A Thing About Devotion

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This topic has come up in my head quite a bit lately and I’m trying to recon with the reasons.

The thought of devotion isn’t only one of religion or spirituality, not even to one’s spouse.

I am devoted to my wife, but I haven’t been devoted to my writing.

Sure I get words on the page, but do they go anywhere? Will anyone eventually read them?

This has been what has been holding me back. I’m devoted to putting words on the page, but not putting those pages in a book.

What is the written word without a book to hold it?

This came up when I watched something the other day.

An author was being interviewed and she said, her first book she did the best she could and published it. There were spelling and grammar errors, but she didn’t care because it was out there.

This has been my blockage, this hasn’t been my devotion.

My devotion has been to write words, not to see them in print. What good is it to write stories that aren’t seen?

I am devoted to improving my writing. I can’t improve without publishing it, no matter the form it takes?

I have written 11 books. Even if they’re shit, why haven’t I published them?

I’m devoted to the act of writing, but live in fear of being published. I have submitted novels, but when those novels come back rejected, I leave them on my hard drive. I don’t do anything else with them.

My devotion has to be two fold. To the writing and to the publishing. I have to want to publish, regardless of the final product. As I’ve said, my wife and I can’t afford an editor. With Covid-19 and my bartending gigs less, we can’t put money into something like that.

What we can do is go over what I’ve written, self-publish it and see where that takes us.

So, I’m going to continue to write stories, but I will write them with a certain collection in mind.

I write horror, it’s what I’m the best at. I will continue to write those stories but now my devotion to them is changed. I will publish this year. I will collect 10-15 stories set with a theme, organize them and publish them.

I have to do that.

I’m devoted to my writing and now to getting things published, no matter what form that takes.

Stressed, frustrated, and losing hope for my writing.

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I’ve written 11 novels, close to 100 short stories and I don’t have anything to show for it.

I submitted a novel today, and that’s a good thing, but I’m honestly at the point where submitting has lost its taste and I’m ready to move on to self-publishing.

My wife and I have talked about getting a collection of stories together and publishing those, and I believe that’s probably the best course of action.

I love to write. It’s the only thing I feel I’m good at. I’ve been doing it so long, like with bartending that I don’t know how to do anything else.

I could find a job doing something besides bartending, but I really enjoy it.

As far as my writing goes, I’ve written so many words in the last five years since we moved our kids from Las Vegas to Utah that I’ve made great strides in my writing. I’ve improved so much from the earlier stories after we moved.

The world is different from what it was five years ago, hell five months ago, but I get the feeling that something has to change soon, at least for my writing.

I keep submitting short stories and novels and they keep getting rejected.

I can’t afford an editor, it’s just not in our budget.

My greatest hope is that something I submit gets published but as I lose hope for that, I gain it in publishing it by myself.

Moving forward I’ll probably self-publish a collection of short horror stories. I have a few that I really enjoy and I’m looking for a theme among some of them. I may have one, but I’m still hopeful for my novels, though as I said, that hope is waning.

It’s not about the money, it’s about people enjoying what I write. If I only wrote for money that would be horrible. I can’t see myself doing anything but writing and that I haven’t had a novel picked up feels damaging to myself.

I know I’m wining about things when we’re in a pandemic, all of the racial injustice happening to Black lives, but sometimes I just need to put my feelings down on the page. True feelings.

I hope you’re all well. I will tell you if anything happens with the novel, but I think I’ll be moving forward with finding a throughway with the short story collection. That feels like the best thing to do right now.

Long past doing the expected.

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I haven’t written on the blog in awhile because I’ve been getting words in the morning and I honestly haven’t felt like it.

Right now is different.

I’ve written novels in almost every genre and I’ve learned what I like, what works, and what doesn’t(for me).

We’re all different which is what I added that little bit on the end there.

I work best with an outline.

I’ve written almost 11 books and the current work with the outline has been the easiest.

Those who know me, or at least think they do, believe that I should be writing horror. I understand their reasons and they make sense until you discuss life with me.

I haven’t had that difficult of time but there have been moments in my life that sucked. We’ve all had that.

On to the unexpected.

I decided to write the current project based upon what I read growing up. Sure I read fantasy and sci-fi. But those were books I had to hide.

The books I read in public were different.

Life a meal and dessert.

The meal was always what I read in public. The dessert was what I read in private.

Now that I’ve nearly completed the first draft of the project, I see where I’ve made mistakes in other books.

I often try to hurry to the end and that’s caused many rewrites.

I’m trying not to do that with this project and as I reach the end I feel there are only a couple of people who will read it but I’m okay with that.

I feel I truly wrote this for myself.

The Biggest Problem I have…

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When it comes to writing, I have things I enjoy and things I’m afraid of. You’d think at 44 I’d get over some of them, but they’re still there.

The biggest among these is the enjoyment of horror. Whether it’s writing it, reading it, or watching it, I worry about the judgement aspect.

I guess that happens to a lot of writers, but lately its been creeping into my mind and stopping me from enjoying things that otherwise I would have.

I’ve loved horror since I was a little kid and maybe it’s because I grew up in very conservative environment where horror wasn’t given the respect it deserves. Then there are the people in this world who turn up their nose at horror.

There are so many of those people.

I think it has to do with a lot of that. The being judged part of my brain still has a problem with it.

Take the book I just finished, it wasn’t in the horror genre, mostly because I felt like I needed to try something new.

After writing 10(now 11) books I felt that something wasn’t working. I’d submitted books to agents, short stories for collections and anthologies and heard nothing back. Maybe it’s my writing.

It possibly is. But if it is, I’m going to take the next few months and work on improving that.

I have story ideas all over the place. I can’t stop writing now, it’s the one thing that keeps me going daily, if I were to quit, I’d have to quit other things as well.

Its the feeling of being alone in this process that drives me crazy. I can’t afford to get and editor, especially not during this pandemic. All of our money is focused on continuing to survive.

I’m grateful my wife is able to continue her job and we can continue to have our house, when I know a few people who aren’t in our position.

I’d like to get a push. Some kind of win on this, not that it matters money wise, but for my sanity. it would be helpful.

I’ll keep writing horror and work through the issues I have with sharing them with others.

Sending them to a contest, collection or anthology doesn’t bother me, but having others know what I write does freak me out a bit.

I’m aware that most of my family, other than my wife, won’t read what I write, and maybe I need to get past their approval and stop caring about what they think.

That’s probably for the best.

Avoidance, Character building, and Confronting life

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When I set out to write the current project it never occurred to me what I was doing.

I’ve learned over the last 18 days of writing this project that I’d done something I hadn’t planned on. Confronting my past.

I’ve written a few times about the books I felt I was forced to read as a teenager, only to find other books, horror and fantasy novels on my own.

The project has taken my down dirt roads with barely any way of finding the end. It’s led me to places I didn’t know I need to go as well as places I felt were out of the way.

This project started in my head about ten years ago. I saw only the little things. Not the bigger picture. I saw one thing and I tried to write it then only to have it fall away.

I set it aside and left it. Forgetting all about it for a lot of reasons. The main reason was I didn’t want to write in the genre, but writing has a way of bringing things around again.

There will be a glimpse of something in our periphery. It will stay there for a while until we notice it.

