The definition of happiness…

For a long time I thought happiness meant the car, the house, the good job.

I stopped thinking that way a while ago.

For me happiness is seeing my wife and kids every day, during daylight hours, sitting and talking with my son and goofing off with him.

It’s my daughter telling me about her dolls, My Little Pony, and what she did in school.

It’s enjoying the things I took for granted.

I took my wife for granted. I expected she’d always be there. There were times when I think about it now, that I was an ass with her and if she’d have left I would’ve deserved it.

It’s about enjoying the life I have and not caring what others think about that life.

It’s about not caring what others think about your life. It’s what you think about it.

It’s taken me a long time to understand this.

I would rather have the life I have. The struggle to pay bills while I write. The late nights bartending, and the mornings where I know the day will be a struggle.

My life isn’t perfect but I love everything about it.

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.