2020 and doing the hard things.

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This last year I pushed through a few issues.

I found my writing groove and I was distracted at times by video games.

But I didn’t do the hard things.

I didn’t publish because I was undecided and nervous about the quality of the book I planned on putting out.

I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t do that. I did it anyway.

I also had a few personal victories.

I pushed past the things I felt comfortable writing and wrote some truly freaky shit.

I sent out more queries than I ever have and I plan on doing the same in 2020.

I decided my writing and my time to write is worthy and needs devotion.

In 2020 I’ll make priorities for that time and not let others take it from me. My writing and editing time is me working even if I’m not currently published.

That will change and the mindset I have going into the new year changes too.

I will not be held back by things or people.

I will move forward, ignore and resist what others think of me and will never let people in who don’t understand those things.

I fought with a few demons, found a couple more and I’ll kill every last one of ’em until I’m where I believe I should be.

Go out and get it and take no prisoners.

How I stay focused through rejections.

With social media accounts and the continuous clamor for attention from all of them, not to mention politics and that headache, we are being pulled everywhere.

If you throw on trying to get published into all of that, it turns into a big damn pain in the ass.

But it’s also when your goals are either broken or you bust through and work harder.

I understand my situation is special. I have 2-3 hours of writing time every morning, bartend a few days a week and having an amazing wife supporting my writing and our family is incredible, but it wasn’t always like this. Which is why I work so hard every day on my writing.

I received 13 rejections on a book last summer, have received other for short stories. But I don’t stop and it has a lot to do with my wife and kids.

I understand what we gave up moving away so I could have writing time. My wife knew I couldn’t stay in Las Vegas any longer. It wasn’t conducive to my mental health.

My wife pays most of the bills, but I take care of the house and help out with 2-3 days a week of bartending. Sometimes it’s more. This time of year it’s more.

But I get through the rejections because I can’t let my wife and kids down, or myself.

I’ve wanted to write stories since I was a kid. I’m writing my ninth book and I’ll continue until I get published.

I do have a plan for self-publishing, which I’ve mentioned before. But I’m keeping that to myself until that book is ready.

I keep writing, ignoring rejections, and enjoying and hating it, especially when I get stuck. But I’m finding my way and I see a lot of improvement in the last couple of novels. Having a writing group helps immensely.

Anyway, have a good week. Keep writing, keep submitting, and I’ll talk to you about bartending on Wednesday.

Creating…

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Today, while I sat, reading Neil Gaiman’s new nonfictiony book, sitting next to my wife, who was multi-tasking, an ever-present sketchbook next to her, I watched a conversation.

Our daughter clambered between us to watch my wife’s colored pencils perform.

I don’t often see the interaction of teacher and student, of which I often think of them as.

I’m either reading a new book or writing something of my own.

The rarity of the occasion was more pronounced by the effort our daughter took to watch her mom create, color then create and fill the sketch with more colors.

I love the creativity in our house and the way in which our kids absorb creating through us.

My son crafted a lovely story a while ago. It’s one that I’ve asked him to expand upon and last night, he brought me cover sketches for it.

I told him, “Worry about the story, the cover will come later. If you need help, I’m here.”

I hope it helped him.

I wonder how why some kids don’t create things and I’m reminded of my childhood and having to hide stories I’d written, then I know.

 

Asylums Are Not For The Inmates.

When I worked in Las Vegas, I wore two name tags, one of them said my given name of Brian, the other said Lestat. The reason, well, I love Anne Rice and Lestat has always been my favorite.

People at work could tell what kind of mood I was in, just by the name tag.

A new company bought us and I wasn’t allowed to wear the Lestat name tag.

This is was somewhat heartbreaking, and I still have issues with things like Lestat. But being someone else is something we’ve always wanted to be. We want to have more money, the perfect spouse, kids and the whole thing.

When I wore that name tag, I felt different. Not that I didn’t know who was driving the ship, I was always available and at the helm.

I just felt different.

Neil Gaiman says you should think about the type of person who would write the kind of stories you want to write, and write like that person, well, okay Mr. Gaiman. I’ll take up that challenge.

Let’s see what happens when I let Lestat, or others run the asylum.

I’ll show you, and keep you updated on our progress.

Dump the Negative and Live The Life You Want.

We see the darkness, it dances across our eyes. It pleads with our souls and steals our desire.

Within our lives we’re stuck living the life we don’t have, but the thing about being stuck, there’s always a way to get out of it. It takes force, it takes effort, but we have to get through our life, because why should we live life we don’t want?

There are zero reasons to stay in in a job you don’t like. There are zero reasons to live a life that you’re not enjoying.