After I finished the story from November and put it aside, I felt lost.

I’d written ten novels and though I’d submitted them to agents, they weren’t as complete as I wanted them to be.

I’m still happy I wrote them because they led me to the current project.

When I set out to write this project I never anticipated a lot of things. That it would take me to places I didn’t truly want to go, not to mention the whole pandemic.

Writing for me is about dealing with my life. Confronting things in my childhood has never been easy, but now that I’m writing in the genre I grew up reading it’s helping.

I enjoy this project more than any I’ve written and the world feels familiar as well.

I’m a much better writer and human for going down this rabbit hole and confronting who I was then.

I avoided writing in this genre because of the feelings I have attached to it. They are about who I was as a teenager as well as who I am now. They have been in conflict for a while.

I finally decided the confrontation was worth it.

Now 46,000 words later I’m better able to deal with the story and handle what it entails.

I’m moving forward through our new reality and I’m becoming a better person for it.

Happy writing.

Getting life taken care of

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I’ve worked on a new project for most of the last month of all this crazy new reality.

It started with wondering whether I should write the current project, something I discussed in another post.

I also talked about dropping this project because it was different and wasn’t the horror stories I believed I should be writing.

But cooler heads prevailed and I’m at almost 30k on this project.

It’s the first time I’ve used an outline this thoroughly.

I worked for three weeks on this outline and now that I’ve got a handle on how it’s supposed to work I’m enjoying it.

There are minor points I’ve set within the outline that I must reach and they’ve allowed me to write to the story I want as long as I hit those points the story works.

That I’ve written ten novels and never approached my writing this way says a lot about where I’ve been and even more about how my mental attitude has changed towards an outline.

I’ve tried this approach numerous times but now after having a MasterClass account and listening to David Baldacci, Dan Brown, Robert Patterson, I’m more comfortable within this construct than I’ve ever been.

My wife got me a subscription to MasterClass for my birthday and I’ve watched all of the ones I’ve listed above.

The Baldacci one is my favorite.

I’m able to get 2300 words or more every day, sometimes reaching into the 3k range.

But having the comfort of this new way to work makes me more confident in my writing abilities.

I miss writing on this blog three days a week but have been focusing on reading and writing so much that the blog hasn’t been part of that focus.

I’m not going make a promise I can’t keep and tell you I’ll write more posts, but I will keep you updated on how the writing is going as much as possible.

I have a deadline set for the end of June for the first draft and will probably finish sooner.

As to the rest of my life.

Kids are doing school from home. I’m unable to bartend for obvious COVID-19 restrictions. My wife has worked from home for the last 9+ years and is busy.

I work, play video games, keep the house, and yard clean.

I miss bartending. I’m an introvert, except when I’m pouring drinks.

I miss that.

I hope you’re all healthy.

Stay home, stay safe.

Horror and dealing with things…

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Let’s be honest. All this shit happening around is bonkers to say the least.

I’ve tried writing something other than horror to keep my mind from thinking of all the terrible circumstances of our current existence.

But I’ve failed.

I spent three weeks writing an outline for a story that has failed to hold my attention.

I don’t think it’s the outline that did it but more along the lines of how my brain reacts to the world around me.

I thought I could write something more mainstream, or at least something non-fantastical.

That came to end this morning when I put away the outline and went back to a short story I’d shelved.

I do enjoy the world I created with that outline but I currently feel like I’m trying too hard to write something that a person would enjoy and that person isn’t me.

I like to read all flavors of books but the fantastic saved me more times than anything else has.

I’ve tried to deny it, but after writing ten books with nothing to show for it, I have to go back to what makes me happy and it’s not writing what someone who isn’t a part of my life would enjoy.

Of all the books I’ve written, they’ve all had fantastic elements. Whether they be vampires, apocalypse, Grim Dark fantasy, or any of the other derivatives of fantasy.

I just can’t write a regular fiction novel without thinking about where I could put a monster. It didn’t happen during the outline process but boy, it’s happened in the drafting process.

I keep thinking, “hey I’m could put a monster in here”, then I think, “No. That won’t work in the larger scale of the story.”

That’s my problem.

I tried writing something that wasn’t me.

Sure I read all those books when I was a kid, but I wasn’t given the option of reading anything else.

The books and comics I wanted to read I hid and read them at night when I was alone in my room.

I was always fearful of being found out that I read those books. There were always from the library at school or the public library.

Those stories got me through one of the worst parts of my childhood.

I’ve neglected the teenager and kid I was and what he would have enjoyed reading.

It was during those nights alone that I started to create my own stories.

It was those nights when I had the apartment to myself that I’d read, write, and think about stories and worlds.

I’ve forgotten those moments, or more appropriately, buried them deep enough to block them out.

I have to go back to those nights, weeks, and darkest parts of my childhood to find the stories the teenage me needed at those moments. I hated my life, who I was, and was unsure whether I wanted to continue living at all.

I owe it to the kid who survived.

WTF…story edition

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I’ve been working on an outline for the last 3 weeks and I started the draft this past Saturday, then I watched a movie and almost screamed. The movie’s plot was so similar to my current project that I’m sitting here, writing this blog, wondering if I should keep going.

It’s not just one or two things. It’s the main plot line.

After 3 weeks working on that outline the world the way it is I’ve been trying to find something to keep me going through all that is going on.

It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could write and put this one aside, it’s that I put so much effort into the outline. Now I have good outline, but the movie was too similar.

I’ve never had this situation before.

I’m trying to parse it out and come with a solution, but nothing I’ve come up with works.

I have to work, which is why I’m considering dumping this project for another. I love the story and everything about it, but I feel that it’s too similar.

There comes a time when I will have to put it away and work on something new, but I guess this is how it goes sometimes. I think I’ll consider it for a few days and work on something else until I can wrap my mind around it.

I have other stories I can plot out, I have books to read, but I feel I should be working. I can’t bartend because of the world and all that’s going on. So I have to write something. I must write to keep my sanity.

I said something on my Instagram stories about there are three things we can control, our mind, our body, and our soul/spirituality. My mind and soul are intertwined in my writing and now I’m trying to work through all of this.

Tell me your thoughts below.

 

Changing Gears, Changing of the Guard…And Demons

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I’ve been writing something that is a bit different for me. The whole act of writing this project scares me for a number of reasons, which is why I’m writing it.

I really enjoy horror and all that genre encompasses, but today, I need something different. There’s enough horror around us to hold my attention that way.

This bit of writing brings me back to the stories I read when I was younger.

I’ve always been an advanced reader and the books I read in 6th grade through the end of middle school show that.

It was the era of the political/techno/military thriller. Tom Clancy was king and I read his books not because I wanted to but because I felt I had no other choice.

This story takes me back to the days of military secrets, political maneuvers, and spy craft. It’s something I’ve always wanted to write but because of my feelings towards it and the way I felt forced to read it, I barely ventured into “enemy” territory.

Now I’m older, understand things better and am working to write something that encapsulates those books I read.

I may have been forced, or at least felt forced to read them, but one way to deal with your demons is shine a light on them.

That’s what I’m doing.

The No Excuses Post

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know about how I planned on publishing last fall to only have it fall apart.

