When it’s fun…

With the passing days, word counts, and life, I find that in pushing harder to get where I want to be, I approach my goals.

I’m writing things that once terrified me.

And it’s not because I write horror.

It’s because the subject matter. The way it’s coming out is defiant of my former self.

I write to make people think.

I write because I love the terrifying parts of the stories.

I continue each day because of those little moments when I catch myself writing.

I’ll look back at the prose and think, “damn, that was good. Keep going like that.”

Those are the moments I relish.

You get to a point you watch your words and think it’s cool and I need to replicate that.

I enjoy writing most when that happens.

Fear & Loathing…and writing.

This week I’ve given into my fears.

I wrote without worry. Making sure to give myself the space I needed. The time I needed and allowed myself to screw up.

All of these have given me more peace in my writing than I’ve felt in a long time.

I finally feel like I don’t have to worry about the way the story is going, even if I feel it’s going off the rails.

I’ll make a note of it and keep writing.

There used to be this feeling of loathing when that what happen.

I’d think, “oh shit, I’ll have to fix that”, and stress over it. This week I haven’t done that.

Every word of the draft has been good and I feel it’s moving in the right direction.

Today I’ll get some set up things done. Make some l headway on certain items, and get the story rolling.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

I’ll be bartending today and tomorrow, but Sunday, we’re going to the state fair.

My wife and daughter have paintings entered in the fair.

A beginning and an endpoint.

When I started writing I felt lost.

I didn’t know how to do this thing.

For years I wrote like my favorite authors. I thought if they can do it by the seat of their pants, why can’t I?

What I really learned is that you have to be honest with yourself about the craft.

Are you getting rejections because of how you write?

I hadn’t thought about this until after I wrote nine books.

I believed that my writing as it was should be good enough to get published. That wasn’t the case.

The truth is, the story meandered through each chapter never finding a true foothold(even after subsequent drafts).

It was only after I thought of quitting that I started to really think about outlining.

When you’re at the bottom and you feel lost, you have to try something different.

I was fearful of outlining because I’d tried it before. It was when I was new to having the time to write and I wanted to get it on the page as fast as possible.

I only wanted to see words on the page.

It hurt to have to take a step back and reevaluate what I wrote, how I wrote, and why I wrote.

All of this was difficult and hard on my ego but I want to be published more than anything.

When you want something bad enough and what you’re doing isn’t working you have to fix it.

I fixed it!

The hardest things are always the most difficult, but also the most rewarding in the end.

Sobriety, writing, and finding yourself.

A year ago, maybe earlier, I read Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. It woke something in me.

Before that book I’d never considered getting sober, or that I may have a problem.

I’d always thought, that happens to other people. I can handle my alcohol. But that’s what we say when we have a problem.

I haven’t been sober for longer than a couple of days in a long time.

I thought I had it under control.

After reading Doctor Sleep, I noticed similarities between how I drank, why I drank, and whether I got any enjoyment out of it.

Secretly, I started looking at AA. I never told anyone because I was afraid of judgement. I didn’t want the possibility that I could have a drinking problem to be leaked to anyone.

In my family, we drink for a lot of reasons. For celebrations, weddings, birthdays, and a lot of other things.

But when have these things I felt like I couldn’t be me. I had to drink to numb certain pains of being around some family members.

I drank when things at home got too out of hand and my head hurt. If me and my wife got in an argument, I’d do a shot, or two, or three.

It was my coping mechanism.

In my early twenties I drank to deal with rejection. I drank to fit in because I didn’t like who I was.

It’s odd to think of this now, but I did. I drank because I felt I had to in order to fit in.

I also believed it would help my writing. It did for Hemingway.

I fell under that spell. The one where a writer or creative must drink in order to be creative. I fell for that hard.

Now, after being sober for a month. I’m nearly done with the edits of the book I wrote in the spring. I’ll finish those later today.

I’m learning that I have find other ways to cope with things. I have to talk to myself more, I have to talk myself down from things, and when my irrational mind starts acting up, I don’t reach for a bottle.

