the writing life

That Time When a Rock Star Inspired the Creation of a Character

It was one of those moments I will never forget.

Mr. LaVeaux and I were watching Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” for the first time in December of 2012.

Holy crap, this band.

THIS BAND.

I’d grown up listening to this music but I’d never really seen the band perform before…not until we put the “Celebration Day” DVD on to play.

At this point in time, I’d been working on my first novel and needed a love interest for the book’s protagonist.

Cue Jimmy Page.

What better choice than an elegant, older man with style and English swagger to woo my heroine on the haunted, historic streets of Savannah, Georgia?

Thank you, Jimmy Page. You inspired the character Nigel Blackmore in my novel, Velvet, and all these years later I still think you are amazing.

The point of this short post? Never overlook anything in life. Most anything can be an inspiration for you. Whether you are a writer, artist, poet, chef, sculptor, dancer, musician…keep your eyes and ears open.

You just never know.

Photo credit: jimmypage.co.uk

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The Urge to Write: Finding the Time

If you write for a living or – like I do – as a hobby, do you often find yourself struggling to fit in the time? I do, and it can be quite frustrating.

Working a full time job takes most of a person’s energy. It’s so easy to come home from a long day at work and veg out in front of the television or any number of little electronic screens. So many days, the Muse will nudge me to write a little. Just a little. But my body and my spirit do not want to budge.

How do I deal with the urge to write in the midst of exhaustion?

It’s not always an easy thing to answer.

Lately, I have had three novels stewing and brewing in the back of my consciousness. These are stories I’ve planned to write for a very long time. One of them came to me in a dream last year. The others are from ideas conjured up in my head back about 25 years ago.

The problem I’ve had, it seems, is that I have no desire to sit in front of a computer after working in front of one for eight hours a day.

So, instead of writing, I’ve spent a good deal of my time recently reading books by other novelists. Some are classic, some are contemporary, but all are well-written stories that have captured my imagination. They gave me a spark and have inspired me to put something down on paper.

Anything.

So, just last night, I did that very thing.

After my shower, I grabbed a notebook and pen and started scripting out the plot of the dream story.

(It has a title, “Beyond the Blue,” and should be out by the end of the year if all goes well.)

Surprisingly, the fifteen minutes I carved out of my before-bedtime hour yielded a wealth of material from which to work. My scribbles started with one stumbling block after another, blocks I had not noticed until last night.

Questions started forming in my mind:

  1. What is the plot of the book?
  2. You know the dream you had. How are you going to expound on this?
  3. Who are your characters?
  4. You have your protagonist fully fleshed out. Who is the antagonist?

These are questions I had yet to answer. The information flowed from the pen and in a short time I had four handwritten sheets of paper.

Afterward, I laid my head down on the pillow and turned out the light. I felt in some way lighter and focused. Sleep came easy.

I knew I was on my way with this new book.

When I was in the process of writing Velvet, weeks went by where not one word was written. I’d hit the proverbial “wall.” No way out, no idea where to go next. And it was during those times I would read books. Somehow, the act of reading another’s words helped open up my storyline and give me the clarity I’d been seeking.

When you are too close to your project, or you feel in some way unable to write, try reading a book. Anything, fiction or nonfiction, seems to help me get my creative juices flowing. Maybe it will work for you, too.

How do you find time, or make the time, to write? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Photo credit: SelfPublish StreetLib

When You Blog, You Touch the World

 

Today I wandered around my blog and checked the stats page. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what countries were represented by my readership since I launched this blog several years ago.

I was taken aback when I discovered the above image.

This is a visual representation of the scope of my reach.

It took me a moment to wrap my head around the fact that at least one person in each of the shaded nations has read at least one of my blog posts over the years.

That’s a whole lot of countries represented. A whole lot of diverse readers who took the time to check out my blog.

Talk about humbling.

Thank you to everyone who has stumbled upon this little place on the web. It is my hope that you enjoy what you find and are able to take something away from here to benefit your lives.

You have benefited me by being here, and I thank you for that.

Photo screenshot from echolaveaux.com

Such a good reminder for anyone with the desire to write. Just write.

I can remember 30 some-odd years ago when I realized that I had a gift in the area of writing. Having made straight A’s in English from my earliest school years through college, I discovered a bit later in life that I could use this innate ability to express myself.

More than anything, I wanted to write.

