Not Giving up on what I want.

There are dreams in the world that happen because we take a chance.

We’re capable of doing great things, but there are moments when we falter.

The truth is, for most of us, fear runs our lives.

It keeps us from achieving greatness.

I used to be one of those people.

I feared people would read my writing and hate. But they’d judge me based only on my writing, not on who I am.

A year ago I sent off my first short story to a magazine. The rejections have come in ever since.

Not one of my stories has been picked up. I don’t know why, but I’ll keep going. I’ll keep improving. The only way to get published it to improve every day. The only way to do that is to write every day or if you’re not writing, at least be reading.

This year I sent off a novel. It’s been seen by three agents. Two of them still have it. The third sent a form rejection.

But I’m not stopping.

I have eight more agents on my list.

When I get rejections from all of them, I’ll shelve it and work on the other one.

I have a goal. It won’t be achieved until I’m published.

I’ve written seven novels, over 100 short stories.

Some of them good, some bad, but I keep writing.

I won’t accept being unpublished.

This year I’ve improved more than any year. My focus hasn’t wavered.

I’m starting another novel next month, another novel I’ll be editing, and few short stories I’ll be submitting.

This road doesn’t end until I’m published.

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The Decisions we make.

This week has been one of those where ideas come up. Things happen I consider doing things that aren’t in my ten or even twenty-year plan and I have to abandon them.

I’ve been trying to write another book this year and I haven’t been able to get any words on the page. I’m not sure of why. Maybe my mind is occupied with the world around me and I can’t shut it off as easily as I did last year.

Last year was a banner year for my writing: Three books were written and I’ll be submitting two of them.

I have big plans for this year and the one idea that came up this week would have thrown all those ideas out the window.

The idea was something I’ve always wanted to do, but it wasn’t in my plan so it got tossed.

When ideas come or opportunities present themselves there are decisions to be made.

I made the decision to finish my plans for the year and to ignore any distractions.

If it’s not pushing me towards my goals, it’s a distraction.

Anyway, move forward and don’t stop until you’re there.

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Busy and almost missed today.

Today is the first time I’ve nearly missed writing a post in a few months.

I’m not going make some bullshit excuse.

Our power did go out last night but it was on in time for me to write a post today or yesterday.

The fact is I’ve been writing a lot.

I finished two short stories in the past couple of days. I received a rejection from an agent for the novel I submitted; this is the fourth rejection for this particular novel.

I have other stories. I’ll write more. I’ll continue writing and after I get a acceptance letter I’ll go quiet for a while and work on other things.

I took a lot of time off from Delusions of Ink, I don’t intend to do it again.

Happy writing.

Brian

Going with your instincts…

Yesterday my wife and I were talking about a story I’d written.

She thought it needed something else.

I told her, my gut instinct had been to take the story darker but was unnerved to do it.

This led me to think about other stories where I’d taken the safe route.

I thought about everything I’d written.

There were parts of numerous stories and some novels where I’d played it safe.

I chose not to do something in the story I wanted to do because there’s always a fear of doing something horrific.

Those moments came more often than I thought.

I don’t usually think about this but my wife insisted I go back and rewrite it darker.

As a writer, especially one who writes horror and fantasy, there’s a fear of judgment.

I worry that what I write may lead people to believe there is something wrong with me.

This has plagued me since I began writing in my teens.

As a teenager, it felt different because I worried how my parents would interpret what I wrote. I thought they’d want to sit me down with a therapist, hint, they did.

When I began to write again in my twenties, I felt what I wrote would worry my wife. I edited myself because of it.

After our discussion this week, I discovered I’m still afraid of what people think.

This makes it hard for me to move forward with improving as well as writing the stuff in my head.

There’s a quote, I’m not sure who it belongs to but I think its Stephen King, “Good writing is often about letting go of fear.”

I need to let go of the fear of judgment, move forward and write something that scares me for other people to see.

If I don’t, why am I writing at all?

Finding our hearts.

When we started our life, we didn’t understand what it was.

As we move through it, we begin to understand it better.

This discovery could leads us to uncovering who we are, what we want, who we love, why we struggle more than some, but lesss than others.

Along the road to discovery, we learn about ourselves. Not like the items I listed above, but truly learn.

We discover our hearts.

