Cold wind

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There’s this cold wind.

It blows through the trees, stops at an orchard, gives the fruit a kiss and moves across the road.

It stretches down the hill, rolls through the lawn, brushing the dog on the corner’s black coat.

The dog yelps and runs away.

The cold wind doesn’t stop.

Its tendrils push through my coat while I shovel the walk.

It’s blue and grey and floats around me for a minute.

I stop what I’m doing, waiting for it to move on.

The wind stays. My bones are still cold.

I wrote 86k last December. Here’s what happened and why I won’t do that again.

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Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.

I finished a 86,000 word novel in one month. But here’s the catch, it wasn’t executed very well.

I know I need to go back to it but damn, it’s a daunting as hell task.

It’s not quite cohesive and that’s where the problem is the biggest. The smaller ones are it feels like a few short stories compiled into a novel.

I had no idea what I was writing at the time. I only had a first line and went from there.

This month I plan on writing a lot but not 86k, but we’ll see.

I had an idea the other day about a story, actually a few stories with one character that holds them together.

I’ve taken to sketching, connecting, outlining and figuring out what the hell its about.

It may take me a few months to do this as I’ve allotted a great deal of 2020 with construction of this one.

I did this with a couple of stories and I really enjoyed writing them and their respective outlines.

This one though, it’s different.

You know that excitement when things click? The feeling of trying to catch your breath with the possibilities?

That’s what I feel with this one and it’s why I’ll be taking so much of the year working on it.

I will also be submitting short stories and novels to magazines, contests, and agents.

I had planned on doing that today but had a bartending event to prepare for.

I’ll be submitting a novel to agents over the next couple of days as well as preparing a couple of short stories to those magazines and contests.

Have a good week and keep writing.

Feeling the pressure…

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It comes at the oddest times and I’m not sure how to deal with it when it does.

The failure mindset.

Maybe because I’m not published that it comes harder.

I’ve submitted novels to 18 agents. 13 said no to one of them. Another said no to a different submission and one wasn’t accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

The others are out currently.

That’s 3 agents with one of my books.

I’m at the point where I could use a win. I guess we all get that way at some point. It’s happened to me a couple of times.

But right now, where things are in life at 43, a win would be good for my head and heart.

I’ll keep writing because I’m better at it than I am anything else but a win or even an agent to ask for a full would be great.

Anyway, have a great rest of your week. I’ll be over here with fingers crossed and hope in my heart.

Struggling to write and getting my focus back.

Over the weekend my writing hit a snag.

I did good last week. I hit goals, even after I had to rewrite the opening to chapters.

Those rewrites were needed as the POV changed.

I was early in the drafting process and it felt stilted. I felt like the story wasn’t coming across the way I wanted it too. The MC(Main Character) wasn’t coming through in the ways I wanted him too.

I’d written a few thousand words at that point and decided the story was worth it. So I changed the POV. But that’s not why I hit snag.

The story went off script. I have a good outline but the story decided to go down another path.

There are parts of the story I’d forgotten to put in when I made the outline. Things that happen in the certain situation I’ve put these characters in. I had to go back and put them in the situation. It was a needed thing. I didn’t plan for this in the outline and now I feel like it’s taken on a life of its own.

I’m trying not to get frustrated but I’ve taken the last two days off from writing to think about the story. I have to consider the options in the story.

Do I go down one road, maybe it leads to something good, maybe not? Do I let the story go the direction it wants or do I rein it in?

It is a first draft and there will be a few other drafts afterwards and I think I’ll let the story run for a while. See where it goes. I can always eliminate the direction in a later draft if it takes me to dead end.

I’m tired of dead ends. It’s the reason I wrote a damn outline.

My focus has been on other things and I’m working to get it back on track. I haven’t been reading as much as usual and that leads me to dead ends.

Reading keeps me focused and I’m getting back to that.

Today, I’ll be getting back to those things and working on figuring this thing out.

I’ve also begun to do research reading for one of the topics for the project. It’s taking me in directions I’ve never thought of. It’s also heartbreaking to read some of it.

But I’ll leave that out.

Happy writing

Fear and what it does to us.

I was talking to my wife the other night as we lay in bed.

We want to go to London and Edinburgh with our kids next summer and I said, “well if we go there at least we won’t get shot at.”

This is what we’ve come to.

My kids go back to school in two weeks and then it’s stress time.

