Working, grinding, writing…etc.

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, but I have been writing.

I’ve been submitting stories, getting rejections and contemplating life outside of writing. That doesn’t mean I intend to quit.

I’ve been think about whether I’m working hard enough to achieve my goals. The conclusion is, I haven’t. I don’t edit after I’ve finished something. I let it gather on my hard drive, sometimes never to see the light of day.

There is a problem, as you’ve all guessed, in this. It makes it look like I’m not producing when I am. I wrote 25 short stories over the summer, finished a novel and started querying another.

I hate editing more than almost anything except spiders. I’m working to break myself of this.

I started the read-through for the novel I finished this summer and started editing short stories as well. The writing group I joined is helping immensely.

My goal was to be published this year, it’s still my goal but publication may look different from what I thought it would be.

Anyway, happy writing. I’m still here just busy with writing and bartending.

The act of creating still baffles.

When I write I wonder where everything comes from.

I’ve used beat sheets, outlines, and done discovery writing. My current project is at 52k after 29 days and all discovery written.

When the words come out, there are times I wonder where they come from. I finish my writing for the day, go back and read some of it and think, “that came from my brain, how?”

This little thing keeps me writing. I write not only because I love it but I’m often curious how the words will come out.

I think about times when I struggle to get the words and whether they’d be different if I hadn’t been struggling. I think of all the times I didn’t write and what I missed out on.

That last part is my major motivator.

What story was I not creating when I wasn’t writing? What worlds weren’t explored? What people did I not bring to life? These things keep me up at night more than the current draft.

I hope I’m not the only who thinks this way. I wonder what other writers are working on or whether some of my favorite books would be different if certain authors had written them earlier in the day or later.

Whether accidents they had or family issues they’ve dealt with changed the story because they were away from the page.

I write to find out these things. If I’d written longer today, what would be different from what I write tomorrow? What changes to the story would I have made and would they be good?

Without a time machine, there’s no way to discover these things.

I write because I like to wonder about how the story would turn out differently, how I would turn out differently.

If I had continued to write in my teens, would I be published today?

I know its not good to dwell on the past, but these things pop up when I work.

Mostly I think about the stories and how I create them. Where all of these characters come from and how I let them run the story.

When a character takes over a section of the story I feel like I’ve succeeded for the day. It’s happened a lot in the current project. I’ve never written as fast as I am currently. I know where the story ends, I know how, but getting there is fun as hell. I’m enjoying the process more than I have since the last book.

I’m working on my seventh book. I have one queried and another in revisions with my writing group. I submitted a short story last night and I’ll be working on others in the next couple of weeks.

My kids are back in school next week and I’m looking forward to all of us returning to our schedules, but most of all I’m looking forward to seeing where all of my stories go.

Continuing to level up…

When my son was little my wife and I played World of Warcraft after he was in bed.

Then it grew to be too much to handle with kids. But there was one thing that was always fun: Taking a new character and running it through dungeons.

My wife would use her high-level or I’d use mine and we’d run one of each other’s characters through the low-level dungeons.

It was a chance to say in Guild Chat, ding ___ hit level ___. It was fun.

Now that I don’t play, mostly because of lack of time, sometimes I mark advances in my writing by chokingly telling my wife, ding, I hit another level.

I don’t do it often, because the little thing achievements aren’t a big deal.

It’s when I achieve something big that I say it.

This week I dinged.

I bartend for events for a bartending service. I work weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate parties and similar events.

Our company works with a particular caterer constantly and one of their leads is a writer.

A few weeks ago, he asked me to join his writing group.

Yesterday, through a conference call, we went through each other’s work.

It will be a regular thing, every two weeks, and I get someone else to read my work.

I’ve been wanting to find a writing group where people take it seriously. This is the first time I’ve found one.

I leveled up in my writing this week, Ding!

Going with your instincts…

Yesterday my wife and I were talking about a story I’d written.

She thought it needed something else.

I told her, my gut instinct had been to take the story darker but was unnerved to do it.

This led me to think about other stories where I’d taken the safe route.

I thought about everything I’d written.

There were parts of numerous stories and some novels where I’d played it safe.

I chose not to do something in the story I wanted to do because there’s always a fear of doing something horrific.

Those moments came more often than I thought.

I don’t usually think about this but my wife insisted I go back and rewrite it darker.

As a writer, especially one who writes horror and fantasy, there’s a fear of judgment.

I worry that what I write may lead people to believe there is something wrong with me.

This has plagued me since I began writing in my teens.

As a teenager, it felt different because I worried how my parents would interpret what I wrote. I thought they’d want to sit me down with a therapist, hint, they did.

When I began to write again in my twenties, I felt what I wrote would worry my wife. I edited myself because of it.

After our discussion this week, I discovered I’m still afraid of what people think.

This makes it hard for me to move forward with improving as well as writing the stuff in my head.

There’s a quote, I’m not sure who it belongs to but I think its Stephen King, “Good writing is often about letting go of fear.”

I need to let go of the fear of judgment, move forward and write something that scares me for other people to see.

If I don’t, why am I writing at all?

Be Brave and Enjoy the Sunlight.

I wonder often about the life I’ve lead.

It comes to me at night. I’ll ponder the things I’ve done. People I’ve wronged and consider whether the life I have has been worth the things I’ve been through.

Those moments are surrounded by others.

These others are filled with the laughter of my kids, my wife’s kiss, and my morning writing.

For the first time in a while, I feel like my life is going in the correct direction.

Yes, I write fervently. I get my word count on a new WiP every day.  I work on revisions and edits every day on another story or novel.

But all the tired nights, exhausted mornings and cups of coffee are worth it for what I’m attempting.

Each person reaches a point where they want to stop. I have a couple of times.

When this point is reached, we have to look around and think about how far we’ve come. And all we’ve done to reach this current state.

That moment may come while we’re in the shower or it may come in a flash of fireworks erupting over our heads as we look at our wife and kids.

Today, I’m in a good place. I know they aren’t all good so I’m going to recognize this one. Have a good rest of your day.

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.