The Struggle of Something New

I started writing a new story this past week and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the struggle I was going through midweek.

I’ve always pantsed my books and they’ve never gone anywhere.

I’ve written 5 books, but they were all pantsed.

When I looked back at what I’d done wrong with them there was only one explanation for what I’d done wrong.

I didn’t use an outline.

With this new story, I’m using an outline, beat sheet and a story development sketch.

I figured if, after five books that I didn’t feel good enough about, I should try something else.

The definition of insanity is doing something over and over expecting new results.

That’s why I’m writing the new story with a beat sheet, outline, and story development sketch.

The need to move my writing forward, get published, and help my wife out more is what drives me to write, that and I really love the work. I love writing, I love it more than almost anything.

I love writing, I love it more than almost anything.

My goal this summer has been to improve my writing. I’ve done that by reading books, practicing sentence structure, and writing stories that I wouldn’t write otherwise.

This last step–an outline–is where I’ve struggled most.

It’s like learning to write all over again. Following the beats, outline and other pieces within

Following the beats, outline and other pieces within the structure, I’ve set for the novel is more difficult, but I know the book will be better for it.

It’s hard but without the difficulties, my writing wouldn’t improve and that was my goal for this summer.

I hadn’t planned on writing a long-form story this summer but things change and we have to improve to grow our craft.

 

 

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Thank you, Chester!

I wrote this post a few years ago, and with the death of Chester Bennington, I thought I should share it again. It’s from one of my older blogs, but this was one of the best times I’ve had with my son:

My son is a huge fan of Linkin Park. This happened because of the song they did for Transformers. My kids have grown up listening to music that my wife and I listen to. This can run from Nine Inch Nails(my favorite band) to Lacuna Coil(My wife’s favorite band) or any number of classical musician’s that I may listen to while writing. They have had an eclectic mix of music in their ears from birth until now. Right now I am listening to Staind while doing my revisions. So when our son became more interested in the band than just liking the song from Transformers and wanted to listen to other albums from the band we indulged him. After listening to the albums he wanted to see them in concert. Many parents would have a problem with taking a then 4-year-old to see a rock band. I told him that once he was a little older I would take him to see them when they came to our city (Las Vegas). He said okay and then my wife forgot about it, I did not.

Linkin Park came out with their new album, “A Thousand Suns” in 2010. It is their best album since Hybrid Theory imo. I waited for them to announce a tour date for Las Vegas, tickets went on sale in December. After talking my wife into it; it didn’t take much talking, I planned for the date and asked him where he would like to go for dinner. After that was set, I thought that I might be one of the few dads to take his six-year-old to a rock concert. My first concert was Ratt and Bon Jovi in the 80’s, I think I was eight and it was not my choice to see the bands.

The week leading up to the Linkin Park concert one of the lead singers became sick. I was worried that my son would not be able to see his favorite band, and sent a get well message on the band’s website. Two day’s before the concert word came that the singer (Chester Bennington) was feeling better and it was much more than just the flu. The post on the band’s website said it was more serious, follow the link to learn more.

The night of the concert we left the house, not without my wife taking a picture of us first. After dinner we arrived at the venue a little later than I planned. The opening band “The Prodigy” was in the middle of their set. They were awesome, I had wanted to see Prodigy for a long time and got my chance. After Prodigy we went to get drinks and returned to our seats in anticipation of Linkin Park, my son sat on the edge of his seat until they started.

Watching his eyes light up hearing the songs on the radio/computer/or CD was nothing compared to the look he had hearing them live. Watching him sing along to Chester and Mike was one of the best moments I have had as a parent. Today I took him to Guitar Center to see about lessons. I had put it off until he saw the concert. If he still wanted to after the show I told him I would get him lessons, today I followed through. He will begin lessons in the next few weeks. I had more fun watching him than I did watching the band. He knew nearly every lyric and sang along. I look forward to many more concerts with him in the future.

Bri

*Update – It has been almost a year since this concert. He still love Linkin Park. We couldn’t make their show at The Joint for money reasons, but we’re going next time they come to Vegas.

He has been playing for almost a year now and loves playing just not practicing. He has private instruction once a week for thirty minutes and love his instructor.

This is still my favorite moment as a parent!

 

Busy and stuff 

I missed last week and this week isn’t promising either.

New project, a lot of bartending gigs and trying to spend time with the kids before school starts up next month.

We’re planning for Wizarding World next summer with the kids after school gets out all while I’m scheduling the publishing of 3 books.

A busy year, but well worth the effort.

Have a good week.

Don’t let the Quitters stop you.


As an artist, writer, actor or entrepreneur, you will run into people who quit.

You will meet people who stopped following their dreams for one reason or another. They may have gotten married, had a kid and stopped believing.

As one of the people I listed, the quitters will see you working, see you grinding and hustling to reach the next mountain and they’ll become jealous.

They may do everything to stop you, they won’t support you because they don’t believe anymore.

They stopped believing in fairy tales when whatever circumstance stole their dream.

You’ll watch them going about their lives, dying on the inside because they see you working, their jealousy flares up and they’ll try to find a way to stop you.

Don’t let them.

Keep working, keep grinding and keep hustling.

No matter what happens, don’t stop working. You may have written a book, it’s sitting on your nightstand, your computer or you have an audition for a part, and they scoff at your dreams.

Stand up, go to that audition, finish that book, talk to the owner of the gallery that shows your type of artwork.

Never stop, never quit.

Failure should motivate you, the quitters should motivate you, the life you don’t have and life you want for you family, that should motivate you.

Never stop, never quit.

The voices in your head will always tell you that you can’t do it, the people, in reality, should be the least of your worries.

Ignore them, keep working, keep grinding and keep hustling.

