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.