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?

Change, fixing problems, and ignoring what people say.

I don’t even know where to start with this post.

I’ve had a running commentary for things for so long I don’t know where to narrow this stuff down.

So I’ll start with the relevant things.

I’ve been trying to get past that commentary.

It starts by admitting a few things.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Words come to me when I don’t expect it and don’t come when I need them too.

This is a regular thing and I’m wondering if this is how it’s supposed to be.

The current project came out of a single thought and idea after bartending an event.

After telling myself to write an outline, I did. I thought after writing 9 books without one, I had to use an outline since none of those books are in print.

But here’s the thing, it had nothing to do with the stories. Some of them are really good.

It has to do with putting in the work.

I didn’t want to do that.

I punked out!

I would choose anything over editing. I would rather rewrite the book than figure out what was wrong with it.

It started to be a joke.

Then, after the last book, I realized I hadn’t found my voice. I didn’t know what I wanted out my writing or anything creatively.

I wanted to be published but didn’t want to do the work it entails.

I wanted the glory, so to speak, without the work.

That’s changed this last weekend.

I realized there are things I have to fix and it’s not having an outline.

Having a premise or idea about what happens is one thing. Have a rough idea of things that will happen, okay. An outline…sucks!

I will construct and idea of what is supposed to happen but planning and plotting are out the window.

I can’t. I’ve tried for three weeks and barely reached 22k, which is slow as hell for me.

Yesterday I gave up on what I had in the outline and just wrote. It was incredible!

I’ll do that from now on.

Getting comfortable

I have a tendency to stop just before things happen.

With my writing I’ll be doing good, then I back off. I don’t know why but I do.

I get into a comfortable mindset and forget that I’m supposed to be working. I’m supposed to be writing.

I told myself it wouldn’t happen again, and it hasn’t.

Something else has.

I’ve hit a point in my writing where the world I’m creating feels lived in. Feels real and it scares the hell out of me.

It’s the opposite of being comfortable, maybe.

There’s no fear but an absence of worry. I know I’ll get the project done on time. I understand where it needs to go and I’m finally comfortable with it.

I write these stories because the premise intrigues me.

I keep going with them because I made myself a promise to do it.

When I left Las Vegas four years ago I gave myself 5 years to publish a book. At the time it felt realistic.

In the next two months I’ll be doing exactly that.

The book isn’t perfect but I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.

I’ll have more about that soon. But it will be wide and I hope you enjoy it.

Writing for you, skipping out, and gathering in a storm.

After writing Monday’s post I thought more about the person I write for.

The kid whose parents don’t let them read what they want, the twenty-something writer that only wants to get their foot in the door, the writer and reader I am today.

The kid is the easiest to write for because without restrictions they can read anything.

The twenty-something is a bit more difficult because they want they’re writing to mean something, but they also want to have fun while writing.

The writer and reader I am today is the most difficult.

They’re the person in the mirror and I feel unsure about how to help that person.

Do I write something truly terrifying that maybe an agent may enjoy, or do I write something just to say I have something published?

I think this conundrum bears further exploration and may lead my writing to better places.

It’s difficult for me to write things where it’s truly terrifying because I still worry about judgment. I know I shouldn’t because in the end it’s my name on the book and not the judgmental person but I still worry.

There’s this thing running through my head where I see everyone judging me based upon what I write. It’s the main reason it took me so long to stick with horror.

I’m a dark soul, I always have been. And in that darkness I find solace, peace, and freedom.

It’s why I struggle with depression. It’s why I’ve struggled with alcohol(1 month 4 days sober today)and it’s why I need to just say fuck it and write the darkest and most disturbing story I can.

In that story I feel I’ll find the person who should be writing these stories instead of the person pretending to write.

When I write I feel the world stops. When I write it’s like a dream and I’m within the construct of the world.

Without that edging of my dreams I’d be lost and without the writing and darkness I’d never find my way out.

I keep writing and this time I’ll go the darkest I can and see what slithers out of the nether. It’s in the darkest recesses the writer I know I’m meant to be is hiding.

He’s only afraid to make and entrance.

It’s in the bleakest of moments and darkest of storms we find ourselves.

The storm is still there, it hasn’t passed. I believe it’s only waiting for my decision.

It’s better when you write what you enjoy.

For the longest time I’ve been trying to write a fantasy novel, but I never thought about why I’m writing it.

Yesterday I did.

I write fantasy because I felt it was expected of me, not because I enjoyed it.

