Our Blogging Spotlight series is still going strong with yet another blogger, Shawn Jevtic. Shawn runs Dronstad, a writing blog where he publishes his work every day. Learn more about the man behind the blog and his iron-clad work ethic in our most in-depth spotlights ever.
Q: What has been your journey to this point?
A: Um… Now that is somewhat a long story. The best way I can put it is that my journey up to this point has been a chain reaction of getting help from my blogging community that never lacks compassion and constant learning. Considering myself as a little guy with big dreams, I regularly find negativity in my private life aimed my way for trying to stand out from the crowd. The way I fight that is by being stubborn despite what others say. I do doubt in myself, but that’s why I have my community to kick me back in the gear.
It is a commonly shared belief in my country that if you are not having your shirt wet from the days of hard work, you must be doing something wrong. Blogging for me isn’t a source of income, because I haven’t monetized it and I probably never will. To me, this is just another social platform, but with a specific type of people with whom I can share ideas and not really fear of judgment.
However, if we speak of technicalities, my journey went like this. I wrote a novel “Dronstad” after two years of thinking about it. People read it, surprise, it sucks. A friend suggested I should find people to help me learn how to edit, so I found an Association of Science Fiction called “Autostoperski Vodič Kroz Fantastiku – AVKF” or in translation “Hitchhikers’ Guide through Fantasy” to help me with the skills of writing articles and brush off my first draft. In the meantime, I wrote two sequels and 60 + short stories of various genres. Facing stagnation with my level of proficiency, I came forward with it to another friend who advised me to give blogging a shot and so I did. And after 2 years of daily posting fictional stories here we are.
Fun fact: The name of my novel and blog share the same name.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Like every writer, I work with a lot of tabs open in my mind. Too many ideas to be revisited, too many books to be read, too little time to do it. Thanks to thoughtful suggestions and opinions from my followers, I was encouraged to take a leap of faith and throw myself in the other platforms. As of now, I am running a blog on WordPress where I post shorts military fiction stories, I am running a YouTube channel where I post audio versions of my blog stories narrated by myself and trying to secure findings for when I finish editing my first novel.
At this moment, my time is reserved for editing, movie reviews for the Association, making memes for their Facebook page, recording the audio stories for my channel and finally, I am plotting the next story for my blog that shall be posted in 5 to 6 parts.
Q: What effect has blogging had on your life?
A: It brought me closer to other cultures. It showed me different types of people and their daily struggles. It opened my eyes to poetry and a great artist that exist on the platform, for which I would never hear about if I haven’t made a blog.
I refer to my most dedicated followers as “Commanders in Quill”, a brotherhood and a company of versatile people who are very understanding and tolerant of others. It really made me a better person through the time. Their friendship has inspired so many great projects and stories, and also gave me a perspective on how to build characters for my stories.
Blogging made a huge impact on me and my life went for the good. Before blogging, I was more of a closed-quarters kinda guy, but since I met them, I saw the light as cliché as that sounds.
Q: What goals do you have with your blog? Why?
A: The goal with my blog was to draw attention to my work and interest a potential publisher. Yes, I said ‘was’. That purpose has changed over time. Today, I try to entertain people as much as I try to answer the questions some people are reluctant to ask. Even though I am fine with writing in any genre there is, even the experimental ones, I do prefer military fiction and fiction in general.
I don’t support violence of any sort, yet I am fascinated with it. Being eleven when my neck of the woods was submerged in five civil wars and multiple eras of ineffective government failing to sustain the order, I have witnessed a transition from communism to socialism to democracy and felt the burden of hyperinflations, the grim rule of chaos, poverty and slow inclination to the better times. The situation as it is right now isn’t the best and I am skeptical that better times do exist, but I do cherish life and simple things that make me smile. Now, why am I mentioning this? Well, this is the segment of my life that inspires my stories about war, conflict, spies, epic battles, humanity, ethics and few flares of romance in the middle.
All of this is a bottomless pot from where I take my inspiration and sometimes I just have a need to put it on a paper. A blog is a place where I try to convey that thought and post my version of some grave event. Secretly I hope people who read my stories would partially see the world with my eyes and learn from my mistakes. Wow, so profound, isn’t it. And if there are some blood and gore in my stories… Well, war ain’t all about smelling flowers. If you are horrified, you should be, it was intentional. It means you are a sane person with proper moral standings.
Q: What is your ultimate goal with your blog? What would you like to do?
A: If I gain popularity, I plan to use my blog and post other people’s war stories. Currently, I am monitoring the situation in Syria, Yemen, and the Donbas region. War is the true enemy of the people. We all know war is bad, and yet, we don’t have the time of peace. If I gain popularity and expand the team of creators on my blog, I’d be featuring war stories from both sides, the supposed aggressor or the civilian point of view on the same event. In a twisted way, I’d be looking for an exceptional piece that portrays war as it is, without holding back from graphic storytelling.
The motive behind it? Well, experiencing someone else’s suffering inspires compassion, empathy, and humanity. It is really strange how much humanity could be found in a war zone and how much faith could be seen in a trench.
By posting these real-life war stories, I’d be giving a voice to those little folk that had luck surviving the calamity of old – the war.
I think that could be of real help for those that are interested in the life behind the scene of what we see in the media can really shine a light at a true reality happening there.
Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to people thinking about getting into blogging, what would it be?
A: Reading is the only effective way to fight the stupidity. Read the books you openly disagree with. Analyze everything it passes you. Question the information you’ve been served, be skeptical, and listen to both sides and then judge if you want to believe in what you have heard. Run your own investigation and try not to be biased. And for God’s sake, don’t take everything personally. Be tolerant of other opinions, and don’t try to correct them, because people hate those. If you want the change in the world, firstly, you must change and with that little feat, you’ve changed the world. Strive to become a person you want to be and get to work.
You want success? Then you need to set a goal, aim to the stars so even if you reach the sky, you are far more successful than those who haven’t bothered to try. Set a big goal, then devise a plan on how you want to reach it, but make little steps in the beginning until you catch velocity. Only then you will become a person you want to be.
If you fall, don’t get up that fast. It’s a new surrounding you are in. Get to know it, but don’t linger for too long. You’ll know how rock bottom looks like; therefore you will build the drive to get as far as you can from that misery. Getting exposed before the fear is not madness, it’s not courage, it is a determination of a great people that you are channeling. Order defeats chaos, that’s why military commands order and war, is another name for chaos.
Get yourself in order. I’ll leave that as the ultimate advice to others if they dare listen to me.
How does this reflect on blogging? Positive people attract other people. We look for what we lack in our lives, and the world is a scary place.