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Category: Society & Culture

Story is integral to the human experience. How, why, and what we project within a story reveals something in each of us. The Writer’s Lens is hosted by author, Josh “J.C.L.” Faltot and discusses publication, passion, opportunity, failure, and what it’s like to view the world through the guise of a writer.

April 16, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E30: For Every Creative, The Stakes Are Incredibly High

Inside every creative is an entrepreneurial spirit. Why? Because there's an innate desire to make something new. Something original.  And when you have that kind of gumption, the stakes tend to rise. There is more at risk; more knowledge needed; and more confidence required to make your dream a reality. 

Enter the fear of failure. For even if we do share out gift with others, we still face the fear of being mocked or laughed at. It's an experience that's relative to every creative, and as a writer, I know how that can paralyze a person - no matter how gifted or talented he is. 

In this episode, I talk through that process of making my own leap into writing - only to realize how crowded the creative / entrepreneurial space really is. And even if we make it through the woods and back up the mountain to finish what we started, there's a whole other plane of challenges waiting there for us too. And plenty more people trying to make it there too! 

So, as I said in the beginning, the stakes are high. And not everyone gets to the finish line first. 

P.S. if you enjoy this episode, be sure to like it or follow (however which way you choose to do so, i.e. iTunes, YouTube, Podbean, etc.). I can be found almost anywhere. Well, almost. 

April 3, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E29: People Are Always Looking To Take Advantage Of Your Dreams

We will go to great lengths to reach our dreams. We'll throw caution to the wind. We'll forget what it means to 'play it safe.' We will do more than the usual to get there. 

But, with that in mind, we must be careful of what that pursuit looks like to other people. Because if we are so willing to chase our dreams so blindly, then we must be cognizant of how others might take advantage of us. And our dreams. 

Yes, it'd be nice to live in a world where everyone has our best interests in mind. It would be less stressful, for sure. But, we don't. And we can't fool ourselves into thinking otherwise. As a creative - one who is writing books - I've had to learn this hard truth of entrepreneurship. My ideas are special to me. I want them to succeed. Yet, I can't be someone who throws money at the next person willing to extend a helping hand. I have to be smarter than that. And so does anyone else trying to make his / her dream a reality. 

In this episode, I talk through a recent experience I had involving a potential scammer. With so many aspiring authors out there, the number of 'reputable marketing agencies' has also increased. And as I detailed above, this should not come as a surprise to anyone in the creative, entrepreneurial sphere of things. 


March 26, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E28: My Regrets With Self-Publishing

Regret is a tough business. It keeps us fixed on the past - a place we can't change, but wish we could. 

That is if we still live with regret. 

As a self-published author, I'm one of the many (emphasis on many) who decided to forego traditional publishing. And although at the time it sounded like the right choice, I can't help but look back and see some regretful decisions I've made. 

But, that's not the end of the story. Not yet anyway. Regret can only hold onto us as long as we let it. For we must find a way to turn regret into valuable lessons. So that's what this episode is all about: learning and moving rather than sitting and regretting. 

All through the lens of a writer, of course. Enjoy. 

March 12, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E27: The Stigma Of “Daydreaming” And What It Means To A Creative

Is daydreaming a bad thing? Is it good? Even if you're not of the creative mindset, the label of 'daydreamer' can be a derogatory one. Such identifiers might include lazy, unfocused, undisciplined, immature, has "head in the clouds", to name a few. So, in short, nothing good. 

This episode was partially birthed from an interview I heard years ago on self-publishing. A self-published author was discussing her desire for a partner, aka husband, that understood how "staring off into space" didn't equate to disinterest. It merely meant that she could be working. She was sorting things out in her head. She was putting together ideas and scenarios. She was running through character arcs and settings. As a writer, I really resonated with that sentiment. Growing up, I had a tendency to drift off into my own little world. And honestly, I still do. We all do, to some extent. But, to put it bluntly: is that a good thing? 

Remembering that interview, I decided to take a stab at this concept and look at why someone - like myself - might be inclined to daydream. Does it foster more imagination? Does it eventually turn you into a doer and not just a thinker? Could it be considered work

In episode 27, I analyze my own life and see if there's been any growth (and truth) with regards to this idea. 


February 26, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - Interview 07: Colleen Ward, “Find Your Lane”

"Find your lane" - Colleen Ward

My latest interview is with Cleveland native, Colleen Ward, who is the owner / operator of Colleen Ward Studio, www.colleenwardstudio.com.

Colleen has several talents - photography, art, digital editing, to name a few - and has found a way to direct her passions into a business endeavor. For this interview, Colleen discusses her path to starting her own business, but also how imperative it is to "find your lane" - discover what you do well, what your style is, and then cultivate your strengths. But, also the importance of surrounding yourself with those who differ from you creatively. In this way, you can expand yourself artistically.

