How I took over control of my life.

This year has been about regaining control over my life.

First, it started by fixing my writing.

I listened to myself when I was writing more often, thought through sentences more carefully, and paid attention when a story went off the rails.

Today my wife will be finishing her first read-through of a novel. I’ll start revising it next week.

I started a new novel yesterday.  I’m currently outlining it and creating a beat sheet.

It’s something different from my other stories, in structure and content.

Second, I’ve been exercising more.

The end of last year was a tough one. My brother passed away from an aneurysm.

Technically we weren’t blood, but he’ll always be my brother.

When he passed, I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I should.

I’ve worked to correct that.

I work out four to five days a week, restrict my caffeine intake and make sure I’m eating decently.

Third, I spend more time with my wife and kids.

Three years ago I lived in Las Vegas. I worked a job I hated and was stressed all the time.

The hours I worked made it nearly impossible to get any time with my wife and kids.

I’d spend a few days here and there with them but it wasn’t quality time. It was usually in a movie theater.

After we left Las Vegas our goal was for me to write more, spend more time with each other and give our kids a better environment.

We’ve managed to do all of those things.

I’ve written four novels since we moved, over a hundred short stories and with each I see improvement.

Our kids are doing better in school. My son almost made the honor roll, which was unheard of in Las Vegas.

We hike, spend time outside and sometimes we go to the movies. The movies used to be our family time. Now its secondary to doing other things.

I have no doubt I’ll be published soon. I know I’m in better physical and mental condition than I was three years ago.

My relationship with my kids and my wife is stronger than its ever been.

If we wouldn’t have left Las Vegas all of us would be miserable.

I fight my way through depression daily, my wife does too.

There are moments when life seems hard. At those moments I look around and compare the life I had three years ago to my current situation.

Things are better.

I took control of a lot of things this year. I’m also working harder at my prose than I thought possible. I never would have had the time to focus during our Las Vegas life.

Today, I have the time, the strength and the ability to push towards my goals.

It all started by taking control.

Taking Ownership of my writing.


With Monday’s post, I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve been writing.

  • Have I been working hard enough to achieve my goals?
  • Have I done everything I need to get published?
  • Have I been working on the parts of my writing that need improvement?

To all of those, the answer is no, I haven’t worked hard enough, I haven’t done what I need to do. I haven’t worked on the parts of the craft that I fail at.

There is a big reason for that, laziness and fear.

I’ve been lazy. I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would. I’ve let myself down

I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would.

I’ve let myself down.

In the process of letting myself down, I’ve let my family down. I haven’t worked hard enough because I got too comfortable. I was too used to my life the way it was.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my kids or my wife.

Along the way to this realization, I forgot to accept who I was. I forgot to take ownership of what I wanted to do and put forth the effort to do it.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was comfortable.

I’ve known for a while that I need to work harder. I’ve looked at my writing and realized I need to improve my craft but I haven’t, not until this past few weeks.

Each of us will hit that point.

We’ll hit the point where we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror and we have to ask that person, what are you doing? Why aren’t you working hard enough? What the hell are you afraid of?

We have to answer those questions honestly if not, we’re truly lying to ourselves.

 

Summer Goals


Fear debilitates you, belittles you, and takes away your mind.

I’ve always been fearful of something, spiders, my father, losing my kids or my wife, but last night I had one of those writing epiphanies.

I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror because they’re what I feel comfortable with.

I write them because writing something literary or something that wouldn’t be considered popular fiction scares the shit out of me.

I have moments in my writing where the words flow like wine in Napa, moments where the words don’t tell you what’s going on in the story but you see the cloud formations, catch the protagonists eye and feel their pain, unfortunately, those are only moments.

For me, these moments are the glimmer of better writing, the shining example of where my writing could go if I were to allow it.

I have a book to finish this month, though it may push into June. I also have a second draft of another book to complete by June, that one will be done by June.

For the summer, I’ll be working on my craft. I won’t write a book this summer, I will improve my ability to craft them though.

This summer I’ll work on improving my craftsmanship.

Who’s down for doing this with me?

 

 

Quit making excuses, you have time.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.


For the longest time, I made excuses about not having time to write. Now that I write full-time, I see all the moments I could’ve used to write when I was really just screwing off.

