The Fear Of Pushing Too Hard

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I have this fear. It rouses its ugly head every so often. I’m working on whatever project, then I think about how much harder I could be working on my writing, on my life, and other things.

This fear becomes complicit in my not pushing my projects when they come out. On not trying hard enough to edit. Each and every one of them deserves my attention, but then there’s this fear.

It tells me that if I work too hard, I’ll alienate those I care about. That they’ll not like me as much. That I’ll break those relationships. I’ve dealt with abandonment issues since childhood. It’s one of my overarching issues.

Within this fear is the worry that if I don’t work harder, what I write won’t go anywhere. I don’t care anymore if it makes money. I care someone gets something out of it. I don’t write for anyone but myself. Some people won’t care about you’re writing. Others will. I stopped worrying about those who won’t. I focus on those who will.

Writing Disunion By Force took me to a few places I hadn’t dared tread since my teenage years. I wrote this book for my teenage self. He read a lot of these kinds of books. Most of them to keep him sane, others to keep him from killing himself.

I found solace and a bit of peace writing this book. I’ve come a long way from the kid afraid of screwing up. He continues to pop up, but I’ve shoved him down a little. I know he’d enjoy this book. I know there were times he was done. Times when it was just him in an apartment reading, watching horror movies, and trying to keep his head above water.

I live through the fear of pushing too hard, but it comes out right. I write for us.

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Complaining too much and my brain telling me things.

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Disunion by Force by Brian J. Stone

Everything I’ve written for the last couple of weeks is terrible. Whatever I picked up to read bored me and I’ve talked about it on social media.

Now, I try not to do this, but last week my brain told me off through a dream.

All the writers I interact with had an intervention. One said, “We’ve been watching you for a couple of years. I don’t know where you fell off, but you need to stop complaining and work.”

Needless to say, I thought of this dream for a couple of days. It resided in every waking moment. When I thought I got away from it, there it was, reeling me back in.

The funny thing is, I thought everything was fine. I didn’t see it. My subconscious did. It yelled at me in the dream, “You’ve been doing so good. You need to stop this complaining and work.”

Now, this is not a complaint to follow up on by the subconscious. It’s more of a story that I need to listen to that voice in my head that says to work.

I have a book out in a month, and I will promote the hell out of it for the next month and thereafter. What I will not do is complain about how hard this shit sometimes is. How hard I’m working. I want everyone to read Disunion By Force. I wrote it for me, so maybe it won’t reach the people I want it to, but I know someone will enjoy it.

They say you should write what you’d read and this is what my fourteen-year-old self would have read. It’s a book I think my biological father would like.

My Political Thriller Novel: Disunion By Force

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’re aware that I wrote a political/military thriller.

Now it’s time to produce the goods and tell you something about the book.

Disunion By Force, written under a pen name, Brian J. Stone, comes out on November 8th. It’s up for an order of physical copies and ebooks everywhere you can purchase a book.

It followed Jackson Reed, a retired US Air Force pilot, investigating a lost top secret military drone.

Jax’s investigation leads him to the top tiers of the political spectrum. He learns a lot about why he was forced out of the Air Force.

I wrote Disunion By Force during the lockdown in 2020. I wrote it from April third until May 4th. Its first draft came in at just over 100,000 words. I’ve edited it, and with the help of my editor, it is down to 79,000 words. I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t work.

Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising was my first experience with books in the genre. I was twelve at the time. I’ve always read above my grade level. I read the early Jack Ryan books and the Mark Greaney books. I am halfway through Greaney’s Grey Man books.

I’ve always wanted to write books like this but didn’t out of fear I’d screw it up. I think Disunion is a good book. I enjoyed writing Jax. He’s a fun, flawed character. I have more in store for him in other novels. I intend to start writing the next book in January and have it ready for publication in July.

I hope you’ll buy a copy when it releases on November 8th.

Horror has always been my safe space.

