Moving Forward and Finding a Place

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Not sure where to start with this post.

Every once in a while I’ll get a bit philosophical. I’m not sure what causes it, sometimes it’s my emotions, but it happens. I like it when this happens as it lets me know I’m moving the correct direction.

I’ve been on a bit of a journey lately. I don’t know why this happened, but I’ve felt something missing.

I gave up on beliefs a long time ago, but lately, something is missing. My journey led me to look at Norse mythology and in looking I found something that fits with who I am.

These types of journeys are somewhat odd as for the longest time I gave up on spirituality, belief, and Gods. I never thought I’d find something within that wanted to go that way. I never felt a desire to go that way, but as I write these words, there is something, maybe an ancestral calling, that brought me to Norse Heathenry.

I’ve looked at numerous blogs about beliefs in my lifetime and there have always been the words, “when you find what’s you, you know.”

This always stuck with me.

I happened to be looking at Norse Mythology for something I worked on recently and wandering around the pantheon of the Norse beliefs, I found me.

I had not wanted to write this as it should be a personal thing, but you may see a few changes on here, and if you know me personally, you’ll see them as well. They will be small, but you will see them.

Now, to this, I am not talking about where Norse beliefs have been hijacked by others. I choose this as who I am, the same as another chooses their beliefs. It’s a weird place to be in for me. It’s an odd situation and because of it, I am making adjustments to how I handle writing, life, and all of the things beyond those other two.

This journey is difficult for me. As what I grew up believing is vastly different. Having no beliefs for over 20 years and suddenly to have this land in my lap, takes adjustment, but I know this is where I should be.

As my mental health hasn’t been great this year, this could not have come at a better time.

I’m learning, but make no mistake, I will always be moving forward.

You know when it’s not working.

I’ve written books with and without outlines and one thing I’ve learned is that some stories defy outlines and other deft discovery writing.

It’s this thing I’ve struggled with since yesterday’s post.

I’ve tried working this with an outline, but nothing comes.

I have the idea. I know the path it will take and which way it will go.

So as I write this on Tuesday, I’m sure I’ll start writing the new novel Wednesday morning. I can’t not write it and I’m feeling the force of the story coming harder than any in a while.

I want to know where it ends.

NaNoWriMo issues and why I may skip it.

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Every year I intend to write something for NaNo, but it falls apart in many ways. Let’s list them.

First, I plan out too much. I get bogged down in the plotting and process of getting it all right. But it’s only after the fact when I decide the story idea wasn’t solid enough for something longer. I know a lot of writing during NaNo is the editing that comes afterward. One can’t write that fast and have it come out perfect the first time, at least I know I can’t.

Second, nothing comes to me. I sit in the chair and it’s all just blah. I hate the process of writing during those times. I don’t like the words. I don’t like putting them down. The act of getting them processed out of my brain and onto the page bores the hell out of me.

It’s these times when I think of quitting. The work feels stilted, though my wife will argue with me on that one. There are too many moments when this happens that I get bored, stand up and walk around, stared at my phone, or turn my desktop on and play Warcraft or Warhammer, and it’s these moments that bog me down.

Third, I’ll call this the Aftereffect, it’s when I write immediately after NaNo ends. I’ve done this five times and I may not finish the story during the month of December, but it will be finished. Two of those stories are novellas and are out on submission.

Fourth, and this is the one I’m dealing with now. I start writing before November because I can’t not write.

I’m not a happy person unless I’m writing every day. My wife will agree with this one. It’s that I’m too melancholy and I slip into old habits. I think about all the times I’ve failed at this thing and they haunt me. My sleep suffers, I don’t feel normal.

Lastly, I don’t feel motivated.

There are days this happens when I’m writing throughout the year, but during those moments I’m able to myself up and get working. During NaNo, I don’t feel that. I feel like everything is forced, and that makes for shitty writing.

I feel constrained to a limit on when I can write. This is partially part four and this last one. Both of which I loath because I feel like something is wrong. That I’m not using the gift I have. And that’s how I’ve begun to look at writing. As a gift.

But I digress.

NaNo is not for everyone and while I feel like I must wait until November, I’m chomping at the bit to get into this story and discover it.

Either way, I’ll write it, but as I’m feeling now, it may come sooner.

Are you working hard enough?

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When I contemplated giving up writing, I wondered if the problem was my work ethic.

This is never a question at my day job. It’s never been a question for any job I’ve ever worked, at least not since I grew up, which is a subjective statement.

Each of us grow up differently.

My wife was more mature than I was when we started dating. I am aware that it took me a while to understand a few things. It’s not that I’m not smart, it had to do more with who we are as people. It had to do with our life experiences. My wife went to college straight from high school. I did a year of college and hated it. There are many instances of this in our relationship.

She’s told my I intimidate her because of how my mind works, which makes me uncomfortable. There are other instances, but I digress.

