Distractions, distractions, distractions. They're everywhere. The battle for our attention is happening daily. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. 

Knowing this to be the case, how does anyone stay focused? And how does any one person stay focused long enough to finish what he starts? Especially when it comes to writing a book. 

This episode deals with distractions and how we might recognize them - telling the difference between what's a distraction and what's a priority. And how I'm doing with distractions myself (the good and the bad and the in-between). All on the road to publication #2, The Shadow Of Mars, of course.  

For more info, be sure to check out www.jclfaltot.com and enjoy! 


Writer's block to a writer is like a debilitating injury to a pro athlete. It sets you back. It keeps you from moving forward. And no matter how hard you try, you just can't "break out" of the funk you are in. 

In this episode, I press on through the process of publishing my second book, The Shadow Of Mars, by talking about my own struggle with that enemy of creativity, "writer's block." I talk the causes, ways to remedy writer's block, and what NOT to do in order to deal with those moments of uninspired, non-creative hell. 

And for the bulk of this episode, I'll be using author, speaker, and podcaster, Jeff Goins' methods as a template. Jeff has built a successful author platform over the years and I find his work to be top-notch so I'll be talking about his ways of dealing with writer's block along with adding my own to this episode. 

Lastly, there is a bit of a rant at the end of this episode, but I decided to keep it in. Understanding our priorities is another way of keeping our creative juices flowing. We are all creators in some regard. But, we also have other priorities we must attend to - school, work, family, relationships, God, etc. One way to become more productive is to put our priorities in line. So, I trust that my rant at the end of this episode ties back in the best way possible to what we can do to alleviate writer's block. 

Here is a link to Jeff Goins' blog post on Writer's Block: here.  Enjoy! 




If we're going to publish something, then we ought to know what we are talking about. Or at the very least, have some knowledge of the things we are speaking to. Building credibility and rapport is imperative for a writer. For a creative. For an artist. For a business owner. 

In the last episode, we talked about getting an idea out of our head and on to paper. For this next episode, we explore the necessity of building rapport with your prospective audience. And one of the best ways to do that is to present ourselves as a credible source. 

But, how do we achieve this exactly? I've had my fair share of failed experiences in this area. That being said, there are a few (possible) ways I'll explore to alleviate this struggle. And I invite anyone else to give his / her own insights too. 

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We all have that ONE idea. We all have something we think is worth sharing with others. For a writer like me, I have lots of ideas; ideas I'd like to see become a book someday. Maybe even a feature-length film. But, before any of those things can take place, I have to do one thing: get started. I have to put my thoughts to paper (or keyboard) and then see how my idea is coming together. 

On the surface, this sounds simple; maybe even easy. Yet as we go through the process of fleshing out our thoughts, we find the further we go, the more difficult things tend to get. Or disappointing. And even downright demoralizing. 

For this new series on The Writer's Lens, I'll be starting at ground zero. Specifically, starting and (hopefully) ending with the self-publishing of my next novel, The Shadow of Mars. So the format for the next line of episodes will be centered around this process. Hope you enjoy and find some great takeaways from this new series I'll be tackling. Here's a quick breakdown of what you'll hear: 

1. Have an idea you think / feel is worth sharing (and one that YOU are interested in)

2. Start writing it down - outline or "by the seat of your pants" start writing it out (Outliners vs. Pantsers, per Jerry Jenkins)

3. Plan a time of day to work on your project (tough one for creatives) 

4. Learn what parts of the day you work BEST (efficiency, without distraction, free flow, etc.) 

5. Do not prematurely share your work with others (those who aren't editors, nay-sayers, etc.)

6. Find a community of like-minded creatives; those who could protect your ideas as much as they will give honest feedback 


For more info, be sure to visit: www.jclfaltot.com and like, follow, subscribe to The Writer's Lens  or Facebook page here


Do writers have a unique burden? And when we say, "burden", are writers charged with reinforcing - and defining - how to fight the evils of the world? 

Storytelling, much like art, is left up to the individual's interpretation. Yet, if we follow our most popular stories closely, there are prominent themes that continually pop up. Themes of virtue, righteous acts, humility, and courage, to name a few. In this way, stories reflect something deep within each of us. And each generation presses into the greatest aches and pains of its lifetime by exploring these in story form. 

