Tired,Trusting Yourself, And Learning

The exhaustion of writing this fast has hit.

To give you an idea, I’ve written 96k in 40 writing days.

The first few days were hectic.

I doubted myself and wondered if I should keep going. I stopped writing for a few days to get my head right. I hit points where I had to take a day to work through things.

Luckily those days weren’t many and out of the 40 days, its been 46  calendar days since I started.

As I said in the last post, I’ve written this one with an outline and a beat sheet. I’ve followed each beat and knew where I needed to be in the story by that beat.

It’s changed I look at writing, how I construct everything about the story. I used to be a pantser and had almost no luck with an outline.

I felt stilted.

Then I realized that I could write to the beat. I could do whatever I wanted with the people in the story as long as I hit the points I needed to and reached the beats within a couple of thousand words, which I’ve done.

When I wrote on Tuesday morning I realized I’d written more in this first draft than I’d written in any of the previous 10 books I’ve written.

It is the longest book I’ve written and I’ve followed the outline and beat sheet perfectly.

It will change how I construct stories in the future as well as how I work on any project going forward.

This project has been more fun than anything I’ve written and felt like it was writing itself for most of the draft.

I know for any project that comes after it, I’ll have to sit down and plan out the beat sheet. The outline will take a minimum of three weeks, and more than likely more.

After this draft is done, it will sit for six weeks while I work on short stories and plan out what to work on next.

There is one major thing I’ve learned from this process.

No one knows you better than yourself. People can tell you what you should write, or what they believe you should write. Maybe even that they think they know you. But the truth is no one but you knows you.

Always trust yourself in your writing and write what you would enjoy, not anyone else.

 

 

 

Avoidance, Character building, and Confronting life

Featured

When I set out to write the current project it never occurred to me what I was doing.

I’ve learned over the last 18 days of writing this project that I’d done something I hadn’t planned on. Confronting my past.

I’ve written a few times about the books I felt I was forced to read as a teenager, only to find other books, horror and fantasy novels on my own.

The project has taken my down dirt roads with barely any way of finding the end. It’s led me to places I didn’t know I need to go as well as places I felt were out of the way.

This project started in my head about ten years ago. I saw only the little things. Not the bigger picture. I saw one thing and I tried to write it then only to have it fall away.

I set it aside and left it. Forgetting all about it for a lot of reasons. The main reason was I didn’t want to write in the genre, but writing has a way of bringing things around again.

There will be a glimpse of something in our periphery. It will stay there for a while until we notice it.

After I finished the story from November and put it aside, I felt lost.

I’d written ten novels and though I’d submitted them to agents, they weren’t as complete as I wanted them to be.

I’m still happy I wrote them because they led me to the current project.

When I set out to write this project I never anticipated a lot of things. That it would take me to places I didn’t truly want to go, not to mention the whole pandemic.

Writing for me is about dealing with my life. Confronting things in my childhood has never been easy, but now that I’m writing in the genre I grew up reading it’s helping.

I enjoy this project more than any I’ve written and the world feels familiar as well.

I’m a much better writer and human for going down this rabbit hole and confronting who I was then.

I avoided writing in this genre because of the feelings I have attached to it. They are about who I was as a teenager as well as who I am now. They have been in conflict for a while.

I finally decided the confrontation was worth it.

Now 46,000 words later I’m better able to deal with the story and handle what it entails.

I’m moving forward through our new reality and I’m becoming a better person for it.

Happy writing.

WTF…story edition

Featured

I’ve been working on an outline for the last 3 weeks and I started the draft this past Saturday, then I watched a movie and almost screamed. The movie’s plot was so similar to my current project that I’m sitting here, writing this blog, wondering if I should keep going.

It’s not just one or two things. It’s the main plot line.

After 3 weeks working on that outline the world the way it is I’ve been trying to find something to keep me going through all that is going on.

It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could write and put this one aside, it’s that I put so much effort into the outline. Now I have good outline, but the movie was too similar.

I’ve never had this situation before.

I’m trying to parse it out and come with a solution, but nothing I’ve come up with works.

I have to work, which is why I’m considering dumping this project for another. I love the story and everything about it, but I feel that it’s too similar.

There comes a time when I will have to put it away and work on something new, but I guess this is how it goes sometimes. I think I’ll consider it for a few days and work on something else until I can wrap my mind around it.

I have other stories I can plot out, I have books to read, but I feel I should be working. I can’t bartend because of the world and all that’s going on. So I have to write something. I must write to keep my sanity.

I said something on my Instagram stories about there are three things we can control, our mind, our body, and our soul/spirituality. My mind and soul are intertwined in my writing and now I’m trying to work through all of this.

Tell me your thoughts below.

 

New Avenues

Featured

With the way the world has changed in the last few weeks I’ve been working to find a way through with my writing. I posted something about that last week.

It’s been difficult to write something in the horror genre with our current situation feeling more like it’s pulled from the pages of literature rather than the front pages of websites and newspapers.

I’ve talked about the books I read when I was younger. How my father told me I had to read what he read. I wasn’t allowed to pick my own books from the book store. He had to oversee what I read. But when I checked books out from the library, either at school or otherwise, I would read what I wanted.

