About Jim Harmon

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So far Jim Harmon has created 19 blog entries.
20 Feb, 2019

John Livesay on Big Questions with Cal Fussman

By |2019-02-20T11:20:53+00:00February 20th, 2019|

After a much needed blog posting break, I’m back with more suggestions and insight into the life of a writer. Today’s post is from one of my favorite podcasts “Big Questions with Cal Fussman”. I could link a few dozen episodes, but I’ll try to give it current with this recent episode. In it, Cal talks to John Livesay and his book “Better Selling Through Storytelling”. In the podcast Cal and John talk about the gap between sales and editorial staffs at magazines and how the use of story helps to bridge that gap.

I have no interest in being a salesman, but as a writer I think it’s an overlooked skillset for marketing and even creating our books. And by thinking about the use of story in that equation, I learned a lot about how the use of story when talking about my story. I know, that’s a lot of stories, but stick with me on this. John gives a number of tips about relating to the emotions of his clients or even just people at a cocktail party, and using those emotions to bait those folks into wanting to learn more about what you do or what you’ve created.

When your book is done and you’re like, “Ok, now what?” bookmark this page because as you try and sell your book to people, some of these tips will be killer.

Here’s the link to the podcast:
https://www.calfussman.com/podcasts/2019/2/5/john-livesay-selling-through-stories

And here’s the link to John’s book that’s due out later this year: https://www.amazon.com/Better-Selling-Through-Storytelling-Essential/dp/1642793728/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=john+livesay&qid=1550690074&s=gateway&sr=8-1

16 Feb, 2019

Saturday Evening Post

By |2019-02-17T06:36:02+00:00February 16th, 2019|

It’s late this Saturday evening and so before I call it a day I just wanted to post a little something something. I busted my hump today working on my book and my reward was a big fat pile of confusion. Not every day is going to be successful, but luckily tomorrow is a new day and so on and so on.

I guess I’m just trying to pass along a little positive thinking for all you struggling writers out there. Just keep on typing. Not every day is going to be a win. In fact, a lot of them are going to be tough, tough losses, but as long as you keep playing the game you’re still in it. I’d rather fail at this a 1,000 times than wake up in my 80’s with piles of regret. The sun will rise tomorrow and I’ll be there with it, ready to go again.

15 Feb, 2019

What’s Your Point?

By |2019-02-16T22:40:54+00:00February 15th, 2019|

I read a lot of books, fiction and non-fiction, and today’s post comes from the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron.

I’m digging this book a lot and it’s used in a lot of writing programs because of its logical approach to storytelling that a lot of books about writing simply avoid. I could list a dozen good tips but when you’re starting a story I think this is one of the best.

What’s the point of your story?

You have to ask yourself a lot of questions when putting together a story, what’s it about, does it have a theme, who are your characters, yadi yadi yadi. But an interesting question she suggests you make is what’s the point of your story?

As I climb through the second draft of my book this question proved to be quite insightful. What is the point of my story? I have struggled through my book because of this very question. My point hasn’t been very clear. I’ve tried to do an elevator pitch for over a month now and I just can’t get a concise summary together in less than a couple of sentences. In asking myself this question, along with many others from the book, I have come to realize that my book has two very distinct questions and they don’t necessarily complement each other.

As a result, I went back to my original idea, the seedling that got me interested in writing this novel in the first place. I’m now trying to focus on that and to strip away the surprising layers of fat that have developed over the course of a couple of drafts and get it back to its core.

I think it’s a good exercise for any novelist, as so many of them that I start and never finish are just splintered with different points. I suffer from perfectionism like many writers, but I think this is one of those times when asking a question and trying to give an honest answer can only help in the long run.

Good luck and happy writing…and that’s the point of this post 😉

14 Feb, 2019

Free Solo

By |2019-02-16T22:42:03+00:00February 14th, 2019|

The wife and I were lucky enough to see the climbing documentary Free Solo last night with a Q&A from the director and climber Alex. Spoiler alert: he lives!

The movie was great and I highly recommend it. But of course for me everything comes back to writing and this was no exception.

Alex climbs a crazy difficult mountain face without a rope and the entire time I was thinking about what a puss I am for complaining about struggling to write a paragraph. If he doesn’t climb with absolute perfection he will die and if I struggle to figure out what my imaginary character does in the next scene I take a nap and try again tomorrow.

I suppose it just puts life and my writing career in perspective. Yes, writing is hard, but there’s always something harder. There’s always someone willing to risk far more than I am on a given day. So if you’re a writer like me, just put your head down and keep going. What’s the worst that can happen?

13 Feb, 2019

WheezyWaiter!

By |2019-02-13T17:59:47+00:00February 13th, 2019|

Sometimes you need to just go to YouTube and watch some silly stuff. For me it’s a YouTube channel called WheezyWaiter. This dude is just funny and his wife is VERY patient with his antics and even plays along at times. Thanks for making me laugh in-between writing meltdowns!

