The effort to move past fear…

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The title may be wrong in wording for some, but today, for me, it’s correct.

I’ve been having difficulty parsing my brain with writing, editing, depression, and sobriety.

A couple of those go hand-in-hand(Sobriety and Depression).

But the writing, I don’t know how to deal with it.

I’ve always felt that I must write something new every day. Something on a new project must be written daily.

That’s been my go to for as long as I’ve been writing and maybe that’s part of the problem.

I wonder if the idea that something new has to be written daily destroys my confidence, absconds with my positivity and may actually be pushing my farther into a depression.

The feeling that if I’m not writing something new I’m doing this wrong has permeated my brain since I wrote my first book over ten years ago.

But it hasn’t changed. I continue to feel like something new has to come out of my brain or I’m failing at this writing thing, which is what some people have described it as.

My wife has told me that I need to work for myself. Not for what she expects of me and certainly not what other family members expect.

That last part is another issue which I’ve been dealing with, but won’t get into.

The writing usually makes me feel good. It gives me that needed energy boost, which is why I fall into a depression when I’m not actively writing.

I have over 50 short stories to edit, two novels, but it never feels right when I’m editing. It always feel different.

Let me explain:

Writing isn’t something that I do just for shits and giggles. I’m working to improve daily, but reading fiction, reading books on writing, and my attempting to edit.

But it never feels like other things.

When I quit drinking last fall I buried myself in working out. It was an outlet that I’d always used to cope. It’s always there in the periphery. But I’ve never thrown myself into my writing the way I do with exercise and I don’t understand why.

I can throw myself into a video game, exercise, alcohol, but when it comes to writing, I’ve not been able to accomplish such a thing and its maddening.

I don’t understand why my brain won’t do that.

Maybe it’s fear, possibly its the fear that if I write something really good I won’t be able to deal with the pressure that would come with it. This is a fear I have.

I’m also aware that I have my wife and kids and they’ve been my rock when the landscape is barren.

That my wife and kids are her with me and they back me regardless helps me get through the rough patches, though the patches have been continents lately.

Now I will undertake what I felt was impossible. I will put the effort of other efforts into writing because I can’t live in fear of this anymore.

Some things have to be conquered by straight of grit and determination. The fear that I have for writing and failing is causing me to descend into a depression that could sink me.

I will put forth and effort in my writing which I’m afraid to. I will commit to writing, editing, and improving in whatever way is possible and I will do it to the utmost of my ability as a writer and human.

Health, work, chaos…

Whether you’ve only started to follow me or you’re a long time reader, you may have noticed a few things.

I don’t talk about TM as much. It’s still a part of my every day life, but I don’t bring it up as much as I once did.

I’ve devoted the blog more to writing, mental health, and a few other things.

There are many reasons for this, but the main reasons are that they are what is important to me at the moment.

Writing will always be the focal point of the blog, but mental health as well as my sobriety are important as well.

I’ve taken to writing about these things because I feel mental health and sobriety go hand-in-hand with each other. You can’t deal with one without talking about the other.

My sobriety is something that came about because life changes us. It keeps us going, but we have to find new ways to deal with shit in the interim.

I used alcohol to deal with family. I’d numb myself with it so I wouldn’t say something I really wanted to. I’d use it as family events so I would keep my mouth shut even though my head was screaming for me to say something.

It’s a daily struggle to keep on topic lately with my writing. My mind has been rather chaotic lately and it’s why I write about my mental health.

Keeping my mind fresh, but writing, reading, doing complicated tasks, helps me with the chaos, and keeping the chaos from overwhelming me.

I’ve been enjoying the current project, though it has been a struggle some days to get words. I’m on the turn with it and started a new section, which will help with writing.

I will have something out soon about it, though I’m finding it difficult to put a few things in words on this blog as well as other places I post, Instagram, Twitter, but I promise I’ll keep going with the blog. It keeps me focused in a way that I haven’t been and it gives me a place to vent as well as to keep things focused. It also gives me a schedule to follow, which is becoming more important.

When I don’t follow a schedule, things go off the rails. I’ve missed the gym this week because I’ve been bartending. I need those events, but I also need the structure and regiments of the gym to keep me going. It gives me structure and focus.

But have a great weekend.

This week feels difficult…

I don’t know whether it’s that I’m stressed and I won’t reach for a bottle or that I’m trying to immerse myself in the current project, but this week feels different. More difficult.

I’ve thought about this over the last week.

I started drafting on Thursday.

This week I’m fully invested in the project after doing the outline, character sketching, and all the other stuff it entails.