What moves us, what makes us cry, what changes us.

This heart attaches itself to our family members, children, partners, and sometimes art.

I found my heart in writing when I was in my teens.

Life intervened, I wasn’t able to write for a multitude of reasons.

Then, three years ago.

Life gave me a gift.

I’m able to write all I want. Play with my kids. Spend time with my wife and still have time to read.

I found my heart when I was allowed to write full time.

I’ve never been published. But when I sit at the keys, I feel like creating worlds is payment enough.

I enjoy writing more than anything I’ve done. It is my calm when the storm comes.

Have you found your heart.

Be Brave and Enjoy the Sunlight.

I wonder often about the life I’ve lead.

It comes to me at night. I’ll ponder the things I’ve done. People I’ve wronged and consider whether the life I have has been worth the things I’ve been through.

Those moments are surrounded by others.

These others are filled with the laughter of my kids, my wife’s kiss, and my morning writing.

For the first time in a while, I feel like my life is going in the correct direction.

Yes, I write fervently. I get my word count on a new WiP every day.  I work on revisions and edits every day on another story or novel.

But all the tired nights, exhausted mornings and cups of coffee are worth it for what I’m attempting.

Each person reaches a point where they want to stop. I have a couple of times.

When this point is reached, we have to look around and think about how far we’ve come. And all we’ve done to reach this current state.

That moment may come while we’re in the shower or it may come in a flash of fireworks erupting over our heads as we look at our wife and kids.

Today, I’m in a good place. I know they aren’t all good so I’m going to recognize this one. Have a good rest of your day.

Things happen for reasons we don’t understand.

In July of 2015, after we’d moved, I found it difficult to locate employment.

We didn’t plan for this.

After bartending in Las Vegas for 17 years, we thought it would be easy.

It took me until the end of August to find the job I currently have.

I love bartending weddings and events. You see people as they begin their lives together, learn about their family, and often meet some great people.

The other events are mostly corporate parties. They are fun, but the weddings are my favorites.

Going back to the start of this post, we were perhaps naive.

We thought, “Who wouldn’t want to have a Las Vegas bartender?”

Apparently every bar and restaurant I applied for from Salt Lake to North Ogden.

In the beginning, when no one called or those who were interested changed their minds for unknown reasons, I became depressed.

We lived with my mother-in-law in those early months after our move and I felt like a failure.

We never discovered the reason the interested places changed their minds. I gave up caring about it a few months ago.

In hindsight, I thought, ‘I’d failed my family.”

Today, I believe if I had procured one of those jobs, I wouldn’t be able to write full-time. I’d probably be miserable in any of those jobs. A year ago I sent my resumé out again, but I’ll never do it again.

Sure, my wife and I struggle, but I write full-time, and we can pay our bills. We were able to take our kids to Universal Studios this past June.

It was something, with our limited funds I had to plan a year out, but we all had fun.

I have a novel out to agents currently, will send it to more by the end of the week, and I’m starting revisions on another. I plan on submitting that one either in September or if more rewrites are needed January 2019.

I started writing a new novel at the end of June.

I write every day. Sometimes the words come easy, sometimes I struggle, but I get 1,000 words or more a day.

I’ve written seven novels. If we’d have stayed in Las Vegas that number would be stuck at two. If I’d had found a different job, I would have maybe three or four, but not the eight.

Keep working, keep grinding and remember things happen for a reason.

How I took over control of my life.

This year has been about regaining control over my life.

First, it started by fixing my writing.

I listened to myself when I was writing more often, thought through sentences more carefully, and paid attention when a story went off the rails.

Today my wife will be finishing her first read-through of a novel. I’ll start revising it next week.

I started a new novel yesterday.  I’m currently outlining it and creating a beat sheet.

It’s something different from my other stories, in structure and content.

Second, I’ve been exercising more.

The end of last year was a tough one. My brother passed away from an aneurysm.

Technically we weren’t blood, but he’ll always be my brother.

When he passed, I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I should.

I’ve worked to correct that.

I work out four to five days a week, restrict my caffeine intake and make sure I’m eating decently.

Third, I spend more time with my wife and kids.

Three years ago I lived in Las Vegas. I worked a job I hated and was stressed all the time.

The hours I worked made it nearly impossible to get any time with my wife and kids.