The last month has been difficult. Not because I got sober; but because I learned I can get through life without alcohol. I can have fun with my wife without needing to drink.

As of this writing I’ve been sober for 1 month.

I feel more focused. Food tastes different, which is weird. My stomach doesn’t hurt as often as it once did. I feel a better connection to my wife and kids, and that’s the big one for me.

It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns but it’s a hell of a lot better than my last drunk.

Drafting, sobriety, and exercise issues.

I’m on week 2 of drafting. Week 3 of my new workout routine and started week four of being sober.

There have been hiccups in the drafting, that’s normal.

My new workout has kicked my ass and I’m not sure how long I can sustain its intensity levels.

The sobriety thing has been good. Sleeping better, mind clearer. You’d think that would help with my drafting but nope. At least not now.

I’m working on what I have in my head and what isn’t there has been the difficult part.

I wrote down what happens but I still have to write it.

I’m also going through the book I finished in June.

It’s been a pleasant and enjoyable surprise.

Have a good midweek.

When I found my voice.

There’s this often referred to mystical thing called voice.

It’s talked about in books, podcasts, hell I’ve even seen it referenced in movies.

There are many types of voices within a story. There is the narrative voice, each characters particular voice and then there is the distinctive voice each author gives to the story.

Some authors find it early in the writing career, others keep going and find it after writing 9 books.

It’s taken me to the latter of these.

It was never explained to me what this voice means. It’s difficult to explain.

The only way I can describe it is like this.

When you read a Stephen King book, you know it’s King by his description, by his character creation and the way he handles his monsters.

The same goes for any author. Neil Gaiman is another.

You know his work by the mood he sets in his books.

There is a moodiness or vibe to all of Neil’s books. I’ve loved his writing since Sandman. I’ve read a lot of his books. Anansi Boys is my favorite.

With every author you know that author from how they construct, how they build, how each of their stories flow.

This is what your voice is. I can’t tell you how to find it, only that you will.

You’ll discover it while reading one of your stories. You’ll set it down, step back and wonder when it happened.

It will happen, but you have to keep going to discover it.

When it does, you’ll understand why, and you’ll also understand why other stories didn’t work.

You’ll find it. Keep writing.

Exercise, Anxiety, and getting my mind right.

I reached a breaking point.

This happened for a number of reasons. The main on being I haven’t taken care of myself lately.

I stopped working out, I’m not sure why. I wasn’t burnt out. My muscles weren’t sore or my joints, I just stopped.

Exercise, mostly weight training, has always been in my life.

My biological father did bodybuilding when I was younger and when I turned 14 he got me in the weight room.

Initially I didn’t care for it, spending most of my gym time in the pool instead of the weight room. I’ve always loved the water. It’s a Pisces thing.

As long grew older I fell in love with being in the gym. I enjoyed the feeling of the weights, the pump in my muscles and attended the Olympia on a couple of occasions.

Until recently I never associated the gym with my mental wellbeing. It was just something I did.

Then I looked at where my life was when I spent the most time in the gym or my muscles grew the most.

Those were emotional times.

In high school I used my weight training class to deal with my teenage anxiety. Never understanding then what I was doing.

In my early twenties I used it to deal with loneliness and that I was an awkward shy person.

I found comfort in the weight room. It was something I could do where my effort determined the results.

In my late twenties I used it to deal with our first miscarriage. Then in my early thirties to deal with my daughter’s early birth and first month in the NICU.

As I moved up on age I never noticed this, until now.

Most recently, I used it to deal with the death of my big brother.

When I struggle most I return to the weight room. That’s what I’m beginning again.

It’s another way to deal with anxiety, my writing frustrations, and just with every day life issues.

It has never failed in getting my mind right. It never failed in adjusting my attitude or my mindset.

TM keeps my mind in good shape, but with the combination of TM and exercise everything fires on all cylinders.

I’m back in the gym because I realized it keeps my mind more focused when I do it.

I may not thank my biological father for much, but a love of the weight room will always be one of them.

Have a good weekend.

Get shit done, have some fun, and keep going.