So, I’ve been sober for 1 month 25 days.

This is a full time thing. I don’t see myself drinking again.

I may bartend, but I’ll never drink alcohol again.

I used it as a crutch to deal with stress and life for so long it’s difficult to manage things without it.

Though I’m trying.

Patience is the greatest virtue.

This week has been one of the most difficult as a writer.

This rethinking how to write with an outline is not only trying my patience but also my wife’s

I’ve ran things by her numerous times and like the trooper she’s always been, she makes suggestions. I hear the little hint of frustration in her voice as I ask for suggestions, but it’s a new thing for me to use an outline for a project, and it going along better than I thought it would.

I’m learning to diagnose issues with the story I have in my head and analyze where things went wrong, where I could change them and how to do so.

It feels like I’m learning to write all over again. I know it will improve the story, but damn it’s hard.

I’ve been writing as a discovery writer for over 10 years. I have to teach my mind that what I’d done before didn’t work and this is the new way we’re doing things.

Needless to say, there’s been pushback.

I’m using K.M. Weiland’s outlining workbook to do this. The reasoning is she knows what she’s doing and I’m only guessing on how to do this.

I see things in the story that could go another way, and other things that I’ll do away with all together.

There are things I’m changing I never would have if I’d rewritten the entire book.

I see the scope of it growing and with it the number of words I’ll have to write in order to fit everything from the outline within the book when I begin drafting.

The drafting part will be interesting. I don’t know how that will go. It’s going to be a while before I get there, a month or longer, but I’ll get there with a blueprint for the book I should have written the first time.

It’s awfully frightening to realize that you should have done something a certain way, but your mind said, “it’s fine. If King, George R.R. Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss can do it this way, so can you.”

The problem is, I’m not them. My brain obviously doesn’t work that way.

I’ve never really planned things out. Now that I am, I’m seeing more clearly.

I’ll keep updates going, but for now I’m just happy to get this going. I’m happy I’ve found a better path but I wish I would’ve done it years ago.

Now that I understand how to outline, I’ll do it for every project.

Have a good weekend and happy writing.

Nothing scares me…

I’ve watched horror movies since I was 6.

The first one was a movie called “The Boogens” its a horrible movie, but it was my introduction to real horror.

Then came the original Halloween and Children of the Corn.

Everything that came after scared me and made me enjoy horror. Hellraiser will always be at the top of my list not because it’s scary but it’s just cool.

Now the horrible part. Nothing I read or watch truly scares me anymore.

I watched the recent Annabelle movie the other day, eh. It was okay. The second was good. It goes this way with a lot of movies for me, books too.

I have a difficult time finding books that scare me. I’m currently reading Wanderers by Chuck Wending, it doesn’t scare me it’s just so on the nose for our society that it’s unsettling.

It’s been a while since I read or watched something that truly scares me. And that’s why as a horror and fantasy writer I’m having a trouble writing something.

Yes I’m writing, but it’s not as scary as I want it to be. I believe this is because I’m having a hard time being scared anymore.

My wife and I talked about it and she said the same thing, “Nothing really scares you.”

Now I don’t know if this is a phase, I hope so, but I’d like find a movie or book that would scare me. I have Rosemary’s Baby up next on my tbr.

I’m hoping that one does it. If all else fails go with a classic.

Any suggestions would be wonderful.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

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.

Realizing when to give up on a story.

I hate giving up on a book. I really, really hate it!

I often wonder if I’ve hit a wall? Did I write something that screwed up the story? Did I do something to the characters that doesn’t work?

That’s when I go back and read what I’ve written, trying to find breadcrumbs leading me to the problems.

Sometimes there are no problems and the story ran its course or my brain doesn’t know where the hell to go.

This week the former happened.

The story I’m 22k into stopped. I don’t know why it stopped. I read through the previous sections looking for those breadcrumbs. They were nowhere.

Then I got a little depressed.

I haven’t written a novel yet this year and I keep thinking something is wrong with me or my brain because of it. I mean my creative brain not the literal grey matter.

I got a the place I don’t like being at.

Do I continue with this story, focus on improving parts of my writing by writing short stories or do I try my hand at another long form story?

So I did something I rarely do; I let my wife read a couple of sections.

I only do this on the rarest of stories and only if I really want the story to succeed.

Which I truly want with this story.

She gave me ideas on what to change, things to add and said she thought I had some good writing, which she doesn’t say often. But when she does, it makes me feel better about the story.

So after getting a little depressed I’m continuing with the project.