It’s​ the little things that keep me going.

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.

Busy and almost missed today.

Today is the first time I’ve nearly missed writing a post in a few months.

I’m not going make some bullshit excuse.

Our power did go out last night but it was on in time for me to write a post today or yesterday.

The fact is I’ve been writing a lot.

I finished two short stories in the past couple of days. I received a rejection from an agent for the novel I submitted; this is the fourth rejection for this particular novel.

I have other stories. I’ll write more. I’ll continue writing and after I get a acceptance letter I’ll go quiet for a while and work on other things.

I took a lot of time off from Delusions of Ink, I don’t intend to do it again.

Happy writing.

Brian

Going with your instincts…

Yesterday my wife and I were talking about a story I’d written.

She thought it needed something else.

I told her, my gut instinct had been to take the story darker but was unnerved to do it.

This led me to think about other stories where I’d taken the safe route.

I thought about everything I’d written.

There were parts of numerous stories and some novels where I’d played it safe.

I chose not to do something in the story I wanted to do because there’s always a fear of doing something horrific.

Those moments came more often than I thought.

I don’t usually think about this but my wife insisted I go back and rewrite it darker.

As a writer, especially one who writes horror and fantasy, there’s a fear of judgment.

I worry that what I write may lead people to believe there is something wrong with me.

This has plagued me since I began writing in my teens.

As a teenager, it felt different because I worried how my parents would interpret what I wrote. I thought they’d want to sit me down with a therapist, hint, they did.

When I began to write again in my twenties, I felt what I wrote would worry my wife. I edited myself because of it.

After our discussion this week, I discovered I’m still afraid of what people think.

This makes it hard for me to move forward with improving as well as writing the stuff in my head.

There’s a quote, I’m not sure who it belongs to but I think its Stephen King, “Good writing is often about letting go of fear.”

I need to let go of the fear of judgment, move forward and write something that scares me for other people to see.

If I don’t, why am I writing at all?

Finding our hearts.

When we started our life, we didn’t understand what it was.

As we move through it, we begin to understand it better.

This discovery could leads us to uncovering who we are, what we want, who we love, why we struggle more than some, but lesss than others.

Along the road to discovery, we learn about ourselves. Not like the items I listed above, but truly learn.

We discover our hearts.

What moves us, what makes us cry, what changes us.

This heart attaches itself to our family members, children, partners, and sometimes art.

I found my heart in writing when I was in my teens.

Life intervened, I wasn’t able to write for a multitude of reasons.

Then, three years ago.

Life gave me a gift.

I’m able to write all I want. Play with my kids. Spend time with my wife and still have time to read.

I found my heart when I was allowed to write full time.

I’ve never been published. But when I sit at the keys, I feel like creating worlds is payment enough.

I enjoy writing more than anything I’ve done. It is my calm when the storm comes.

Have you found your heart.

Be Brave and Enjoy the Sunlight.

I wonder often about the life I’ve lead.

It comes to me at night. I’ll ponder the things I’ve done. People I’ve wronged and consider whether the life I have has been worth the things I’ve been through.

Those moments are surrounded by others.

These others are filled with the laughter of my kids, my wife’s kiss, and my morning writing.

For the first time in a while, I feel like my life is going in the correct direction.

Yes, I write fervently. I get my word count on a new WiP every day.  I work on revisions and edits every day on another story or novel.

But all the tired nights, exhausted mornings and cups of coffee are worth it for what I’m attempting.

Each person reaches a point where they want to stop. I have a couple of times.

When this point is reached, we have to look around and think about how far we’ve come. And all we’ve done to reach this current state.

That moment may come while we’re in the shower or it may come in a flash of fireworks erupting over our heads as we look at our wife and kids.

Today, I’m in a good place. I know they aren’t all good so I’m going to recognize this one. Have a good rest of your day.

Things happen for reasons we don’t understand.

In July of 2015, after we’d moved, I found it difficult to locate employment.

We didn’t plan for this.

After bartending in Las Vegas for 17 years, we thought it would be easy.

It took me until the end of August to find the job I currently have.

I love bartending weddings and events. You see people as they begin their lives together, learn about their family, and often meet some great people.

The other events are mostly corporate parties. They are fun, but the weddings are my favorites.

Going back to the start of this post, we were perhaps naive.

We thought, “Who wouldn’t want to have a Las Vegas bartender?”

Apparently every bar and restaurant I applied for from Salt Lake to North Ogden.

In the beginning, when no one called or those who were interested changed their minds for unknown reasons, I became depressed.

We lived with my mother-in-law in those early months after our move and I felt like a failure.

We never discovered the reason the interested places changed their minds. I gave up caring about it a few months ago.

In hindsight, I thought, ‘I’d failed my family.”

Today, I believe if I had procured one of those jobs, I wouldn’t be able to write full-time. I’d probably be miserable in any of those jobs. A year ago I sent my resumé out again, but I’ll never do it again.

Sure, my wife and I struggle, but I write full-time, and we can pay our bills. We were able to take our kids to Universal Studios this past June.

It was something, with our limited funds I had to plan a year out, but we all had fun.

I have a novel out to agents currently, will send it to more by the end of the week, and I’m starting revisions on another. I plan on submitting that one either in September or if more rewrites are needed January 2019.

I started writing a new novel at the end of June.

I write every day. Sometimes the words come easy, sometimes I struggle, but I get 1,000 words or more a day.

I’ve written seven novels. If we’d have stayed in Las Vegas that number would be stuck at two. If I’d had found a different job, I would have maybe three or four, but not the eight.

Keep working, keep grinding and remember things happen for a reason.

How I took over control of my life.

This year has been about regaining control over my life.

First, it started by fixing my writing.

I listened to myself when I was writing more often, thought through sentences more carefully, and paid attention when a story went off the rails.

Today my wife will be finishing her first read-through of a novel. I’ll start revising it next week.

I started a new novel yesterday.  I’m currently outlining it and creating a beat sheet.

It’s something different from my other stories, in structure and content.

Second, I’ve been exercising more.

The end of last year was a tough one. My brother passed away from an aneurysm.

Technically we weren’t blood, but he’ll always be my brother.

When he passed, I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I should.

I’ve worked to correct that.

I work out four to five days a week, restrict my caffeine intake and make sure I’m eating decently.

Third, I spend more time with my wife and kids.

Three years ago I lived in Las Vegas. I worked a job I hated and was stressed all the time.

The hours I worked made it nearly impossible to get any time with my wife and kids.

I’d spend a few days here and there with them but it wasn’t quality time. It was usually in a movie theater.

After we left Las Vegas our goal was for me to write more, spend more time with each other and give our kids a better environment.

We’ve managed to do all of those things.

I’ve written four novels since we moved, over a hundred short stories and with each I see improvement.

Our kids are doing better in school. My son almost made the honor roll, which was unheard of in Las Vegas.

We hike, spend time outside and sometimes we go to the movies. The movies used to be our family time. Now its secondary to doing other things.

I have no doubt I’ll be published soon. I know I’m in better physical and mental condition than I was three years ago.

My relationship with my kids and my wife is stronger than its ever been.

If we wouldn’t have left Las Vegas all of us would be miserable.

I fight my way through depression daily, my wife does too.

There are moments when life seems hard. At those moments I look around and compare the life I had three years ago to my current situation.

Things are better.

I took control of a lot of things this year. I’m also working harder at my prose than I thought possible. I never would have had the time to focus during our Las Vegas life.

Today, I have the time, the strength and the ability to push towards my goals.

It all started by taking control.