Why do I have this trouble with my writing when it’s not in any other job?

Let’s analyze:

  • Imposter syndrome is a big one for me. I often wonder if there’s something else I should be doing. That I don’t owe it to my writing to focus as much as I know I should.
  • Not setting work hours. I do that with my current project, but once I’m done for the day I put everything away and do something else. I know this is the wrong approach, but I guess there’s a part of me that has difficulty accepting what I’m doing. It’s the guy part. The part that says I should be working. That I should be making money to support my family. That’s the big one.
  • Putting away things that get in the way. This has a bit to do with my day job and how I’m not really happy with it. I feel my day job gets in the way of my writing. It stresses me out more than the writing that’s for certain.
  • Exhaustion from working late night events. This is a big one. I am tired as hell some days and pulling myself out of bed at 6:00 am when I got home at 2:30 is difficult. Today was one of those days.
  • Telling people no. This relates more to my day job, which is for a bartending service. They send an email or text and ask if I can work. I say yes or no. But there are days when I want to say no because I’d rather be writing.

All of these are difficult when my brain tells me I need to work harder, I wonder if it’s screwing with me.

What this all leads to is starting to set a real schedule. Only doing events after a certain time in the day.

I know my managers don’t look at my writing as a real job, and I guess sometimes I don’t either.

It’s hard to consider something you’re doing a job when you don’t get paid for it.

There are moments of hope during the week, but they’re few and far between.

I have received about $48.00 since I published my collection last year. I know it’s more than I received the previous year for anything, but it’s not much.

I’ll be setting up a real work schedule: Mornings are for new stuff, edits are for after lunch. I’ll be more stingy with what’s important to me. Some of these are folded into others when they’re done.

I’ll start tomorrow.

Getting past the book hangover

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There are two types of book hangovers I’ve dealt with and I’ll talk about them today.

Let’s start with the one that everyone, at least if you’re a reader, has dealt with. I’ll go into more detail about the other one in a minute.

The Readers Hangover

Have you ever read a book, finished it, thought about it for days, then realize you hadn’t started new reading material?

If so, this is for you.

Most of us who read regularly have dealt with this. It usually happens after a particularly engaging read.

This engagement may fall into a couple of categories, but because I’m a horror writer, I’ll stick to the way horror does this.

It could be after a book that upsets the hell out of you. For me the book that did this was The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I know this is a book that is suggested by many people, but step warily into this one, for it will do some damage to your psyche.

The thing about this book is the writing. Ketchum’s storytelling is incredible and it pulls you into a story that is unbelievable in its disturbing depictions. I won’t spoil it, but you feel complicit in what happens within its pages. It is an amazing book, but it’s not for everyone. I know quite a few horror readers who didn’t finish it and I understand.

I checked it out from the library and tossed it across the room a couple of times.

Then there’s the books that terrify in other ways.

Pet Semetary by Stephen King and The Reddening by Adam L.G. Neville did this. The Reddening was a book that I had trouble finishing because of a certain scene. My wife felt the same way. It’s one of those scenes where you wish you could pull the character out of the book to save them. Pet Semetary is a book that even King says he kept in a drawer because he felt it was too dark. There are moments in that book that truly scared the hell out of me.

Now there’s the books that you feel uncomfortable with. These are the hardcore horror.

Books like Urban Gothic by Brian Keene, The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White, and anything by Edward Lee. I have read the first two, but haven’t dipped my toes into Edward Lee out of fear, and a bit of worry. I’ve read the comments on his books, and the scare me.

Let’s move onto the other type of hangover. This one is for the writers.

The Finished Story Hangover.

You’ve finished a story. It could be a novel, novella or short story, but something happened while you wrote it.

It either took you to a darker place than you’ve been, made you rethink your life(as some stories do), or you confronted something within yourself.

This first part is difficult to get out of. You did some things in that story you’re uncomfortable with. You either don’t want to show it someone, like King did with Pet Semetary, or you wonder about what people will think about what you’ve written. The most important way to get out of this one is to not care what others think about what you write.

The second part usually deals with something about our beliefs. This is one each of us must deal with and while we’re dealing with it we’ll read scripture if we’re into that or philosophy. But pulling us out of that hangover is difficult.

That last is possibly the most difficult, at least for me it has been. You must face something you see in yourself. The confrontation for this disrupts the natural flow of your personal perception.

You may not understand why it came out in your writing, but now that it has you have to confront it, but you don’t want to. Seeing yourself differently after living however long you’ve lived changes something and I think improves who you are as a person.

All of these hangovers are subjective to you as the reader or writer and they don’t define who you are. The hangover is there because you read, or wrote something that changed you and that’s what the medium is for.

I hope you have a great rest of your day. I am reading Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby and I know it will give me a hangover. His last book Blacktop Wasteland did.