of the internet. These settings as we have learned vary from a hotel room to the quiet comforts of one’s own home. On this campus, I chose to write in an empty classroom because it gave me the opportunity to write in peace. I can honestly say I never had a situation where I was interrupted while writing in this classroom and now from my visit, I’ve found out in one of the halls I used to frequent there is a writing center. Where was this when I needed it? (Big smile)
The most important lesson I’ve learned from my visit is that as many years have passed, I took advantage of the opportunities I was given and built on them. For example, I wrote two sports articles for the college newspaper. Upon transferring to a university, I wrote another two articles for the newspaper and continued until the present day. When you’ve set a goal of becoming the best writer you can be, you have to start early and produce as much as you can for maximum exposure. This fast-paced digital, social media world will make you think you haven’t done much if you allow that thinking to seep in, but as long as you keep writing and inventing ideas in your mind, you’re always contributing.
There are times such as last month where you need to take a break and just relax. It’s a good idea to sit back and allow your brain to conjure up new ideas, new works. Only you as a writer can choose when to get back into the flow of writing your new or unfinished projects. As long as you can recharge and get back into the write mode, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time off to sit back, relax, and enjoy the time you have.
Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus
When I look back on my life, obviously there were opportunities to be had which I failed to take advantage of. What I don’t regret is the fact I kept on writing, keeping most of my rough drafts in a safe place. In writers workshops, I tell budding authors how important it is to keep your rough drafts of your written work for the fact you may want to go back to that poem or prose manuscript you’ve spent time on, or use a few plot elements for an upcoming story or poem that hasn’t entered your mind yet. Whether its paper or old files in your hard drive, it’s best to save every idea, every thought you’ve ever written or typed out. I still lament the fact of old plays, short stories that I wrote by hand or typed on my electric typewriter that I’ve thrown in the trash or ripped up with my bare hands. We say our mind is like a computer and reader, you may take the approach I once had, “Well I’ll just rewrite the whole thing again.” I can do that, but my misplaced arrogance will help me understand that perhaps what I wrote was ‘perfect’ the first time. Maybe I should have kept the written work so I wouldn’t have to strain myself years later on rewriting a piece that I miss.
It’s important to keep your rough drafts because as I might have mentioned it before, it could be the one idea that will help launch your writing career or get you ‘over the top’ as an author. Either way, your ideas belong to you. Before you do throw your draft away, think on these questions:
Is this a project I may come back to?
Am I having fun working on this non-fiction or fiction written project?
What am I getting out of it besides a waste of time?
These are the questions you as a writer have to ask before jettisoning a rough draft you feel you may or may not feel invested in. Look, there are tons of articles and blog posts that will show you the benefits of keeping a first draft but if I have to leave you with any advice (such as it is), remember this: hold on to all of your written and typed works and save them in a ‘cool’ place like a folder on your hard drive or actual folder at home. No matter where you keep them, I believe when you’re looking for another project to work on, it’s best to rethink and restart a piece of work you didn’t finish or didn’t believe fit comfortable the first time.
Just stay focused and continue to write. It will all come together for you in the end!
Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus
The art of writing should be an even playing field.
As it stands right now in early 2017, there is a logical debate going on between critics of the Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) and those who support it, believing it has a place for anyone pursuing a writing career. There are many articles for or against the MFA but as an objective viewer watching the debate from afar, does it really matter?
For example, I enrolled in an English creative writing class in college over thirty years ago which allowed you to write whatever you wish, only to face stern criticism as you read your piece in front of an unsatisfied professor and other students with writing experience not afraid to state their opinion. The first two short stories I submitted were met with less than a positive response. The first story was of my own creation, not written for the class. The somewhat ambiguous ending in their eyes prompted a lot of probing questions that did not live up to their standards. The second short story I wrote exclusively for the class was a bit more polished and grounded in reality but again, it was deeply scrutinized by the professor and classmates who did not found it appealing to their taste. While I submitted the first two short stories, one I wrote strictly for myself but wanted to share, I wrote another story I had finished a year prior as a personal creative venture. It was a literary project I wrote for myself. It was not meant for the class so when I read the first four pages of what I wrote in print as an eleven page tale, the reaction based on the tension I interjected between two of the main characters caught the ear of my professor who wanted to hear more. My classmates with a critical eye could not find anything to gripe about. I was pleased for once I wrote a satisfactory piece that I felt like writing and not because I wanted to give a good impression to my professor. With that third short story that is a short story I created for myself, it allowed me to move forward and write the short stories I felt like writing without the influence of my professor or critics. Could you imagine what would have happened if this same professor told me I needed a MFA to be a ‘serious writer’? If I were told that back in the 1980’s, I would have considered it but I feel a degree could not simply replace the hard work, time and dedication I put into creating the best work possible.
Besides, shouldn’t be the effort one puts into their writing that ultimately counts instead of obtaining a degree that a select few, including agents feel is a ticket to success? While this author is not against any aspiring writer working hard to obtain a MFA, those of us who stopped with only a Bachelor’s Degree or even writers without either one shouldn’t be judged on their lack of dedication, drive and motivation. It should be the individual writer’s decision on how far they wish to take their career and creative projects.
What I learned from that creative writing class is that there will always be critics, those who have reservations about your creative projects and those who will simply wish you nothing but failure because in their eyes you will never be good enough or talented enough to meet their standards. As long as you as a writer continue to believe in your stories, do your homework by retaining the literary knowledge to succeed and study other famous writers who have found their measure of success, you will also find the same whether you’ve earned a MFA or not.
Charles L. Chatmon
Authors N Focus
Happy holidays everyone!
Thank you for your support of Authors N Focus for the past ten years. We plan to be back in 2017 with more interviews, publishing trends and information to new and aspiring authors.
Until then, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!
-Authors N Focus
(presented by Chatmon’s Books)