When writing things click.

A while ago, like ten years or something my cousins who is published traditionally, and who publishes independently gave me a book.

It’s John Truby’s Anatomy of Story.

At that point I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how to use the book, didn’t think I needed the book, and was determined to do it on my own.

Here’s a tip, when someone gets you something and they’re trying to help you, use it. Do whatever it takes to understand it .

If you don’t get it, ask for help. It’s really okay to ask for help.

Go to Reddit and ask. The people on R/writing are awesome.

But use whatever is at your disposal.

I never asked. I was stubborn and borderline asshole.

The belief that we can do something ourselves and ignore what people tell us is stupid.

You need help, ask.

Now that I’m trying to figure this out(ten years later)I’m struggling to do so.

I should’ve listened to her. Paid attention and not just read the book and not understood it. I should have done a lot of things differently.

Now that I am doing things different, I understand she was trying to help me.

She was trying to get me to understand writing on a different level.

It’s taken me a while but I’m getting there.

What we become when we’re not paying attention.

Life moves pretty fast, right?

It moves faster when we’re not paying attention.

It comes at us like a demon. Striking with fast claws, snarling teeth, and the energy of a bunch of toddlers.

We sit in our comfy chair. Wait for the world to do something for us. The works owes us, isn’t that right?

Bullshit.

The world owes us nothing.

We owe the world a debt we can never repay just for being on this blue mudball, spinning through cosmos.

It took me a while to realize this. I know others who don’t understand what I wrote above.

They’ll never understand that this world is ours. This life is ours and we can do with it what we want. But we should do something that either improves the lives of those around us or the world.

I never used to think of my writing that way. Not until this week.

When I put my story on my Kindle, seeing it the way a reader would, it made pause. I’ve never thought about the reader. I’ve always thought about what I get out of writing.

I’m 50% in on the book and I have to say, it’s really good. I’ve barely touched it since December.

I read a lot of various genres and this one is grimdark fantasy. I love fantasy and this novel is a lot of fun to read. Of course it needs polishing, but for a first draft it’s my best work.

We become the person we feared when we’re not looking. I became the writer that doesn’t care about anything but getting the next story written for myself, when I should think about the endgame, the reader.

Happiness in the small things.

The words came out this week and I made decisions on things I should’ve dealt with, but it was the small things that brought me peace.

I was able to pay attention to my writing yesterday. I noticed the small words, the good sentences, and how the words flowed well.

Everything came together. My mind felt more clear than it has in a few weeks, not sure why.

I took my time. Finding the correct words. Resulting in great flow and better form.

These little things gave me confidence. It’s been lacking, you may have noticed that. I feel better about my writing. It’s getting better.

I have a better plan.

I knew what I wanted to do but after talking to my wife I set a blueprint.

I’ve laid it out and the edges are brushing up against what I’m doing next year. But it’s all good.

It’s about finding happiness in the little things and I’m doing that.

Moving to the next writing stage.

On Monday I wrote about taking time with what I’ve written.

I wrote a book in December(talked about that here), another in May and June. I didn’t write about that second one. I don’t know why.

But I’ve written 7 short stories since then. I’ll be going over those as well as others I wrote after the one from December.

There’s a weird thing about finishing a book for me. I have to write something short afterwards. I tried writing something long after December’s book.

Because I wrote that book quickly, I got sick and had a general feeling of ill health while trying to write it. I quit it and it’s sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to return.

Now I still have a plan for it. It’s the second part of the book I wrote in December.

Here’s where that gets tricky: I have trouble doing read throughs of drafts. Maybe I’m not doing it right, but I have trouble with it.

I know I should do it to figure out what wrong with the draft, but it always feels wrong. Like I should just write another draft.

I am a discovery writer or pantser.

I was telling my wife that maybe that’s the problem. I’ve written 9 books and though one is out being queried, I’ve only written a beat sheet once. I’ve never done an outline because it feels wrong to me. I get bored of the story idea.

I used a beat sheet after I had a first draft done and maybe I need to do that again.

I realize that writing another full draft after the first one is 86,000 is an undertaking but maybe that’s what I should do.

Maybe that’s what I should start doing with every story?

I love writing and I enjoy everything about it. Maybe it’s time I start using a beat sheet/outline.

If it helps me get my writing in the hands of readers who would enjoy it I think that’s what I should do.

I’m moving to a new stage. One where my writing needs more focus and I believe an outline after the first draft of where I’m heading

Happy writing and I’ll talk more on Friday about this. It’s a new idea and I’m trying to bounce it off my head.

We have to change our lives for ourselves.

I’ve thought a lot about where I’m going in the last couple of weeks.

It’s brought me to realize I’m not working on me as much as I should.

Sure, I write something new all of the time but I don’t work on what I’ve written.

Last week I talked about characters and how important they are.

I still believe that but things change.

I have a lot of stories that need work. They need their characters developed further.

I’ve always believed in having a goal for the summer.

Whether it was spending time with my cousin as a kid, with my kids now, or figuring out that what I’ve written is a good start, it just needs work.

What I’ve written is good enough for now.

I’ve thought I needed something new to keep me fresh and keep writing, but I have a lot of good stories they only need fixing.

My goal by the end of the year is to have most of them ready or submitted to agents or magazines.

Until the end of the year I’ll be focusing on improving all of them.

It will be difficult to ignore that little voice in my head telling me to write something new but writing isn’t always about that something new.

It’s about editing, revising and I’ve ignored that aspect of my writing for too long.

It’s time to work.