Well, that’s where the title for this post came from.

I made an excuse last fall. It was determined by other factors but I still wobbled and eventually dropped my plans for publishing.

It looks like I have a lot of time on my hands right now, so I’m thinking of doing that thing now, or at least soon.

Look, we’re not in a situation to ask for a professional editor. Just can’t do it.

So I’ll publish something. I know it isn’t perfect but I also am hoping that the little money I may make from it will help my family out.

My bartending gig is not existent right now.

I have no other way to make money and this is what I’ll do…No Excuses, right?

Life and Writing Reorganized.

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This week starts our second week of teaching our kids at home.

Last week was one hell of struggle.

My wife has worked from home for over ten years and I know how lucky we are that she’s able to do so.

But, damn, this last week and trying to find a schedule that works for the kids and school, my wife and her job as well as navigating being cooped up, has been difficult as hell.

I know that last sentence is everyone right now!

But we’ve figure out one that works for all of us.

My writing time has been moved so I’m able to help with teaching the things I’m good at, namely, history, English, and writing.

So I used to write in the morning after I’d taken them to school. Now it’s after they’ve completed their schooling for the day.

Today I did 4 writing sprints of 25 minutes each, with a five minute break in between each sprint. I’ve done these sprints this way for the last couple of years and it’s what works for me.

This new reality is hard but we have to get through it.

Find your bright spots. I’m able to help my kids with their writing and history stuff. I love history, it’s always been my favorite subject.

Now I can focus on helping them enjoy it as well.

I hope you’re all well and taking this thing seriously.

New Avenues

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With the way the world has changed in the last few weeks I’ve been working to find a way through with my writing. I posted something about that last week.

It’s been difficult to write something in the horror genre with our current situation feeling more like it’s pulled from the pages of literature rather than the front pages of websites and newspapers.

I’ve talked about the books I read when I was younger. How my father told me I had to read what he read. I wasn’t allowed to pick my own books from the book store. He had to oversee what I read. But when I checked books out from the library, either at school or otherwise, I would read what I wanted.

I’ve tried writing the kinds stories I read for myself. The horror stories, the science fiction, and fantasy stories, but I feel, as I wrote above, that I can’t write those horror stories right now.

It would be nice to say that I could write those things, but I need something that is more fun, so I’m doing something I’ve always been afraid to do.

Those stories my father forced me to read, made me learn about politics, aeronautics, the world outside my little bedroom in Utah. and that the world is big scary fucking place.

There are things out there that can kill us, and it feels odd to write about those things with what is going on outside my little house in Utah. But now, it feels like I need to go back to the beginning of my journey as a writer, and reader.

I wrote a few stories that were like the Military Thrillers I read in the 80’s and early 90’s, but haven’t, until recently, read anything like that.

I’ve been devouring those types of books lately. Working my way through David Baldacci’s books. Some of them aren’t quite Military Thrillers like what I read long ago, but they are quite fun and I’m enjoying them a lot more than horror.

My wife bought me MasterClass for the next year, and I’ve been watching Baldacci’s classes over and over. His approach to writing makes me feel better that mine is similar.

The most important part is I’m working on a project. I read all of the early Tom Clancy books, from Red October through to the early 90’s books.

It’s been a long road back to where I started, but I’m having more fun writing than I have in a while and watching the world rise up around the characters has been a fun trip.

I hope you’re all healthy, and stay that way.

Take care of yourselves, and those you love.

We’ll get through this.

 

Something different for a while…

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With our new reality, I thought it a good idea to try something different with this blog.

I am home with my wife and two kids, both of the latter will be home schooled as our school district has closed in person classes.

I know this whole thing is scary, but I also know we as society can get through it. We’ve done great things and will continue too.

Now, here’s where I talk about the difference of what I’ll be doing now, compared to the past.

  1. I’ll keep you updated on whether anyone in my family is sick.
  2. I will promote the things I see that will help us all get through this. Here are a couple, Scholastic, Online museums. There will be others.
  3. I’ll be honest. Part of that is telling you that I’m scared. Scared for my family and the medical conditions of my sibling and parents.

This is just the beginning. I will be posting on Twitter and IG.

I’ll also be telling you what I’m reading. Check my goodreads for that as well as IG and Twitter.

I will not be reading any dystopian stuff. I just can’t.

Have a great week.

Stay the fuck home and take care of those you love.

A New(temporary)Normal

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I haven’t posted for a few weeks. Sorry about that.

I’ve been dealing with the same thing as everyone else.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it. School is closed for my kids and that’s going to be challenge.

But I’m not here to talk about that.

Growing up, my father forced me to read certain books. I did so because I loved him. But I wanted to read other books. He forbid me from reading a lot of books.

Now I still love horror and fantasy but I grew up reading Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts. Those were the writers I read.

Fast forward to right now and I’ve started reading similar books.

I never thought about writing those kinds of books. Military thrillers weren’t what I wanted to write. It’s funny how life teaches a lot of lessons that way.

I’ve started a new story. It’s one that’s been in my head for a long time. I feel it needs to be written. My teenage self would’ve enjoyed it.

Taking me time.

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I haven’t taken a solo trip in a while and the last time was a working trip.

I’m heading to Vegas to help my parents with a move.

I haven’t been there by myself in over 20 years.

I plan on taking some time to read, write, take myself out to dinner, and of course help my parents.

It will be a new experience to be in Vegas sober and I’ve already picked where I plan to eat based on that.

I would like a longer solo trip somewhere but I’m bartending on Monday.

I’ll be taking stock of things in my room as I’ll only have myself to deal with.

It should be a good trip. I love being able to spend time with my parents. I’ll also be spending time with my sister and her son. I’m looking forward to that as well.

Have a good weekend.

You’ve always known the way

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There are all these books and speakers to tell us what we need to do. But the thing I’ve learned is, we’ve always known what we need to do.

It’s the same as losing weight. We know what we have to do but we don’t because it’s hard.

Like exercise, writing and other creative endeavors have the same theory.

We know what we must do to achieve the things we want but we’re so afraid of failure and what could happen we stop ourselves from doing what’s necessary.

This is counterproductive to our goals and we have to keep our heads when it comes to our life, creativity, and check ourselves mentally.

The way forward has always been blocked by whatever we have in our heads that it difficult. Whether it is the editing process or worry about how someone will judge us by what we create. It’s all about what’s in the way.

Getting through it is as easy as that.

We see the obstacle. We know it’s there and we can choose to ignore it or continue to struggle.

But it is entirely up to us.

We have to get through that obstacle if we want to challenge ourselves and if we want our project and life to progress.

But we have to do it. If we’re truly certain of our path, there is no other way through.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

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I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.

 

Figuring Out The Writing Things

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This story making business is difficult to navigate and sometimes it feels like the shore itself is never close.

The world you’re trying to create may never come to fruition on the page or in a bookstore, online, or anywhere else books find their places.

The shores of stories are built within the framework of everything else.

There must be a way to create them(writing), there must be a way to get them right(editing), and there must be a way for the world to see them(agent, publisher, online, or whatever the means may be).

The difficult part for some of us it getting it on the page. This is either because we don’t understand what that entails or we think it’s easy. Both of these are easily fixed.

