AuthorJim Harmon

UNDP Conference in Turkey

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Type of project: Keynote address
Role: Director, Cinematographer, Editor
While I’m not allowed to post the video to this for legal reasons. It doesn’t mean I’m not still proud of this one. The client couldn’t attend the UNDP conference in Turkey so we filmed her entire keynote address from her living room complete with slides, voiceover, and this Masterclass of a shot in front of her favorite books.

Kindle Preview Your Book

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Quick note: I should be making more of an effort to post daily, but if I don’t have anything good to say, then I feel like I should stfu. That said, I’ll make more of an effort to share resources with my four readers. Whomever you are, you’ll be like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but less intimidating and far less informed.

Today’s tip comes from me. As I march along with my second, sort of third draft of my novel, I needed a little confidence boost. And so, using my trusty writing program Scrivener, I did a compile export (after I installed KindleGen which is the encryption thing from Amazon I’m guessing) of my book to the Kindle format and then used their email direct feature to send the file to my Kindle. Thirty seconds later and voila, my book was on my Kindle in my hands! It’s not complete and I didn’t even read it, but just seeing it in Kindle form was a huge motivator. It’s the modern equivalent to being able to print your book out just to see what it’s like. So cool, so fun! I highly recommend you try it if you need something to get you out of the “I’m really getting sick of looking at this” part of your writing process. Happy writing!

Writing Authentically

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Today’s post is all about writing in your true voice. This is ironic because I’ve erased and re-written this post about a dozen times already because it just wasn’t sounding right.

I assume a lot of this has to do with inexperience. I come from the film world, but right now I’m trying to write a fiction novel, so the medium is just foreign to me. I feel like I’m working in someone else’s skin. I’ll write a page and go back and read it and sometimes I don’t remember writing it or it just doesn’t sound like me which is off-putting.

My advice for this is to think about what you’re going to write and explain it in your own voice, either out loud or preferably in a text document. This works really well when you’re stuck too. Basically you just ask yourself what you’re trying to say, write in out in almost journal-like form and then go back into your story write in the appropriate style.

Give it a try, I promise it will help! Happy writing!

John Livesay on Big Questions with Cal Fussman

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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

Saturday Evening Post

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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.

What’s Your Point?

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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 😉

Free Solo

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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?

WheezyWaiter!

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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!

Politically Unfazed

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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.

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