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When I think of horror it’s about the times I spent alone as a kid. My father wouldn’t come home for a couple of days. I’d spend that time watching horror movies on HBO or Cinemax or I’d read. But the books weren’t horror, they were military/political thrillers. Later they were dubbed techno-thrillers, but I digress.

Horror was my safe space. I felt safer watching those movies than at any other time. It was in those long nights of being home that I watched Basketcase, Creepshow, Tales From the Crypt, and a myriad of other movies. I watched movies a 13-year-old maybe shouldn’t watch, but it was the ’80’s and us latchkey kids didn’t have many rules. The rules we had were about school, but everything else was open and free to explore. I took advantage of that.

I’m sure the reason I fight with myself over writing horror or thrillers is because of those days and nights alone. When my father was home I read thrillers. When he wasn’t, I watched horror. Horror made me feel safe. It scared me of course, but I knew it was safe. T

he thrillers were about the world ending in a war or some random shooter. But horror wasn’t like that.

When I write horror I consider it a dive into my deepest, darkest memories and how those memories scarred me.

It’s within the construct of a horror story that I feel safe. I’m allowed to explore those bad memories. Those bad events. I’m able to parse those things into a story and allow my mind to explore them in a safe space. It’s this same safe space that I felt growing up watching those movies.

It’s the darkness staring through our eyes. Our memories of tragedy, of abuse, and of learning to deal with it in our own way. My way of dealing with abuse was to shut down. It still is.

When I consider where I came from and what I’ve learned about myself and the fear of things in the night, regardless of what they are, I think of long nights alone in the dark. The flicker of a horror movie on the screen is my solace and when I’m depressed or upset it’s these movies that bring me joy.

A new story comes from these dark places and they bring me joy in the same way those movies do. A new story comes when I’m ready to deal with the past in any shape. It breaks through the barrier I keep around myself. Those stories endear themselves to me. They show me the dark isn’t that bad and that I can work through anything.

My own development as a writer is to put this process through it’s paces. I must feel the story. I must understand that it’s going to get rough for these characters and that through them I can work through whatever trauma I have. I did that with the story, ‘Carnival of Darkness’ in my collection. I dealt with a situation from my childhood I’m still working through.

I must hear the story and the characters in my head and it’s only with horror that this happens.

While writing thrillers it’s the story, but with horror it’s the characters and their feelings.

I come to a story with an idea, but getting to know my characters and their feelings about life, love, and what trauma they’ve dealt with is where I play my cards.

I will let you get back to your regularly scheduled program.

I will be at the same Bat Channel tomorrow.

Found myself in Limbo today.

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The last few months have tried my mentally and physically. I’ve barely written a word in the last couple of months and those I’ve written I don’t care for.

I’ll never stop writing, but right it feels hard. I don’t know it’s this way, but it is and it’s causing my depression issues to creep back in. I want to be left alone to read, watch movies, and do absolutely nothing, but that’s not a possibility.

The aspects of not writing or being blocked, which I’m not sure if I’m blocked or if there’s something else going on.

I had a good discussion with my editor about my military/political thriller on Tuesday and it gave me a lot of confidence to continue to write in that genre, but it hasn’t turned into new words on the page.

I’ve dealt with a lot in the last couple of months with my mental state, what I want to do and whether I’ll continue to write, it’s a yes on the latter, and confusion on the former.

It’s difficult to deal with childhood issues when you’re working on them. It’s also difficult to understand that trauma you dealt with as a kid when it raises its head at the most inopportune of times.

I’m trying to work past all of this, but it’s quite difficult to understand why I’m stuck. I’ll go back and erase some of the items in the draft, or move them around. They’re hard to deal with and they set the story on a path I’m not comfortable with at the moment. I have to get back to writing and not worrying about whether the story is going in a direction that is manageable. Sometimes it manages itself, and I need to get back to my writing moving smoothly. It’s not happening right now.

I’m feeling a bit lost with my writing and it not flowing is making it worse. I’d wanted to have a finished draft of the espionage thriller done by the end of May, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I have plans for other books within the same world.

My brain has been active with regards to writing this stuff but my fingers have not. I’m writing, just in my head not on the page.