I had a friend turn me on to Fantasy books when I worked in Vegas. It was a genre I never understood and one I never thought about reading.

It always seemed too complicated, too busy and of the 3 novels I’ve written in the genre none of them gave me pleasure in their writing.

I wrote them because it felt expected of me. For the same reason the first novel I wrote was a vampire story. It was expected of me.

I’ve gone back to that vampire story a few times. It’s awful, as first novels usually are, but the story idea is good and I may do something with it later.

The only stories that give me pleasure are horror stories.

There is something about scaring people.

I love the act of creating a story that not only scares the reader but is unsettling to myself as well.

Short fantasy stories are fine, little ones where the reader is following one person. Not the arching novels of Brandon Sanderson. I love to read those books, thanks to a friend, but writing them brings nothing but stress and frustration.

I’ll stick with horror. It’s what I always liked as a kid.

I’d find myself staying up when I’d go to my grandparents. Watching the late night scary movies that aired on HBO, or Tales From The Crypt. Those were some of my favorites.

I remember picking up a copy of Fangoria in the book store and staring at it.

People would stare at me, my own father wouldn’t buy them for me, but I’d sit and read them any chance I got.

The dark, the macabre, and the creepy runs deep in my blood and I enjoy writing those tales the most.

It’s better to write what you enjoy, rather than what someone expects of you.

I had a conversation about this with my mom a while ago. She told me, “I wondered why you wrote anything other than horror.”

Listen to your mom. She knows you best.

It’s what I’ll stick to from now on.

Happy Friday. Have a good weekend.

Why I don’t set daily word count goals.

Forever, like just about every writer I know, I set a daily word count goal and a project goal.

I thought I had to do that.

I use Scrivener to write with. It allows me to set a word count goal for the project and it calculates what my daily goal should be based up one where I’ve set my deadline, which is usually three months out.

But after struggling to write since finishing the book in December, I decided to use the writing formula I had for that one.

For that book, I created a playlist, which gained a few followers on Spotify, wrote for 25 minute sprints, with 5 minute breaks.

I’ve tried doing that since but I always got distracted by the internet.

On Saturday , I created a new playlist on Spotify, keeping it secret, and busted out 2916 words in the four sprints.

I took away the project goal, which when I took took away the deadline in the program eliminated the daily word count goal. I still have a deadline for the end of July, but taking that off the program increased my focus, which was my goal of following the formula.

I wrote 86k on the December project in that month, I’m not sure I’ll replicate that, but it would be great to write like that again.

I changed how I write because I felt stymied by what I was doing. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t putting words on the page but after changing things I believe I’ll be crushing my word count for this project.

I don’t have a daily word count goal, I write until my four sprints are over, then I look at my word count. But I don’t have goal in mind before I start writing. I only want to get clean, truthful words on the page. With this formula, that’s what I’ll be doing.

How is your writing going? Are you having the same issues as I have?

Try changing your music, where you write, or event what you drink or have beforehand. Those little things can change everything.

Have a good Monday and happy writing!

How I’m ignoring things that disrupt my writing.

As a writer, there are many times when I’ll be compromised by disruptions.

I’ll be working on a project, and, BAM!

New story idea, new way to adjust or improve the current project, a way to fix previous project. That’s the moment I want to scream, but don’t.

I’ll write down what the thought, idea, or whatever and get back to what I was working on.

It hasn’t always been this way.

It took me a while to ignore those things.

That pretty new thing sounds wonderful, but it will take you away from your current project and you’ll never finish a book!

I’m only 10k in on a new project and my brain has made multiple attempts on sacrificing the current project for another one.

It got to the point where I had to take a step back. Think about why my brain was doing that.

I came to the realization that there is a story I want to tell with another book, but I have pushed it away to focus on the current project. The other book is connected to the one I talked about here.

I’m trying to focus on writing something that is terrifying this year.

In other projects I didn’t do that until the second draft, but after discussing my writing with my wife(always my rock), she said I should go as dark and horrifying as possible. That’s something I’ve been afraid to do. Mostly out of fear of judgment. My wife told me, “Why care about what someone will say when they won’t read the actual book only the blurb?”

This changed my writing. I’m working on not only improving those things and the prose but shoveling those thoughts out with the trash.

I have a better grasp on my writing than I ever have before and avoiding shiny objects, not caring what people think and enjoying the whole process of writing, yes, even editing, is making me a better writer.

Anyway, have a good weekend and happy writing.