But, there are things you must do, and a path you must follow.

The first step is clearing all the bad stuff from your life. This could be friends, family and the best way to get rid of these people is to ignore them.

In the social media world, you’re probably connected to people who you don’t talk to on a daily basis. You possibly see their posts on Facebook, Tweets, Snaps, Instagrams, but you keep seeing what their saying.

Their negativity is infecting your soul, filling it with rage, hate, anger and strife.

The faster you rid your life of them, the better you’ll life will be.

It won’t be easy, these are people you care about, but they are infecting your dreams. They’re stopping you from becoming great.

They’re limiting you to be the person you’ve been, when you see someone else you’d want to be.

You know the person, you see them your reflection, your future reflection.

Change your life and live that reflection.

Why I Rethought The Way I Look at My Writing.

Each day we’re stuck living someone else’s dream.

We go to a job where oftentimes, we’re creating something for someone else, because it pays the bills.

What if we decided to live our dream, pay the bills and still keep people happy?

This was something I thought about the other day when I was writing.

I work a day job, which I had considered my main job, obviously neglecting my writing and anything creative in the process.

That was until this past week, when I was struck with something, I’m not a writer. I’m pretending to be a writer.

What I realized in that “moment of clarity” is that I’ve been looking at my writing as a second job, sure it doesn’t pay the bills right now, but as long as I treat my writing as the second job and not the first, it will always suffer.

In this realization I thought, “Damn, if I think this way, others do as well.”

What do we do about it?

We rethink our creative side, redo the way we look at our day and come up with ways to put our creative efforts first, and other things second.

I say this as a husband and father, “If your creative side isn’t in first place, it will never win.

I have obligations, it’s not like I’m going to quit my day job, not right now. I see the time coming when that will happen, but it’s not right now.

The thing is, we all have things we want to do, but we put them in second place out of fear, shame or other reasons.

Fear of rejection, fear of someone not understanding and the fear of failure. And shame, damn, shame is the worst. When we look at the things we’ve failed at there could be a big list, and because we failed at those the shame and fear of it happening again makes us not want to try, not want to do it again.

But, when we come to the realization, as I did, that what we wake up for in the morning should be first. That the thing we want to do most in our life should be first, then, and only then will we discover the will to do it.

I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard. There will be people who say you can’t do it, there will be that damn voice in your head and when the voice in your head talks, tell it to F off.

The only way you’re going to do what you want with your life is to put your creative pursuits first and anything else second.

We live someone else’s dream every day, isn’t it about time we live our dream?

How Living in Wyoming Made Me a Better Writer

 

The year I graduated from high school, we lived in a small trailer on the plains of Wyoming.

It was beautiful to me.

Snow drifts grew to be as large as a truck. The days blended together as the grey, overcast clouds blocked out the sun. We hid in our rooms, or the living room, a dull orange light from the lamp or the white glow of the television casting its glow upon our faces.

It was these nights, with my sister, mom and dad huddled on a couch or under a blanket, which reminded me life wasn’t as bad as my teenage mind thought it was.

Each day, my sister and I would wake from our sleep, hurry to the bathroom, for if we didn’t there would be no hot water, or worse yet, not water at all.

We’d dress in adjacent rooms, only a panel separating our rooms.

It was there on those mornings, when we stood for the bus in 20 below weather I thought not of living somewhere warm, but thought of how beautiful the snow looked, the shape of the ice on the road as it jutted from the black top.

You see, in Wyoming, when there is slush in the road, it freezes like the world turned upside down. There were mornings when I was worried we’d hit one of these icicles and the bus would stop on the freeway leading to the nearest town where we attended school.

Life was easy on that plane in Wyoming. I had school, different girlfriends, and I’d stay up late writing.

Those were the days of teenage angst ridden poems about love, pain and the things which I’ve now outgrown, but the things I wrote were the beginnings of who I’d become years later, 20 years later.

Now that I’ve been away from snow drifts, the world turned upside down and the long bus rides, I think about why I wrote, not what I wrote. I remember thinking, no one will ever see this.

I loved that I could write something I thought was beautiful, and not care if the world saw it or not.

I liked the feeling of writing that way, it’s something I’ve tried to do again, but my mind fails me at those moments.

I think snow drifts and a trip down the rabbit hole will help, but I’ve been in the darkest places, and prefer the light, it keeps the dark away.

I saw life through my 18-year-old eyes a few days ago as I sifted through journals of poems and stories.

I liked what I read, the carelessness of the writing, the sense that the writer knew no one would see it, least of all himself in 20 years.

I’m going to return to writing without caring, because I was happiest when I stood in 20 below weather, my life in front of me and the discovery of what comes next.