Enveloped by Darkness

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There is something to be said about discovering ones purpose.

It brings out thoughts of childhood, of adolescence, and early adulthood.

Memories flood in of things we thought, feelings we had for others, or ourselves. But it’s within these memories the truth comes out.

We’ve pushed those memories deep to keep them from ourselves because honestly, they’re too hard to deal with. But with hiding things from others, ourselves, and keeping them that way until a sudden realization comes about, we never truly understand who we are.

This darkness that’s enveloped me since childhood was a thing I pushed down. Something I didn’t want to see the light for a few reasons.

I grew up in a very religious community.

Living in Utah is like watching a movie about a religion and never being allowed to turn it off. Being a person who is not a member of that community is a careful dance. One can’t commit to too many things. You can’t afford to show your true colors, and you must never show any glimmer of darkness.

My darkness has been around since childhood.

It manifested every time I wanted read or watch something I wasn’t allowed to, but would sneak to watch or read. It was the times I’d stay up when I was left alone and watch Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, and whatever other show was on cable or other channels late at night.

In Tim S. Grover’s book “Relentless” he discusses the dark side and how everyone has a dark side.

I’ve listened to that book on audio at least ten times, and believed that a person’s dark side had to be a vice.

I recently had a discussion with my wife on this topic. She believed it had to be a vice as well.

But what if it’s not?

He says in the book that “what is the one thing that if people were to know it they’d look at you differently?”

Now, I believed it to be alcohol, like a vice, but I don’t feel that’s true anymore.

The one thing that I’ve kept to myself is that I like all these dark things. I like to watch a horror movie and be scared. I enjoy reading a book that scares me enough, or freaks me out enough, to toss it across the room after finishing it. I did that exact thing when I finished “The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum.

There is a story in my collection where I let my mind run and what I wrote freaked me out. It was very exciting to me that I wrote something that made me afraid to share it. And that is exactly why “The Leftovers” is in my collection.

That story felt freeing.

There were things in that story that I didn’t want to write, but I felt in order to be honest about the story I had to.

Now, as I’ve apparently accepted my dark side and that I’m no longer afraid to go dark, what I write may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t want to write for anyone else. I want to write what felt forbidden. Pull things from the dark recesses and put them on the page.

If you’ve read “The Leftovers” you understand what I’m talking about. If not the collection is only .99 on Kindle.

As I go back to the regularly scheduled program, I leave you with this. What is the one thing that if someone were to know it they’d look at you differently?

Use that to push yourself. I got looked at differently all my life for all the dark things I love. But it’s made me into the functioning adult I am.

Have a good weekend.

Focus is the issue

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As I sat down to write this morning I’d stop, check Twitter, and maybe go back to the story.

I’ve been doing this for the last week with every story I started.

Yes, what I said on Friday is true. When I’m not enjoying my reading material, I have trouble writing. And I must be reading within the genre I’m writing. I cannot cross the streams.

There it is in all of it’s horrible glory. I have a focus issue. I have Freedom for Mac and I’ve been neglecting using it for a number of reasons, let’s list them:

  1. I don’t want to use it because it feels like a crutch.

2. Using it feels like there’s something wrong with me.

3. I tell myself I don’t need to use it, but when I have this much trouble focusing, something has to change.

4. get interrupted by my kids a lot in the morning for various things. Then I have to stop it or let it run.

Now that they will be returning to in class instruction it will make the mornings easier, but I’ve also written with no problems while they’ve been home for the last year and a half.

It’s right now that things are a bit hectic with them going back, my wife crazy busy, and the bartending is slowing down heading into September.

There’s also one thing that has been on my mind: We’re getting a dog in the near future and planning for that in our house has been interesting. I have to fix cords, put things away and I worry about my book storage. It will be like a having a toddler in the house again.

So, focus is the issue, and the fraud police, as I stated in Friday’s post.

I only have a short story collection published, but I have a novella on submission and a short story. But as I’ve written 11 books, submitted three of them to agents, I find it hard to wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

Are my stories bad? Is there something I’m doing wrong or is my head just screwing with me?

I like to think it’s the latter, but with as many novels, novellas, and short stories I’ve submitted and received rejections, it’s a thing my brain throws at me.