Any time the sound of siren passes down the street we wonder. Is that going to their school?

It’s a horrible place to be in as a human and a parent to think this way, but it’s the only way I can think.

We’ve reached a point where we cower in fear at the sound of siren, a car backfiring, and fireworks going off.

It’s not normal to act this but unfortunately it’s the point we’ve reached.

I’ve talked to other parents who react the same way and it’s terrifying.

I don’t look at this as a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.

My kids and everyone else’s kids deserve to attend school without having lockdown drills.

Myself and other parents deserve to not worry about a shooting but whether their kid is enjoying school.

I’ve reached the point where I’d rather travel overseas with my family than in the country of my birth.

My family has roots going to the 1600’s in this country. It’s about what’s right and decent not about what’s politically popular.

Patience is the greatest virtue.

This week has been one of the most difficult as a writer.

This rethinking how to write with an outline is not only trying my patience but also my wife’s

I’ve ran things by her numerous times and like the trooper she’s always been, she makes suggestions. I hear the little hint of frustration in her voice as I ask for suggestions, but it’s a new thing for me to use an outline for a project, and it going along better than I thought it would.

I’m learning to diagnose issues with the story I have in my head and analyze where things went wrong, where I could change them and how to do so.

It feels like I’m learning to write all over again. I know it will improve the story, but damn it’s hard.

I’ve been writing as a discovery writer for over 10 years. I have to teach my mind that what I’d done before didn’t work and this is the new way we’re doing things.

Needless to say, there’s been pushback.

I’m using K.M. Weiland’s outlining workbook to do this. The reasoning is she knows what she’s doing and I’m only guessing on how to do this.

I see things in the story that could go another way, and other things that I’ll do away with all together.

There are things I’m changing I never would have if I’d rewritten the entire book.

I see the scope of it growing and with it the number of words I’ll have to write in order to fit everything from the outline within the book when I begin drafting.

The drafting part will be interesting. I don’t know how that will go. It’s going to be a while before I get there, a month or longer, but I’ll get there with a blueprint for the book I should have written the first time.

It’s awfully frightening to realize that you should have done something a certain way, but your mind said, “it’s fine. If King, George R.R. Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss can do it this way, so can you.”

The problem is, I’m not them. My brain obviously doesn’t work that way.

I’ve never really planned things out. Now that I am, I’m seeing more clearly.

I’ll keep updates going, but for now I’m just happy to get this going. I’m happy I’ve found a better path but I wish I would’ve done it years ago.

Now that I understand how to outline, I’ll do it for every project.

Have a good weekend and happy writing.

Exercise, Anxiety, and getting my mind right.

I reached a breaking point.

This happened for a number of reasons. The main on being I haven’t taken care of myself lately.

I stopped working out, I’m not sure why. I wasn’t burnt out. My muscles weren’t sore or my joints, I just stopped.

Exercise, mostly weight training, has always been in my life.

My biological father did bodybuilding when I was younger and when I turned 14 he got me in the weight room.

Initially I didn’t care for it, spending most of my gym time in the pool instead of the weight room. I’ve always loved the water. It’s a Pisces thing.

As long grew older I fell in love with being in the gym. I enjoyed the feeling of the weights, the pump in my muscles and attended the Olympia on a couple of occasions.

Until recently I never associated the gym with my mental wellbeing. It was just something I did.

Then I looked at where my life was when I spent the most time in the gym or my muscles grew the most.

Those were emotional times.

In high school I used my weight training class to deal with my teenage anxiety. Never understanding then what I was doing.

In my early twenties I used it to deal with loneliness and that I was an awkward shy person.

I found comfort in the weight room. It was something I could do where my effort determined the results.

In my late twenties I used it to deal with our first miscarriage. Then in my early thirties to deal with my daughter’s early birth and first month in the NICU.

As I moved up on age I never noticed this, until now.

Most recently, I used it to deal with the death of my big brother.

When I struggle most I return to the weight room. That’s what I’m beginning again.

It’s another way to deal with anxiety, my writing frustrations, and just with every day life issues.

It has never failed in getting my mind right. It never failed in adjusting my attitude or my mindset.

TM keeps my mind in good shape, but with the combination of TM and exercise everything fires on all cylinders.

I’m back in the gym because I realized it keeps my mind more focused when I do it.

I may not thank my biological father for much, but a love of the weight room will always be one of them.

Have a good weekend.

Get shit done, have some fun, and keep going.