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.

Finding darkness, embracing it, and keeping going.

I fell down a rabbit hole recently.

It wasn’t too deep but it got me to thinking about darkness and how I deal with it, hell, how any of us deal with it.

Let’s start earlier.

Since I was a little kid I’ve always liked scary things. I was a vampire almost every Halloween as a kid. When I wasn’t, I was a werewolf.

As I grew up, I watched a lot of horror movies.

I saw Halloween when I was eight, Children of the Corn at about the same age.

Then my sister introduced me to Hellraiser.

Those movies are my go to for anyone who wants to understand me.

Watch the first three and you’ll understand me a bit better. Read Barker’s book, “The Hellbound Heart” and you’ll understand me more.

That erotic, bloody, torturous movie and it’s sequels helped me to find myself.

Now that I’m 43, I think about what type of horror drives me.

It’s visceral. Dark. Dirty.

Sometimes it makes me take a step back. That’s when I know I have something good.

When what I put on the page scares me. Then I have something good.

Pushing the boundaries is what we do. Especially horror writers.

I remember an interview with Stephen King about Pet Semetery. He said that’s one of the books he thought he went too far in.

But can you imagine that book changed? It would mess it up. That book scared the hell out me.

There are so many books where I thought a writer went too far but I can’t imagine the story without those scenes.

I strive to be a good horror writer because I love the dark. I’ve always loved it. Watching a horror movie gives me more joy than almost anything except my wife and kids, though the goods ones eclipse them too.

Reading horror is new to me.

Growing up, my father restricted me to certain types of books. I’ve mentioned this before.

But I would still pick up a copy of Fangoria at the bookstore.

I could watch horror movies when I was a kid, but the books were off limits.

In the last few years I’ve tried catching up on some of the classics. There are a lot of them and I’ve had to be picky.

But a good horror book or movie will always be my favorite. I’d rather watch or read those than anything else.

It makes sense for me to write that stuff.

I love it and it will always be what keeps me going.

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.

Why I’m thinking about my writing differently.

On Monday I left a little tidbit at the end about how I’m writing differently.

The truth is, last week I came to grips with my focus and the things I write.

I thought about what I enjoy reading, why I enjoy those things and how they can become part of what I write.

It’s about the characters stupid!

Sure the story makes a difference but if I don’t like the characters I’ll quit on a book.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading the Bosch books by Michael Connelly.

I’ve read crime books in the past but Connelly makes you like his characters and makes you care about them.

That I’ve gone through 4 of his books in the last week is a testament to his character creation as well as the world he creates.

I’ve always tried to write stories and throw monsters or fantasy elements into them early.

In the past week I noticed I wasn’t writing about characters I really liked. I cared more about throwing the fantasy or horror elements in.

I haven’t always done this but my writing lately leaned that way.

I forgot that characters are the most important feature of a story. If the reader loves the characters they may forgive you for other story screw ups.

This week I’m focusing on short stories with characters as the focal point and the horror or fantasy as secondary.

I wish I knew why my mind strayed from this but I mean to rectify it from now on.

That’s where I’ve been with my writing.

Friday I’ll talk about my emotional state because that’s important.

Have a good week.

Why you must write for yourself.

I’ve ventured into this conversation before but this time feels different. I’m a different writer than I was the last time I posted a blog with this time of theme.

I’d link to it but I can’t remember how long ago I wrote it. So let’s just dig into why I’m writing this.

Throughout my life there have been things I’ve jumped into and failed. They failed for many reasons; some of them more to do with my work ethic and how much I cared about the topic at the time.

I used to get bored of things easily. I believe that came from immaturity on my part.

But I’d do something then quit when it either got to difficult or I got bored, sometimes both.

With writing, it’s never felt that way. I remember writing in middle school and high school and completely loving every moment of it.

I never thought writing as an avenue I could pursue as a career. This thought was influenced by my biological father’s feelings growing up.

Now that I have someone who supports my writing(thanks Anita)I feel more confident and comfortable doing what I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been difficult chasing this writing thing, but worth it.

I write every day, unless there is something planned with my wife and kids.

Writing doesn’t feel like those past failures. It feels like something I’m supposed to do.

I learned a lot about myself, and others, from those failures. But the one thing that became life altering, was that whatever your goals, you have to chase them for yourself. Not your spouse, partner, parents, siblings or anyone else who may have an opinion on your life.

Ultimately, it’s your life and you have see yourself in the mirror every day. Would you rather see yourself happy or doing what someone else believes you should do?

The decision is yours but you have to live with that decision, no one else.

Do what you enjoy because it’s your future, your sanity, and your choice.

Happy writing and get some shit done today, and have a great weekend.