The first part is the easier of the two. We reach moments where it’s hard to get words on the page. We reach them and call it writer’s block. We’re not blocked. Our minds didn’t just shut down. There is a reason we can’t write another word and the answer is within the story itself. What happened in the story to cause us to blank? Find that and fix the problem and the “block”.

Now comes the part we loath. Those who haven’t written a book think it’s easy. Those who haven’t written a short story think the same thing.

If you haven’t written a book or short story through all of the editing, it’s damn hard.

I hate editing for a reason. I would rather be writing a new story, but I have to edit. It’s an imperative to edit.

This year my goal is go through the promising stories I wrote in the last couple of years. There are quite a few of them. When I’d finish a book, I’d write a group of short stories that weren’t in the genre of the previous story, or if they were it was different section of that genre.

Horror has many sub-genres. If I wrote haunted house book, I’d do something with cults, witches, demons, possession. Also vice-versa.

I had to give my mind a break.

I wrote at least fifty short stories. I’ll be going through all of them and submitting them. Most of them are horror, though a couple are not.

But I will go through all of them in order to fix them.

I can’t not write, but I have to look at editing as writing and that has always been my problem.

I’ve talked enough about my editing issues on here to fill a few chapbooks. I’ll get it done this year.

Oh, and that story I talked about the 25,000 missing words, I finished that story. So, I’ll be writing some short stories for a while too.

Have a good week and get some things done.

Finding yourself!

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For the longest time I’ve wondered if I’m on the right track, am I doing what I need to, am I helping my wife out enough.

A lot of those answers were no. Especially the last one.

I felt more important than her. Felt like what I wanted to do was more important. Then I had a mental breakdown.

A lot of things changed after that.

I started TM(Transcendental Meditation), we moved from our house in Las Vegas a little over a year later. This year I stopped drinking.

But before all of that I was not a very good husband or father. I never cheated on my wife but it was the way I talked to her that changed a lot.

I’m not perfect, never will be, but I communicate more, I listen better, and I work on how I speak to her and our kids.

I’ve realized that my family is more important than I am. It’s a humbling experience to learn you’re not as cool as you thought you were.

This year I’m working on improving my writing more and how I communicate with others.

I have a lot of projects to finish this year but the most important is always myself.

Waypoints And Forks In The Road.

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I’m a firm believer that there are markers in our journey through life. That we reach a fork in the road and we can take the easy route or the hard one.

I refer to these moments as waypoints.

They are particular moments of decision.

Like waypoints in video games, they are either where we can continue the journey or stop and do something else.

For too long I’ve fought against the journey, taken the easy road. It’s either been through alcohol to numb my senses or through straight up asshole attitude.

But I’ve begun to learn from all the times I took the easy route.

There are maybe two times in my life that I believe I’ve taken the difficult path.

When I started dating my wife and when we moved our family to Utah.

I’ve thought about these moments quite a bit as I follow the path of sobriety.

What I’ve learned is I either haven’t tried hard enough or it did things out of fear.

Fear of rejection, fear of failure, and biggest of all for me, fear of abandonment.

That last one is bitch. I’ve felt like a lot of people abandoned me at one point or another for various reasons.

My wife is the only one whose stood by me through my alcoholism, my temper, my assholishness, and the mental breakdown I had in 6 years ago.

I’m getting to a point where I’m comfortable talking about these things. And I consider that the biggest breakthrough in my life.

There are still things I’m not ready to talk about publicly, but I am writing all of them down.

I hope you’re all doing well and that you’re following the path for you.

My path was constructed for who I am. Don’t let anyone say your path isn’t the right one. I listened to that shit for too long and it got me nothing but pain.

I’ve reached a new waypoint and it’s a difficult one.

Muse and Motivation, where have you gone?

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If you’re a long time reader you know my struggles with motivation. Well, I feel someone else has flown the coop.

I’ve been trying to stay motivated lately but I stare at my phone more than Scrivener.

When I do write, it doesn’t feel good and the fiasco of the missing 25,000 words hasn’t helped.

I feel like any motivation I have at one moment is gone the next. That my muse has flown away. I hope her wings have been singed by the frustration and anger pouring off of me.

So I feel I’ve reached that crossroads, the move on or die point. What I call waypoints.

It’s been hectic, to say the least. My mind has broken itself up into separate entities to deal with shit. Now with the motivation to write, the feeling that I’m failing myself, and that sobriety is making me feel better, I’ve reached a waypoint.

I can stop this train right now. Get off and never struggle with writing again, or I can what I know, fix what I’ve struggled with(hint editing)and do this shit for real.

I’ll have to do things I’m not comfortable with. I know I’m not happy with how my writing or how I’ve dealt with childhood trauma, but getting better is an everyday journey.

One step after another brother, one step after another.

So, I misplaced 25,000 words

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You ever have that moment where you’re staring at your computer like it’s lost it’s mind?

This past Friday that happened.

I wrote a novel through the fall and finished it the end of November. It was about 44,000 words barely a novel to some people, but it was done.

I’ve started editing it the last couple of weeks and I thought everything was cool.

Friday afternoon I go to send it to my wife to read. There was an anomaly.

It was not 44,000 words but only 18,000 and change.

I’m not sure how this occurred. I possibly saved it wrong, overwrote it or something similar.

So there I was thinking I had a completed story. Nope!

I will be going back to finish this story instead of what I planned on doing. Which was edit it.

Now I believe in fate. That there’s a purpose for things like this.

I plan on taking advantage of those missing words like a kid in a toy store.

There’s a reason I screwed up and I’ll take advantage of being able to rework it and change the things I remember not being right.

Oh yeah, happy Monday!

 

 

This journey is rough.

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I’ve been sober for a month and some people don’t understand that. They see me and think, “he doesn’t have a problem”.

Maybe not, maybe yes.

I drink often enough and think about my next drink when I’m not drinking. That’s why I stopped.

I can’t go to AA because I lost any belief in a higher power 20 years ago.

I believe when we die that’s it. The lights go out. I do believe in fate however.

I believe we’re destined to follow a certain path. We reach the larger arc of those paths through waypoints. Little things that trigger butterflies at the moment of decision.

It’s that fork in the road moment. We can take one path or another. It’s these waypoints that create our lives.

I’ve hit a few waypoints that changes the direction of my life, for good or not so good.

I don’t feel I’ve reached a waypoint in my life in a long time.

Our move from Las Vegas was a natural progression of where we wanted to raise our kids. It wasn’t a waypoint moment.

In my writing, I’ve never felt it and maybe that’s why I’ve struggled so much. I want that butterflies in the stomach feeling. That I haven’t reached that stage in my writing is distracting.

Sobriety feels like a waypoint. Maybe it’s a step towards a better understanding of my writing? I’m not sure. But a month in, it feels different than when I stopped last fall.

I’d like to get that feeling with my work. I want to be excited about it. Don’t get me wrong, a new project excites me but I rarely get that butterflies in the stomach feeling with it.

Maybe I’m trying to hard. Maybe I haven’t hit that magic point.

But I think I’m more involved with finding a waypoint than working.

The effort to move past fear…

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The title may be wrong in wording for some, but today, for me, it’s correct.

I’ve been having difficulty parsing my brain with writing, editing, depression, and sobriety.

