Summer Goals


Fear debilitates you, belittles you, and takes away your mind.

I’ve always been fearful of something, spiders, my father, losing my kids or my wife, but last night I had one of those writing epiphanies.

I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror because they’re what I feel comfortable with.

I write them because writing something literary or something that wouldn’t be considered popular fiction scares the shit out of me.

I have moments in my writing where the words flow like wine in Napa, moments where the words don’t tell you what’s going on in the story but you see the cloud formations, catch the protagonists eye and feel their pain, unfortunately, those are only moments.

For me, these moments are the glimmer of better writing, the shining example of where my writing could go if I were to allow it.

I have a book to finish this month, though it may push into June. I also have a second draft of another book to complete by June, that one will be done by June.

For the summer, I’ll be working on my craft. I won’t write a book this summer, I will improve my ability to craft them though.

This summer I’ll work on improving my craftsmanship.

Who’s down for doing this with me?

 

 

Quit making excuses, you have time.


For the longest time, I made excuses about not having time to write. Now that I write full-time, I see all the moments I could’ve used to write when I was really just screwing off.

When you write full-time, you see all the time others aren’t using for their art. There are many instances when I’ll see a post on social media, ‘I didn’t have time to write today, but I got my hair done, I played ____ video game or I went out drinking with friends’.

I like to play video games, have drink with friends and go to the barber and get pampered, but I don’t let it interfere with my work, because honestly, that’s what I consider writing now, it took me longer than it should have, but it’s a job that I love that I haven’t been paid for, yet.

Quit saying you don’t have time, you do.

Quit making excuses, the only excuses you can use are these.

  • My spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend got hurt or worse.
  • My kids got hurt or worse.
  • A very close family member got hurt or worse.

That’s it, those three are the only excuses. If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.

Otherwise, just quit.

Do you have anything published? And other things.

I bartend events on occasion and I get asked, ‘What do you do when you’re not doing this?”

“I write.” Is always my reply, then I wait for those words to compute, sometimes I get a follow-up like this, ‘Like freelance or books?’

‘I write novels and short stories.’

‘Do you have anything published?’

‘Not right now, but I’m trying to get a book published soon.’

‘Oh…” they reply and that’s the end of the conversation.

Here’s the truth. I have written four books, I’m working on number five right now and the reason I haven’t published is I guess I just haven’t.

That’s the truth. With the first two books, I got scared of publishing because they weren’t very good, first novels rarely are. With the last two, I want to get one of them published, but I’ll probably be doing Indie or self-publishing them.

Having written nearly five books, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t in the story, having never published I don’t bring in any income aside from the bartending gig.

My goal for this year is to publish two books, it doesn’t matter how, just that they’re out there for readers.

My daily routine consists of writing in the morning after dropping off my kids, working out after writing, reading in the afternoon, picking up the kids, eating and spending time with my family then editing whichever book is on the editing table at that time.

I would love to get published so I can say to these people who attend these events I bartend, “yes, I do. I have books on Amazon, iBooks, and a few others.”

I love writing more than anything else. I enjoy creating stories more than anything else and I want to share those stories, but honestly, I just haven’t gotten around to getting them published because I hadn’t found a system that works for me until recently.

Now that I have that system, I’ll be publishing in one form or another.

I write short stories and have submitted numerous stories this year to various magazines, but haven’t had a nibble, yet. I’m hoping to get one soon so I can contribute more to my family’s finances, because working one or two days a week bartending, doesn’t cut it.

Move Forward

There’s a point in life when you’re tired of the bullshit, tired of talking about what’s happened and you must step forward and move on.

You must forgive, you must remember what got you to where you, are and find a new way forward.

It’s when this happens that freedom comes. It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass

It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass. You’ll stop and get past the bullshit, you’ll stop, look in the mirror and stare at the person you’ve become and then you can understand the truth of how you got to your current situation.

Hold on to this moment, write it down, work through it and do what is required to move on.

Your writing will push you forward, you must listen to it. You must listen to your heart and the breath coming from your lungs.

The voice inside is no longer a viable concept. If you listen to the voice in your head you’ll falter, you’ll fail and become on of those who gives up.

Don’t give up, it leads to misery. Misery leads to finality and you’ll never dig yourself out.

Get through it, put your head down, get the words out that you need.

If you push through to the other side you will thank yourself later.

Move forward, always…

Ignoring the shiny.

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We writers, we have a problem.

There is this thing, it’s called “The Shiny“.

It comes when we least expect it, but it screams its damn head off when it appears.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

It could be a new thought on the current story, something that we didn’t anticipate or worse, it could be a new story, yelling, ‘look at me, look at me. I won’t let you get stuck, but if I do at least you’ll be writing five-thousand words while you wait’

The more we’re blocked, the louder the damn thing screams, but we have to ignore it, we must. There’s a part of us that knows we have to keep going on the current story, because, no matter how blocked we get, we still have more words on the current story than The Shiny.

We want to stop because we’ll get The Shiny to be quiet, then we have the damn things popping up to yell at us. It will happen when we’re going to sleep, taking our kids to school, reading a book. That last one, that’s the most frustrating.

