Time to buckle down…

Every now and then I see a blog post or tweet from an author where they announce they’ll be mostly absent to finish a certain project.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve considered this as a last resort for myself.

I had issues within my own head to deal with, struggles with writing, and other things.

But I keep coming back to this.

I have this novel to finish by the end of the year, and though I have my bartending job that pays some bills, it’s not where my heart lies.

I also don’t have the exposure, social media following or whatever as these other authors and we’re told to build our brand before publishing, submitting, or the like.

So, I’m going to take a break from the blog and social media to finish this project, get others ready for either publishing or submitting and do what needs to be done.

It may last until the end of the year or not, but I will check in with short posts about how the writing is going, or isn’t, as well as what is going on with the other projects.

I’m not quitting the blog, only refocusing on where it’s more important.

Have a happy next few months.

Finishing a book is like…

I’ve always loved the quote for today’s post. I feel Capote captures exactly what finishing a book feels like.

With deference to Mr. Capote, I finished a novel on Monday.

It is the eighth novel I’ve written and after every one I don’t know what to write.

I go through a period of reading a lot with few words on the page. It happens every time.

I try to write short stories but get stuck or they blow up into something bigger.

When this happened with the last book I worked on what I felt my weaknesses are. I’m unsure of what they are right now and that’s making this transition difficult.

I have editing to do, other things to do but when I’m not writing I feel like I’m failing my family and the trust they’ve put in me.

This trust is because part of the reason we left Las Vegas was to give me time to write, which I’ve done.

In the four years since we moved I’ve written six books.

That’s two books a year.

I’ll start querying one book next week and I’m going through another with my writing group. I’ll be querying that one the end of the year.

There are alternative plans for this books as I wrote a month ago.

Either way, I will work through what I’m dealing with and write.

Happy writing!

Don’t let anyone distract you!

There’s a point when you’re an unpublished writer and all of your writer friends aren’t on the same level you feel you’re on.

This isn’t about bragging, narcissism, or vanity.

It’s about focus!

Projects may come along which can divert your attention, take away your focus, shifting it somewhere you don’t want it to go.

These projects are distractions from your goal, they’re mental masturbation.

You might get some joy out of them but they will always take your focus away from your goals.

They’re you telling yourself, it’s okay to do this thing these other people are doing because it “might” make you better. But you have goals to focus on, you have self-imposed deadlines to meet.

When everyone around doesn’t have true, set on paper goals for their writing it doesn’t matter what they’re doing. It’s a distraction. And distractions take you away from your goals.

Don’t let anyone tell you your goals aren’t real, that they aren’t attainable. And never let anyone distract you from those goals.

I’m tired of being unpublished.

I’ve reached a point where I’m tired of being unpublished.

I’ve written eight books and haven’t published a single one.

There are many reasons for this. But they boil down to not editing and not giving as much time to editing as I do to the first draft.

This caused me, at times, to hate writing.

After trying to edit one book, I got tired of it and wrote a couple more short stories as well as a novella.

So with every screw up a plan is born.

This plan will allow me to write something new as well as edit. I tried editing at night. It took away from time with my wife.

I love time with my wife. Sure, most nights were sitting across the room from each other reading. In Las Vegas I was lucky to get that.

I have two novels I’ll be editing for the year. I want to make sure they’re as perfect as possible.

Last summer 13 agents said no to one of my books. After having my writing group go over it, they noticed glaring issues only a different set of eyes can give a story.

I’ll be giving my writing group one of these. The other I’ll post in various places.

I will publish this year.

Happy writing!

When I Think About The Writer I Could Be…

Moon in the sky

Standing in the middle of the room, to my left are people milling about waiting for “him” to come on. On my right are people reading books, one particular book, my book.

I sit down, my hat pulled low across my head, hiding my eyes behind sunglasses, because they give me away every time.

My phone buzzes for an incoming text message.

Agent: Where are you?

Me: Milling about with my fans, why, where are you?

Agent: I’m trying to keep the people backstage under control. They think you’re not going to show. They’re going crazy. They got the food you asked for and the tea. They want you to come backstage.

Me: Alright, I’m on my way.

I exit through the front door–my fans never noticing I’d been sitting next to them–make my way to the rear entrance.

A large man who looks as if he worked for the mafia guards the door.

Mafia guy: They’re waiting for you.

He says in a very strong Scottish accent, which I wasn’t prepared for, open my phone–wondering whether I’m in the right place–look at Google maps and think it’s broken until my agent comes out.

Agent: B, where have you been? They’re losing their minds in here.

Me: It’s fine. I’ll start in a couple of minutes and everything will be alright.

Agent: Very well, I’ll tell them you’re here and that they should start getting the stage ready for your speech.

Me: Thanks. I’m going to use the restroom first.

Agent: Whatever, just be ready to go onstage.

#

The previous story is how I imagine my first signing going, though I haven’t written a published work, I do write every day, and not just blog stuff.

When I think about the writer I am and the things I think about when I’m published it always comes down to this scenario, I’m not sure why.

I’m sure other unpublished writers think about their first foray into signing, readings and speeches, but lately that’s not been on my mind, I’ve just been writing.

