About Progress…

Featured

There’s a moment when you finish a project that feels extraordinary. It comes at you, wraps you in a hug, and gives you endorphin high. But that high isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

The moment is magical, but it’s also one that you shouldn’t focus on. There is still other work to be done.

When I started writing I lived for that high. I’ve written 11 novels, ten novellas, and hundreds of short stories.

I did this by focusing only on that high. Only on finishing. What I failed to learn, until recently, was that I wasn’t finished. The editing would come after the finished first draft. But for the longest time I didn’t edit, which is why I have so many novels written, but none published.

I chased the high of finishing that first draft, but I didn’t have follow through. I stopped at the gates of what I wanted and moved further away from my goals, all by ignoring what needed to be done.

In the last year and half, I learned that editing matters. Yes, I know you’re all staring at this like, “no shit!” Well, I didn’t care then. I wanted that high of getting to the next “finished” novel.

When I sat down last year, during the lock-down and stared at all that I’d accomplished, it wasn’t shit. Yes I have my short story collection, but I published that afterwards. It came as a result of this talk I had with myself. It counts, but only as me telling myself that I had to publish something before my 45th birthday.

The collection needed work and I’ve gone through a couple of more rounds of edits with it. While it’s out there, no one is reading it. I understand the reasons for this.

I haven’t pushed it as much as I should. I didn’t market it, and because of that, I’ve sold about ten copies. But I understand what I did wrong with that collection. I know what to fix when I publish something else.

All of the above came as I progressed as a writer.

I know that a book isn’t finished when the first draft is written. I understand that working on a book means editing.

There are moments when I don’t want to edit. There are many moments when the time I’m spending feels worthless.

Oftentimes submitting feels worthless, but I do it because it’s part of progress. It’s part of writing, and I have to keep writing.

We progress a little at a time. Sometimes we progress dramatically, but we must progress. We must move forward.

Wrapping your head around the new thing.

Featured

I’ve started a new project in a genre I haven’t written in for a while. It’s taking some getting used to. The scope of the story is bigger than anything I’ve written in a few years.

It’s taking some time for my head to get into that brain space. I know what needs to be written, at least I have a good idea of it. There are many things in this story and I’m truly working to get those things written well.

This came about after I wrote a story for an anthology that is due the end of February.

I enjoyed the hell out of writing that submission. I thought I should go deeper into a new world along the lines of that submission.

I’ve submitted more stories this year than any prior year as well as publishing the collection in October. I will get my first payment for that collection this week, which though small, makes me feel as if what I’m doing makes a difference in our house.

I will keep writing, regardless of the money. I want to get paid, as we all do, but I enjoy the hell out of the work.

Getting life taken care of

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…

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

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.