Introspection, Review, and Repair.

I’ve said that I’ve been dealing with my shit since I quit drinking in January, but boy, this shit is rough.

The title of this post puts it out more cleanly, but it’s still a rough, deep dive into my life.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.

This belief was punctuated by the fact the people kept leaving me. I have severe abandonment issues. My wife will tell you that.

This started when my parents divorced. I was in third grade at the time. Its been a roller coaster since then.

Relationships start, they end and I wonder if there’s something I didn’t do. Something I didn’t do enough of, all of that kind of thing.

Abandonment is the big one for me.

Addiction is another aspect. I’ve been around alcohol for as long as I can remember. I raided my father’s vodka in junior high. I did this because I wanted an escape from the life I had.

Later, alcohol became my way of dealing with everything. Girlfriend leaves, drink. Father is a dick and wants nothing to do with you, drink. Family disowns you, drink.

This has gone on long enough. I reached a point where I couldn’t put myself or my wife and kids through it.

I’ve always pushed things away. Buried them deep.

Maybe that’s why I write horror?

Better than anyone else!

This is the most recent, though it is the hardest to deal with. I gained some perspective on this one recently. I understood where the idea came from.

I watched a family member disown and abandon others. Caring only about themselves. They were the most important. What they wanted mattered. No one else’s feelings were important.

I’ve had to confront this one head on.

For a long time I wasn’t the husband and father I should’ve been.

I was exactly like the person I mentioned.

Today I understand that yes, I am important, but I am not as important as others. I am not that perfect snowflake. I can’t have everything be about me without consequences.

I almost paid the bill on that one with my marriage.

All of us reach a point, okay most of us reach a point where we have to deal with our lives.

We have to learn to understand our childhood. We have to learn that our addictions are harmful and that they will cause further harm to those who matter most to us.

When I set about getting sober, I only thought about not drinking. Then all these things came out that I’d been suppressing. I wanted to drink. They go away then, right?

Nah, they don’t. They’re still out there waiting for us to fuck up.

But I didn’t. I’m staying sober.

The suppression of my feelings about my childhood and about my family is something I’m dealing with daily. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But this blog, and writing this stuff down helps.

It doesn’t matter how many people see it, only that I know I’ve written it down.

Have a good week.

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.

 

Figuring Out The Writing Things

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This story making business is difficult to navigate and sometimes it feels like the shore itself is never close.

The world you’re trying to create may never come to fruition on the page or in a bookstore, online, or anywhere else books find their places.

The shores of stories are built within the framework of everything else.

There must be a way to create them(writing), there must be a way to get them right(editing), and there must be a way for the world to see them(agent, publisher, online, or whatever the means may be).

The difficult part for some of us it getting it on the page. This is either because we don’t understand what that entails or we think it’s easy. Both of these are easily fixed.

The first part is the easier of the two. We reach moments where it’s hard to get words on the page. We reach them and call it writer’s block. We’re not blocked. Our minds didn’t just shut down. There is a reason we can’t write another word and the answer is within the story itself. What happened in the story to cause us to blank? Find that and fix the problem and the “block”.

Now comes the part we loath. Those who haven’t written a book think it’s easy. Those who haven’t written a short story think the same thing.

If you haven’t written a book or short story through all of the editing, it’s damn hard.

I hate editing for a reason. I would rather be writing a new story, but I have to edit. It’s an imperative to edit.

This year my goal is go through the promising stories I wrote in the last couple of years. There are quite a few of them. When I’d finish a book, I’d write a group of short stories that weren’t in the genre of the previous story, or if they were it was different section of that genre.

Horror has many sub-genres. If I wrote haunted house book, I’d do something with cults, witches, demons, possession. Also vice-versa.

I had to give my mind a break.

I wrote at least fifty short stories. I’ll be going through all of them and submitting them. Most of them are horror, though a couple are not.

But I will go through all of them in order to fix them.

I can’t not write, but I have to look at editing as writing and that has always been my problem.

I’ve talked enough about my editing issues on here to fill a few chapbooks. I’ll get it done this year.

Oh, and that story I talked about the 25,000 missing words, I finished that story. So, I’ll be writing some short stories for a while too.

Have a good week and get some things done.

The effort to move past fear…

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The title may be wrong in wording for some, but today, for me, it’s correct.

I’ve been having difficulty parsing my brain with writing, editing, depression, and sobriety.

A couple of those go hand-in-hand(Sobriety and Depression).

But the writing, I don’t know how to deal with it.

I’ve always felt that I must write something new every day. Something on a new project must be written daily.

That’s been my go to for as long as I’ve been writing and maybe that’s part of the problem.

I wonder if the idea that something new has to be written daily destroys my confidence, absconds with my positivity and may actually be pushing my farther into a depression.

The feeling that if I’m not writing something new I’m doing this wrong has permeated my brain since I wrote my first book over ten years ago.

But it hasn’t changed. I continue to feel like something new has to come out of my brain or I’m failing at this writing thing, which is what some people have described it as.

My wife has told me that I need to work for myself. Not for what she expects of me and certainly not what other family members expect.

That last part is another issue which I’ve been dealing with, but won’t get into.

The writing usually makes me feel good. It gives me that needed energy boost, which is why I fall into a depression when I’m not actively writing.