I’ve tried writing the kinds stories I read for myself. The horror stories, the science fiction, and fantasy stories, but I feel, as I wrote above, that I can’t write those horror stories right now.

It would be nice to say that I could write those things, but I need something that is more fun, so I’m doing something I’ve always been afraid to do.

Those stories my father forced me to read, made me learn about politics, aeronautics, the world outside my little bedroom in Utah. and that the world is big scary fucking place.

There are things out there that can kill us, and it feels odd to write about those things with what is going on outside my little house in Utah. But now, it feels like I need to go back to the beginning of my journey as a writer, and reader.

I wrote a few stories that were like the Military Thrillers I read in the 80’s and early 90’s, but haven’t, until recently, read anything like that.

I’ve been devouring those types of books lately. Working my way through David Baldacci’s books. Some of them aren’t quite Military Thrillers like what I read long ago, but they are quite fun and I’m enjoying them a lot more than horror.

My wife bought me MasterClass for the next year, and I’ve been watching Baldacci’s classes over and over. His approach to writing makes me feel better that mine is similar.

The most important part is I’m working on a project. I read all of the early Tom Clancy books, from Red October through to the early 90’s books.

It’s been a long road back to where I started, but I’m having more fun writing than I have in a while and watching the world rise up around the characters has been a fun trip.

I hope you’re all healthy, and stay that way.

Take care of yourselves, and those you love.

We’ll get through this.

 

Introspection, Review, and Repair.

I’ve said that I’ve been dealing with my shit since I quit drinking in January, but boy, this shit is rough.

The title of this post puts it out more cleanly, but it’s still a rough, deep dive into my life.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.

This belief was punctuated by the fact the people kept leaving me. I have severe abandonment issues. My wife will tell you that.

This started when my parents divorced. I was in third grade at the time. Its been a roller coaster since then.

Relationships start, they end and I wonder if there’s something I didn’t do. Something I didn’t do enough of, all of that kind of thing.

Abandonment is the big one for me.

Addiction is another aspect. I’ve been around alcohol for as long as I can remember. I raided my father’s vodka in junior high. I did this because I wanted an escape from the life I had.

Later, alcohol became my way of dealing with everything. Girlfriend leaves, drink. Father is a dick and wants nothing to do with you, drink. Family disowns you, drink.

This has gone on long enough. I reached a point where I couldn’t put myself or my wife and kids through it.

I’ve always pushed things away. Buried them deep.

Maybe that’s why I write horror?

Better than anyone else!

This is the most recent, though it is the hardest to deal with. I gained some perspective on this one recently. I understood where the idea came from.

I watched a family member disown and abandon others. Caring only about themselves. They were the most important. What they wanted mattered. No one else’s feelings were important.

I’ve had to confront this one head on.

For a long time I wasn’t the husband and father I should’ve been.

I was exactly like the person I mentioned.

Today I understand that yes, I am important, but I am not as important as others. I am not that perfect snowflake. I can’t have everything be about me without consequences.

I almost paid the bill on that one with my marriage.

All of us reach a point, okay most of us reach a point where we have to deal with our lives.

We have to learn to understand our childhood. We have to learn that our addictions are harmful and that they will cause further harm to those who matter most to us.

When I set about getting sober, I only thought about not drinking. Then all these things came out that I’d been suppressing. I wanted to drink. They go away then, right?

Nah, they don’t. They’re still out there waiting for us to fuck up.

But I didn’t. I’m staying sober.

The suppression of my feelings about my childhood and about my family is something I’m dealing with daily. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But this blog, and writing this stuff down helps.

It doesn’t matter how many people see it, only that I know I’ve written it down.

Have a good week.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

Featured

I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.

 

The Revelations…

Featured

Each day I wake up, have my coffee, get my words done and read.

Some of those days are filled with swapping between writing and doing the outline for the project.

I’ll see the end point of the story, sometimes. But while I’m writing I’ve always had a notebook close by. It’s how I work and it works for me.

There are other days when I just write. I’ll make notes on characters, their issues, what’s going on in their heads, but those days are creating days.

They are the heavy lifting days.

As I’ve grown as a writer I continue to grow outside of the writing desk.

It feels weird to say it but quitting has been at the forefront of my mind lately.

It’s something that when I have those heavy lifting days occurs to me.

They are the work days. The hard ones where the words come slow and the coffee never hits the spot.

But I know I’ll keep writing as surely as I know I’ll continue to have depression issues for the rest of my life. I’m working through those.

It’s the writing and reading that give me peace. It’s the reading that gives me guidance when I have none.

The world comes at me harder than it seems to those outside my head. They oftentimes don’t understand but it does.

I’ll keep writing because I feel it’s the only thing I’m truly good at. When I stop for any length of time, my mind doesn’t work properly.

I know it’s rough and I know I’m getting better and that’s all that matters to me.

I write for me now, though I do throw a few bones to people in my writing.

For the most part I write what scares me, what troubles me.

Writing is difficult but as with anything else, the effort shows the results and I’ve been putting a lot of effort into stories.

I hope you’re having a good day and I’ll talk about something(not sure what) on Wednesday.