"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: The Times They Are A'Changin...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Times They Are A'Changin...

It seems the longer time goes on, the more traditional publishers are shutting their doors to new authors. 

Writers I speak to are getting their manuscripts back sooner and more frequently with those customary rejections these days, even if they've had publishing deals in the past.

Anyhoo, where I live, South Australia has more than its fair share of successful writers - Sean Williams, who writes Star Wars novels, for one. 

DM Cornish, whose Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy has a Hollywood option. 

My wife, Robyn Opie, is the author of 85 internationally published books. 

Janeen Brian is the proud author of 75 picture books, the list goes on.

Wannabe professional writers should find this encouraging.

Of course a lot more writers find success online these days, being independent and carving a niche as an authorpreneur.

My subscribers often complain about how long it takes to gain some traction as an independent author.

But don't forget it's never been easy to gain traction as an author, even with a publishing deal.

The average author has always needed to write around five to fifteen novels before they might earn enough to live on. 

And that's assuming they're writing the kind of books a lot of people want to read!

The majority of authors have always struggled to get by - so nothing has really changed, except now we can at least get paid for books we sell monthly. 

But anyway, we get so wrapped up in our own issues, we often forget the real purpose of life: and that is to help each other.

It's sometimes hard to grasp what this actually means.

Does it mean volunteering at a shelter or involving yourself in community projects? 

It might. 

Does it mean coaching your local kid's soccer team or organizing garage sales to raise money for the needy? 


These are the more obvious manifestations of charity and giving. 

Sure, they can smack of unpaid work and a necessary short term duty.

I prefer to think of "giving" as a vocation that we can all participate in - all the time - in our own way, using our own personal talents.

Rich businessmen, for instance, might find their real purpose is to give back to the community by using some of their money to fund humanitarian causes... some do.

In a perfect world, lawyers and doctors would spend at least some of their time working for free (we can dream)...

Working people can, through little acts of kindness, make the day easier and more pleasant for everyone around them...

But what can artists, writers and musicians do?

It's rare that artists have much spare cash - and time away from their work is a luxury few can afford.

I would argue that the most an artist can give is to focus on his or her art. 

The more artists work on their projects, the more they are giving - to the community, to the world at large.

The act of creating is the greatest gift we can give to each other, to the Universe, to whatever you conceive of as God.

Because art can bring light into the darkness, true understanding, and joy into the hearts of us all.

What better gift could a person hope to offer?

It's scientifically proven that happiness can make a person stronger, more resilient, more ambitious, a better, more giving individual.

Plus, like the endless Mobius strip, being a better, more giving person can make us - individually and collectively - happier.

Happiness is apparently infectious. 

Viral, if you like.

You might think that my wife and I are a couple of old hippies. 

We live on the land, trying to build a forest and save the local wildlife.

We work on artistic projects as the mood takes us, and enjoy the benefits of working on books, film and music, and getting paid for being "arty-types."

Some people think we're strange and aloof.

But actually we like to think of ourselves as just slightly ahead of our time.

We believe that, as a culture and a civilization, we are on the brink of a new era of 'Universal Consciousness'.

A time when materialism and technology merge with a new spiritual awareness of ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

We're looking forward to a time when greed and self-interest become less important for the majority. 

A time when focusing on compassion and responsibility will literally change our view of reality and help us all to become 'new millennial citizens' of our planet.

We see subtle changes in consciousness everywhere - and you might argue that's because we want to see them, even if they're not really there. 

I don't agree.

Personally, I've always believed that true happiness and personal creativity are inextricably linked.

Whenever I speak with people who are unhappy and unfulfilled, I always try to discover the central cause. 

Underneath all the surface reasons like perceived poverty, workplace angst, family problems and esteem issues, there is always a spark...

A little fire that knows instinctively we would be much happier if we were free - and had the time - to simply CREATE.

More and more people are seeing the light of that fire and following their passions - whether that's by starting their own craft businesses, or painting for pure pleasure, or writing on the vague promise of eventual success.

I always encourage people - especially writers, musicians and film makers - to follow their instincts and simply do what their heart is pushing them to embrace.

Because I believe only through creativity - which spawns real fulfillment, true happiness and a more spiritual understanding of the human condition - can we hope to repair the ills of this world and manifest ourselves as the true noble citizens of the universe we've always been destined to become.

Make time today to reflect on these important issues.

By doing so, I believe you can begin to make a real difference to your own life - and by extension, everyone else's - and this year, now.

On that note, you most definitely need to...

Keep writing!

Your Success is My Concern

Rob Parnell's Writing Academy


"You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer." Margaret Atwood

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