I’d spend a few days here and there with them but it wasn’t quality time. It was usually in a movie theater.

After we left Las Vegas our goal was for me to write more, spend more time with each other and give our kids a better environment.

We’ve managed to do all of those things.

I’ve written four novels since we moved, over a hundred short stories and with each I see improvement.

Our kids are doing better in school. My son almost made the honor roll, which was unheard of in Las Vegas.

We hike, spend time outside and sometimes we go to the movies. The movies used to be our family time. Now its secondary to doing other things.

I have no doubt I’ll be published soon. I know I’m in better physical and mental condition than I was three years ago.

My relationship with my kids and my wife is stronger than its ever been.

If we wouldn’t have left Las Vegas all of us would be miserable.

I fight my way through depression daily, my wife does too.

There are moments when life seems hard. At those moments I look around and compare the life I had three years ago to my current situation.

Things are better.

I took control of a lot of things this year. I’m also working harder at my prose than I thought possible. I never would have had the time to focus during our Las Vegas life.

Today, I have the time, the strength and the ability to push towards my goals.

It all started by taking control.

When we chase the light…

Sometimes we hit a rough patch.

And like all rough patches, they feel longer than they are.

We find ourselves traveling roads no one’s been. It feels harder, the terrain more difficult.

With each passing spray of dirt, we right ourselves. The correction may be difficult but it’s worth the effort.

Then we’re out off the rough patch, onto the main road and following until we reach our destination.

Sometimes the destination feels farther away than we first realized. We can see the light illuminating its top and we want to quit. We want to give up.

But when we’re traveling and hitting rough spots we’re still moving forward. We’re still traveling towards the light.

When we get stuck in the mud our faith in ourselves and our journey falters.

The mud covers our tires, buries them and then we’re only spinning.

Those are the times we look for someone who can help.

We have to find those people to get out of the mud. We’ll stand on the side of the road, hope they’re around the curve, wish for them to come around and sometimes they will.

Other times, we need to get a stick, place it under the tires or wrap a rope around a tree and pull ourselves out.

When we pull ourselves out its more difficult but the reward of doing ourselves feels better.

We won’t always have that person to pull us out of the mud. Finding a way out without needing someone to help us gives us hope. Hope that next time, we’ll do it again.

Living with constant depression is a battle each day.

There are moments where we get out of the mud, pull onto the main road, hit the gas and get closer.

Those days seem like their far apart some days, weeks, months but they are there.

We must reach the light on the hill.

The path forward

With each passing day, each rejection letter or rejection form letter, I find myself narrowly continuing to write.

Yesterday, while I sat in the barber’s chair. I listened to my barber talking to a young kid.

At first, the kid said he wanted to be an apprentice.

As the conversation developed, the kid’s view changed.

My barber is a smart dude.

He knows what he’s talking about. I enjoy the conversation in the shop as much as the haircut.

When I was this kid’s age (21) I had no idea what I wanted to do.

It took me until I was in my thirties before I knew I wanted to write full-time. Now I write full time, don’t get paid for it and enjoy my life more than I ever have.

Sure, sometimes we struggle, but the moments when I write something that resonates with my wife, those make this worth it.

I bartend to make ends meet. My wife had a good job that allows me to write full-time.

When we left Las Vegas three years ago, we knew it was time to get out.

I knew I couldn’t do another year in Vegas.

I dealt with severe depression, a job I hated and an environment that wasn’t good for my kids.

Three years on, I’m getting better.

I’ve written four novels in the last three years. I have one being queried another I’m editing and I work on short stories daily.

The way you look at life matters.

Three years ago, we arrived at my mother-in-law’s, our belongings in storage, it took me two months to find a bartending gig.

We hadn’t anticipated that it would be hard for me to find a bartending gig after seventeen years on the Las Vegas strip.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the places I work.

For the longest time, I was afraid of getting my work out there. But I have a wife and two kids who need me to keep going.

I need to show my kids that you can do what you want in this life if you work for it.

They need to know that hard work pays off.

The last three years have been difficult, there’s no doubt about that, but without difficulties, life wouldn’t feel as good when we reach our goals.

I’ll continue writing because I like it and it’s one of a few things I’m good at. Bartending and being a dad are some of those things.

Life matters, no matter how hard it gets, life matters.

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