Changing Gears, Changing of the Guard…And Demons

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I’ve been writing something that is a bit different for me. The whole act of writing this project scares me for a number of reasons, which is why I’m writing it.

I really enjoy horror and all that genre encompasses, but today, I need something different. There’s enough horror around us to hold my attention that way.

This bit of writing brings me back to the stories I read when I was younger.

I’ve always been an advanced reader and the books I read in 6th grade through the end of middle school show that.

It was the era of the political/techno/military thriller. Tom Clancy was king and I read his books not because I wanted to but because I felt I had no other choice.

This story takes me back to the days of military secrets, political maneuvers, and spy craft. It’s something I’ve always wanted to write but because of my feelings towards it and the way I felt forced to read it, I barely ventured into “enemy” territory.

Now I’m older, understand things better and am working to write something that encapsulates those books I read.

I may have been forced, or at least felt forced to read them, but one way to deal with your demons is shine a light on them.

That’s what I’m doing.

The No Excuses Post

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know about how I planned on publishing last fall to only have it fall apart.

Well, that’s where the title for this post came from.

I made an excuse last fall. It was determined by other factors but I still wobbled and eventually dropped my plans for publishing.

It looks like I have a lot of time on my hands right now, so I’m thinking of doing that thing now, or at least soon.

Look, we’re not in a situation to ask for a professional editor. Just can’t do it.

So I’ll publish something. I know it isn’t perfect but I also am hoping that the little money I may make from it will help my family out.

My bartending gig is not existent right now.

I have no other way to make money and this is what I’ll do…No Excuses, right?

Life and Writing Reorganized.

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This week starts our second week of teaching our kids at home.

Last week was one hell of struggle.

My wife has worked from home for over ten years and I know how lucky we are that she’s able to do so.

But, damn, this last week and trying to find a schedule that works for the kids and school, my wife and her job as well as navigating being cooped up, has been difficult as hell.

I know that last sentence is everyone right now!

But we’ve figure out one that works for all of us.

My writing time has been moved so I’m able to help with teaching the things I’m good at, namely, history, English, and writing.

So I used to write in the morning after I’d taken them to school. Now it’s after they’ve completed their schooling for the day.

Today I did 4 writing sprints of 25 minutes each, with a five minute break in between each sprint. I’ve done these sprints this way for the last couple of years and it’s what works for me.

This new reality is hard but we have to get through it.

Find your bright spots. I’m able to help my kids with their writing and history stuff. I love history, it’s always been my favorite subject.

Now I can focus on helping them enjoy it as well.

I hope you’re all well and taking this thing seriously.

A New(temporary)Normal

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I haven’t posted for a few weeks. Sorry about that.

I’ve been dealing with the same thing as everyone else.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it. School is closed for my kids and that’s going to be challenge.

But I’m not here to talk about that.

Growing up, my father forced me to read certain books. I did so because I loved him. But I wanted to read other books. He forbid me from reading a lot of books.

Now I still love horror and fantasy but I grew up reading Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts. Those were the writers I read.

Fast forward to right now and I’ve started reading similar books.

I never thought about writing those kinds of books. Military thrillers weren’t what I wanted to write. It’s funny how life teaches a lot of lessons that way.

I’ve started a new story. It’s one that’s been in my head for a long time. I feel it needs to be written. My teenage self would’ve enjoyed it.

Taking me time.

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I haven’t taken a solo trip in a while and the last time was a working trip.

I’m heading to Vegas to help my parents with a move.

I haven’t been there by myself in over 20 years.

I plan on taking some time to read, write, take myself out to dinner, and of course help my parents.

It will be a new experience to be in Vegas sober and I’ve already picked where I plan to eat based on that.

I would like a longer solo trip somewhere but I’m bartending on Monday.

I’ll be taking stock of things in my room as I’ll only have myself to deal with.

It should be a good trip. I love being able to spend time with my parents. I’ll also be spending time with my sister and her son. I’m looking forward to that as well.

Have a good weekend.

You’ve always known the way

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There are all these books and speakers to tell us what we need to do. But the thing I’ve learned is, we’ve always known what we need to do.

It’s the same as losing weight. We know what we have to do but we don’t because it’s hard.

Like exercise, writing and other creative endeavors have the same theory.

We know what we must do to achieve the things we want but we’re so afraid of failure and what could happen we stop ourselves from doing what’s necessary.

This is counterproductive to our goals and we have to keep our heads when it comes to our life, creativity, and check ourselves mentally.

The way forward has always been blocked by whatever we have in our heads that it difficult. Whether it is the editing process or worry about how someone will judge us by what we create. It’s all about what’s in the way.

Getting through it is as easy as that.

We see the obstacle. We know it’s there and we can choose to ignore it or continue to struggle.

But it is entirely up to us.

We have to get through that obstacle if we want to challenge ourselves and if we want our project and life to progress.

But we have to do it. If we’re truly certain of our path, there is no other way through.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

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I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.