Want To Move Forward? Just Look Back


You’ve heard it many times. We all have.

Don’t look back.

Never look back, they may be gaining on you.

Keep your eyes forward: What’s in the past is the past.

Honestly, I think that’s about the biggest pile of bull byproduct that I’ve ever heard. I mean, c’mon, are we supposed to forget about everything we’ve just done or gone through. Should I forget that I just typed this sentence? Should I forget that I just typed this sentence? Should I forget that I just typed this sentence?

Hehe, just having a little moment there, but you get the drift. If we refuse to look back, we may repeat things we don’t necessarily want to repeat.

If you refer to that picture up top, you’ll see one of the most powerful forces among us, water. Oh it’s beautiful, no doubt, and very relaxing with the waves and the sounds of the water hitting the beach. It also possesses the force to cut through mountains of rock, wipe out cities, and take lives, but does the water only move forward? Of course not. It reaches a point, then retreats and regroups, gathering the strength to come again, many times faster, harder, and longer. Then it goes back again. And again. And again.

Why shouldn’t we be like the water, going back just a bit to regroup while striving to be better and stronger the next time?

As writers, I believe its essential to look back, so that we see what has worked for us and what hasn’t. We need to see where the opportunities for more success are located, and where we have become stagnant. The only way to do this is by looking back and recognizing not only our successes, but our failures.

So go ahead and look back, adjust, regroup, and then move forward with a clearer vision, hitting it harder and more successful than the last time. Over a length of time, just as the ocean waves do, you will see a continuous rise in production and progress.

Good Writing!

So This Is How It Ends? No, Probably Not



“So this is how it ends” I mumbled to myself.

Admittedly, I was caught off guard, because I knew what the ending was going to be. Or what it should be. Or what I was going to make it be. Or what I wanted it to be. And dammit, I’m the one writing this stuff.

But it’s not going to end that way at all, and I’m just going to have to live with it. You see, the good guys (or gals), aren’t so good. And the bad guys (again, and gals), may not be that bad after all. Because as the story unfolds, I find out more about them. Things that I didn’t know when I started writing this tale. Things they’ve been through, things they’ve been led to believe, and things they’ve just flat-out been lied to about will all change my, and hopefully your opinion of them as the story unfolds.

It’s great to have an outline, if you’re one of those writers, or even a broad view of where you want your characters to end up, on the good side of the fence or the wrong side of the tracks. I generally know my beginning, a bunch of middle stuff that I’ll put in order and decipher later, and an ending with the outcome of my choice. I’ve found that this type of thinking is more of a general vision than a true plot or rigorous outline.

So I keep in mind, as you should, that a vision, no matter what it pertains to, is just that, a vision. Let your characters dictate the story as they see it, according to their experiences, beliefs and views, and you’ll end up with an ending that’s believable, no matter the twists and turns you’ve put the reader through to get there.

And right now, I’ve envisioned this post ending exactly this way, so I’ll leave before something changes.

Good writing!

Excuse Me, Do I Even Know You?

I’m saying that to my fictional characters these days. You see, I had it all planned out, how they talked, acted and interacted with one another, down to thoughts, beliefs, and expressions. But now here they are, darn near every one of ’em, going off on their own little tangents and disrupting my story. The characters that I thought were decent, good people, aren’t that way anymore. The antagonist is just a victim of circumstance, the poor guy.

Who knew?

I thought I did, but as someone who is considered a “pantser” more than a “plotter”, the characters in my story just showed me who is in control. That’s why I spontaneously  pushed my chair back from the desk, looked at the words on the page and said, rather loudly I think, “Excuse me, do I even know you?”

And then there’s a vision of all the characters turning, in unison, and looking towards me, smiling, saying, “No, but you will”.

That’s when I finally realized what published authors are talking about when they say that their characters take on a life of their own within a story. The writer is merely there to record the events, as true as they can be within a fictional setting. Quite crazy, isn’t it?

I’m just happy to be a part of it.

After Just One Writing Conference, I Was Hooked

All Write Now Conference
Brian Klems – Writer’s Digest

Yep, I’m hooked.

And now I wish I would’ve gone to them a long time ago.

It took me several years to finally get the courage and confidence to get myself to a writing conference. Oh, I heard about all the benefits. Over and over again, I was told how it would be a great place to make contacts and spend time with like-minded people. I also was reminded though, how pricey some conferences can be, and that fact alone sometimes kept me from pushing that button and buying my ticket.

Until this year.

I finally made my way to the Missouri Writers Guild annual conference. I didn’t really know what I would experience on this weekend long event, and frankly, I was a little apprehensive at first. But let me tell ya, I was immediately converted, and never looked back. So much so, that I signed up and attended 2 more conferences through this year.

