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.

Moving to the next writing stage.

On Monday I wrote about taking time with what I’ve written.

I wrote a book in December(talked about that here), another in May and June. I didn’t write about that second one. I don’t know why.

But I’ve written 7 short stories since then. I’ll be going over those as well as others I wrote after the one from December.

There’s a weird thing about finishing a book for me. I have to write something short afterwards. I tried writing something long after December’s book.

Because I wrote that book quickly, I got sick and had a general feeling of ill health while trying to write it. I quit it and it’s sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to return.

Now I still have a plan for it. It’s the second part of the book I wrote in December.

Here’s where that gets tricky: I have trouble doing read throughs of drafts. Maybe I’m not doing it right, but I have trouble with it.

I know I should do it to figure out what wrong with the draft, but it always feels wrong. Like I should just write another draft.

I am a discovery writer or pantser.

I was telling my wife that maybe that’s the problem. I’ve written 9 books and though one is out being queried, I’ve only written a beat sheet once. I’ve never done an outline because it feels wrong to me. I get bored of the story idea.

I used a beat sheet after I had a first draft done and maybe I need to do that again.

I realize that writing another full draft after the first one is 86,000 is an undertaking but maybe that’s what I should do.

Maybe that’s what I should start doing with every story?

I love writing and I enjoy everything about it. Maybe it’s time I start using a beat sheet/outline.

If it helps me get my writing in the hands of readers who would enjoy it I think that’s what I should do.

I’m moving to a new stage. One where my writing needs more focus and I believe an outline after the first draft of where I’m heading

Happy writing and I’ll talk more on Friday about this. It’s a new idea and I’m trying to bounce it off my head.

Why I’m thinking about my writing differently.

On Monday I left a little tidbit at the end about how I’m writing differently.

The truth is, last week I came to grips with my focus and the things I write.

I thought about what I enjoy reading, why I enjoy those things and how they can become part of what I write.

It’s about the characters stupid!

Sure the story makes a difference but if I don’t like the characters I’ll quit on a book.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading the Bosch books by Michael Connelly.

I’ve read crime books in the past but Connelly makes you like his characters and makes you care about them.

That I’ve gone through 4 of his books in the last week is a testament to his character creation as well as the world he creates.

I’ve always tried to write stories and throw monsters or fantasy elements into them early.

In the past week I noticed I wasn’t writing about characters I really liked. I cared more about throwing the fantasy or horror elements in.

I haven’t always done this but my writing lately leaned that way.

I forgot that characters are the most important feature of a story. If the reader loves the characters they may forgive you for other story screw ups.

This week I’m focusing on short stories with characters as the focal point and the horror or fantasy as secondary.

I wish I knew why my mind strayed from this but I mean to rectify it from now on.

That’s where I’ve been with my writing.

Friday I’ll talk about my emotional state because that’s important.

Have a good week.

Own your screw ups!

This weekend I went to my niece’s wedding, drank too much, got sick, and didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to with my kids on Father’s Day.

I am totally to blame for this.

There’s this thing I tell myself about taking responsibility for my actions.

I hadn’t drank in a few weeks and I took my eye off my goals to drink. I haven’t done that in a long time.

My goals mean a lot to me and that I took my eye off the prize at the end of this writing journey, pisses me off.

I’m angry at myself for drinking too much. I couldn’t write on Sunday because the effects of the alcohol were still in my system. I don’t write well intoxicated. It comes out forced and horrid.

So I’m holding myself to a goal.

No alcohol for the rest of the summer.

I let myself down by drinking too much and in the process screwed up my writing schedule.

Own your screw ups.

Acknowledge every time you’ve messed up and say you’re sorry to those you’ve hurt.

I drank to excess on Saturday and let myself, my wife, and my kids down.

Have a good week.