Finding hope, and the motivation to write…

I missed posting on Wednesday. There were issues and I had things to deal with.

Life comes at us hard when we’re not expecting it. It will punish us. Make us feel like we’re worthless and keep kicking until we can’t breath.

This punishment can be brought on by our actions, our inactions, or by not paying attention to our own thoughts.

Our own thoughts will beat us worse than 3 rounds in the octagon. It will take what we believe tear it apart and leave us asking how it happened.

Getting through that pain is the hardest thing we will do in our lives.

I’ve dealt with the loss of my brother, my father-in-law, who I felt close to, and the pain my mind inflicted on my felt worse.

Your mind will torture you, call you names, and when you think it’s done, it’s back for another helping of tossing you bullshit to doubt yourself.

That doubt will sink your dreams, your marriage, and any friendships you’ve created.

The only way through is to have a belief in your goals stronger than the bullshit in your head.

That belief will get you past the loss of anything. It will guide you in the darkest night and be the light to lead you.

This week has been one of reevaluation, digging in when I didn’t think I could go deeper, and trusting the process when I wanted to quit.

I really thought about giving up on writing this week. I hate to struggle and I feel like I’m struggling, not with writing but with life. I know it will get better but right now, staring at nearly nine unpublished books, it’s hard to be confident.

I’ll be pushing harder to get things published this summer and I’ll keep you posted but damn, I’m struggling to keep writing and it has nothing to do with the words.

I’m averaging 1500 words a day, reaching g 2700 words or more on some day.

Have to keep going.

How I stay focused through rejections.

With social media accounts and the continuous clamor for attention from all of them, not to mention politics and that headache, we are being pulled everywhere.

If you throw on trying to get published into all of that, it turns into a big damn pain in the ass.

But it’s also when your goals are either broken or you bust through and work harder.

I understand my situation is special. I have 2-3 hours of writing time every morning, bartend a few days a week and having an amazing wife supporting my writing and our family is incredible, but it wasn’t always like this. Which is why I work so hard every day on my writing.

I received 13 rejections on a book last summer, have received other for short stories. But I don’t stop and it has a lot to do with my wife and kids.

I understand what we gave up moving away so I could have writing time. My wife knew I couldn’t stay in Las Vegas any longer. It wasn’t conducive to my mental health.

My wife pays most of the bills, but I take care of the house and help out with 2-3 days a week of bartending. Sometimes it’s more. This time of year it’s more.

But I get through the rejections because I can’t let my wife and kids down, or myself.

I’ve wanted to write stories since I was a kid. I’m writing my ninth book and I’ll continue until I get published.

I do have a plan for self-publishing, which I’ve mentioned before. But I’m keeping that to myself until that book is ready.

I keep writing, ignoring rejections, and enjoying and hating it, especially when I get stuck. But I’m finding my way and I see a lot of improvement in the last couple of novels. Having a writing group helps immensely.

Anyway, have a good week. Keep writing, keep submitting, and I’ll talk to you about bartending on Wednesday.

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.

Teaching my son, that learns like me…

 

When I was in junior high, I hated school. I dealt with bullies; my grades sucked and whenever I mentioned the bullies to my father, he’d side-step, “how are your grades?”

What I recently realized through watching my son struggle with school is that I may have a learning disability.

He has issues with focus, I do too, but mine isn’t as pronounced as his.

This realization came to when we got his grades and how hard school is for him.

My wife doesn’t understand it because she learns the way teachers teach. I always hated those kids.

School for me was hard. I sat in front of the room, couldn’t have distractions and my son, he’s the the same way.

Now that I’m aware of this, I have to remember how I learned and teach him to learn.

Some teachers don’t care what your issues are; they’re in the classroom to teach those who don’t have the learning issues, this was obvious to me many times in school.

When I had a problem or didn’t’ understand something and asked for help, they acted put out by it, “Why can’t you just learn this?”

I know this is why I read so much as a kid, and still do. It’s the main reason I hide out to get my word count for whatever WiP(Work in Progress) is befuddling me.

Books were my escape from reality; video games are his. It’s his way to escape from the world and problems he’s dealing with, and I guess my wife and I didn’t understand why until now.

I think I wanted him to be more like my wife and get the grades and not struggle, but that’s not the case, and he needs that extra attention.

Do your kids learn like you or your partner?

Creating…

pablo (22)

Today, while I sat, reading Neil Gaiman’s new nonfictiony book, sitting next to my wife, who was multi-tasking, an ever-present sketchbook next to her, I watched a conversation.

Our daughter clambered between us to watch my wife’s colored pencils perform.