 

Let The Chase Be a Good One


Each of us has one thing that defines us; one ability,  one talent, and it is that one thing we must chase.

With that chase, there is a far off dream or goal.

Other things come along to challenge how much you want that goal. These things may help you achieve the goals laid out, but more often than not, they’re a distraction.

They’re trying to move you away from your goals, from your dreams and they will kill your motivation.

Others in your life may think they’re good things, they may try to convince you of that. They may believe they are, but they don’t know you as well as you know you.

No one knows your goals, no one knows your dreams like you do, NO ONE!

Your life has always been yours to live, yours to screw up, and yours to chase those dreams with.

You only have one life, make it worth the effort and never let anyone tell you who you are or what your dreams are.

What are you chasing?

 

The Object in the Way


Every couple of months I look for a new motivation book. I learn what those I’m following on social media are reading or listening to or I look for something from one of my favorite inspirational authors.

This past week, while looking through my social media, I found that Ryan Holiday had a book out that I hadn’t listened to.

I’ve listened to Ego is the Enemy two or three times but the title for this one grabbed me.

The Obstacle is the Way made me look at my writing differently, my relationship with my wife and kids differently and I had to reevaluate where my focus laid.

My obstacle has been writing a coherent story and publishing it, neither of those has happened.

I discovered the obstacle was the way I was writing the stories not the stories themselves.

It was a breakthrough and I’m still wrapping my head around it.

It isn’t the writing it’s the way I’ve been constructing or not constructing the story.

I’ve always seen myself as a pantser but after finding my obstacle I worked for 5 days on an outline.

I started the story Monday and yesterday I put out more words than I ever have while using an outline.

I know where the story goes and how to get there.

I’ve changed the obstacle and made it work for me.

Now, I’ve read a lot of books on writing but never paid much attention to them until now.

The book I used to get the outline is called The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.

This book was gifted to me from my cousin who is a published author, I should have listened to her.

I’m stubborn and want to do things myself but I now know the way.

I feel more positive about the direction of my writing because of Ryan’s book and I understand how to craft the story better.

The smallest obstacle can cause the biggest headaches, I’ve written five long-form stories, 4 novels, and 1 novella, but none of them have felt as solid as the one I’ve barely started, I thank a few things, growing up as a writer, discovering that I needed an outline and learning that the obstacle in the way was mostly my ego telling me I didn’t need an outline.

 

Your Screen Time is Killing Your Grindtime.


There is one evaluation we must do in this society, how much time are you spending staring at your phone?

I’m not talking about the times your posting, grinding or working on your social media contacts; I’m talking about the times you’re sitting home, pick up your phone and time vanishes.

You can call it the missing hours, the Facebook zombie or whatever, but that screen time is taking away from the time you could be spending on working, really working.

I know you want to see what’s trending on Twitter, I know you want to see how your friend is doing on FB or see what someone’s kid did with the Snapchat filter, just stop, it’s taking away from the time you could be spending on work, real work.

You need to focus your time. You need to put your mind into a place where the screen doesn’t distract, put it away when you’re trying to work.

I know we all want to zone out, stare at our phones, tablets or laptops but you can’t get back that time and use if towards your goals. Once those minutes or hours are gone, they’re not coming back, they’re fucking gone.

Once those minutes or hours are gone, they’re not coming back, they’re fucking gone.

If you can’t decide whether your screen time is more important than your grind time, you need to reevaluate your goals and whether you’re working hard enough.

Your potential is only limited by how hard you work.

The limitations you put on yourself, like the quantity wrong screen time, limits you.

You need quality screen time not poor screen time and you need to know the difference between the two.

If you don’t see the time staring at Facebook as poor screen time you’re not being truthful to yourself and you’re not working as hard as you believe you are.

You must work harder.

 

 

Your insecurities are killing you.


Each of us has those life moments where the doubt crushes you. It digs into your life, pulling the tendrils of happiness out and squashes them on the floor.

Then there are the moments where everyone is telling you that you can’t do what you’re trying to do. That you’re incapable of the greatness you see within yourself. 

These people are not trying to break some truth to you, they may be blood but they’re not family

These moments are the insecurities you see within yourself, these doubts of who you truly are, these moments are the basis for crawling out of the pit you find yourself in. Their words should motivate you more than anything else. They should push you to where you need to go.

When these people, these moments and those doubts creep up, go to another room because no one knows you like you know you. No one can understand your dreams like you.

You must keep up with the standards you set for yourself, you must push yourself to another level, you cannot stop, you must not stop if for nothing else than to prove the doubts, the insecurities, and these people wrong.

Don’t accept anything other than the life you want and deserve.

Taking Ownership of my writing.


With Monday’s post, I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve been writing.

  • Have I been working hard enough to achieve my goals?
  • Have I done everything I need to get published?
  • Have I been working on the parts of my writing that need improvement?

To all of those, the answer is no, I haven’t worked hard enough, I haven’t done what I need to do. I haven’t worked on the parts of the craft that I fail at.

There is a big reason for that, laziness and fear.

I’ve been lazy. I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would. I’ve let myself down

I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would.

I’ve let myself down.

In the process of letting myself down, I’ve let my family down. I haven’t worked hard enough because I got too comfortable. I was too used to my life the way it was.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my kids or my wife.

Along the way to this realization, I forgot to accept who I was. I forgot to take ownership of what I wanted to do and put forth the effort to do it.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was comfortable.

I’ve known for a while that I need to work harder. I’ve looked at my writing and realized I need to improve my craft but I haven’t, not until this past few weeks.

Each of us will hit that point.

We’ll hit the point where we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror and we have to ask that person, what are you doing? Why aren’t you working hard enough? What the hell are you afraid of?

We have to answer those questions honestly if not, we’re truly lying to ourselves.

 

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