The way through…

There are moments in life when we’re taking our time, creating things, and something from our past rears its ugly head.

This happened the other day.

I’ve written since middle school. It’s only been in the last five years I decided to take my writing seriously. The main reason I decided to pursue my writing full-time is that of my wife’s encouragement.

Before that time I’d only done it on the side and never considered my writing worthy of publication.

Then, something happened. Someone told me I’d never be a writer.  That I’d never do what I love doing. It was a hard blow. Afterward, I contemplated a lot of things, suicide one of them.

Then, I realized something. That person didn’t know who I was and had no interest in discovering the person I was.

It wasn’t that they said those words, it was more that I took it to heart. I believed them. I felt like they were right about me.

Today, life is different. I understand that person didn’t know me and never cared to.

Without my wife’s encouragement, I’m not sure I would have continued to write.

I’m at a crossroads with my writing. Do I keep going, take a chance, and struggle a little more or do I quit?

After all, I’ve done in my life I only have a couple of things I’m proud of: My wife, my kids, and my writing.

I’ve written seven novels, over a hundred short stories but I haven’t published any of them. Maybe that person’s words influenced my thinking for a few years afterward. Now, I don’t feel that way.

The road used to be cluttered with doubt and fear. Today, I that same road is full of possibilities.

I’ve found the way through. I found it on my own and now it’s time to crush it.

The record is only playing one song…

I intended to write a project for NaNoWriMo, then I realized there are three novels that need edits. I hit 5k on the NaNo project but it will have to wait until I’ve edited the three novels.

It will take me a while before I’m able to tackle something of long form. I have ideas for more novels, one that I know will be the next one I write.

I wrote two novels this past year, both of them need editing. One of them still needs a first pass.

I have a big fear in doing this: I often worry something won’t get written because I’m editing or writing short form. I’m not sure where this idea comes from. I’ve written about it before.

I have stories to write. and one of my goals for this year is being published. This hasn’t happened. I believe its because I haven’t been editing.

I’ve talked about this editing issue numerous times. I thought it would interfere with my creative process, what I’ve learned is it’s part of my creative process. Without learning how to fix story issues I’d have fifty novels written, none edited, which was where I was headed before making this decision.

For the rest of the year I’ll only be writing short stories, focusing on improving my problem areas, narration, dialogue, and visuals. I’ll be editing the three novels into the new year. The short stories I’m writing will go through an editing process after I feel the novels are in decent shape.

I love creating new stories, but I don’t want to have fifty novels written and none of them edited. Yes, my writing is improving, thanks to the writing group I joined and determination, but I feel its time to step away from writing novels for a while. It’s time edit the work I’ve already done.

I want what any writer wants, I want to see my books published. They won’t get there without improvement.

I’m breaking this record, it keeps skipping and coming back to haunt me. If you’ve read my recent posts, you’ll understand.

Back to work my Wretched.

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.

Continuing to level up…

When my son was little my wife and I played World of Warcraft after he was in bed.

Then it grew to be too much to handle with kids. But there was one thing that was always fun: Taking a new character and running it through dungeons.

My wife would use her high-level or I’d use mine and we’d run one of each other’s characters through the low-level dungeons.

It was a chance to say in Guild Chat, ding ___ hit level ___. It was fun.

Now that I don’t play, mostly because of lack of time, sometimes I mark advances in my writing by chokingly telling my wife, ding, I hit another level.

I don’t do it often, because the little thing achievements aren’t a big deal.

It’s when I achieve something big that I say it.

This week I dinged.

I bartend for events for a bartending service. I work weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate parties and similar events.

Our company works with a particular caterer constantly and one of their leads is a writer.

A few weeks ago, he asked me to join his writing group.

Yesterday, through a conference call, we went through each other’s work.

It will be a regular thing, every two weeks, and I get someone else to read my work.

I’ve been wanting to find a writing group where people take it seriously. This is the first time I’ve found one.

I leveled up in my writing this week, Ding!

Creating and pushing through.

Creating, either in writing or any other endeavor requires fortitude and focus.

Today, I wanted to quit early because I was tired and I’m ahead in the draft.

I thought, okay, I’ve written 7 books, this is the eighth one, I should just coast.

Then I realized, I couldn’t coast.

I had a story to write, one that I’d given up on earlier in the year and it needed to get finished as soon as possible.

I pushed through it, finished the section I’d been writing and hit 28k on the draft in 15 days.

Focus is hard with everything going on in the world.

Fortitude and resilience are important items to have in your war chest. Keep them close at hand.

It’s​ the little things that keep me going.

When I think back about life in the past couple of years, there were little things that kept me going.

From a few replies from authors on Twitter to comments about my writing from my son.

He asks me about what I’m writing. I tell him about a story I finished, what it’s about, and how much fun it was to write.

Last school year, he took a creative writing class. My wife and I thought he’d enjoy it, and he did.

This summer, he gets up and writes when I write in the morning. I’ve restricted him to 500 words a day, but a few times he’s done more than that. I have a story of his I need to go over with him, and I’ve been trying to find time for it.

I’ll do it tomorrow since I won’t be bartending, and I only have my regular WIP word count to get.

There are other little things, but my son enjoying something I love doing, and him doing it with me, that makes me feel accomplished as a dad.

He’s a good kid. He works hard.

If I can help him avoid the issues I had with my writing early on, then I’ve done well.

I could list a lot of things, but this one is most important to me.

Not Giving up on what I want.

There are dreams in the world that happen because we take a chance.

We’re capable of doing great things, but there are moments when we falter.

The truth is, for most of us, fear runs our lives.

It keeps us from achieving greatness.

I used to be one of those people.

I feared people would read my writing and hate. But they’d judge me based only on my writing, not on who I am.

A year ago I sent off my first short story to a magazine. The rejections have come in ever since.

Not one of my stories has been picked up. I don’t know why, but I’ll keep going. I’ll keep improving. The only way to get published it to improve every day. The only way to do that is to write every day or if you’re not writing, at least be reading.

This year I sent off a novel. It’s been seen by three agents. Two of them still have it. The third sent a form rejection.

But I’m not stopping.

I have eight more agents on my list.

When I get rejections from all of them, I’ll shelve it and work on the other one.

I have a goal. It won’t be achieved until I’m published.

I’ve written seven novels, over 100 short stories.

Some of them good, some bad, but I keep writing.

I won’t accept being unpublished.

This year I’ve improved more than any year. My focus hasn’t wavered.

I’m starting another novel next month, another novel I’ll be editing, and few short stories I’ll be submitting.

This road doesn’t end until I’m published.