Change, fixing problems, and ignoring what people say.

I don’t even know where to start with this post.

I’ve had a running commentary for things for so long I don’t know where to narrow this stuff down.

So I’ll start with the relevant things.

I’ve been trying to get past that commentary.

It starts by admitting a few things.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Words come to me when I don’t expect it and don’t come when I need them too.

This is a regular thing and I’m wondering if this is how it’s supposed to be.

The current project came out of a single thought and idea after bartending an event.

After telling myself to write an outline, I did. I thought after writing 9 books without one, I had to use an outline since none of those books are in print.

But here’s the thing, it had nothing to do with the stories. Some of them are really good.

It has to do with putting in the work.

I didn’t want to do that.

I punked out!

I would choose anything over editing. I would rather rewrite the book than figure out what was wrong with it.

It started to be a joke.

Then, after the last book, I realized I hadn’t found my voice. I didn’t know what I wanted out my writing or anything creatively.

I wanted to be published but didn’t want to do the work it entails.

I wanted the glory, so to speak, without the work.

That’s changed this last weekend.

I realized there are things I have to fix and it’s not having an outline.

Having a premise or idea about what happens is one thing. Have a rough idea of things that will happen, okay. An outline…sucks!

I will construct and idea of what is supposed to happen but planning and plotting are out the window.

I can’t. I’ve tried for three weeks and barely reached 22k, which is slow as hell for me.

Yesterday I gave up on what I had in the outline and just wrote. It was incredible!

I’ll do that from now on.

Taking time to work.

I’ll be taking time away from the blog to make a dent in the new project.

I’ve started drafting and don’t want to take away from that.

I will post little short posts like this one. Just to give you a heads up on what’s going on.

Happy writing.

Writing for you, skipping out, and gathering in a storm.

After writing Monday’s post I thought more about the person I write for.

The kid whose parents don’t let them read what they want, the twenty-something writer that only wants to get their foot in the door, the writer and reader I am today.

The kid is the easiest to write for because without restrictions they can read anything.

The twenty-something is a bit more difficult because they want they’re writing to mean something, but they also want to have fun while writing.

The writer and reader I am today is the most difficult.

They’re the person in the mirror and I feel unsure about how to help that person.

Do I write something truly terrifying that maybe an agent may enjoy, or do I write something just to say I have something published?

I think this conundrum bears further exploration and may lead my writing to better places.

It’s difficult for me to write things where it’s truly terrifying because I still worry about judgment. I know I shouldn’t because in the end it’s my name on the book and not the judgmental person but I still worry.

There’s this thing running through my head where I see everyone judging me based upon what I write. It’s the main reason it took me so long to stick with horror.

I’m a dark soul, I always have been. And in that darkness I find solace, peace, and freedom.

It’s why I struggle with depression. It’s why I’ve struggled with alcohol(1 month 4 days sober today)and it’s why I need to just say fuck it and write the darkest and most disturbing story I can.

In that story I feel I’ll find the person who should be writing these stories instead of the person pretending to write.

When I write I feel the world stops. When I write it’s like a dream and I’m within the construct of the world.

Without that edging of my dreams I’d be lost and without the writing and darkness I’d never find my way out.

I keep writing and this time I’ll go the darkest I can and see what slithers out of the nether. It’s in the darkest recesses the writer I know I’m meant to be is hiding.

He’s only afraid to make and entrance.

It’s in the bleakest of moments and darkest of storms we find ourselves.

The storm is still there, it hasn’t passed. I believe it’s only waiting for my decision.

When I found my voice.

There’s this often referred to mystical thing called voice.

It’s talked about in books, podcasts, hell I’ve even seen it referenced in movies.

There are many types of voices within a story. There is the narrative voice, each characters particular voice and then there is the distinctive voice each author gives to the story.

Some authors find it early in the writing career, others keep going and find it after writing 9 books.

It’s taken me to the latter of these.

It was never explained to me what this voice means. It’s difficult to explain.

The only way I can describe it is like this.

When you read a Stephen King book, you know it’s King by his description, by his character creation and the way he handles his monsters.

The same goes for any author. Neil Gaiman is another.

You know his work by the mood he sets in his books.

There is a moodiness or vibe to all of Neil’s books. I’ve loved his writing since Sandman. I’ve read a lot of his books. Anansi Boys is my favorite.

With every author you know that author from how they construct, how they build, how each of their stories flow.

This is what your voice is. I can’t tell you how to find it, only that you will.

You’ll discover it while reading one of your stories. You’ll set it down, step back and wonder when it happened.

It will happen, but you have to keep going to discover it.

When it does, you’ll understand why, and you’ll also understand why other stories didn’t work.

You’ll find it. Keep writing.

When we know what works and what doesn’t.