12 Feb, 2019

Politically Unfazed

By |2019-02-12T01:41:16+00:00February 12th, 2019|

Today I was procrastinating on the socials and saw yet another post featuring an extreme political angle. And I wasn’t angry. In fact, I experienced something I haven’t experienced in a long time when reading something political. Indifference.

I’m done being a victim of the media’s attempts to rattle our cages. I am a good person and everyone I know is a good person. Stop using us as your pawns. The battle is over and we’ve all lost.

It’s time to start talking to each other as people again. It’s time to stop yelling through our keyboards and ruining life long friendships because an article forces us to take sides that are inevitably going to divide us. I’m done and from what I can see on the horizon, I’m not alone.

10 Feb, 2019

Master of Plots

By |2019-02-10T21:57:20+00:00February 10th, 2019|

It’s a rainy Sunday here in Los Angeles and while I don’t have much to chat about, I will share a useful resource.

Thanks to my imaginary friends over at Writer’s Digest for this summarized version of Ronald B. Tobias’s book “20 Master Plots and How to Build Them”. I don’t use this to come up with a plot, but I do use it when I’m brainstorming ideas and looking for which direction I want to go with my story.

Here’s the link: http://www.writersdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/Master-Plots-Exclusive.pdf

 

9 Feb, 2019

Once a writer, always a writer

By |2019-02-09T21:17:48+00:00February 9th, 2019|

I’ve worn many hats over the years. I’ve been a radio disc jockey, a film director and cinematographer, a video editor. I worked with a great music supervisor, I created a podcast and I even tried my hand at stand-up comedy. But the one job title that I’ve always carried with me has been that of a writer. In fact, none of my prior jobs has ever not included writing as a key component of it at some point. And yet I’ve fought it endlessly as being a job in and of itself.

A lot of it has to do with a lack of confidence in my abilities to truly be a writer, in particular a published author. And despite the fact that I have written dozens of scripts (mostly short form, but a script all the same) I always viewed writing as a component of another job rather than the job itself.

That changed a few months ago and now I find myself in a daily struggle between past, present and future. I debate embracing my past life as a camera person and video editor. Money is nice I say. And then I read my current draft of my book and one day I love it and the next day I want to burn it to the ground. But when the dust settles on the day I’m still a writer and it’s an incredible feeling. Stressful as all hell? Sometimes. But when the words and stars align, it’s the great feeling ever and I’m incredibly proud.

I guess the point of today’s post is to just stick with it. I’ve stopped everything a few times in my life and said, “I’m a writer!” and then got scared, quit and went back to my normal job and depression soon followed. Apparently I just wasn’t ready yet or I was too scared to commit. Those days are done though. I’m a writer and if you want to be one, just be one and don’t overthink it because you need that brain power to tell your stories.

Happy writing my friends!

8 Feb, 2019

Fridays should not be casual

By |2019-02-13T17:56:27+00:00February 8th, 2019|

Sure you can wear whatever you want, but I have to fully support Gary Vaynerchuk’s attitude here. If you live for the weekend, then you’re shit really is broken.

As a writer it never stops. Saturday is the same as a Tuesday and that’s a good thing. I love writing, even if it’s just a journal entry or something on this here blog. I don’t dread Mondays because there’s nothing special about them, it has the same potential to be awesome as any other day. I get to live my life to the best of my ability and that’s all you can ask for. Now every day isn’t going to be perfect. I get up at 6am almost everyday, meaning that at least once a week I don’t get up until 6:30 or 7am. I work on my book every day, but some days I’m lucky to get a paragraph out much less a few thousand words. But as long as I’m trying, I don’t beat myself up over it.

The irony is that roughly a year ago I was a mess. I was overweight, out of shape and rudderless with my career. Now I’m disciplined, hitting the gym 5-6 days a week and balls deep into my first novel. Believe me, if I can turn it around, anybody can, just stick with and trust the process of change you put in front of yourself.

Now have a great weekend, oops, never mind, lol.

8 Feb, 2019

Advice from the Amazing Neil Gaiman

By |2019-02-08T01:21:36+00:00February 8th, 2019|

I’ve been watching the Neil Gaiman Masterclass lately and he had the simplest, but oh so good, piece of advice. He suggested taking a common cliché and just turn it a little bit to make it different.

In his short story “October Tale”, he wrote about a genie and the woman who rubs the lamp. Rather than following the common beliefs about genies and the three wishes, he asks the big what if, as in what if the person who got the wishes doesn’t need them. It’s such a cute story and adds a completely original twist to a fairly commonplace story.

For me this advice was huge. I’ve been struggling with my book’s second draft because I felt like I was following too many tropes. By turning things just a little bit here and there my entire story is blossoming in a fresh and exciting direction.