A couple of those go hand-in-hand(Sobriety and Depression).

But the writing, I don’t know how to deal with it.

I’ve always felt that I must write something new every day. Something on a new project must be written daily.

That’s been my go to for as long as I’ve been writing and maybe that’s part of the problem.

I wonder if the idea that something new has to be written daily destroys my confidence, absconds with my positivity and may actually be pushing my farther into a depression.

The feeling that if I’m not writing something new I’m doing this wrong has permeated my brain since I wrote my first book over ten years ago.

But it hasn’t changed. I continue to feel like something new has to come out of my brain or I’m failing at this writing thing, which is what some people have described it as.

My wife has told me that I need to work for myself. Not for what she expects of me and certainly not what other family members expect.

That last part is another issue which I’ve been dealing with, but won’t get into.

The writing usually makes me feel good. It gives me that needed energy boost, which is why I fall into a depression when I’m not actively writing.

I have over 50 short stories to edit, two novels, but it never feels right when I’m editing. It always feel different.

Let me explain:

Writing isn’t something that I do just for shits and giggles. I’m working to improve daily, but reading fiction, reading books on writing, and my attempting to edit.

But it never feels like other things.

When I quit drinking last fall I buried myself in working out. It was an outlet that I’d always used to cope. It’s always there in the periphery. But I’ve never thrown myself into my writing the way I do with exercise and I don’t understand why.

I can throw myself into a video game, exercise, alcohol, but when it comes to writing, I’ve not been able to accomplish such a thing and its maddening.

I don’t understand why my brain won’t do that.

Maybe it’s fear, possibly its the fear that if I write something really good I won’t be able to deal with the pressure that would come with it. This is a fear I have.

I’m also aware that I have my wife and kids and they’ve been my rock when the landscape is barren.

That my wife and kids are her with me and they back me regardless helps me get through the rough patches, though the patches have been continents lately.

Now I will undertake what I felt was impossible. I will put the effort of other efforts into writing because I can’t live in fear of this anymore.

Some things have to be conquered by straight of grit and determination. The fear that I have for writing and failing is causing me to descend into a depression that could sink me.

I will put forth and effort in my writing which I’m afraid to. I will commit to writing, editing, and improving in whatever way is possible and I will do it to the utmost of my ability as a writer and human.

So I’m stuck…

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There’s this magical art of writing things that I’m able to do most of the time.

I create stories out of thin air. Launch demons and ghouls into the world.

Today has not been one of those days.

I’m stuck.

Not in a “I have no idea what I’m doing” kind of way but more in a “I lost my story and don’t know how to get back to it” kind of way.

Taking a few days off to recover from bartending Sundance events destroyed my train of thought and where the story was going.

I had a lot of fun writing what is written, and I’ve got back and read it. But I have no idea where it was headed. I have notes, outlines and all of that but it doesn’t matter when the story takes over your brain.

You’re at the whim of muse, and she doesn’t like to be teased. She wants consistency. She wants reliability. Most of all she wants her pound of flesh on the page. When she doesn’t get it, she hides. She runs away and fucking hides.

Now, I have no idea where she went. If I did I’d ask her why she left. But today, I need her. I need all that she is. It’s a joint effort and without her on my shoulder the words don’t come and I’m unable to get things done.

I get looks when I don’t write. I need her back. I may set out something for her. A bribe.

But I’m stuck and she won’t come around right now.

Back into it

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Last week was Sundance and I worked my ass off.

Late shifts and tired mornings caused my writing to falter. I was too tired to work.

My last event was Saturday night and I returned home at 4:30 in the morning. I spent most of that day in bed, as well as a lot of yesterday as well.

One thing I learned from last week is that I need to get in better shape. Doing floor after floor of stairs in one particular venue was rough. My knees paid the price for that event.

There were other things I learned, but most of all I understand I must write, but I also must take care of myself. That goes for mentally and physically.

I haven’t worked out in the last few months because of depression and that’s why I started drinking again. Alcohol is the best thing for me when I want to abandon the world and say fuck it.

It is a long road back from that depression and I apparently worried a few people over it.

Today I’m taking a break for myself, going to the movies and pondering the next phase. But I’m thinking more clearly and more introspective of my work and thought processes.

I’m thinking a lot the last few days about how hard I work and whether its hard enough to achieve my goals.

Whether I publish or not this year is in my hands, and though I have a queries out with agents and short stories out with magazines, I’ll continue working. There is not stop except the peak of one mountain. After that peak, there’s always another mountain to climb.

I will continue to take a break when needed, but today I’m going to think about where life is going and what I’m doing.

Have a good day and I’ll post something tomorrow.

Much love.

Taking the blue pill(placebo).

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I’ve had thoughts about a great many things this week, as is evident by this week’s output.

The main point that been floating in my brain is about how I’ve distorted the functions within.

How I deal with doubt, crisis, pain, loss, and what those emotions emit to the outside world.

That I have quit drinking isn’t the big thing, but that I have is a godsend to my writing and the interior functions between my ears.

I’m learning to trust myself in a way that I haven’t done before.

I’m trusting the writing process in ways I never have. This is had all led to a new perspective on my drinking.

Life as we know it is filled with all manner of decisions. Some we undertake willingly, others not so much.

But in undertaking these things we try to dull our senses. We do this so we don’t feel the pain.

We take our drugs, our alcohol or what have you and use it as a dulling agent.

But it’s only taking a placebo to the true problem. We choose not to deal with it because it’s too hard.

It’s ourselves that we don’t want to talk to. It’s ourselves that are the problem.

We have one choice, enter the real world or escape as we’ve always done.

Working through things.

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When you’re working through things it’s hard to get peace of mind.

I see it happening as I struggle to maintain sobriety this week.

It’s Sundance in Utah and as a bartender by trade I work it because it’s good money and fun.

Though when it comes to alcohol I’m on the program. It doesn’t interfere with my bartending but I do still want a drink.

I’m hoping that I won’t be doing this in a year. I want to be writing and get paid for it.

It won’t take much for that to happen. I only need to make a certain amount for my life to function properly.

But this week is difficult.

I went sober from July until October but this time feels different.

Then I focused on working out. This time my focus is distorted.

This time I’ll be throwing everything into writing, where it should’ve been.

I haven’t reached that moment but it’s coming.

There’s more to this but some things I need to keep close.

Life is the true test.

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Every day we go through our daily tumult’s. They drive us crazy as we feel manipulated by something we don’t see and possibly never will.

The friction of what we find within the strangeness and cavorting in the space of a day enlightens us and makes us new but there is also the other things.

We find them when we’re trapped in our own mind. Searching for the words, the way, and the exit from our current headspace.

Once we’ve reached or more appropriately, attained, the required ability we forget who we once were, or at least we should.

The trouble with entering a new dream of vision of who we want to be is the leftovers.

Those we’ve left behind in the shadows of the life we once lived.

It’s a strange and ill begotten thing to trivialize such a thing but we must do it in order to reach the necessary plane of existence our mind, and more necessarily, our soul.

These are not the same things and within the world we travel we must learn to absorb and realize our path is treacherous and because of that we must be the person we’ve needed to be, not for anyone but ourselves.

