What we become when we’re not paying attention.

Life moves pretty fast, right?

It moves faster when we’re not paying attention.

It comes at us like a demon. Striking with fast claws, snarling teeth, and the energy of a bunch of toddlers.

We sit in our comfy chair. Wait for the world to do something for us. The works owes us, isn’t that right?

Bullshit.

The world owes us nothing.

We owe the world a debt we can never repay just for being on this blue mudball, spinning through cosmos.

It took me a while to realize this. I know others who don’t understand what I wrote above.

They’ll never understand that this world is ours. This life is ours and we can do with it what we want. But we should do something that either improves the lives of those around us or the world.

I never used to think of my writing that way. Not until this week.

When I put my story on my Kindle, seeing it the way a reader would, it made pause. I’ve never thought about the reader. I’ve always thought about what I get out of writing.

I’m 50% in on the book and I have to say, it’s really good. I’ve barely touched it since December.

I read a lot of various genres and this one is grimdark fantasy. I love fantasy and this novel is a lot of fun to read. Of course it needs polishing, but for a first draft it’s my best work.

We become the person we feared when we’re not looking. I became the writer that doesn’t care about anything but getting the next story written for myself, when I should think about the endgame, the reader.

I changed how I read my first pass and saved my sanity, and story.

I used to print my stories out, go through them, and that’s it. When our printer died, I read it off my laptop.

I realized it wasn’t working.

I put the file in Mobi form and put it on my kindle. I rarely use my kindle for reading and it seemed a good reason to use it.

It’s worked out well.

But seeing it on the Kindle in the form it would take after publication energized me. It made me realize the story is good and that it would one day see the light it deserves.

It was an epiphany. It gave me a new view at my work that I’d never had before.

It’s not reading through my own eyes, it’s reading as if I were the one who purchased the book.

It felt like a new book, one with more potential than I’d seen before.

Having a book as a file on a computer is one thing, reading it as the intended audience would gave me a whole new perspective on the draft and where the story could go.

I’m only sorry that I’ve never done this with previous stories. It makes me want to go back through the books I’ve shelved and see if they’re worth saving.

For the longest time I didn’t think about the other stories I’ve written. I wrote them, worked on them a little and moved on to the next one.

Seeing it in a published form gave me new eyes when I didn’t believe I needed them.

I have a lot of work to do with it but reading it the way the intended reader would is changing how I work on a draft.

It’s definitely increased my enthusiasm for the project.

I didn’t see the problems the other way, but now, I see the problems and understand how to fix them because I’m reading it the way my readers would.

I hope you all have a great week.

How I’m ignoring things that disrupt my writing.

As a writer, there are many times when I’ll be compromised by disruptions.

I’ll be working on a project, and, BAM!

New story idea, new way to adjust or improve the current project, a way to fix previous project. That’s the moment I want to scream, but don’t.

I’ll write down what the thought, idea, or whatever and get back to what I was working on.

It hasn’t always been this way.

It took me a while to ignore those things.

That pretty new thing sounds wonderful, but it will take you away from your current project and you’ll never finish a book!

I’m only 10k in on a new project and my brain has made multiple attempts on sacrificing the current project for another one.

It got to the point where I had to take a step back. Think about why my brain was doing that.

I came to the realization that there is a story I want to tell with another book, but I have pushed it away to focus on the current project. The other book is connected to the one I talked about here.

I’m trying to focus on writing something that is terrifying this year.

In other projects I didn’t do that until the second draft, but after discussing my writing with my wife(always my rock), she said I should go as dark and horrifying as possible. That’s something I’ve been afraid to do. Mostly out of fear of judgment. My wife told me, “Why care about what someone will say when they won’t read the actual book only the blurb?”

This changed my writing. I’m working on not only improving those things and the prose but shoveling those thoughts out with the trash.

I have a better grasp on my writing than I ever have before and avoiding shiny objects, not caring what people think and enjoying the whole process of writing, yes, even editing, is making me a better writer.

Anyway, have a good weekend and happy writing.

Paperback Landmines, Barbwire and Flies

The part about writing that always confuses, the writing.

We write, because, well…it’s what we do. There’s nothing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, definitely not my day-job. I don’t want to be slinging drinks at 50.

I have books by King, Maass and one or two by K.M. Weiland, not to mention Strunk & White.

These books have gathered at my desk for an intervention.

They’re not in a pile, they merely litter my desk like paperback landmines.

One or two sit open, they’re pages alight in streams of fading sun filtering through the blinds.

I see a few of my notes about this, that or the other and find myself drunk from the new knowledge of outlines, plot and character dissection, which oddly sounds like some medieval torture.

I’ve never been fond of these books, but my writing, well it’s on the verge of discovering what landfill flies actually eat, don’t ask.

The headaches are back, the stress of not getting things on the page, when I desperately need the release.

The little synapses are firing, but there’s not much to fire into when the stories are stuck in a no man’s land surrounded by paperback landmines, gas canisters of regret and bullets made of that little gooey stuff that comes out of bugs when you squish them.

I see the books, they’re little bugs telling me to do things I don’t want to do. Outline, plot, character dissection and a myriad of other little things my heart doesn’t want, but my mind keeps telling me, “Listen up, it will help.”

My heart is torn between what my writing wants and what my mind knows needs to happen.

I’ve read all the books, done some of the exercises, but that doesn’t feel like enough tonight. The pillow calls, but I’d rather wrap it around my head with barbwire than leave the desk, because I’m a writer and I have to write.

The writing doesn’t come, it spurts and spills like fresh blood from an artery, cascading across the page in large arcs.

The arcs begin small, but then, something amazing happens…I begin to write.

After the First Draft It’s all work.

There are times we have to ignore our research that says, “you need to learn more about the topic” and keep writing.

My current story has taken me into quantum theory, multiverse and to places I’ve heard of but never read about.

These things are a little bit beyond my pay grade, but I’m learning about them…slowly.

I want the story to be good and believable, but sometimes you have to wing it and come back after the first draft to get things done the they need to be.

Like I said before, the first draft is fast and frenetic and stopping to clarify a few things will throw you off and break the stream of writing that you’ve got going.

Writing is hard, but the first draft is all discovery; your characters, your setting, the environment, mood and all the little stuff.

When you have the first draft done, come back after a few weeks, or months and read it again to see what needs fixed, but the only way to get to that point is busting the first draft out in the first place.

The first draft is the magical place of writing, everything else is the work.