About long breaks…

I took a break from this blog for a while to work on things.

If you follow me on social media, you saw my post. I have been working on this collection for most of the summer and another project that fell apart.

The latter of these things made me realize a few things about myself and my writing. I am really good at writing short horror stories. But when it comes to a longer form of horror, I have trouble. let me explain.

From April 4th to May 4th I wrote the first draft of a 100,000 word novel.

This novel is different from anything I’d written prior, and it is the only novel I’ve followed a beat sheet and outline to the letter.

It is a very strong first draft. Possibly the best first draft of a novel I’ve ever written. I owe that to the set up with the outline and beat sheet.

The book will be coming out in January and it is not horror.

When I was a teenager I read the military and political thrillers that were popular in the late 80’s and 90’s by authors like Tom Clancy.

At the time I wasn’t allowed to read any other books, or at least that’s how it felt. Any time I asked to read something other than those books, my father rebuffed me and it was only in my room where I could read the books I wanted to read; horror, comics, fantasy, and science fiction being my favorites.

When I began to write my own stories I swore I’d never create worlds like Clancy’s. This came about because of the way I feel towards me father(he and I don’t have a relationship).

With the books I felt I had to read it was about control and I have an issue with being controlled, as we all should.

I believe that by allowing the way I was treated to enter into my head, it stopped me from following a path that maybe I should have followed.

The first idea I had for a novel was along the lines of the military/political thriller, but I closed myself off to that because of the trauma I experienced growing up. In other words, I allowed it to stop my creativity because I worried old feelings would come back.

Now it comes back around to the novel I’ll be self-publishing in January. There are other novels I’m currently writing or ideas I’m pondering contained within the same world.

It is a change that maybe I needed to do. I believe by allowing myself to be stopped creatively because of past trauma, I rejected stories which I would have enjoyed as well as ones that would push me.

Today, I’m moving forward with these books because I really enjoy writing them more than anything else. I consider myself a writer who does not limit themselves to one genre. I will write in whichever genre a story comes to me, I only wish I knew why I had such a difficult time with creating outlines for horror novels.

Maybe this is just a learning experience and I need to figure it out at another time, but for now I’ll write these political/military thrillers because they give me a joy that I’ve rarely found in writing.

Here is the link for the short story collection. I hope you enjoy the stories. There are some dark ones in there and I enjoyed writing each of them.

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.