The act of creating still baffles.

When I write I wonder where everything comes from.

I’ve used beat sheets, outlines, and done discovery writing. My current project is at 52k after 29 days and all discovery written.

When the words come out, there are times I wonder where they come from. I finish my writing for the day, go back and read some of it and think, “that came from my brain, how?”

This little thing keeps me writing. I write not only because I love it but I’m often curious how the words will come out.

I think about times when I struggle to get the words and whether they’d be different if I hadn’t been struggling. I think of all the times I didn’t write and what I missed out on.

That last part is my major motivator.

What story was I not creating when I wasn’t writing? What worlds weren’t explored? What people did I not bring to life? These things keep me up at night more than the current draft.

I hope I’m not the only who thinks this way. I wonder what other writers are working on or whether some of my favorite books would be different if certain authors had written them earlier in the day or later.

Whether accidents they had or family issues they’ve dealt with changed the story because they were away from the page.

I write to find out these things. If I’d written longer today, what would be different from what I write tomorrow? What changes to the story would I have made and would they be good?

Without a time machine, there’s no way to discover these things.

I write because I like to wonder about how the story would turn out differently, how I would turn out differently.

If I had continued to write in my teens, would I be published today?

I know its not good to dwell on the past, but these things pop up when I work.

Mostly I think about the stories and how I create them. Where all of these characters come from and how I let them run the story.

When a character takes over a section of the story I feel like I’ve succeeded for the day. It’s happened a lot in the current project. I’ve never written as fast as I am currently. I know where the story ends, I know how, but getting there is fun as hell. I’m enjoying the process more than I have since the last book.

I’m working on my seventh book. I have one queried and another in revisions with my writing group. I submitted a short story last night and I’ll be working on others in the next couple of weeks.

My kids are back in school next week and I’m looking forward to all of us returning to our schedules, but most of all I’m looking forward to seeing where all of my stories go.

The doorways.

Today, I read an article on Tor.com and it got my wife and me talking.

We started with which books were our gateway to reading regularly.

For her, the books she read were the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, and The Secret Garden.

For myself, reading was different. There were books I felt I had to read to satisfy my father. Then there were other books.

The latter books were ones I wanted to read, and I did, though not in the living room where my father could see the covers.

This second group came from the school library or on my weekends with my mom. She never judged me for what I read. I believe one of the reasons I write horror and fantasy is because of the books she read.

I remember seeing my mom with horror books. Today, along with my wife, she’s the person I feel my books are written for.

When it came to the books my father had me read, it was always techno-thrillers like Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, and others. I was reading those books in sixth grade. I may not have understood all of the text, but I read them because it felt required of me.

The first time I read a book that I loved was The Indian in the Cupboard. It was one my mom bought for me. I read that book a few times.  I didn’t enjoy the second book as much and by the time the third came out I was bored with the series.

After we discussed our early beginnings with reading, my wife and I talked about books by authors we don’t read anymore.

For me, it’s Anne Rice, for her it’s the Lisbeth Salander books.

The first time I remember seeing Anne Rice’s books was with my father. I showed him Interview with the Vampire, I was fourteen. He said, “No, you’re not getting that.” Then he handed me a techno-thriller. I read the techno-thriller but remembered the cover for Interview.

It was years later when the movie came out that I read that book. If I had read Interview at fourteen I may have turned out differently. I loved that book, though The Vampire Lestat is still my favorite. I can still quote sections of the book.

I fell out of love with Anne Rice when she started the new Lestat series a few years ago. I’m not sure why I did, but it no longer holds power with me as it once did.

I believe we outgrow books sometimes.

Sometimes it’s the authors themselves.

My wife and I agree on that point.

With my own kids, I used to push books on them. Now, I let them read what they enjoy. I know what feels like to have a certain genre thrust down your throat until you gag on it, it’s unpleasant.

Today, I read a lot in the horror genre, but in order to improve my writing, I’m reading more regular fiction.

If you follow me on GoodReads you’ll see what I’ve read this year. It’s diverse but not as much as it needs to be. I can’t help it, I like to be scared or unnerved by what I read.

I like the challenge of getting through books that terrify people.

When I write, I try to have my wife and mom in mind. I think what would terrify them. Then I do that.

Busy and almost missed today.

Today is the first time I’ve nearly missed writing a post in a few months.

I’m not going make some bullshit excuse.

Our power did go out last night but it was on in time for me to write a post today or yesterday.

The fact is I’ve been writing a lot.

I finished two short stories in the past couple of days. I received a rejection from an agent for the novel I submitted; this is the fourth rejection for this particular novel.

I have other stories. I’ll write more. I’ll continue writing and after I get a acceptance letter I’ll go quiet for a while and work on other things.

I took a lot of time off from Delusions of Ink, I don’t intend to do it again.

Happy writing.

Brian

The Object in the Way


Every couple of months I look for a new motivation book. I learn what those I’m following on social media are reading or listening to or I look for something from one of my favorite inspirational authors.