Back during the summer of 1996, while the Summer Olympics were being played out all across the metro Atlanta area, I was taking the MARTA train to and from work. During the Olympics mania, I was writing what would become my first novel idea.

What enthusiasm I brought to the project. Looking back, I can’t help but smile.

I was writing a story based on a real-life experience I’d had involving an 80’s rock star. I worked and worked on that story for nearly ten years but could never finish it. There was no good way to conclude it. And to top it off, our house was burglarized and my computer stolen. (more…)

Gathering My Thoughts

Now that Velvet is out in the world and I have had my first book signing, my thoughts turn toward the next project on my list of things I need to write.

If you are a writer, do you have one of those lists?

Mine feels like a mile long idea trail of luscious little scenes and imaginings, all waiting to be put together into a new novel or novella. All of them are clamoring for my attention.

The trouble I have is choosing which project to give my attention to, and for how long? (more…)

Why Write? My Thoughts on Putting Pen to Paper

Every once in awhile, I stop and ask myself this question: “Why do I write?”

It’s a question I think some writers ask themselves, especially on the days where words don’t seem to be flowing as well as they should.

Why do I write? (more…)

Surviving Your First Book Signing As An Introvert

Well, last night was my very first book signing and it was a pleasant success.

On a hot July First Friday in Downtown Augusta, Georgia, there were quite a bit of folks who stopped by to meet the three of us who were signing books at the table outdoors. It was a gorgeous evening and I had a lot of fun.

However, going into this event, I was petrified. Outgoing and gregarious on the surface, I’m actually quite the introvert and uncomfortable when dealing with the public as a whole.

One on one is much easier for me than one on a ton.  (more…)

Trust me. It’s okay to be silent.

Somedays I have lots to say, both in the written and spoken word. Other times, as of late, I’ve found myself without a word to say or write. I find myself quiet.

This used to bother me.

I have always thought that when you write a blog, you need to pack in the content so that your followers would always have something to read.

I agree that it would be the ideal thing to do, but like everyone else I have times where there is nothing worthy for me to write about…no experience or insight or anything.

This has been one of those times.

Instead of berating myself, I’ve just allowed myself to be and breathe. To experience my existence without the need for communicating anything. When there is no inspiration, there is only silence.

And silence can be a very healing thing.

I will have my very first book signing in downtown Augusta, Georgia very soon. If you live in the area, I hope you’ll watch this page for more details on that.

By then, I’m sure I’ll have something to say.

Just Keeping It Real

I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I can speak for myself. Why else would I blog? What is the point of communicating if you don’t use your voice, whether in speaking or writing or by using some other form of communication?

This post is going to be a simple one, and from the heart. It’s about keeping it real.

Fame is an exciting thing to think about. Money, influence, power…some people crave that.

Not me.

There are many people who feel the need to be famous. Nothing wrong with that at all. If that’s what makes them real, then I say go for it. Even though many people dream of it, not everyone is destined to be a rock star.

This person here just wants to share thoughts and ideas. I bare my soul on this webpage. What you see is truly what you get. In fact, my first novel, Velvet, is based on my real-life experiences. When you see my name attached to anything, you know you can trust that what I write is real.

My goal with blogging, writing books, and doing art is simple.

I just want to touch a life or two while I’m living out my life on the earth.

My motivating force in life has always been this: to help others, to be a shoulder to lean on, and to be a good listener.

I’m not interested in climbing social ladders or being the center of attention. What I am interested in is becoming the best writer that I can be. I want to write all the stories that have been itching to come out of me for the past twenty years. I want to find and share things that I feel will help everyone get through their day with a smile.

I look forward to the day that I can do this full time.

For now, though, I will grasp each free moment and use it toward my goal. I write for myself, but I also write for you. I feel that we all experience similar things in different situations. As humans, it’s to be expected that we will have bad days, tragic experiences, stressful occasions.

My goal here is to share things that will help you (and myself) during those darker, sadder, more intense times of life.

Thank you for allowing me to reach out to you through this website. I do wish the best for you and yours, and I hope that what I share here helps you in some way.

Just keeping it real here at echolaveaux.com.

Photo credit: communikait.com

Creative blocks

Sometimes, as a writer, I find myself in a state of flux. One day, the words may flow freely. The next day, I find myself dry as a desert…not one word to put down on paper toward my next two projects.

I feel so stifled on those days. My mind is parched and no amount of wishing can bring the flow I so desperately think I need.

Yes, I did say “think I need.” (more…)