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.

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.

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.

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!

 

 

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.

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.