Another author from Oregon! Brandon Ellis, author and sports massage therapist, shares his wisdom about sports, book reviews, and juggling writing with work and family life. Brandon has written The Pure Lights of Ohm Totem and The PureLights & the PureLight Order, and it sounds like much more is on the way. Many thanks to Brandon for spending some time with us on The Book Pound!
How do you juggle writing with all the other demands on your time?
It's extremely difficult. I have three kids, a full time job, kid's volleyball and soccer practices, their volleyball and soccer games to attend, and their homework to help them with, giving me very little time to write. There are times that I'm itching to write, but can't get to it for a week, or I can only get to it when everyone's asleep, like at 11 pm or midnight. By that time, however, I'm pretty wonked out and have a strenuous time trying to stay awake to type. Though, the stories in my head keep me propelled and the love of writing, of storytelling, of the hope that someone will read my stories and love them, keeps me going. So, my juggle with writing and the other demands on my time can be phrased with one word: "Sporadic." I get to writing when I can.
Sports have been a big part of your life. Do you think there are similarities between playing sports and writing books? Does one of these interests influence the other?
Great question. They are very similar, but in a strange way. I love playing sports and I was very good at sports. I was what people would call a talented athlete. Whatever I did, I ended up excelling at (in sports). In writing, and in sports, there are two key components (and probably more that I haven't observed properly, as in, it's probably right in front of me, but I don't see it). The first component is practice, practice, practice. Just as in sports, if you practice the art of writing, you'll get better and better at it. If I am having a tough time making free throws on the basketball court, then I must stay after practice and shoot free throws until I reach my goal. That is how I get better. In writing, if I'm having a tough time with grammar, then reading about grammar and practicing it, is how I would get better. The second component is mimicking. If I mimicked the shooting technique of the greatest free throw shooter that I have ever seen, then over time, I would integrate that shooting technique into my own technique and make more free throws. If I read the books of the greatest authors out there, those who have incredible stories, those that have excellent grammar, and those that have incredible character development, then I'd integrate those skills into my own writing, bettering my writing style and my stories.
Do your children get involved in your writing? Do they give you ideas or read your work before it's published?
My children are brutally honest. If they don't like something, such as an idea, or even a book I've written, they'll tell me, especially my twelve year old daughter. Talk about being blunt! My son has given me unbelievable ideas for stories and "things" that I can add into my book(s). It's fun, because I see the glow in their eyes when their brainstorming hits home, and I decide to run with it.
What's the most difficult part of writing for you?
The most difficult part of writing is the fact that I want to get it done, published, and perfect the moment I think of a book. Even though writing it is a blast, I tend to get impatient. Also, it's difficult to read negative reviews. I've put my heart, soul, and the kitchen sink in my writing and when someone rips it apart, it stings a little...
...a lot! I'm starting to grow a thick skin, though. I have a lot more positive reviews than negative, so I'm crossing my fingers that it stays that way.
Do you work on more than one writing project at a time? What's next for you?
I work on about four at a time. If you go to my website, www.thepurelights.com, you'll see a book progress meter of each book I'm currently writing. For example, you'd see the bar reader show that I'm 83% done with "The PureLights and the Pyramid of Ohm"; 9% done with "Star Guild"; 4% done with "Bear 13"; and 2% done with "The Indigo's".
I've joined "NanoWrimo", which is National Book Writing website for a writing competition that happens each November). The goal is to write a book in one month and my hope is that I can finish Star Guild by the end of November.
Is there anything else you would like to say to Book Pound readers?
Enjoy life. Do what makes your heart sing. And, if you fail once, twice, or a hundred times at what you love to do, then get back up and keep going. You'll find a way to make it work. Where there is a will, there is a way. The object in failure is to learn from it, then call the failure a challenge or an opportunity. Once you do that, you're one step closer to fulfilling your dream. At least, that's how I look at it.