My ego is messing with me.

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Twice a year, my ego screws with me. This comes in any manner of way, but lately, as I see other writers kicking ass, getting contracts, and generally doing better than I am, my ego is questioning what the hell is going on.

I know it’s my ego, that little bastard doesn’t shut up long enough to let me take a breath, much less acknowledge why and where I’m failing in my writing.

The thing is, I’ve been working. I’ve been writing and I know that I’m not sending things out all of the time, but I can’t. I have a life outside of writing. I have my wife and kids, and a bartending gig I do.

The bartending gig is something that pays the bills, but I’d rather be doing anything that bartending. That’s probably to do with how people are treating those of us in the food service industry. People became horrible in the last year and maybe they were always that, but something else has triggered them into believing it’s okay to act this way, but that’s another blog post.

I’d like to push things out of the way and get to writing, but I worry about neglecting my wife and kids. That’s something I did when I lived in Las Vegas and can’t to that route. I also worry about asking for things from people because, well, I’m not certain my writing is very good.

Ego is kicking me in the ass, envy is kicking me in the balls, and I’m sore as hell about it all.

I wonder if I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to take a break from bartending to focus on writing, but it’s the busy season for catering and it’s impossible to do that.

If I could find a crossroads that would work, I’d use that.

I’m so bent right now that I’m unsure of everything.

Am I writing well? Am I doing what I need to get noticed? Is there something I’m not doing?

All of this comes down to pushing things away and dealing with my mental issues.

I have to knock those back sometimes in order to gain some semblance of who I am.

The ego kicks my ass, but my mental issues do more damage.

Depression sucks, and I’ve tried to use it as a motivator, but I’m at place where my ego and the envy I have for others knocks me on my ass.

I guess I’ll keep going with this writing, but I wish I didn’t have to do these events sometimes.

The mental focus it takes to do these events and not scream at the top of my lungs as some half-wit berates me or my staff about how rich they are or that it’s their house and they can do what they want in their house makes me want to scream.

Some people are just assholes.

My ego is screwing with me and I’m working on getting it under control.

I’m planning on getting to this blog more often. I get stuck on things and then I try to get away and it just gets worse.

Anyway, have a good weekend.

Stuck in traps

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This morning I felt as if I were in one of Jigsaw’s traps.

My intentions were to write a post to go up at 8:00 this morning, but I watched a movie for story research instead.

The movie, “Exorcist 3”, is one I hadn’t watched before and found a lot better than I expected.

I have a possession story idea that I’m working on to submit next week and I needed to watch something to get me in the mood.

The story is a bit different from my usual writing and I had to bury myself in the subject matter.

This led me to watching the movie past when I’d intended and left no time to write the post for today.

I’ve watched a few found footage movies to prepare for a submission in August and while most of them were good, those that I didn’t care for left me wanting to know why others enjoyed them. Mainly “Lake Mungo”.

I found it boring and continue to wonder why others enjoyed the movie. My wife, who is not a horror freak like me, watched Lake Mungo last night.

She feel the same as I do about the movie. There were a lot of things going on in it, but nothing that scared me, at least not until the end of the movie. The whole thing with the neighbor felt like it came out of nowhere. It felt, to me at least, like they threw all the tropes in to see what stuck. The neighbor part felt like the writers thought, “let’s see how screwed up we can make this woman’s life?” So that’s what they did.

But back to what I intended to write.

I’ve taken a break from social media for the next little while to work on writing stories. As I said on Monday, I have two novellas I’m working on, a few shorts stories as well as a novel in the political thriller genre. Each of these are holding my time and social media is a drag on that time.

This break will be for a few weeks or as long as a month, whichever is needed to finish these projects.

But as I finish these projects, others will rise. It is the nature of the work that others replace that which I’ve finished.

I hope you have good rest of your week and I’ll see you on Friday morning, unless another horror movie pops into the frame.

I have a bartending event tonight as well as Friday and I’ll be doing those, masked and ready to go. I have my vaccine shots, but the vax rate in Utah is only 30% and after the last year, I have trust issues with not wearing a mask at events, or anywhere else.

See you Friday.

Changing reading habits and me

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I’ve mentioned numerous times on here about the books I felt forced to read growing up. It was the 80’s and the techno-thriller was king, at least that’s how it felt in my little corner of the world.

I enjoyed those books, but as I grew older I found myself gravitating towards darker stories.

I recently purchased Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, the book not the game. The last couple of weeks have found me reading through it and I found so much of it boring. As a writer myself I found places the could have been removed through editing.

Was Clancy brilliant in his world building, absolutely. Were his technical discussions within the books not needed in most places? After reading the three hundred pages I’ve consumed of Rainbow Six, I’d have to say yes. It feels like there are so many parts that could be removed.

