Getting life taken care of

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I’ve worked on a new project for most of the last month of all this crazy new reality.

It started with wondering whether I should write the current project, something I discussed in another post.

I also talked about dropping this project because it was different and wasn’t the horror stories I believed I should be writing.

But cooler heads prevailed and I’m at almost 30k on this project.

It’s the first time I’ve used an outline this thoroughly.

I worked for three weeks on this outline and now that I’ve got a handle on how it’s supposed to work I’m enjoying it.

There are minor points I’ve set within the outline that I must reach and they’ve allowed me to write to the story I want as long as I hit those points the story works.

That I’ve written ten novels and never approached my writing this way says a lot about where I’ve been and even more about how my mental attitude has changed towards an outline.

I’ve tried this approach numerous times but now after having a MasterClass account and listening to David Baldacci, Dan Brown, Robert Patterson, I’m more comfortable within this construct than I’ve ever been.

My wife got me a subscription to MasterClass for my birthday and I’ve watched all of the ones I’ve listed above.

The Baldacci one is my favorite.

I’m able to get 2300 words or more every day, sometimes reaching into the 3k range.

But having the comfort of this new way to work makes me more confident in my writing abilities.

I miss writing on this blog three days a week but have been focusing on reading and writing so much that the blog hasn’t been part of that focus.

I’m not going make a promise I can’t keep and tell you I’ll write more posts, but I will keep you updated on how the writing is going as much as possible.

I have a deadline set for the end of June for the first draft and will probably finish sooner.

As to the rest of my life.

Kids are doing school from home. I’m unable to bartend for obvious COVID-19 restrictions. My wife has worked from home for the last 9+ years and is busy.

I work, play video games, keep the house, and yard clean.

I miss bartending. I’m an introvert, except when I’m pouring drinks.

I miss that.

I hope you’re all healthy.

Stay home, stay safe.

Horror and dealing with things…

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Let’s be honest. All this shit happening around is bonkers to say the least.

I’ve tried writing something other than horror to keep my mind from thinking of all the terrible circumstances of our current existence.

But I’ve failed.

I spent three weeks writing an outline for a story that has failed to hold my attention.

I don’t think it’s the outline that did it but more along the lines of how my brain reacts to the world around me.

I thought I could write something more mainstream, or at least something non-fantastical.

That came to end this morning when I put away the outline and went back to a short story I’d shelved.

I do enjoy the world I created with that outline but I currently feel like I’m trying too hard to write something that a person would enjoy and that person isn’t me.

I like to read all flavors of books but the fantastic saved me more times than anything else has.

I’ve tried to deny it, but after writing ten books with nothing to show for it, I have to go back to what makes me happy and it’s not writing what someone who isn’t a part of my life would enjoy.

Of all the books I’ve written, they’ve all had fantastic elements. Whether they be vampires, apocalypse, Grim Dark fantasy, or any of the other derivatives of fantasy.

I just can’t write a regular fiction novel without thinking about where I could put a monster. It didn’t happen during the outline process but boy, it’s happened in the drafting process.

I keep thinking, “hey I’m could put a monster in here”, then I think, “No. That won’t work in the larger scale of the story.”

That’s my problem.

I tried writing something that wasn’t me.

Sure I read all those books when I was a kid, but I wasn’t given the option of reading anything else.

The books and comics I wanted to read I hid and read them at night when I was alone in my room.

I was always fearful of being found out that I read those books. There were always from the library at school or the public library.

Those stories got me through one of the worst parts of my childhood.

I’ve neglected the teenager and kid I was and what he would have enjoyed reading.

It was during those nights alone that I started to create my own stories.

It was those nights when I had the apartment to myself that I’d read, write, and think about stories and worlds.

I’ve forgotten those moments, or more appropriately, buried them deep enough to block them out.

I have to go back to those nights, weeks, and darkest parts of my childhood to find the stories the teenage me needed at those moments. I hated my life, who I was, and was unsure whether I wanted to continue living at all.

I owe it to the kid who survived.

WTF…story edition

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I’ve been working on an outline for the last 3 weeks and I started the draft this past Saturday, then I watched a movie and almost screamed. The movie’s plot was so similar to my current project that I’m sitting here, writing this blog, wondering if I should keep going.

It’s not just one or two things. It’s the main plot line.

After 3 weeks working on that outline the world the way it is I’ve been trying to find something to keep me going through all that is going on.

It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could write and put this one aside, it’s that I put so much effort into the outline. Now I have good outline, but the movie was too similar.

I’ve never had this situation before.

I’m trying to parse it out and come with a solution, but nothing I’ve come up with works.

I have to work, which is why I’m considering dumping this project for another. I love the story and everything about it, but I feel that it’s too similar.

There comes a time when I will have to put it away and work on something new, but I guess this is how it goes sometimes. I think I’ll consider it for a few days and work on something else until I can wrap my mind around it.

I have other stories I can plot out, I have books to read, but I feel I should be working. I can’t bartend because of the world and all that’s going on. So I have to write something. I must write to keep my sanity.

I said something on my Instagram stories about there are three things we can control, our mind, our body, and our soul/spirituality. My mind and soul are intertwined in my writing and now I’m trying to work through all of this.

Tell me your thoughts below.

 

You’ve always known the way

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There are all these books and speakers to tell us what we need to do. But the thing I’ve learned is, we’ve always known what we need to do.

It’s the same as losing weight. We know what we have to do but we don’t because it’s hard.

Like exercise, writing and other creative endeavors have the same theory.

We know what we must do to achieve the things we want but we’re so afraid of failure and what could happen we stop ourselves from doing what’s necessary.

This is counterproductive to our goals and we have to keep our heads when it comes to our life, creativity, and check ourselves mentally.

The way forward has always been blocked by whatever we have in our heads that it difficult. Whether it is the editing process or worry about how someone will judge us by what we create. It’s all about what’s in the way.

Getting through it is as easy as that.

We see the obstacle. We know it’s there and we can choose to ignore it or continue to struggle.

But it is entirely up to us.

We have to get through that obstacle if we want to challenge ourselves and if we want our project and life to progress.

But we have to do it. If we’re truly certain of our path, there is no other way through.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

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I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.