Starting over…

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After struggling with my mental state and my writing over the last few weeks, the thought of a reset, starting over, whatever you wish to call it, has been on my mind.

.A reset in the way I’m dealing with depression issues, my writing, my bartending, and whatever may come up.

In regards to depression, I’m making a list of what’s been setting it off. Why I’ve been struggling, and I’m fairly certain this has to do with the elimination of people who are better left out of my life, for one reason or another.

With writing, I’m going back to stories I’ve read that pushed me to get better. I’m starting up with Dark Descent again. There are amazing stories in that anthology, and I need to work on my short story issues. ,

I know there are writing problems with my short stories, and I’m working on them, but seeing how the greats do it helps me.

Bartending: I honestly don’t know how to approach this without sounding preachy. I worked last summer during the height of the pandemic, with some people wearing masks, but it feels like we’re back to that. I don’t like doing events. I’d rather be home with my wife and kids working on my writing. But the deal with my wife is I have to bartend until my writing eclipses my yearly salary, which is only 10k.

This reset and starting over hopefully will lead to better management of all that I listed above.

Have a good weekend and get some work done, or not. Maybe take the weekend to have fun.

Going it alone

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I’ve reached a point with my writing where I have to do some of this alone. I don’t have anyone to read my drafts other than myself.

My wife, who is usually my first reader no longer has time to read anything of mine. It sucks, but she pays the majority of our bills and its not worth forcing the issue.

I gave her a novella in July and she never got to it. So, I have to move forward doing this myself.

I’ve mentioned we can’t afford an expensive editor. This is me going it alone on all of my projects going forward.

I’ve looked at an editor for my military/political thriller, but it’s also 86k and the editors I looked at on Reedsy wanted over a thousand dollars for that. We can’t afford that.

This problem led me to reevaluate my writing goals numerous times, and even contemplate quitting altogether. When we don’t feel like we’re getting the support we need, the world feels like its on fire and we can’t locate a fire extinguisher. At least that’s how it feels to me.

Today I finished the edits on a novella, which means I ran it through Grammarly and the Hemingway app. I know that’s not ideal, but it’s all I have.

Going it alone is depressing. Now that my time away from doing events nears its end, I have to go back to dealing with people not wearing masks in a state with 1500 new cases as of today, 25% of those in kids, with the majority of them in the 0-3 years old range.

I don’t know another way, but going it alone is better than quitting. I may submit the novella as is. I don’t really want to, but I’m leaving that open as an option.

My hope in this working alone is that it represents a changing in how I approach my writing and how I approach everything else, which falls in line with my post from Monday.

I’m still eliminating the toxicity, and I feel better, but there are moments, like today, where I wonder if I would be better off quitting trying to publish my writing. I can’t stop writing, but working to get published became something more daunting recently.

I’ll keep going, but damn I wish I had some assistance.

About Progress…

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There’s a moment when you finish a project that feels extraordinary. It comes at you, wraps you in a hug, and gives you endorphin high. But that high isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

The moment is magical, but it’s also one that you shouldn’t focus on. There is still other work to be done.

When I started writing I lived for that high. I’ve written 11 novels, ten novellas, and hundreds of short stories.

I did this by focusing only on that high. Only on finishing. What I failed to learn, until recently, was that I wasn’t finished. The editing would come after the finished first draft. But for the longest time I didn’t edit, which is why I have so many novels written, but none published.

I chased the high of finishing that first draft, but I didn’t have follow through. I stopped at the gates of what I wanted and moved further away from my goals, all by ignoring what needed to be done.

In the last year and half, I learned that editing matters. Yes, I know you’re all staring at this like, “no shit!” Well, I didn’t care then. I wanted that high of getting to the next “finished” novel.

When I sat down last year, during the lock-down and stared at all that I’d accomplished, it wasn’t shit. Yes I have my short story collection, but I published that afterwards. It came as a result of this talk I had with myself. It counts, but only as me telling myself that I had to publish something before my 45th birthday.

The collection needed work and I’ve gone through a couple of more rounds of edits with it. While it’s out there, no one is reading it. I understand the reasons for this.

I haven’t pushed it as much as I should. I didn’t market it, and because of that, I’ve sold about ten copies. But I understand what I did wrong with that collection. I know what to fix when I publish something else.

All of the above came as I progressed as a writer.

I know that a book isn’t finished when the first draft is written. I understand that working on a book means editing.

There are moments when I don’t want to edit. There are many moments when the time I’m spending feels worthless.

Oftentimes submitting feels worthless, but I do it because it’s part of progress. It’s part of writing, and I have to keep writing.

We progress a little at a time. Sometimes we progress dramatically, but we must progress. We must move forward.

Followed Into Darkness

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Now that I’ve redone this blog as geared mainly towards horror, there are a few things that will be different. Focus for one. Yes, I use that word a lot, but with regards to the blog’s direction, it’s a necessity.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know that I like horror. This is something that’s been with me for as long as I can remember, and while the blog does go off the rails onto depression topics at times, I’ll be trying to keep the focus mainly on horror.

With this change the topics will go from what I’m writing to what I may be reading, or what I may have recently watched.

While I don’t intend to have this be a review blog, there may be a few of those thrown in if a particular book, movie, or sometimes…a video game, forces me to.

On the topic of what I’ve watched, my wife hasn’t seen many slasher movies, and we’re going through the first three, maybe four of the Friday the 13th movies over the next few weeks.

This has more to do with her wanting to know more than anything.

I grew up with horror movies, and in her family, it’s not something they watched, while I would stay up nights and watch Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, or whatever horror film is playing on cable.

Her wanting to watch these movies plays into what she’s reading: The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones. I read that book a while ago and loved it.

She does have her limits, however. She does not want to watch Hellraiser or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the former of which is one of my favorites, but having watched it numerous times, I understand.

Anyway, that’s all I have for today.

See you Friday…

Something about vampires.

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The topic of vampires has been in my head for the last few weeks. I think it’s because my wife and I watched “Blood Red Sky” on Netflix. It was good, a very different take, but there were things about it I really enjoyed.

I won’t give a spoiler type review here, but all of it was good. Of course there are things I didn’t care for, but that’s with most movies.

Vampires have been one of the things I’ve avoided writing because of the deluge of vampire stories in the early and mid ’00s. But I need to get this off my chest.

I’ve been a vampire freak since I was a kid. I saw Dracula with Bela Lugosi at my aunt’s, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which is still awesome, but with the number of vampire stories I referenced in above, there have been few stories that received traction. There are some, but for the most part you have to go looking for them.

Now here’s where I go geek. I researched vampires numerous times. I know all of the lore, and while I find some boring as hell–Twilight–there are others that I found incredible–30 Days of Night.

But with being out of the vampire decade, which is what the ’00s felt like to me. I feel it’s time for them to come back.

Brian Keene has one out, and it’s next on my TBR. There is also Savage by Daniel Soule, and Villimey Mist’s Nocturnal series. Those last two hit my radar recently and I’m looking forward to diving in.

I am looking forward to the return of dark, scary vampires, but until then, check out the authors and their work that I listed above.

I’ll be back on Wednesday,