Taking it on…

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When we see the world a certain way it clouds our mind and we try to adjust it to a world view.

It’s this word view that changes, or should.

It’s not the words of others we should take upon the mantle of who we are but the truth of who we are, and who we’ve always been.

It’s the rights of our souls or fabric of our humanity that blesses us and we take it upon our lives as if it’s the word of some sage or soothsayer.

Our breath, our very lives are the choice of our mind, body, and soul.

Our mind may try to resist what our soul wants and it’s only in the death of a part of our soul that the mind wins.

But the body. It knows. When we get sick, is it because of some bug, possibly, but there may be a deeper cause. Our mind.

Within our mind and it’s many machinations, we sometimes learn to trust things we shouldn’t, believe in people who aren’t trustworthy and we falter because of that.

We suffer through our lives because our true calling isn’t one of the mind but of the soul.

Our mind can resist for our lifetime, but why should we let it when we can live such a fulfilling and engrossing existence?

Do as your soul wishes.

The Revelations…

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Each day I wake up, have my coffee, get my words done and read.

Some of those days are filled with swapping between writing and doing the outline for the project.

I’ll see the end point of the story, sometimes. But while I’m writing I’ve always had a notebook close by. It’s how I work and it works for me.

There are other days when I just write. I’ll make notes on characters, their issues, what’s going on in their heads, but those days are creating days.

They are the heavy lifting days.

As I’ve grown as a writer I continue to grow outside of the writing desk.

It feels weird to say it but quitting has been at the forefront of my mind lately.

It’s something that when I have those heavy lifting days occurs to me.

They are the work days. The hard ones where the words come slow and the coffee never hits the spot.

But I know I’ll keep writing as surely as I know I’ll continue to have depression issues for the rest of my life. I’m working through those.

It’s the writing and reading that give me peace. It’s the reading that gives me guidance when I have none.

The world comes at me harder than it seems to those outside my head. They oftentimes don’t understand but it does.

I’ll keep writing because I feel it’s the only thing I’m truly good at. When I stop for any length of time, my mind doesn’t work properly.

I know it’s rough and I know I’m getting better and that’s all that matters to me.

I write for me now, though I do throw a few bones to people in my writing.

For the most part I write what scares me, what troubles me.

Writing is difficult but as with anything else, the effort shows the results and I’ve been putting a lot of effort into stories.

I hope you’re having a good day and I’ll talk about something(not sure what) on Wednesday.

Coming to terms with addiction and finding my way.

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As I said on Wednesday, a game took away from my writing time.

Oddly enough, this initially happened when I went sober the end of July.

I swapped one addiction for another.

Instead of blinding myself with alcohol, I shut the world off and buried myself in leveling a character online.

This led me to taking up the bottle again the end of October.

I did this for many reasons but mainly because I have always needed to bury my emotions.

It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

As a teenager, I would keep to myself, not wanting to let the world know how depressed I was. That led to issues with relationships in high school.

I wasn’t mature enough to handle a relationship with myself, much less another person.

Thankfully, as I got older, met my wife, who has kept me safe from my worst tendencies, I was able to understand a few of those things.

But there was always something to subvert, numb, or chasten myself with.

It was either drowning myself in a bottle, burying myself in the pages of a book, delving into online games. In my blindness to these things I kept myself safe from pain.

I was obliterated at times because of family problems.

The bottle has been there since my late teens.

The feeling that one thing gave me led me to run off the tracks and nearly destroyed my marriage.

I try to keep myself safe and I have a tendency to bury myself in things that aren’t as good for me as I would like them to be; the bottle, video games, and other distractions.

I feel it’s necessary to bury myself in one thing that will help me get through all of this. My writing.

Writing gives me a similar high as alcohol, without the side effects.

I have this tendency to latch onto something and it can control and affect my entire world.

I’ve chosen to latch onto my writing and work it for all I can.

I’m sober again and though I’ve fallen I got myself back up.

I pick up the pieces and find new things daily. This journey will lead me to better places and better states of mind. Both of which are needed.

I’ll do my best to write for myself and will continue to write this blog.

The words are important and the message is as well.

I hope you’ll continue to read, continue to follow me on other platforms, but this is where I intend to spend my time.

I have Twitter and Instagram, but I’d rather use this blog. It gives me a bigger space and on days like today I need that.

I let myself down.

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The last five months of 2019 I didn’t write as much or read as much as I should’ve.

My focus left me because of a game.

I don’t know why I let it control those last few months, but I did.

It took control of who I wanted to be. What I wanted to accomplish and I became detached from all of those things.

I realized that I had to do better for myself.

Besides my wife and kids, my writing is the most important thing in my life.

It’s changed how I deal with society. It’s caused me to reevaluate my depression. I no longer look at it with a singular moniker of, “depression.”

There are many subtle levels of depression and they take over parts of my writing and how I deal with the day-to-day machinations of it.

In the end we are at the mercy of what we focus on though I finished a novel during those five months–I’ve determined that it’s quite good–I also learned a lot about myself and why the littlest distractions can detour my writing as well as the balance within my brain.

I’m determined to get something out that can be read by everyone as well as to continue posting on here.

I still have queries out with three agents and when I hear something, good or not, I’ll let you know.

Happy writing and enjoy the rest of your week.

Cold wind

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There’s this cold wind.

It blows through the trees, stops at an orchard, gives the fruit a kiss and moves across the road.

It stretches down the hill, rolls through the lawn, brushing the dog on the corner’s black coat.

The dog yelps and runs away.

The cold wind doesn’t stop.

Its tendrils push through my coat while I shovel the walk.

It’s blue and grey and floats around me for a minute.

I stop what I’m doing, waiting for it to move on.

The wind stays. My bones are still cold.

Fixing my editing issues.

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A while ago I read that an author has their computer read their novel back to them.

I found the idea interesting and began doing the same thing with my short stories and the novel I finished in November.

What’s happened is nothing short of an epiphany.

Hearing what I’ve written has made a difference in how I approach editing and the next writing project.

I wish I’d had figure this out sooner.

I listen to it and hear it differently than I would read it.

I know I’m supposed to read it out loud, but my voice is my own. It won’t change anything how I see it. A different voice is required.

I’ll never be able to edit another way after this.

Have a good week and I’ll talk to you Wednesday.

Day by day…

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There is this thing I have a problem with and it needs to be solved.

It’s editing and planning/plotting.

The first part is the hardest since I actually hate, loath, despise(you know, those feisty words)editing.

But there’s this thing I need to do this year. I have to publish and at this point it’s something I have to do for my sanity.

As to plotting/planning, I’ve learned the hard way that rewriting draft after draft doesn’t work. It just pisses me off.

I know better. Or at least I like to think after 43 years I should.

These two things throw off my progress, traction, and screw up my head.

I will continue to post on here because it’s cathartic. I know you’re all tired of hearing about my editing issues. I’ll put that to bed this year.

Happy writing.

Horror doesn’t feel scary lately.

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I was talking to my wife about the state of horror novels and there seems to be a bigger trend toward a story being unsettling than scary.

I read quite a few books in the last couple of years and I can pick a handful that truly scared me. Last Days by Adam L.G. Nevill, Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, and The Fisherman by John Langan are exceptions.