I have over 50 short stories to edit, two novels, but it never feels right when I’m editing. It always feel different.

Let me explain:

Writing isn’t something that I do just for shits and giggles. I’m working to improve daily, but reading fiction, reading books on writing, and my attempting to edit.

But it never feels like other things.

When I quit drinking last fall I buried myself in working out. It was an outlet that I’d always used to cope. It’s always there in the periphery. But I’ve never thrown myself into my writing the way I do with exercise and I don’t understand why.

I can throw myself into a video game, exercise, alcohol, but when it comes to writing, I’ve not been able to accomplish such a thing and its maddening.

I don’t understand why my brain won’t do that.

Maybe it’s fear, possibly its the fear that if I write something really good I won’t be able to deal with the pressure that would come with it. This is a fear I have.

I’m also aware that I have my wife and kids and they’ve been my rock when the landscape is barren.

That my wife and kids are her with me and they back me regardless helps me get through the rough patches, though the patches have been continents lately.

Now I will undertake what I felt was impossible. I will put the effort of other efforts into writing because I can’t live in fear of this anymore.

Some things have to be conquered by straight of grit and determination. The fear that I have for writing and failing is causing me to descend into a depression that could sink me.

I will put forth and effort in my writing which I’m afraid to. I will commit to writing, editing, and improving in whatever way is possible and I will do it to the utmost of my ability as a writer and human.

Back into it

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Last week was Sundance and I worked my ass off.

Late shifts and tired mornings caused my writing to falter. I was too tired to work.

My last event was Saturday night and I returned home at 4:30 in the morning. I spent most of that day in bed, as well as a lot of yesterday as well.

One thing I learned from last week is that I need to get in better shape. Doing floor after floor of stairs in one particular venue was rough. My knees paid the price for that event.

There were other things I learned, but most of all I understand I must write, but I also must take care of myself. That goes for mentally and physically.

I haven’t worked out in the last few months because of depression and that’s why I started drinking again. Alcohol is the best thing for me when I want to abandon the world and say fuck it.

It is a long road back from that depression and I apparently worried a few people over it.

Today I’m taking a break for myself, going to the movies and pondering the next phase. But I’m thinking more clearly and more introspective of my work and thought processes.

I’m thinking a lot the last few days about how hard I work and whether its hard enough to achieve my goals.

Whether I publish or not this year is in my hands, and though I have a queries out with agents and short stories out with magazines, I’ll continue working. There is not stop except the peak of one mountain. After that peak, there’s always another mountain to climb.

I will continue to take a break when needed, but today I’m going to think about where life is going and what I’m doing.

Have a good day and I’ll post something tomorrow.

Much love.

Trying to get through…

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I’ve become stuck on my recent project. I don’t know where it broke. What happened or how to fix it.

The one thing that I did different from the previous project is I didn’t think this on through.

I didn’t plan. I didn’t plot. I didn’t create a pathway to get where I need to be; where the story needs to be.

I’ve been writing a dozen short stories over the holiday break, and maybe that’s why I thought I could wing it with a longer form story.

It hasn’t worked and I can’t go back to writing multiple drafts again.

I have the story I finished before Thanksgiving and I’ll work on improving that one.

It’s strange how you write one way for so long, then you start a new way and it’s like finding the holy grail.

I’ve written 10 novels and eight of those were written by pantsing. The other two I either wrote a beat sheet or did an outline and it’s those latter ones that I feel are my best work.

They have a better flow through, a better story, character development, but after using and outline and beat sheet, I’ve gone back to a few of those and discovered what went wrong and fixed it.

I’m querying one of them right now. It’s out with three agents.

This year I want to push what scares me and that leads into a conversation I had with my wife the other day about the current slate of horror. But I’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Enjoy the first full week of the new year.

One thing after another…

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So, I intended to take a break from social media, the blog, and a few other things and work on the current project.

After much debate with myself over the project, snags(laptop battery issues, what feels like constant OS updates, numerous random glitches)I’m putting the story away for now.

It feels like something doesn’t want me to write this story.

I’ve written two version, almost three, and though I love the story and there’s some scary shit in it, I feel it’s time after too many starts and stops that it needs to be put away.

I hate having to do this with a story that I really enjoy writing, but sometimes there are signs a story won’t go further, I’ve seen numerous signs.

But I’m not just quitting. NaNoWriMo starts on Friday, so I’ll be brainstorming for the next day or so over writing something. If nothing comes, that’s fine too. But I need to get something done. I haven’t finished a long form story since May.

I’ve done a few shorts, and maybe I’ll tinker with them. I also have a contest that I need to write a story for. That one needs to be done by the end of January.

It sucks when a story doesn’t come together the way you want. Especially after putting months of outlines, weeks of writing, and frustration into it.

I’m not sure where I’ll be going, but I will keep working.

I hate not working. It’s one of the reasons we left Las Vegas and I feel that if I’m not writing I’m failing my family in some way.

My wife has told me that’s not true, but it feels that way.

Either way, the very cool project I’d been working on for the last few months is being shelved.

I learned a lot from writing parts of it and there is some great writing in it but sometimes that’s not enough and I’ll step away from it to work on something else.

Happy writing and have a Happy Halloween!