Step Back, Move Forward

Oftentimes, moving forward is just a relentless grind ahead with all the ragged grit and determination you can muster to achieve the goal you've set before yourself . Sometimes, it begins with a step back to regroup, pause, and reflect.

Since my last post here at Raynbyrd Records in July 2017, I've stepped back to assess where I am in the scheme of things and to be sure that the goals I've set out towards are actually worthy of my time and energy.

They are.

I've been working on a massive orchestral/big band project with my dear friend Randall Keith Horton who once worked as a conducting and composing assistant to the late, great Duke Ellington. When completed, it will be an impressive display of his virtuosity.

Simultaneously, I've completed and published my book, "Special Ed Rock Star". Part of that process included doing an interview with Smashwords, which I've included below:

Smashwords Interview with Roy Fletcher

Describe your desk and what happens there.

My desk contains all the tools required for my music making and word crafting. The majority of my writing is actually songwriting, followed by music composition. I have a few starts to new books I'm considering. When those characters come to life in my mind like the melodies I hear, then I write about them. They grow in a rather organic fashion. When they develop legs and breath of their own, they grace the pages I keep nearby in the various composition books bearing the titles that determine their destinies.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

Being the son of a military policeman who loved nothing better than greener pastures, I grew up everywhere. I absorbed sights and sounds of vastly disparate places and vivid, interesting characters. The greatest thing I absorbed from those experiences is the ability to see different perspectives without losing my own. I think this lends me the ability to create realistic, multi-dimensional characters and situations in my writing.

When did you first start writing?

My first memories of seriously writing were around age 13 - the same time I began playing guitar. This took the form of songs, poems, and short stories.

What's the story behind your latest book?

I decided to leave my successful touring and recording band to be home and raise my young son. I needed a career change, so decided much to everyone's surprise that I'd teach special education. When my educational colleagues began to call me a rock star due to my abilities to get through to my students, it started the kernel of the idea that grew into "Special Ed Rock Star".

What motivated you to become an indie author?

The same thing that motivated me to become an indie musician and record company founder - the DIY spirit my father instilled in me. I want to accomplish as much as possible with this life and the gifts I've been given, so I can't afford to wait for someone to approve of my projects before I pursue and complete them.

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?

Smashwords makes it easy for me to get my books out there into the light of day. I've just published the first one, and I can see the empowering effect of not just having a book on a flash drive or as a printed motivational copy lying on my desk. This has become a reality, thus a motivation to create more books in the future.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Completing a work that contributes something positive and creative to the world. I enjoy the journey - that is, the process of wrestling with ideas until they say what I want to communicate, but the end result is most rewarding. It is both the satisfaction of completion and the impetus to begin again.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

The Boy and the Golden Guitar (it probably wasn't that good, because only the title remains).

What are you working on next?

I'm working on a new solo guitar CD. I also plan to write a Christmas musical for my students. I have a few book starts with one strongly in the lead right now. It will have to pass muster with my children, though, who so far enjoy the main character and his perspective on middle school life.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

God has given me breath, intellect, and passion. These are enough to lead me to the daily discoveries and creations that propel me forward. Coffee helps, too.

Whether grinding or rewinding, the efforts we make towards positive goals are always worthwhile. Remember that a step back isn't necessarily defeat. Instead, it's an opportunity for refreshment and reinvention. I'll move forward with gratefulness for all the gifts I've been given to acquire the greatness God has planned for me and Raynbyrd Records.