I don’t often see the interaction of teacher and student, of which I often think of them as.

I’m either reading a new book or writing something of my own.

The rarity of the occasion was more pronounced by the effort our daughter took to watch her mom create, color then create and fill the sketch with more colors.

I love the creativity in our house and the way in which our kids absorb creating through us.

My son crafted a lovely story a while ago. It’s one that I’ve asked him to expand upon and last night, he brought me cover sketches for it.

I told him, “Worry about the story, the cover will come later. If you need help, I’m here.”

I hope it helped him.

I wonder how why some kids don’t create things and I’m reminded of my childhood and having to hide stories I’d written, then I know.

 

6 and Counting

It was a warm September day, even for Las Vegas.

I’d taken the day off so I could take my wife to her fetal monitoring appointment.

I’d missed all of them to that point because of work and I refused to miss that one.

We were a little more than a month from our due date. Our daughter was scheduled to arrive October 27th, but things changed that day.

I’d dropped our son off at Kindergarten and was able to sit with my wife for a few hours before we had to be at the appointment.

I don’t remember what we talked about, only that she looked beautiful.

We left the house a early because we didn’t want to be late and we both commented on how warm it was.

Once they hooked her up to the machine there was a flurry of activity around us, which got us in a panic.

We’d already had a miscarriage and other complications prior to this pregnancy and were fearful of anything going wrong.

The doctor came in and told us, “Your baby’s heartbeat is low and there’s little fluid in there with her. We’re sending you to hospital. You’re having her today.”

It was 6 weeks from our due date and I immediately called my mom to make sure she could get our son from school.

We arrived at the hospital, the Vegas sun beating down, my wife sweating, my stressing and they wheeled her up to the maternity ward.

My mom was able to get our son, and they arrived a while later.

My wife was hooked up, given her epidural we were ready to roll, then our little girl’s heart rate began to drop.

We were sent in for an emergency C-Section, which scared the hell out of both of us.

They started her and told me not to film them doing the surgery, which if you’ve never seen a C-Section, it’s surgery.

They pulled our girl out, she screamed, but it was labored.

Walking across the delivery/operating room, they were poking and prodding her and took her out of the room quickly.

When we got back to my wife’s room, they told us the bad news.

Our little girl’s lungs weren’t fully developed and they’d be watching her closely.

That night was one of the hardest nights I’ve had as a parent.

I couldn’t sleep and our little girl was in the Neonatal Infant Care Unit or N.I.C.U., a place she’d be staying for the next month.

Over the following month we watched our little girl fight with the feroctiy of grizzly, which is why I call her my little bear.

We were finally able to take her home from the hospital on her due date.

She was and is a strong willed little girl.

Today she turns six and is every bit the strong little bear she was in the hospital.

Happy Birthday my little bear.

When you Stand in a NICU…

When you stand in a NICU you try not to listen to other parents, at least that’s what I did. I tried not to make eye contact.

I knew they were there for the same reason I was, their child had been born early and though they had other obligations, they needed to be there to watch their child get better or huddle in the corner with their spouse, doctor or nurse to hear they wouldn’t be able to take their child home.

It’s been nearly five years since I stood in that room, the sound of alarms going off as a silent prayer comes from my lips, please don’t be her.

I remember the month she was in the hospital after her birth. The first few days were the worst. We were told her lungs were underdeveloped and that she may not make it.

I remember the feeling of absolute despair that day, it was the same I’d felt when my son came into the world. His little body was stronger than hers and he was out of the NICU and into the nursery in a matter of hours.

The memory of her being in the NICU is one of the strongest I have of my kids. The sound of the machines, the little tubes and wires coming from her skin, each doing something I didn’t know, I only wished for them to keep her alive so I could hold her.

When we took her home a month after her birth, she wasn’t near the weight of most infants and I worried constantly that she’d have to go back to the hospital for some reason.

She’s only been in the hospital once since then for MRSA, which scared the hell out of us, but she pulled through.

Every time I kiss her goodnight I think about that month where she was my little girl, but she wasn’t mine to take home.

When I see her face in the morning I think about the future and the things I want to protect her from and I worry I won’t be able to protect her from everything, but I’ll do my best to always be there for her as I tried to be when she was in the plastic box covered in tubes and wires.

She’s getting bigger, smarter and has a quick wit like me, but there are times I wish the world wasn’t there to change her. I like her curiosity and the way she asks about things.

I wait for the days of dates and I hope she knows I’ll walk her through the things she doesn’t understand and I’ll help her become the woman she wants to be.