But it feels like there’s a move away from scary into the realm of unsettling.

I’d like someone to show me a book that I haven’t read that would change my mind on that.

You can look on my Goodreads profile to see what I’ve read.

Trying to get through…

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I’ve become stuck on my recent project. I don’t know where it broke. What happened or how to fix it.

The one thing that I did different from the previous project is I didn’t think this on through.

I didn’t plan. I didn’t plot. I didn’t create a pathway to get where I need to be; where the story needs to be.

I’ve been writing a dozen short stories over the holiday break, and maybe that’s why I thought I could wing it with a longer form story.

It hasn’t worked and I can’t go back to writing multiple drafts again.

I have the story I finished before Thanksgiving and I’ll work on improving that one.

It’s strange how you write one way for so long, then you start a new way and it’s like finding the holy grail.

I’ve written 10 novels and eight of those were written by pantsing. The other two I either wrote a beat sheet or did an outline and it’s those latter ones that I feel are my best work.

They have a better flow through, a better story, character development, but after using and outline and beat sheet, I’ve gone back to a few of those and discovered what went wrong and fixed it.

I’m querying one of them right now. It’s out with three agents.

This year I want to push what scares me and that leads into a conversation I had with my wife the other day about the current slate of horror. But I’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Enjoy the first full week of the new year.

What comes next…

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Last year I did a lot to work towards my goals of publishing, but there was still the bit of fear of doing it.

I realized that I’m completely in control of this whole thing and if I’m going to publish, no matter what form the stories are in, I have to do the work. I also must have the time to work.

I won’t be doing any events this next year if they start before 12:30 in the afternoon. That will leave the morning open for working, which is what I should have been doing from the outset, but I wanted to be accommodating to the company I work for. They are the only ones who would hire me after leaving Vegas and I felt I owed them to work any time they needed me.

I still owe them a great deal. They saved my ass.

But I’ll be 44 this year and I wanted to have more done in my life by now. I had goals that for one reason or another I didn’t follow through with.

I set standards for what I wanted to have done by the this time. I tossed them away.

This year, I plan on focusing on editing and getting things out.

Those who have followed the blog(all 360+ of you) know how hard I’ve struggled with editing. I won’t struggle this year.

I have too much at stake to toss it away.

I will publish this year, in some form.

If someone who has multiple paying jobs can do it, I can do it with my one.

I think I’ve stopped looking at my writing as a side project. It’s my main focus. I will bartend events this year but I won’t let it take away my focus from my writing. If I have to bring my laptop to an event, then I’ll do that.

This year I’ll publish.

There is no other way to do it.

I’ll take breaks from social media. I’ll avoid things this year. Events I shouldn’t have gone to last year, I’ll stay away from this year.

This year I have three projects in mind and a few others I’m thinking about.  I plan on writing to books and a couple of novellas as well as a bunch of short stories.

I wrote seven stories over the Christmas break and I’ll be going through all of them in the coming weeks. I have a story to submit by the end of the month and I’ll do that.

I have set deadlines this year for projects.

I know I’ll have to turn things off, shut people out, but I must do this. I have to focus on getting this done.

My son will graduate in two years and I want the both of us to go to Scotland for a trip after he graduates. Scotland is where my ancestry is. I feel there would be no better place for my son and I to spend some time together before he starts his life.

I will continue the blog.

Its definitely therapeutic.

I wrote some good posts last year and received quite a few new subscribers. But its about the content not the views.

Its nice to have people read what I write, but its better to produce good content. That’s what I’ll be doing with the blog.

Happy New Year and may you find what you’re looking for and what you need in the new year.

2020 and doing the hard things.

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This last year I pushed through a few issues.

I found my writing groove and I was distracted at times by video games.

But I didn’t do the hard things.

I didn’t publish because I was undecided and nervous about the quality of the book I planned on putting out.

I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t do that. I did it anyway.

I also had a few personal victories.

I pushed past the things I felt comfortable writing and wrote some truly freaky shit.

I sent out more queries than I ever have and I plan on doing the same in 2020.

I decided my writing and my time to write is worthy and needs devotion.

In 2020 I’ll make priorities for that time and not let others take it from me. My writing and editing time is me working even if I’m not currently published.

That will change and the mindset I have going into the new year changes too.

I will not be held back by things or people.

I will move forward, ignore and resist what others think of me and will never let people in who don’t understand those things.

I fought with a few demons, found a couple more and I’ll kill every last one of ’em until I’m where I believe I should be.

Go out and get it and take no prisoners.

I wrote 86k last December. Here’s what happened and why I won’t do that again.

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Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.

I finished a 86,000 word novel in one month. But here’s the catch, it wasn’t executed very well.

I know I need to go back to it but damn, it’s a daunting as hell task.

It’s not quite cohesive and that’s where the problem is the biggest. The smaller ones are it feels like a few short stories compiled into a novel.

I had no idea what I was writing at the time. I only had a first line and went from there.

This month I plan on writing a lot but not 86k, but we’ll see.

I had an idea the other day about a story, actually a few stories with one character that holds them together.

I’ve taken to sketching, connecting, outlining and figuring out what the hell its about.

It may take me a few months to do this as I’ve allotted a great deal of 2020 with construction of this one.

I did this with a couple of stories and I really enjoyed writing them and their respective outlines.

This one though, it’s different.

You know that excitement when things click? The feeling of trying to catch your breath with the possibilities?

That’s what I feel with this one and it’s why I’ll be taking so much of the year working on it.

I will also be submitting short stories and novels to magazines, contests, and agents.

I had planned on doing that today but had a bartending event to prepare for.

I’ll be submitting a novel to agents over the next couple of days as well as preparing a couple of short stories to those magazines and contests.

Have a good week and keep writing.

Figuring out this “Everyone has a dark place” thing.

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I’ve wondered about this for a long time.

What is this darkness that I have?

Everyone has their dark side. So says Tim S. Grover in his book Relentless.

I’ve listened to the audio of that book quite a few times and I never figured out what mine was until the other day.

I won’t say what it is but it’s not alcohol.

I don’t need alcohol every day. There are weeks when I don’t notice that I haven’t had a drink.

But there is one thing I’ve done since I was a kid that always made me feel better when I didn’t want to keep going.

That one thing has made my life better even if it distracts me at times.

It’s been my go to for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what I’d do without it.

When I’m stuck on a story I use it to break things up and when life hits me hard I use it.

I always thought that dark thing had to be a bad thing like abusing alcohol or worse.

But it’s not, at least not for me.

Now that I’ve figured it out I’m going to do some testing on it.

I’ve also started a new story and still have queries out. I’ll be sending more of them out this week as well.

Have a good week.

The moment you realize it, work harder.

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There’s a moment where you have to look at your goals and realize, I’m not working hard enough.

This came to me the other day as I was submitting queries.

I’ve written 10 novels and only submitted two of them, getting no’s on both, so far.

One is still out with three agents.

But I don’t believe I’ve put enough effort or focus on this. I’m not going to publish this year. That’s my fault for not working hard enough.

I own that.

I will next year. I’m going to put things aside, though as I’ve learned, this blog won’t be one of them.

Some things, like my wife and kids are important. But others, some events and people will not be included in that.