When you write full-time, you see all the time others aren’t using for their art. There are many instances when I’ll see a post on social media, ‘I didn’t have time to write today, but I got my hair done, I played ____ video game or I went out drinking with friends’.

I like to play video games, have drink with friends and go to the barber and get pampered, but I don’t let it interfere with my work, because honestly, that’s what I consider writing now, it took me longer than it should have, but it’s a job that I love that I haven’t been paid for, yet.

Quit saying you don’t have time, you do.

Quit making excuses, the only excuses you can use are these.

  • My spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend got hurt or worse.
  • My kids got hurt or worse.
  • A very close family member got hurt or worse.

That’s it, those three are the only excuses. If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.

Otherwise, just quit.

Do you have anything published? And other things.

I bartend events on occasion and I get asked, ‘What do you do when you’re not doing this?”

“I write.” Is always my reply, then I wait for those words to compute, sometimes I get a follow-up like this, ‘Like freelance or books?’

‘I write novels and short stories.’

‘Do you have anything published?’

‘Not right now, but I’m trying to get a book published soon.’

‘Oh…” they reply and that’s the end of the conversation.

Here’s the truth. I have written four books, I’m working on number five right now and the reason I haven’t published is I guess I just haven’t.

That’s the truth. With the first two books, I got scared of publishing because they weren’t very good, first novels rarely are. With the last two, I want to get one of them published, but I’ll probably be doing Indie or self-publishing them.

Having written nearly five books, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t in the story, having never published I don’t bring in any income aside from the bartending gig.

My goal for this year is to publish two books, it doesn’t matter how, just that they’re out there for readers.

My daily routine consists of writing in the morning after dropping off my kids, working out after writing, reading in the afternoon, picking up the kids, eating and spending time with my family then editing whichever book is on the editing table at that time.

I would love to get published so I can say to these people who attend these events I bartend, “yes, I do. I have books on Amazon, iBooks, and a few others.”

I love writing more than anything else. I enjoy creating stories more than anything else and I want to share those stories, but honestly, I just haven’t gotten around to getting them published because I hadn’t found a system that works for me until recently.

Now that I have that system, I’ll be publishing in one form or another.

I write short stories and have submitted numerous stories this year to various magazines, but haven’t had a nibble, yet. I’m hoping to get one soon so I can contribute more to my family’s finances, because working one or two days a week bartending, doesn’t cut it.

Move Forward

There’s a point in life when you’re tired of the bullshit, tired of talking about what’s happened and you must step forward and move on.

You must forgive, you must remember what got you to where you, are and find a new way forward.

It’s when this happens that freedom comes. It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass

It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass. You’ll stop and get past the bullshit, you’ll stop, look in the mirror and stare at the person you’ve become and then you can understand the truth of how you got to your current situation.

Hold on to this moment, write it down, work through it and do what is required to move on.

Your writing will push you forward, you must listen to it. You must listen to your heart and the breath coming from your lungs.

The voice inside is no longer a viable concept. If you listen to the voice in your head you’ll falter, you’ll fail and become on of those who gives up.

Don’t give up, it leads to misery. Misery leads to finality and you’ll never dig yourself out.

Get through it, put your head down, get the words out that you need.

If you push through to the other side you will thank yourself later.

Move forward, always…

Ignoring the shiny.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

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We writers, we have a problem.

There is this thing, it’s called “The Shiny“.

It comes when we least expect it, but it screams its damn head off when it appears.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

It could be a new thought on the current story, something that we didn’t anticipate or worse, it could be a new story, yelling, ‘look at me, look at me. I won’t let you get stuck, but if I do at least you’ll be writing five-thousand words while you wait’

The more we’re blocked, the louder the damn thing screams, but we have to ignore it, we must. There’s a part of us that knows we have to keep going on the current story, because, no matter how blocked we get, we still have more words on the current story than The Shiny.

We want to stop because we’ll get The Shiny to be quiet, then we have the damn things popping up to yell at us. It will happen when we’re going to sleep, taking our kids to school, reading a book. That last one, that’s the most frustrating.

The only thing we can do, write down the idea, put it somewhere we can see it and work on it later after we’re done with the current story.

Don’t give in to The Shiny.