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.
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.
I follow a lot of various motivators on social media, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Tom Bilyeu, and others. I follow these people for various reasons. I love Gary’s honesty, Lewis Howes the same. I follow Tom because I love his podcast.
There is something that’s been nagging me about following these motivators. I shouldn’t need them. I should be able to write without having someone tell me to keep going.
But that’s the problem, I don’t. It doesn’t compute that I can’t do this myself. I need that kick in the ass every once in a while.
Today was a good example. Gary posted on Instagram about doing one thing that makes you uncomfortable.
My thing is editing. I feel like the time I spend editing is the time I could be writing. I also feel that I’m doing it wrong. That there is some magical formula to editing. After writing seven novels, I feel like it should get easier to edit, it doesn’t.
The fact that I’ve written seven novels and I’ve only submitted one of them to agents is appalling to me. It didn’t use to be. I thought I’d get better at writing through writing, I was wrong. I get better through editing.
It’s taken me thirteen years to realize this. It shouldn’t have taken this long.
When I finished my first novel, a vampire book that I love, I thought I’ll just keep rewriting. There are 8 drafts of that novel on my hard drive. None of them will ever come out. At the time there was no one, other than my wife to bounce ideas off of. Now that I have a writing group, I feel like I can do this.
Editing is the hardest part of writing. The taking away of pieces I loved in the draft, moving them around and creating a coherent, cohesive story is more important than writing something new.
I hate that it has taken this long to understand this.
Here’s what I’ll be doing to finish, truly finish the last three novels I’ve written: By the end of March 2019 I’ll be editing each novel through my writing group. I’ll post the progress on Delusions of Ink for each project.
What are you doing that makes you uncomfortable? Tell me in the comments. Let us keep each other going.
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, 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.
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.