The only thing we can do, write down the idea, put it somewhere we can see it and work on it later after we’re done with the current story.

Don’t give in to The Shiny.

Finding Courage…

Courage is in short supply…

We write, and early one we may be afraid to write the words that scare us and chase us into a hole.

We lack the courage to confront the stories we’ve lived, the nightmares we’ve lived through and that confrontation comes when we’re at a latter stage of our writing development.

Instead, we may write stories of a wholly less personal, but relevant nature.

These stories confront the world, not our own nightmares.

Our nightmares, the ones we keep within our darkest thoughts, our darkest corners, they come out when we’re writing for ourselves

They’ll come when we least expect them too because we lack the courage to write them.

They’re too familiar, they’re unstable as possibly we once were and like a chemical reaction, we’re not ready for the world’s reaction to the personal stories we keep to ourselves.

Once we’re no longer afraid of the world and our courage comes through, we move to a higher place in our writing.

We advance to a plane that writers who don’t care about the world’s thoughts exist.

That is when freedom comes. That is when good writing happens.

The Marionnette in the Writer’s Toolbox.

We often wonder what it would be like to be published.

We steal glances at the recently published books at our local bookstore, stare at the copies of paperbacks at the grocery store, all the while we ignore the little voice in our head asking, “Why the fuck aren’t you published yet?”

This voice stands up like a broken marionette, one string is torn as though it was never attached, but we keeping hearing the damn voice, calling to use in our dreams.

“Write asshole, why aren’t you writing, you’re sleeping and you should be writing, why aren’t you writing?”

The marionette is a clever disguise for our lack of faith in our writing or that we often, without understanding it, try to destabilize ourselves by worrying about the most recently published writer we’re friends with on social media.

Then we pick up their book and think, I’m better than this.

We continue our slog, staring at the paperbacks when we’re buying beer or another box of Cap’n Crunch.

We write, ignoring that damn marionette and keep going for one reason, we love to write. We love it like we love our kids, spouse, mom, and dog.

Stop staring publisher’s weekly, their emails will just drive you mad.

 

Transcendental Meditation after 3 years.

I posted this on Medium last month and somehow forgot to post it here.

Three years ago I stood on the ledge of the parking garage where I used to work.

I’d been fighting depression since I saw my father at my grandfather’s funeral. He walked past me as if I weren’t there.

The day I stood on the ledge, a co-worker told me, “No one really cares about you or your bullshit.”

That was my end point. I got through with work, set my things in my car and walked to the ledge.

I saw the back of the hotel, the marquee for the hotel and the rooftop of the casino. A slight wind blew my hair and I remember putting my hands out at as if I could catch it.

I don’t remember how long I stood up there, it could have been five minutes, ten, or two, but I stepped off the ledge and sat in my car and cried for a long time.

I knew I was broken at that point and I had no idea how to put my pieces back together.

I called my wife, the emotion clearly audible as she asked, “what’s the matter?”

I told her, “I need help. I think I’m going to look into that Transcendental Meditation(TM) I’ve been reading about.”

“Whatever you need to do, I’m here.” She said and I drove home, but I don’t remember the drive, I don’t remember the next week. I only remember calling the TM teacher in Las Vegas and scheduling to come in for my introduction.

A week later, I started my practice.

It’s been three years since I started TM and here’s a list of things that have happened that I know wouldn’t have without TM:

  1. I quit a good paying job to write full time.
  2. We moved our kids out an environment that wouldn’t help them grow.
  3. I started writing full time.

I never would’ve had the courage or mental strength to leave my job had I not learned TM. I was a weak person, most of the people around me would attest to that.

I didn’t know what I wanted and I hated not seeing my kids.

Today, I write full time and I’m working on a book that I’ll be submitting in June. I bartend a few times a week, I see my kids more often and I’m able to spend time with my wife.

I know without TM I wouldn’t be alive today.

I still get bouts of depression. I don’t think about suicide as often as I once did and I’m less angry than I was three years ago.

If you’re having trouble, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255.

If you’re interested in learning more about Transcendental Meditation try TM.org.

Today, my wife and I are both practicing TM and we’re planning on getting our kids taught as well.

Have a great rest of your week.

On rejection letters…

The flow, muse, and rhythm of writing make for a strange time when nothing grabs those you’re submitting to.

The meaning of writing is for yourself, but what about when you’re submitting and getting constant rejections?

Writing improves with time, right?

When there is no one to tell you that you’re improving but family, it doesn’t feel the same.

Submitting stories to places that appear to only want writers with publication credits feels the same as the reason Hollywood is doing remakes.

Why should they risk their publication on an untested and unpublished writer?

Hollywood does remakes because they’re using a formula that works. They don’t want to take chance on an unknown writer; neither do story publications unless your story is badass and your writing has zero issues.

When looking at publications, the list of authors and stories are from previously published authors. The stories are rarely from authors who haven’t been published numerous times.

It feels like there’s fear in these magazines at taking a chance on an unpublished author, but there shouldn’t be.

Broaden the minds of the readers and give them a story from someone who would kill to be published.

 

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