A Thing About Devotion

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This topic has come up in my head quite a bit lately and I’m trying to recon with the reasons.

The thought of devotion isn’t only one of religion or spirituality, not even to one’s spouse.

I am devoted to my wife, but I haven’t been devoted to my writing.

Sure I get words on the page, but do they go anywhere? Will anyone eventually read them?

This has been what has been holding me back. I’m devoted to putting words on the page, but not putting those pages in a book.

What is the written word without a book to hold it?

This came up when I watched something the other day.

An author was being interviewed and she said, her first book she did the best she could and published it. There were spelling and grammar errors, but she didn’t care because it was out there.

This has been my blockage, this hasn’t been my devotion.

My devotion has been to write words, not to see them in print. What good is it to write stories that aren’t seen?

I am devoted to improving my writing. I can’t improve without publishing it, no matter the form it takes?

I have written 11 books. Even if they’re shit, why haven’t I published them?

I’m devoted to the act of writing, but live in fear of being published. I have submitted novels, but when those novels come back rejected, I leave them on my hard drive. I don’t do anything else with them.

My devotion has to be two fold. To the writing and to the publishing. I have to want to publish, regardless of the final product. As I’ve said, my wife and I can’t afford an editor. With Covid-19 and my bartending gigs less, we can’t put money into something like that.

What we can do is go over what I’ve written, self-publish it and see where that takes us.

So, I’m going to continue to write stories, but I will write them with a certain collection in mind.

I write horror, it’s what I’m the best at. I will continue to write those stories but now my devotion to them is changed. I will publish this year. I will collect 10-15 stories set with a theme, organize them and publish them.

I have to do that.

I’m devoted to my writing and now to getting things published, no matter what form that takes.

The Biggest Problem I have…

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When it comes to writing, I have things I enjoy and things I’m afraid of. You’d think at 44 I’d get over some of them, but they’re still there.

The biggest among these is the enjoyment of horror. Whether it’s writing it, reading it, or watching it, I worry about the judgement aspect.

I guess that happens to a lot of writers, but lately its been creeping into my mind and stopping me from enjoying things that otherwise I would have.

I’ve loved horror since I was a little kid and maybe it’s because I grew up in very conservative environment where horror wasn’t given the respect it deserves. Then there are the people in this world who turn up their nose at horror.

There are so many of those people.

I think it has to do with a lot of that. The being judged part of my brain still has a problem with it.

Take the book I just finished, it wasn’t in the horror genre, mostly because I felt like I needed to try something new.

After writing 10(now 11) books I felt that something wasn’t working. I’d submitted books to agents, short stories for collections and anthologies and heard nothing back. Maybe it’s my writing.

It possibly is. But if it is, I’m going to take the next few months and work on improving that.

I have story ideas all over the place. I can’t stop writing now, it’s the one thing that keeps me going daily, if I were to quit, I’d have to quit other things as well.

Its the feeling of being alone in this process that drives me crazy. I can’t afford to get and editor, especially not during this pandemic. All of our money is focused on continuing to survive.

I’m grateful my wife is able to continue her job and we can continue to have our house, when I know a few people who aren’t in our position.

I’d like to get a push. Some kind of win on this, not that it matters money wise, but for my sanity. it would be helpful.

I’ll keep writing horror and work through the issues I have with sharing them with others.

Sending them to a contest, collection or anthology doesn’t bother me, but having others know what I write does freak me out a bit.

I’m aware that most of my family, other than my wife, won’t read what I write, and maybe I need to get past their approval and stop caring about what they think.

That’s probably for the best.

When it’s fun…

With the passing days, word counts, and life, I find that in pushing harder to get where I want to be, I approach my goals.

I’m writing things that once terrified me.

And it’s not because I write horror.

It’s because the subject matter. The way it’s coming out is defiant of my former self.

I write to make people think.

I write because I love the terrifying parts of the stories.

I continue each day because of those little moments when I catch myself writing.

