New Avenues

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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.

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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…

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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.

Coming to terms with addiction and finding my way.

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As I said on Wednesday, a game took away from my writing time.

Oddly enough, this initially happened when I went sober the end of July.

I swapped one addiction for another.

Instead of blinding myself with alcohol, I shut the world off and buried myself in leveling a character online.

This led me to taking up the bottle again the end of October.

I did this for many reasons but mainly because I have always needed to bury my emotions.

It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

As a teenager, I would keep to myself, not wanting to let the world know how depressed I was. That led to issues with relationships in high school.

I wasn’t mature enough to handle a relationship with myself, much less another person.

Thankfully, as I got older, met my wife, who has kept me safe from my worst tendencies, I was able to understand a few of those things.

But there was always something to subvert, numb, or chasten myself with.

It was either drowning myself in a bottle, burying myself in the pages of a book, delving into online games. In my blindness to these things I kept myself safe from pain.

I was obliterated at times because of family problems.

The bottle has been there since my late teens.

The feeling that one thing gave me led me to run off the tracks and nearly destroyed my marriage.

I try to keep myself safe and I have a tendency to bury myself in things that aren’t as good for me as I would like them to be; the bottle, video games, and other distractions.

I feel it’s necessary to bury myself in one thing that will help me get through all of this. My writing.

Writing gives me a similar high as alcohol, without the side effects.

I have this tendency to latch onto something and it can control and affect my entire world.

I’ve chosen to latch onto my writing and work it for all I can.

I’m sober again and though I’ve fallen I got myself back up.

I pick up the pieces and find new things daily. This journey will lead me to better places and better states of mind. Both of which are needed.

I’ll do my best to write for myself and will continue to write this blog.

The words are important and the message is as well.

I hope you’ll continue to read, continue to follow me on other platforms, but this is where I intend to spend my time.

I have Twitter and Instagram, but I’d rather use this blog. It gives me a bigger space and on days like today I need that.

I let myself down.

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The last five months of 2019 I didn’t write as much or read as much as I should’ve.

My focus left me because of a game.

I don’t know why I let it control those last few months, but I did.

It took control of who I wanted to be. What I wanted to accomplish and I became detached from all of those things.

I realized that I had to do better for myself.

Besides my wife and kids, my writing is the most important thing in my life.

It’s changed how I deal with society. It’s caused me to reevaluate my depression. I no longer look at it with a singular moniker of, “depression.”

There are many subtle levels of depression and they take over parts of my writing and how I deal with the day-to-day machinations of it.

In the end we are at the mercy of what we focus on though I finished a novel during those five months–I’ve determined that it’s quite good–I also learned a lot about myself and why the littlest distractions can detour my writing as well as the balance within my brain.

I’m determined to get something out that can be read by everyone as well as to continue posting on here.

I still have queries out with three agents and when I hear something, good or not, I’ll let you know.

Happy writing and enjoy the rest of your week.

Trying to get through…

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I’ve become stuck on my recent project. I don’t know where it broke. What happened or how to fix it.

The one thing that I did different from the previous project is I didn’t think this on through.

I didn’t plan. I didn’t plot. I didn’t create a pathway to get where I need to be; where the story needs to be.

I’ve been writing a dozen short stories over the holiday break, and maybe that’s why I thought I could wing it with a longer form story.

It hasn’t worked and I can’t go back to writing multiple drafts again.

I have the story I finished before Thanksgiving and I’ll work on improving that one.

It’s strange how you write one way for so long, then you start a new way and it’s like finding the holy grail.

I’ve written 10 novels and eight of those were written by pantsing. The other two I either wrote a beat sheet or did an outline and it’s those latter ones that I feel are my best work.

They have a better flow through, a better story, character development, but after using and outline and beat sheet, I’ve gone back to a few of those and discovered what went wrong and fixed it.

I’m querying one of them right now. It’s out with three agents.

This year I want to push what scares me and that leads into a conversation I had with my wife the other day about the current slate of horror. But I’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Enjoy the first full week of the new year.