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.
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.
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.
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.