I’ll look back at the prose and think, “damn, that was good. Keep going like that.”

Those are the moments I relish.

You get to a point you watch your words and think it’s cool and I need to replicate that.

I enjoy writing most when that happens.

Writing for you, skipping out, and gathering in a storm.

After writing Monday’s post I thought more about the person I write for.

The kid whose parents don’t let them read what they want, the twenty-something writer that only wants to get their foot in the door, the writer and reader I am today.

The kid is the easiest to write for because without restrictions they can read anything.

The twenty-something is a bit more difficult because they want they’re writing to mean something, but they also want to have fun while writing.

The writer and reader I am today is the most difficult.

They’re the person in the mirror and I feel unsure about how to help that person.

Do I write something truly terrifying that maybe an agent may enjoy, or do I write something just to say I have something published?

I think this conundrum bears further exploration and may lead my writing to better places.

It’s difficult for me to write things where it’s truly terrifying because I still worry about judgment. I know I shouldn’t because in the end it’s my name on the book and not the judgmental person but I still worry.

There’s this thing running through my head where I see everyone judging me based upon what I write. It’s the main reason it took me so long to stick with horror.

I’m a dark soul, I always have been. And in that darkness I find solace, peace, and freedom.

It’s why I struggle with depression. It’s why I’ve struggled with alcohol(1 month 4 days sober today)and it’s why I need to just say fuck it and write the darkest and most disturbing story I can.

In that story I feel I’ll find the person who should be writing these stories instead of the person pretending to write.

When I write I feel the world stops. When I write it’s like a dream and I’m within the construct of the world.

Without that edging of my dreams I’d be lost and without the writing and darkness I’d never find my way out.

I keep writing and this time I’ll go the darkest I can and see what slithers out of the nether. It’s in the darkest recesses the writer I know I’m meant to be is hiding.

He’s only afraid to make and entrance.

It’s in the bleakest of moments and darkest of storms we find ourselves.

The storm is still there, it hasn’t passed. I believe it’s only waiting for my decision.

Finding darkness, embracing it, and keeping going.

I fell down a rabbit hole recently.

It wasn’t too deep but it got me to thinking about darkness and how I deal with it, hell, how any of us deal with it.

Let’s start earlier.

Since I was a little kid I’ve always liked scary things. I was a vampire almost every Halloween as a kid. When I wasn’t, I was a werewolf.

As I grew up, I watched a lot of horror movies.

I saw Halloween when I was eight, Children of the Corn at about the same age.

Then my sister introduced me to Hellraiser.

Those movies are my go to for anyone who wants to understand me.

Watch the first three and you’ll understand me a bit better. Read Barker’s book, “The Hellbound Heart” and you’ll understand me more.

That erotic, bloody, torturous movie and it’s sequels helped me to find myself.

Now that I’m 43, I think about what type of horror drives me.

It’s visceral. Dark. Dirty.

Sometimes it makes me take a step back. That’s when I know I have something good.

When what I put on the page scares me. Then I have something good.

Pushing the boundaries is what we do. Especially horror writers.

I remember an interview with Stephen King about Pet Semetery. He said that’s one of the books he thought he went too far in.

But can you imagine that book changed? It would mess it up. That book scared the hell out me.

There are so many books where I thought a writer went too far but I can’t imagine the story without those scenes.

I strive to be a good horror writer because I love the dark. I’ve always loved it. Watching a horror movie gives me more joy than almost anything except my wife and kids, though the goods ones eclipse them too.

Reading horror is new to me.

Growing up, my father restricted me to certain types of books. I’ve mentioned this before.

But I would still pick up a copy of Fangoria at the bookstore.

I could watch horror movies when I was a kid, but the books were off limits.

In the last few years I’ve tried catching up on some of the classics. There are a lot of them and I’ve had to be picky.

But a good horror book or movie will always be my favorite. I’d rather watch or read those than anything else.

It makes sense for me to write that stuff.

I love it and it will always be what keeps me going.