Friday, August 31, 2012

Writing is a lot of work...

"Wake Up!"
Michelle Snyder
It wasn't my goal in life to be a writer. But life is a long road full of bumps and detours. In my fifties, with three teenagers, Jay and I encountered a detour which changed our lives. I was diagnosed with a mild form of muscular dystrophy. And on top of that high levels of arsenic did its thing. It became obvious that teaching art was not going to be possible as the future rolled toward me. Long story short, in the following 15 years, a postgrad degree and ten books became my career. I work hard at it.

Writing is a lot of work. Not the lifting-heavy-things-standing-on-your-feet-all-day kind of work. But focused energy on a task. Time away from other things. Frustration. Disappointment. Excitement. Inspiration. Passion. Thinking, thinking, thinking. And tapping away on the keys hoping spell check does its job.

I have been writing for two decades. My subject isn't erotic. It isn't sensational. But it is exciting. At least it is  if you think knowing cool stuff that you don't learn in school is exciting. I know why Venus is a female. Bet you never even wondered.....

The world of nonfiction is not forgiving. It doesn't require imagination from the reader. It requires critical thinking and good references to back up that what you say is true. I hope I have done both. Writing requires research, reading other authors' work, browsing the net. Talking with professionals in the field.

The world I write about is a civilization that lasted thousands of years, and yet all we have of them are images, symbols, fairy tales, legends, and myths. But if we look, really see, we can learn a lot about this great culture. They sailed the seas, built houses, made quilted clothing, and had yearly trade fairs. They survived the iron-cold ice ages. We know this from the stories hidden in the images and symbols they left.

The world of the Magdalenians was one of powerful natural events. Winters that could be 50 below zero for months. Mammoths that migrated in herds of hundreds or thousands. thousands of years later it warmed up and the earth produced enormous forests; the kind that we read of in the stories they spawned, like Hansel and Gretel.  This culture learned to read the stars, sail the oceans, and produce food. These were the Vanir, a culture run mostly by women, supported by men. Children were precious, especially girls; without girls there would be no future.

Mermaids, gorgons, dragons, fairies, the green man, all come from this lost civilization. Curious? Pick up one of my many books at Amazon and read more about our amazing past.

Fairy tales are popular. I have written a few - original fairy tales inspired by my research into the Vanir and Æsir cultures. I read fairy tales to learn how to make it “feel’ like a fairy tale. I read what readers said about other fairy tales, their reviews, and their comments. I took notes, made lists, wrote scenes that popped into my head, and kept a notebook of words that I liked from other people’s writing. What makes a good fairy tale? A damsel, a villain, and a hero who saves her.

Writing is a lot of work. It is an art. I also paint and do pen and ink and illustrations. Art doesn’t usually pay very well; it is a product of passion. When you pay 3.99 for an eBook that is about 60,000 words, the author actually makes a fraction of a cent per hour. The opportunity to make money is in selling multiple copies of the book, like making CD’s of your music, or prints of your art. Only then does the money add up. And it will only add up if your audience knows the book is there, and wants what you write.

What will they get out of reading a book? Will they learn how to manage their time? Raise their kids? Groom and train their dog? Grow tomatoes? Will they be swept away into another place and time, and forget their own troubles for a while? These are questions every author needs to ask. What does my audience want? How can I make them want what I want to write?

I write both nonfiction and make-believe. Both will enrich your knowledge of our past, which strengthens your understanding of today. And we build our future on what we think today is. Learn about the past, build a better future.

So what my audience will gain from reading my books is a better future?

My passion for what I write comes from the many “AHA!” moments I have had as I read, learned, and wrote. Who were the mermaids really? Why is Mars the god of war? The answers are pragmatic and logical, and as old as the Vanir culture who named the planets and named the days of the week after them. This was around 8000 BC. To me that is really exciting - smart ancestors mean there is hope for me.

Images create a language. Learn what the images you see all around you really mean. Then traditions, rituals, religions, and even superstitions all have more meaning. You will know where they came from. What they used to be. You will know a little more about this planet. When it was cold, when it was warm, and where land was or wasn’t. Why? To discern real history from deconstructed history. To know is a great feeling. And this stuff makes for great conversation. Do you know where and when dragon lore began? What Mother Goose symbolizes? How old the story of Little Red Riding Hood is? One question still nags me here. Little Red RIDING Hood never rides a horse or anything else. Hmmm.

Writing is work, but it is a labor of love. From me to you. - Michelle

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

    Symbology series:

Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols  
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Fairy Tales: 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book

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