Happiness in the small things.

The words came out this week and I made decisions on things I should’ve dealt with, but it was the small things that brought me peace.

I was able to pay attention to my writing yesterday. I noticed the small words, the good sentences, and how the words flowed well.

Everything came together. My mind felt more clear than it has in a few weeks, not sure why.

I took my time. Finding the correct words. Resulting in great flow and better form.

These little things gave me confidence. It’s been lacking, you may have noticed that. I feel better about my writing. It’s getting better.

I have a better plan.

I knew what I wanted to do but after talking to my wife I set a blueprint.

I’ve laid it out and the edges are brushing up against what I’m doing next year. But it’s all good.

It’s about finding happiness in the little things and I’m doing that.

Moving to the next writing stage.

On Monday I wrote about taking time with what I’ve written.

I wrote a book in December(talked about that here), another in May and June. I didn’t write about that second one. I don’t know why.

But I’ve written 7 short stories since then. I’ll be going over those as well as others I wrote after the one from December.

There’s a weird thing about finishing a book for me. I have to write something short afterwards. I tried writing something long after December’s book.

Because I wrote that book quickly, I got sick and had a general feeling of ill health while trying to write it. I quit it and it’s sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to return.

Now I still have a plan for it. It’s the second part of the book I wrote in December.

Here’s where that gets tricky: I have trouble doing read throughs of drafts. Maybe I’m not doing it right, but I have trouble with it.

I know I should do it to figure out what wrong with the draft, but it always feels wrong. Like I should just write another draft.

I am a discovery writer or pantser.

I was telling my wife that maybe that’s the problem. I’ve written 9 books and though one is out being queried, I’ve only written a beat sheet once. I’ve never done an outline because it feels wrong to me. I get bored of the story idea.

I used a beat sheet after I had a first draft done and maybe I need to do that again.

I realize that writing another full draft after the first one is 86,000 is an undertaking but maybe that’s what I should do.

Maybe that’s what I should start doing with every story?

I love writing and I enjoy everything about it. Maybe it’s time I start using a beat sheet/outline.

If it helps me get my writing in the hands of readers who would enjoy it I think that’s what I should do.

I’m moving to a new stage. One where my writing needs more focus and I believe an outline after the first draft of where I’m heading

Happy writing and I’ll talk more on Friday about this. It’s a new idea and I’m trying to bounce it off my head.

Why I’m thinking about my writing differently.

On Monday I left a little tidbit at the end about how I’m writing differently.

The truth is, last week I came to grips with my focus and the things I write.

I thought about what I enjoy reading, why I enjoy those things and how they can become part of what I write.

It’s about the characters stupid!

Sure the story makes a difference but if I don’t like the characters I’ll quit on a book.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading the Bosch books by Michael Connelly.

I’ve read crime books in the past but Connelly makes you like his characters and makes you care about them.

That I’ve gone through 4 of his books in the last week is a testament to his character creation as well as the world he creates.

I’ve always tried to write stories and throw monsters or fantasy elements into them early.

In the past week I noticed I wasn’t writing about characters I really liked. I cared more about throwing the fantasy or horror elements in.

I haven’t always done this but my writing lately leaned that way.

I forgot that characters are the most important feature of a story. If the reader loves the characters they may forgive you for other story screw ups.

This week I’m focusing on short stories with characters as the focal point and the horror or fantasy as secondary.

I wish I knew why my mind strayed from this but I mean to rectify it from now on.

That’s where I’ve been with my writing.

Friday I’ll talk about my emotional state because that’s important.

Have a good week.

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.