This is not a review of the book. But I don’t enjoy all of that stuff anymore. It was cool reading those things in Elementary and Junior High, but as and adult, I found them boring and unnecessary within the constructs of the book.

I have read a few books that are more concise and less grandiose in their wording and content, but I feel I’ve outgrown the monotony of how this book works. I haven’t read any of the new books in the Jack Ryan series written by other authors, but I’m hoping they’re most concise and less about adding words and more about the story…at least that’s my hope.

On the other side though, the horror books I’ve read in the last year have blown me away.

I think small doses of Clancy and war books are a better idea. It’s not the length of the book that felt daunting, it’s the unnecessary aspects of scenes. Some of the scenes in that book could be done away with as I don’t feel they move the story forward and are more of stopping point.

I think my days of reading Clancy books, at least those written by the author prior to his passing, are over. I want to read the books in that universe written by the other authors but haven’t had time to do so.

I’ll go back to reading other things for the time being. I have a subscription to Nightworms and I get a few horror books from them a month. They are wonderfully curated and come with all kinds of goodies.

For now, I’ll stick to the smaller war and techno-thriller books.

What the hell is this?

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I get a bit weird when I’m starting a new project, my wife attributes this to imposter syndrome.

It’s also that when I’m starting a new project, I feel that I’m abandoning genres that I feel more comfortable writing.

The fact is that I’ve been writing horror for the last year. Following a set of rules when I write and I’ve tossed them and trying something new. Maybe that scares the hell out of me, but I want to write what I enjoy.

The new story has horror elements but is definitely Grimdark fantasy.

I happened upon this story when I wrote a short one that I’m submitting next month. I mentioned that on Monday’s post.

This whole thing started because of that story. But I have no path for it. I have no idea where it’s going and after writing with a beat sheet or outline for the last year, it scares the hell out of me to write another way.

The longer form stories I’ve written this year have been good, better than I’ve written in a while and maybe that’s why doing this scares me.

Let’s get to the meat of this issue.

The stories I’ve written this year have had a formula.

Take a story archetype(clowns, aliens, ghosts), add an element(serving a higher power, seeking truth, helping another), then throw in a thing(graveyard, hospital, guitar) and use those to create a story.

I have done none of those with this project.

I’m sure that’s the problem and I need to think about it more, or I need to pull something from my bags. I have bags where these archetypes, elements, and things are kept. It’s a thing I learned from Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner.

I abandoned it for this project and I’m sure that’s why I’m struggling.

I guess I answered my own question.

Sometimes working through by writing it down helps.

About long breaks…

I took a break from this blog for a while to work on things.

If you follow me on social media, you saw my post. I have been working on this collection for most of the summer and another project that fell apart.

The latter of these things made me realize a few things about myself and my writing. I am really good at writing short horror stories. But when it comes to a longer form of horror, I have trouble. let me explain.

From April 4th to May 4th I wrote the first draft of a 100,000 word novel.

This novel is different from anything I’d written prior, and it is the only novel I’ve followed a beat sheet and outline to the letter.

It is a very strong first draft. Possibly the best first draft of a novel I’ve ever written. I owe that to the set up with the outline and beat sheet.

The book will be coming out in January and it is not horror.

When I was a teenager I read the military and political thrillers that were popular in the late 80’s and 90’s by authors like Tom Clancy.

At the time I wasn’t allowed to read any other books, or at least that’s how it felt. Any time I asked to read something other than those books, my father rebuffed me and it was only in my room where I could read the books I wanted to read; horror, comics, fantasy, and science fiction being my favorites.

When I began to write my own stories I swore I’d never create worlds like Clancy’s. This came about because of the way I feel towards me father(he and I don’t have a relationship).

With the books I felt I had to read it was about control and I have an issue with being controlled, as we all should.

I believe that by allowing the way I was treated to enter into my head, it stopped me from following a path that maybe I should have followed.

The first idea I had for a novel was along the lines of the military/political thriller, but I closed myself off to that because of the trauma I experienced growing up. In other words, I allowed it to stop my creativity because I worried old feelings would come back.

Now it comes back around to the novel I’ll be self-publishing in January. There are other novels I’m currently writing or ideas I’m pondering contained within the same world.

It is a change that maybe I needed to do. I believe by allowing myself to be stopped creatively because of past trauma, I rejected stories which I would have enjoyed as well as ones that would push me.

Today, I’m moving forward with these books because I really enjoy writing them more than anything else. I consider myself a writer who does not limit themselves to one genre. I will write in whichever genre a story comes to me, I only wish I knew why I had such a difficult time with creating outlines for horror novels.

Maybe this is just a learning experience and I need to figure it out at another time, but for now I’ll write these political/military thrillers because they give me a joy that I’ve rarely found in writing.

Here is the link for the short story collection. I hope you enjoy the stories. There are some dark ones in there and I enjoyed writing each of them.