When you sit down to just write your mind goes through processes of trying to figure out whether what you’re writing is any good, but that happens when you’ve taken the next day to read through what you’ve read, though I try not to this always happens.

As I write every day, a lot of my thoughts are on the characters I’m writing at the moment and not what comes next.

I write the first draft just full-blown, the second draft starts after my first read-through when I get an idea about what the story is about, who my MC is and what will happen when I clean everything up when I do an outline, which is what comes after my read-through.

I only start the second draft after I understand what’s going on, and why. After my characters are thoroughly in my head, and not leaving there. I set out to discover what my characters are truly like, but thinking like them, talking like them–which is often fun but can scare my kids–and making choices the way they would.

After all this is finished and I have a better idea of things, I start the second draft, it wasn’t always like this.

When I decided to write a novel, I’d start then stop, just to get the opening right. I’ve written two books in ten years and I’ve recently had my eyes opened to a different way of doing things.

This eye-opening wasn’t just induced by meditation, but by reading more subjects and listening to books on tape. Listening to books on tape by a great narrator can help you understand dialogue better.

When I found myself reading books just to see where the story originated or where the MC first chose their path.

These little things have changed the way I write, the way I rewrite and how I perform my day job as well.

Keeping track of the small changes in your writing makes a huge difference in how well you understand your writing and how much you understand your characters and what they want in the story.

On a side not to this post. I’ll be giving away three books the end of September. Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch, On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. These books have helped me either learn about TM or helped me with my writing and I’ll be giving them away.

I’ll do this on my last post of the month, so you have plenty of time to get your entry in. Either comment on the blog, share on Twitter with the hashtag #delusionsofink. Share on Facebook and tag the blog. Here is a link to the blog’s Facebook page, the link for my Twitter profile is here.

Thanks for enjoying the blog and good luck.

Writing Critiques and How TM has changed my view.

As a child I remember my father critiquing me for anything he believed I did wrong. If I stood with my hands on my hips, “That looks Gay”, or when I’d get bad grades, “You’re stupid.”

This type of critiquing didn’t go well with my creative side, it impeded it.

Now that I have kids and don’t say those things to them, I learned more about what is a good critique and a bad one and how TM figures in to my writing.

The one thing about TM, is that I no longer care as much about the past, or the future. I’m finally able to live in present, and with the present I’m able to handle criticism a lot better.

I recently got my edits back from an editor, though they’ll change the way I write, they’ll also let me grow as a writer, which is more important.

The edits were on a draft of a novel I wrote and they’re what I’ve wanted to hear from someone who knew what they were talking about.

I’ve attended Meet-Ups, but a lot of them are just a bunch of people gathered to drink at a bar, which may be fun for those who aren’t serious about the craft, but for me they limited what I wanted to do and they were detrimental to my craft.

I knew going in to writing that I needed work, and with the notes I received, I know what I need to fix, and I’m also now more aware of my writing issues.

I no longer live in a world where I care if I’m berated for not cleaning my room, but that prepared me for writing more than anything.

As a kid I had to have thick skin, but I also became aware that I could write to escape things, which went hand-in-hand.

TM allows me to worry less about the critiques I received in the past and let me focus on my present writing issues.

Being critiqued is part of writing, and being critiqued well are the best kind of critiques.

Before TM I was fearful of being critiqued and based what I knew on my experience with my father.

I now know that a critique should be a lesson and not a reprimand.

Writing the each and every

Books Stacked to the ceiling in New Orleans book shop.

Books Stacked to the ceiling in New Orleans book shop.

The window is cracked,  there’s a soft breeze across the desert and the blue skies stand out against a cloudless sky.

I watch my kids run through the room,  their clothes catching the breeze, my daughter’s cape flapping,  my son’s mask pressed tightly to his face.

My superheroes tear up the house as they chase each other.

Watching I’m reminded of the things I focus on too much, and the things I must focus on more.

We happen to think about our writing, at least as early writers, as horrible.

The reason we think this way is mostly because it is, at least for most of us, I mean we’re not all genius level writers, we have to learn to write well.

The thing about watching my kids play on a daily basis, they do their playing oblivious to the world around them.

This is what new writers usually don’t do.

They don’t write and ignore the world, they may get their writing time in, but they don’t lock themselves away like the more experienced writers.

The wind begins to die down, my kids are preparing for lunch, or dinner, I’m not sure as the day has moved by faster than normal, and in between the hours of my writing schedule; I see their asking for daddy to play.

I skirt away from the desk to play with them, as they beg me to get away from my writing.

I stop them, “I have a few hundred words to go. After I’m done, I promise.” I tell them.

After the hundred words, I set aside the laptop, rush downstairs as they sit on the couch, eager for a trip to the park.

Another sunset comes, we head back to the house, my wife is getting started on dinner, I pitch in, cutting the chicken, as I learned in a meat store in my late teens, and sit down as the I put music on the radio.

It’s one of my favorite days, but it’s still a writing day.

They’re finally asleep, my wife is doing the dishes, I have my laptop out again to get my notes from the day added to my laptop.

I finish and sit with my wife for an hour watching Supernatural.