So, in this episode - as I wrap up this short series on heroes and villains - I talk through the (possible) responsibility of writers in this area. How it's more than just therapy and self-exaltation. How, as we write about what ails us, we learn what we perceive to be the evils worth fighting in this world. 

For more info on The Writer's Lens, be sure to check out www.jclfaltot.com 


"Truth is stranger than fiction." - Mark Twain

This old adage, as coined by the late Mark Twain, speaks about the nature by which truth can sometimes outweigh our sense of imagination. What happens in our waking life can seem more incredulous than the most extravagant and imaginative fiction. 

And with that in mind, are fictional villains just constructs of our darkest imaginations? Or are they proper reflections of ourselves? And if the latter is true, why is it more fun - from a writer's perspective - to come up with a really good villain, as opposed to a really great hero? 

In this episode, I unpack some of my own experiences with writing villains. And why - from a creative standpoint - making a great villain can sometimes be more enjoyable than writing a great hero. 




Just as the title implies, what makes up a villain anyway? I'm sure if we all thought long enough, we could come up with various versions of what we thought a villain was. What he looked like. What he sounded like. What his motivations were. And even what story he'd fit in best.  

In this episode, I take a break from talking about heroes and dive into what makes a really good villain (strange or exciting as that may sound). Is it looks? Is it speech? is it a really cool weapon? There are plenty of factors that can make up a really good villain. But, if there's one thing that unites them all, it's this: a forceful opposition to the hero of the story they are a part of.    

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We idolize heroes. We emulate them too. But, which is easier to do? Not a trick question - it's the former. 

When it comes to heroes and the heroic deeds we read about, it's easy to sit back and marvel as a bystander might. Yet, something inside all of us tugs at our hearts. We yearn to not only see and pay witness to heroes; we want to be heroes too. 

But, as our lives unfold, we learn how being the hero is no easy feat. As Joseph Campbell points out in his "Hero's Journey", the first test of any great hero tale is when the ordinary character crosses the threshold from the familiar to the unfamiliar. From the known to the unknown. From the predictable to the unpredictable. 

And that's what this episode is all about: moving from what's known to what's unknown. I take a deeper look at why it's so hard for us to be heroes in real life. How we love predictability and how, if we can, we'd prefer to stay with what's comfortable rather than what's uncomfortable but potentially good for us in the long run. Additionally, I share some of my own experiences where I've seen real heroism in action. Namely, from my own parents. 

Oh, and I give a plug for why I consider writing to be heroic in its own right. Because, well, of course writing is heroic in some way, shape, or form...right? 

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The late Joseph Campbell, a former professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, coined a popular phrase in the mid-20th century known as "The Hero's Journey." Campbell had been studying the significance of storytelling. And how we tend to gravitate towards a particular formula - one which Campbell authored with The Hero of a Thousand Faces. 

In this episode, I go through Campbell's outline of the Hero's Journey. Thanks to movieoutline.com for providing a handy 12-step guide on how to assess Campbell's monomyth, aka the Hero's Journey. This will be the beginning of a multi-episode section where I talk about heroes and their impact on culture and society. 

And P.S. if you'd like to support this channel, then please do so by heading over to my crowdfunding page. You can find it on patron.podbean.com/jclfaltot. 



We love heroes. We aspire to be like them. We adore what makes them great. And we want to be around them. 

Yet, as much as we love heroes, we also have an adoration for anti-heroes too. You know, the lone wolves. The girls who diverge from conventional attitudes; the single-minded warriors. Anti-heroes have as much sway in our culture as the tried and true heroes. 

But, why? What makes them attractive? If the anti-hero is not the standard of excellence, then why gravitate towards them? 

In this episode, I take a deeper look at why we love both types of heroes. And even how the time of our life can be a big reason for it. 

P.S. be sure to check out my Facebook live launch party with Dr. Robert Snyder and his book, Why Did Daddy Have to Leave? This book is a follow up to What Is A Veteran, Anyway? - a children's book detailing what veterans are and what those in the armed services do for the United States. 

You can find Dr. Snyder at https://www.robertsnyderbooks.com/


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