I’ll keep writing because I can’t not write. Right now it’s difficult, but I will persevere, I will continue to write.

I hope you all have a good week.

I have two bartending gigs this week and while I’m masked during them, it’s starting to feel like Survivor: Pandemic Edition. Masks are rarely worn by guests and with the percentage of vaccinated in Utah, I doubt all of them are vaccinated.

But I’ll keep working because my family needs me to.

Tired, worn, but still writing.

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I’ve been editing and writing my ass off the last couple of weeks.

This morning I got 1500 words on a novel and immediately afterward edited a short story for an anthology due on the 31st.

I have a short story out for a submission which I hope will get a yes.

This weekend I’ll be working my first event since October 24th.

I’m glad to be able work and that have to of doing it during Covid scares me but while my wife’s salary pays the bills, bartending keeps me sane. And my sanity has been frayed as of late.

Writing a novel, submitting short stories for anthologies and helping me wife have been my mainstays since my last event. While I’m looking forward to do an event I’ll be masked and gloves for it.

This year has been unlike any other but I’ve been very productive. I’ve written and submitted more than I planned on and while my short story collection is at the bottom of Amazon’s rankings, I did publish as I promised myself I would.

You have to keep yourself accountable and I’ve done a lot of that this year.

Keep writing my friends.

Tired,Trusting Yourself, And Learning

The exhaustion of writing this fast has hit.

To give you an idea, I’ve written 96k in 40 writing days.

The first few days were hectic.

I doubted myself and wondered if I should keep going. I stopped writing for a few days to get my head right. I hit points where I had to take a day to work through things.

Luckily those days weren’t many and out of the 40 days, its been 46  calendar days since I started.

As I said in the last post, I’ve written this one with an outline and a beat sheet. I’ve followed each beat and knew where I needed to be in the story by that beat.

It’s changed I look at writing, how I construct everything about the story. I used to be a pantser and had almost no luck with an outline.

I felt stilted.

Then I realized that I could write to the beat. I could do whatever I wanted with the people in the story as long as I hit the points I needed to and reached the beats within a couple of thousand words, which I’ve done.

When I wrote on Tuesday morning I realized I’d written more in this first draft than I’d written in any of the previous 10 books I’ve written.

It is the longest book I’ve written and I’ve followed the outline and beat sheet perfectly.

It will change how I construct stories in the future as well as how I work on any project going forward.

This project has been more fun than anything I’ve written and felt like it was writing itself for most of the draft.

I know for any project that comes after it, I’ll have to sit down and plan out the beat sheet. The outline will take a minimum of three weeks, and more than likely more.

After this draft is done, it will sit for six weeks while I work on short stories and plan out what to work on next.

There is one major thing I’ve learned from this process.

No one knows you better than yourself. People can tell you what you should write, or what they believe you should write. Maybe even that they think they know you. But the truth is no one but you knows you.

Always trust yourself in your writing and write what you would enjoy, not anyone else.

 

 

 

Long past doing the expected.

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I haven’t written on the blog in awhile because I’ve been getting words in the morning and I honestly haven’t felt like it.

Right now is different.

I’ve written novels in almost every genre and I’ve learned what I like, what works, and what doesn’t(for me).

We’re all different which is what I added that little bit on the end there.

I work best with an outline.

I’ve written almost 11 books and the current work with the outline has been the easiest.

Those who know me, or at least think they do, believe that I should be writing horror. I understand their reasons and they make sense until you discuss life with me.

I haven’t had that difficult of time but there have been moments in my life that sucked. We’ve all had that.

On to the unexpected.

I decided to write the current project based upon what I read growing up. Sure I read fantasy and sci-fi. But those were books I had to hide.

The books I read in public were different.

Life a meal and dessert.

The meal was always what I read in public. The dessert was what I read in private.

Now that I’ve nearly completed the first draft of the project, I see where I’ve made mistakes in other books.

I often try to hurry to the end and that’s caused many rewrites.

I’m trying not to do that with this project and as I reach the end I feel there are only a couple of people who will read it but I’m okay with that.

I feel I truly wrote this for myself.