I’ve spent too much time doing bullshit things.

I need to work harder.

This blog will be my place to vent, so here’s my heads up on that.

Feeling the pressure…

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It comes at the oddest times and I’m not sure how to deal with it when it does.

The failure mindset.

Maybe because I’m not published that it comes harder.

I’ve submitted novels to 18 agents. 13 said no to one of them. Another said no to a different submission and one wasn’t accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

The others are out currently.

That’s 3 agents with one of my books.

I’m at the point where I could use a win. I guess we all get that way at some point. It’s happened to me a couple of times.

But right now, where things are in life at 43, a win would be good for my head and heart.

I’ll keep writing because I’m better at it than I am anything else but a win or even an agent to ask for a full would be great.

Anyway, have a great rest of your week. I’ll be over here with fingers crossed and hope in my heart.

Sharing stories and locking the writing door.

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I’ve come to the realization that I work better when I shut the world, and sometimes, people off from me.

It’s not about depression or anything else, it’s about reaching a point where aloneness is conducive for the act of writing and creating.

I never noticed that shutting myself away had this effect.

In what I write–horror–finding a hiding spot in the corner of the room, stopping the world from seeing you, talking to you(except for those who are closest)is possibly the most liberating thing.

I have a small group, my wife and kids being it, and they let me write. I’m not restricted by waiting for someone to text or cal that they’re in town. Or whether they’ll see me if they are.

My family lets me do what I need and it’s reassuring that they have my back., especially my wife.

She’s the on I bounce stories off of. The one I talk to when I need to solve a story issue.

Sometimes it helps, sometimes not. But I can always do that.

There are others who I’ve confused in. Let read my stories but they’re not really interested.

They pat me on the head when I would send them things, but they don’t really want to read.

They have lives of their own but my sharing my writing with them meant something.

It meant I trust you with my heart.

When they toss it away, it hurts.

It’s why I only let my wife read my stories.

I will share things on Reddit or writing sites, but they’ve usually gone through a lot revisions

If I share my writing with you, take as I’m sharing a secret. Don’t dispose of it in your email trash.

Tell me you can’t read it or that you’re too busy for it. I’ll get the hint.

Today I’m writing what scares me. I write it because I have to learn more about myself.

Tomorrow I have queries to send off.

I’ll keep you posted and stay warm.

How do you measure two years?

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In the last two years I’ve submitted to at least 20 agents, written four novels and at least forty short stories.

Of those novels, one is out with agents currently.

I’m writing another and will complete the first draft by the end of the year.

These last couple of weeks I’ve thought about the last two years and what I’ve done.

Have I loved? Have I taken risks? Have I done things I wouldn’t normally do?

It’s a yes to all of that.

I know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’ll be spending it with my wife and kids.

What I won’t be doing is trying to recover or make up for things I did prior to those two years.

Yes I made mistakes but as I said the other day, I have to move forward.

That forward thinking has led me to great places in my writing. Rewarding places in my life and I won’t let a day go by without working to get better at my craft.

I’ve had to eliminate things lately but with those things gone I have better focus.

Moving forward is not about forgetting, it’s about being who I am for me.

Enjoy your holiday and don’t let a day go by without being thankful for what you have, who cares about you, and trying to secure your goals.

Move forward son, move forward.

Write for yourself first.

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In Stephen King’s book “On Writing”, he talks about his first reader.

For him it’s his wife Tabitha. I understand why and for him this works.

For the longest time I wrote with someone in mind. Someone I thought would like the book, understand it, and it would scare them.

To go along with my most recent posts, that’s changed.

I feel there is only one person I should write a story for. Myself.

I am the first reader of the story after all and while I may put things in it for certain people. I’ve become aware that some people won’t read what I write anyway so why would I write a story for them?

I put things in on the off chance they would but I’m no longer under delusion the will.

It comes to what terrifies me. What makes me think, “Damn, we skipped some levels.”

Those levels are the places I used to write from.

Living in fear of being judged of the things in my mind. The things I better not put in stories because someone will think there’s something wrong with me.

I no longer live in those levels, neither do my stories.

I have more to submit this week, as I said in other posts.

This week will be one with my wife and kids and it’s snowing as I put these words on the page.

Have a pleasant Thanksgiving and I may put another post up later in the week.

You have to move forward

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We all have those moments when we understand that things won’t get done unless we remove things from our lives.

Those things can be people, video games, or other activities.

This on the subject of the ones who choose to leave. Either on their own or when they no longer serve a purpose either in their availability or in their attitude.

They come at you with their falsehoods, their passive-aggressive attitudes and you have to leave them to themselves.

You no longer have patience or time for it and other things are more important to you.

We spend too long in this life ignoring those people and what they represent.

We have to cut them out sooner or later. It’s always better when it’s sooner.

They distract, they disturb and take away from who you want to be. Usually they knew you once but refuse to accept who you are.

When you move forward it will suck for a while but you’re better off with a close circle than those who take away from who you are.

I had planned to take time away from the blog but my thoughts keep pulling me in.

I’m still writing. I submitted to a few agents this past week and will send off more this week.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

Interruption, mic check…

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It’s better to be who you are than who someone wants you to be.

It took me a long time to understand those words. It’s taken me longer still to follow them.

There are reasons for this but they deal with my childhood and that voice in my head that follows me everywhere.

I’m past caring what people think and I’m moving forward.

The voice in my head has been silent and I’m taking that as a cue that I’m better and focused on doing what it takes.

Sometimes you have to cut an abscess out and move forward.

Life is about living up to your dreams and what you want and to hell with what people think of your dreams.

Those people will be cut out one way or another.

Tired,Trusting Yourself, And Learning

The exhaustion of writing this fast has hit.

To give you an idea, I’ve written 96k in 40 writing days.

The first few days were hectic.

I doubted myself and wondered if I should keep going. I stopped writing for a few days to get my head right. I hit points where I had to take a day to work through things.

Luckily those days weren’t many and out of the 40 days, its been 46  calendar days since I started.

As I said in the last post, I’ve written this one with an outline and a beat sheet. I’ve followed each beat and knew where I needed to be in the story by that beat.

It’s changed I look at writing, how I construct everything about the story. I used to be a pantser and had almost no luck with an outline.

I felt stilted.

Then I realized that I could write to the beat. I could do whatever I wanted with the people in the story as long as I hit the points I needed to and reached the beats within a couple of thousand words, which I’ve done.

When I wrote on Tuesday morning I realized I’d written more in this first draft than I’d written in any of the previous 10 books I’ve written.

It is the longest book I’ve written and I’ve followed the outline and beat sheet perfectly.

It will change how I construct stories in the future as well as how I work on any project going forward.

This project has been more fun than anything I’ve written and felt like it was writing itself for most of the draft.

I know for any project that comes after it, I’ll have to sit down and plan out the beat sheet. The outline will take a minimum of three weeks, and more than likely more.

After this draft is done, it will sit for six weeks while I work on short stories and plan out what to work on next.

There is one major thing I’ve learned from this process.

No one knows you better than yourself. People can tell you what you should write, or what they believe you should write. Maybe even that they think they know you. But the truth is no one but you knows you.

Always trust yourself in your writing and write what you would enjoy, not anyone else.