This past week, while looking through my social media, I found that Ryan Holiday had a book out that I hadn’t listened to.

I’ve listened to Ego is the Enemy two or three times but the title for this one grabbed me.

The Obstacle is the Way made me look at my writing differently, my relationship with my wife and kids differently and I had to reevaluate where my focus laid.

My obstacle has been writing a coherent story and publishing it, neither of those has happened.

I discovered the obstacle was the way I was writing the stories not the stories themselves.

It was a breakthrough and I’m still wrapping my head around it.

It isn’t the writing it’s the way I’ve been constructing or not constructing the story.

I’ve always seen myself as a pantser but after finding my obstacle I worked for 5 days on an outline.

I started the story Monday and yesterday I put out more words than I ever have while using an outline.

I know where the story goes and how to get there.

I’ve changed the obstacle and made it work for me.

Now, I’ve read a lot of books on writing but never paid much attention to them until now.

The book I used to get the outline is called The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.

This book was gifted to me from my cousin who is a published author, I should have listened to her.

I’m stubborn and want to do things myself but I now know the way.

I feel more positive about the direction of my writing because of Ryan’s book and I understand how to craft the story better.

The smallest obstacle can cause the biggest headaches, I’ve written five long-form stories, 4 novels, and 1 novella, but none of them have felt as solid as the one I’ve barely started, I thank a few things, growing up as a writer, discovering that I needed an outline and learning that the obstacle in the way was mostly my ego telling me I didn’t need an outline.

 

Quit making excuses, you have time.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.


For the longest time, I made excuses about not having time to write. Now that I write full-time, I see all the moments I could’ve used to write when I was really just screwing off.

When you write full-time, you see all the time others aren’t using for their art. There are many instances when I’ll see a post on social media, ‘I didn’t have time to write today, but I got my hair done, I played ____ video game or I went out drinking with friends’.

I like to play video games, have drink with friends and go to the barber and get pampered, but I don’t let it interfere with my work, because honestly, that’s what I consider writing now, it took me longer than it should have, but it’s a job that I love that I haven’t been paid for, yet.

Quit saying you don’t have time, you do.

Quit making excuses, the only excuses you can use are these.

  • My spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend got hurt or worse.
  • My kids got hurt or worse.
  • A very close family member got hurt or worse.

That’s it, those three are the only excuses. If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.

Otherwise, just quit.

Do you have anything published? And other things.

I bartend events on occasion and I get asked, ‘What do you do when you’re not doing this?”

“I write.” Is always my reply, then I wait for those words to compute, sometimes I get a follow-up like this, ‘Like freelance or books?’

‘I write novels and short stories.’

‘Do you have anything published?’

‘Not right now, but I’m trying to get a book published soon.’

‘Oh…” they reply and that’s the end of the conversation.

Here’s the truth. I have written four books, I’m working on number five right now and the reason I haven’t published is I guess I just haven’t.

That’s the truth. With the first two books, I got scared of publishing because they weren’t very good, first novels rarely are. With the last two, I want to get one of them published, but I’ll probably be doing Indie or self-publishing them.

Having written nearly five books, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t in the story, having never published I don’t bring in any income aside from the bartending gig.

My goal for this year is to publish two books, it doesn’t matter how, just that they’re out there for readers.

My daily routine consists of writing in the morning after dropping off my kids, working out after writing, reading in the afternoon, picking up the kids, eating and spending time with my family then editing whichever book is on the editing table at that time.

I would love to get published so I can say to these people who attend these events I bartend, “yes, I do. I have books on Amazon, iBooks, and a few others.”

I love writing more than anything else. I enjoy creating stories more than anything else and I want to share those stories, but honestly, I just haven’t gotten around to getting them published because I hadn’t found a system that works for me until recently.

Now that I have that system, I’ll be publishing in one form or another.

I write short stories and have submitted numerous stories this year to various magazines, but haven’t had a nibble, yet. I’m hoping to get one soon so I can contribute more to my family’s finances, because working one or two days a week bartending, doesn’t cut it.

Ignoring the shiny.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

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We writers, we have a problem.

There is this thing, it’s called “The Shiny“.

It comes when we least expect it, but it screams its damn head off when it appears.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

It could be a new thought on the current story, something that we didn’t anticipate or worse, it could be a new story, yelling, ‘look at me, look at me. I won’t let you get stuck, but if I do at least you’ll be writing five-thousand words while you wait’

The more we’re blocked, the louder the damn thing screams, but we have to ignore it, we must. There’s a part of us that knows we have to keep going on the current story, because, no matter how blocked we get, we still have more words on the current story than The Shiny.

We want to stop because we’ll get The Shiny to be quiet, then we have the damn things popping up to yell at us. It will happen when we’re going to sleep, taking our kids to school, reading a book. That last one, that’s the most frustrating.

The only thing we can do, write down the idea, put it somewhere we can see it and work on it later after we’re done with the current story.

Don’t give in to The Shiny.