For the last three weeks I’ve been trying to outline.

I’ve read through the books I have on the subject and the ones I have about beat sheets.

This week I reached a point where reality smacked me in the face. I stared at what I had and tried to write from the outline, then it started to go in another direction.

This is what always happened when I was writing into the dark. But I know this story.

I wrote it as a short story last year. I always wanted to turn it into a novel. My writing group didn’t like the story. It was too dark, too disturbing.

I think that’s why I wrote the fantasy novel.

They write fantasy and sci-fi, I’ve said how much I struggle to write in those genres.

But they didn’t get the story, they don’t read horror.

I was trying to placate them, but in doing that I stopped doing what I enjoyed, horror.

But back on track to the point of this.

I’ve tried really hard over the last three weeks to pull this off and the writing is terrible.

It feels stilted and boring. And the biggest thing of all, I haven’t been having fun.

I usually enjoy my time in the chair. The last three weeks felt like torture.

Yesterday, I wanted to try something out.

An experiment if you will.

I started writing, putting the outline away, and I busted out a bunch of words and it was fun.

I understand I write this way for a reason. It feels comfortable and I don’t worry about sticking to an outline.

I know this story, so maybe that’s why I’m having an easier time. I know what happens and when. I know the ending, understand the characters and love the scary parts.

When I get a new idea maybe I’ll outline that, but for now, with this story, I’ll write it like this.

I also realized that it hasn’t been the drafting part I’m horrible at, it’s the editing.

I even asked questions on Reddit about it.

Understanding where my writing fails is important. It gives me something to work towards. It allows me to improve.

I write into the dark, discovery write, or pantsing because that feels most comfortable when I’m drafting a story. But when it comes to editing, I suck.

Now I know the problem and I’ll be working on fixing it.

These last three weeks also took me back into the pit of depression. That’s a place I’ve fought to stay out of.

I’ve been stressed over this outline business more than anything in a long time. Now I’m moving forward, my way, because I have to.q

Have a good weekend and I’ll see you Monday.

When writing things click.

A while ago, like ten years or something my cousins who is published traditionally, and who publishes independently gave me a book.

It’s John Truby’s Anatomy of Story.

At that point I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how to use the book, didn’t think I needed the book, and was determined to do it on my own.

Here’s a tip, when someone gets you something and they’re trying to help you, use it. Do whatever it takes to understand it .

If you don’t get it, ask for help. It’s really okay to ask for help.

Go to Reddit and ask. The people on R/writing are awesome.

But use whatever is at your disposal.

I never asked. I was stubborn and borderline asshole.

The belief that we can do something ourselves and ignore what people tell us is stupid.

You need help, ask.

Now that I’m trying to figure this out(ten years later)I’m struggling to do so.

I should’ve listened to her. Paid attention and not just read the book and not understood it. I should have done a lot of things differently.

Now that I am doing things different, I understand she was trying to help me.

She was trying to get me to understand writing on a different level.

It’s taken me a while but I’m getting there.

Patience is the greatest virtue.

This week has been one of the most difficult as a writer.

This rethinking how to write with an outline is not only trying my patience but also my wife’s

I’ve ran things by her numerous times and like the trooper she’s always been, she makes suggestions. I hear the little hint of frustration in her voice as I ask for suggestions, but it’s a new thing for me to use an outline for a project, and it going along better than I thought it would.

I’m learning to diagnose issues with the story I have in my head and analyze where things went wrong, where I could change them and how to do so.

It feels like I’m learning to write all over again. I know it will improve the story, but damn it’s hard.

I’ve been writing as a discovery writer for over 10 years. I have to teach my mind that what I’d done before didn’t work and this is the new way we’re doing things.

Needless to say, there’s been pushback.

I’m using K.M. Weiland’s outlining workbook to do this. The reasoning is she knows what she’s doing and I’m only guessing on how to do this.

I see things in the story that could go another way, and other things that I’ll do away with all together.

There are things I’m changing I never would have if I’d rewritten the entire book.

I see the scope of it growing and with it the number of words I’ll have to write in order to fit everything from the outline within the book when I begin drafting.

The drafting part will be interesting. I don’t know how that will go. It’s going to be a while before I get there, a month or longer, but I’ll get there with a blueprint for the book I should have written the first time.

It’s awfully frightening to realize that you should have done something a certain way, but your mind said, “it’s fine. If King, George R.R. Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss can do it this way, so can you.”

The problem is, I’m not them. My brain obviously doesn’t work that way.

I’ve never really planned things out. Now that I am, I’m seeing more clearly.

I’ll keep updates going, but for now I’m just happy to get this going. I’m happy I’ve found a better path but I wish I would’ve done it years ago.

Now that I understand how to outline, I’ll do it for every project.

Have a good weekend and happy writing.