This balance, I can attest to, is imperative for writing stories. If I am stuck in a vacuum, then I am unable to find what works and ultimately, what doesn't. What simply interests me and what I'd like to emulate. Yet at the end of the day, we must find time to rest from our creative pursuits. All hustle and no rest drains us quickly so we have to find that healthy balance if we are going to properly utilize our gifts.

A big thanks to Colleen for letting me talk to her about her creative endeavors!
Again, you can check her work out at www.colleenwardstudio.com and you can follow her on Instagram @colleenwardstudio

Thanks, Colleen!

February 22, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - Post-Interview 06 Thoughts

Should we always seek to make money off of our creative endeavors? And is it 'okay' to say no to people who want our help with their own creative pursuits?

In my last interview, I talked about these questions with Immanuel Mullen, co-founder of The Story Is. Though we had a great conversation, I felt the need to unpack some of what we discussed and give my own feedback on these topics.

As a self-published author, the landscape of creatives and other authors is immense; navigating this arena is no small feat. Especially when everyone is trying to get ahead.

In this episode, I share some of my thoughts on what that can look like. And how I've learned to become better at saying 'no'.

Video portion can be found on YouTube here

February 19, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E26: Have We Romanticized “Darkness” In Our Stories?

Darkness - the absence of light. Or - as some writers will tell you - a clever way to make something sound interesting.

The word dark is often used to describe something mysterious. What lies in the dark is unknown. It can strike fear in the hearts of those who venture in. It can also be the catalyst for an exciting adventure. And, most recently, a way to invite avid readers into a surreal world. 

In this episode, I take a deeper look at why "darkness" has become more and more popular among storytellers. How describing something as dark doesn't always mean the same thing. And how I've found ways to use dark in my own work, specifically in my book, The Road To Mars. 


February 13, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - Interview 06: Immanuel Mullen, The Story Is

For my first interview of 2018, I had the privilege of speaking with fellow creative, writer, and "Dune" enthusiast, Immanuel Mullen.

Immanuel is co-founder of The Story Is, a Cleveland-based video and production company which specializes in telling the unique stories of their clients. Immanuel and his wife, Stephanie, started this passion pursuit in 2013 and as they enter their sixth year of operation, Immanuel and Stephanie have entered into even more big things: balancing work, marriage, and two little ones under the age of three.

For this interview, I chat with Immanuel about his passion for video and film, his path to business generation, and his personal quest to find value and meaning in his work. We also chat about the concept of "creative bias" and what it takes to put yourself out there to make things happen in your life.

You can find out more about this talented pair and their work at www.thestoryis.com

February 5, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E25: Are Artists Important for Society?

What we make, we believe has meaning (at least to the one who makes it). But, how does this translate to the masses? Are artists - writers, scribes, painters, sculptors - ultimately integral and important to the societies they inhabit? 

My first answer would be: yes. And of course, I'd make a claim that they are. Artists dabble in chaos more than order. And artists try to make sense of that chaos so that others can understand it better. What are the truths underlying everything we do? What are our goals? How do we interpret our world? These are some really big questions I've wrestled with as a writer and creative person. Am I doing things that are meaningful and will what I do have meaning to others? In some sense, most creatives hope their work does more than provide personal therapy. There is a hope that their work can impact others. 

Now, whether that's for the noble and just cause is another story. And something I've decided to delve a bit deeper into with this episode. Hope you enjoy. 

February 1, 2018

The Writer’s Lens - E24: Science Fiction Writers - Innovators of Imagination? Or Dark Prophets?

I think sci-fi writers tend to get a bad rap. When it comes to the genre, science fiction can often be touted as "visionaries with a cracked lens." Think Orwell's 1984; Collins' The Hunger Games; Philip K. Dick's Minority Report. It seems that when we are introduced to new technology or a different historical narrative, humanity pays the price. Things don't look better, they look worse

As a sci-fi writer by trade, I decided to look into this further. Granted, science fiction does have the capacity to immerse us in dystopian futures and post-apocalyptic dangers, but sci-fi can also inspire us to think outside the box. What are we capable of? What have we yet to imagine that is possibly real? This is a bit of a challenging question. One that I didn't expect to talk about worldviews with, but I did within the context of this episode. 

And as a final note, I wanted to make mention of the passing of sci-fi legend, Ursula K le Guin. Aside from her great contributions to science fiction writing, Ms. le Guin wrote a particularly intriguing foreword in one of her books, The Left Hand of Darkness, that really inspired this episode. So I'll be discussing that too.