It’s not just about the classes folks, although those are pretty darned informative. It was nice to hear firsthand from editors and agents about what they actually want, are interested in, and looking for in a manuscript. It was helpful to be able to ask a question specific to my work-in-process and hear thoughts from professionals and peers about a possible solution. And it’s nice to interact and exchange contact and social media information with those same professionals and peers. Friendships are forged with like-minded people and all of a sudden you have the makings of a great support group, consisting of authors, writers, editors, agents, and publishers. What’s not to like about that?

And those stories about the after hours conversations and meet ups in the hotel bar, lobby, or common areas just happen to be true. When the formal classes end, don’t hibernate in your room. Instead, get out and mingle with the folks you follow and read on social media. Sharing writing related conversation over a drink or appetizer is priceless.

Ask questions. All of them. All those questions you’ve had in the back of your mind for months, or years. The writing community is extremely supportive, and everyone I’ve encountered is interested in helping as much as being helped.

There’s nothing quite like informally talking to an editor, agent, or publisher face to face with no agenda. The information, guidance, direction, and renewed motivation you’ll gain can make all the difference between just wanting to be a writer and getting your posterior in the chair and being a writer.

And the friendships made are pretty cool too!



Well, That’s The Trick Now, Isn’t It?


Yeah, those words, or those right words I should say. The words that you read and give you the same emotional response that the writer felt while writing them. The words that writers fret over, change, and then change back again.

The experts tell us to write to the senses, all of them. Taste, sight, smell, touch, and sound. And that’s a great place to start. If we, as writers, can get you to experience our words on these levels, we’ve created a world for you that you will get lost in, believe in, and want to come back to.

Writing to the senses is also a way to bust out of that creative funk you’ve been in. I hate the term “writer’s block”. Pick your current setting, a random picture or person, or a simple event in your day. Start writing, using the senses as your guide to transfer your thoughts and emotions onto the page. What do you see, taste, and smell? What do you feel? What do you hear? Background noises, conversations, people’s actions, all of these and more contribute to a scene and convey the same feeling to the reader as the feeling that you experience in real time. Don’t forget the small, seemingly unimportant details. They make your writing real. Remember, if you notice something, you want your reader to notice it as well. Everytime.

And if we, as writers, can do this on  regular basis and make it a habit, then maybe, just maybe, we can claim to have a sixth sense, all our own.

But now I must get back to my own work, paper and pen cluttered desk and all, to continue my own word search whilst coping with the dissipating smell of my microwaved fish, seemingly a perfect fit for this cloudy, overcast day.  The hockey broadcast on the radio is used for background noise, if nothing else, and the sip of occasional coffee causes me to shudder, reminding me of how many times I have already reheated that same cup, and if I should do it yet another time.

Given my progress so far on this day, I probably will.



Ink And Embers named a Blog to Watch for 2017

My grilling and storytelling blog, Ink And Embers, was named as a blog to watch for 2017, and I’m proud to be in the company of some very good and established bloggers. It’s always nice to be recognized for “being you” and trying something a little different.

In their words, “Many food blogs on the web lack personality. Gerard (Jerry) Dlubala’s Ink And Embers, however, takes on bbq and delivers it to us in a format that is almost poetic, making it quite unique on our list of best bbq blogs. Dlubala says “My reason for beginning the blog was simple. I loved grilling and barbecuing, and I loved writing. So I wanted to combine the two and start a blog that incorporated both. Instead of just another recipe blog, I wanted to make the grilling/BBQ a little more personal, telling a story as well. I try to tell stories that incorporate a good BBQ experience within them.”

Lookin’ forward to a great year. Thanks to CAPPEC for including me on this list.



Because Life Is Better Wood Fired

What I Do…

Within the familiar confines of my work area,  I craft creative web and business page content, including product guides, buying guides, and blogs for The Park Facilities Catalog, AluminumBleachers.comBourbon and Banter, and Ink And Embers. I also enjoy writing features for both digital and hard copy magazines, including the latest edition of Terrain Magazine, and have been published in both fiction and non-fiction books, and anthologies. During the appropriate months, I edit and proofread personal statements and resumes through www.cvpersonalstatement.com for medical students looking to attain medical school acceptance. Interspersed in these tasks is a true passion for writing fiction, and so yes, you may see some of that around as well.

Previous journalistic experience includes work at both the St Louis Post-Dispatch and the St Louis Suburban Journals as a neighborhood news reporter and editorial columnist, respectively.

Web content writing clients, present and past, include The Park Facilities Catalog, AluminumBleachers.com, Ink And Embers, Bourbon And Banter, and ParentUSACity.com.

Feature writing clients, present and past, include Terrain Magazine, St Louis Commercial Journal and St Louis CEO Magazine (Anthem Media Group), St Louis Parent Magazine, and High Performance Human/Achieve magazine.

Longer feature pieces, story length writing, and individual photos have been published in the Chicken Soup For The Soul:Think Positive, Spirits of St Louis: Missouri Ghost Stories anthology, and Rollin’ On The River, The Story Of The Admiral In St Louis.