Trying to get through…

I’ve become stuck on my recent project. I don’t know where it broke. What happened or how to fix it.

The one thing that I did different from the previous project is I didn’t think this on through.

I didn’t plan. I didn’t plot. I didn’t create a pathway to get where I need to be; where the story needs to be.

I’ve been writing a dozen short stories over the holiday break, and maybe that’s why I thought I could wing it with a longer form story.

It hasn’t worked and I can’t go back to writing multiple drafts again.

I have the story I finished before Thanksgiving and I’ll work on improving that one.

It’s strange how you write one way for so long, then you start a new way and it’s like finding the holy grail.

I’ve written 10 novels and eight of those were written by pantsing. The other two I either wrote a beat sheet or did an outline and it’s those latter ones that I feel are my best work.

They have a better flow through, a better story, character development, but after using and outline and beat sheet, I’ve gone back to a few of those and discovered what went wrong and fixed it.

I’m querying one of them right now. It’s out with three agents.

This year I want to push what scares me and that leads into a conversation I had with my wife the other day about the current slate of horror. But I’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Enjoy the first full week of the new year.

Fear and what it does to us.

I was talking to my wife the other night as we lay in bed.

We want to go to London and Edinburgh with our kids next summer and I said, “well if we go there at least we won’t get shot at.”

This is what we’ve come to.

My kids go back to school in two weeks and then it’s stress time.

Any time the sound of siren passes down the street we wonder. Is that going to their school?

It’s a horrible place to be in as a human and a parent to think this way, but it’s the only way I can think.

We’ve reached a point where we cower in fear at the sound of siren, a car backfiring, and fireworks going off.

It’s not normal to act this but unfortunately it’s the point we’ve reached.

I’ve talked to other parents who react the same way and it’s terrifying.

I don’t look at this as a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.

My kids and everyone else’s kids deserve to attend school without having lockdown drills.

Myself and other parents deserve to not worry about a shooting but whether their kid is enjoying school.

I’ve reached the point where I’d rather travel overseas with my family than in the country of my birth.

My family has roots going to the 1600’s in this country. It’s about what’s right and decent not about what’s politically popular.

Don’t let anyone distract you!

There’s a point when you’re an unpublished writer and all of your writer friends aren’t on the same level you feel you’re on.

This isn’t about bragging, narcissism, or vanity.

It’s about focus!

Projects may come along which can divert your attention, take away your focus, shifting it somewhere you don’t want it to go.

These projects are distractions from your goal, they’re mental masturbation.

You might get some joy out of them but they will always take your focus away from your goals.

They’re you telling yourself, it’s okay to do this thing these other people are doing because it “might” make you better. But you have goals to focus on, you have self-imposed deadlines to meet.

When everyone around doesn’t have true, set on paper goals for their writing it doesn’t matter what they’re doing. It’s a distraction. And distractions take you away from your goals.

Don’t let anyone tell you your goals aren’t real, that they aren’t attainable. And never let anyone distract you from those goals.

A ledge, a death, and finding myself.

:TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of suicide.

Five years ago I stood on a ledge. I mean this literally.

I was in the parking garage of the hotel and casino I worked at in Las Vegas. It was the end of my shift and I didn’t want to live anymore.

Over the previous six months, my grandfather passed away, I stopped considering my biological father as my dad, and I contracted shingles.

All of this is related to why I stood on that ledge.

I remember standing, the dry Vegas air blowing through my clothes, and not caring what anyone would think about me not being here.

I was mostly just tired. I felt like I caused a lot of pain and I was tired of hurting.

Something happened that day that was nearly the deciding factor for my life. A co-worker told me, “No one cares what happens to you. No one wants to listen to you talk about your writing anymore.”

Those words, completely full of venom and hate, led me to standing on the ledge.

I stared down at the pavement. Feeling the wind brush back my hair and rippled my clothes. Then, I don’t know why, but I stepped down and called my wife. I don’t have an explanation as to why I stepped down.

I explained to my wife what happened.

No one, not even her knew how bad my depression was. I didn’t want anyone to know that I’d lost it. I’m not sure if its a guy thing, though I’ve come to believe it had something to do with it.

I talked to her through my Bluetooth on the way home. She had no idea. I know no one I worked with did.

Today, I turned 43. Life got better after we left Las Vegas almost four years ago. I see my kids more, love my wife more, and take care of myself. I enjoy life.

One of the reasons we left was the toxicity of casino work. When we left, I was getting migraines 2-3 times a week. Since we left, I’ve had eight of them.

One of my goals after moving was to write fiction daily. I do that now. I’ve written eight books and I’m planning on publishing a book this summer on Amazon.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please get help. Please tell someone and don’t let some asshole you work with drive you to end things.

I continue to suffer from depression, but after trying Transcendental Meditation after my breakdown, because that’s what it was.

TM has become a daily practice for my wife and I. It changed my life, as well as saving it.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I follow a lot of various motivators on social media, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Tom Bilyeu, and others. I follow these people for various reasons. I love Gary’s honesty, Lewis Howes the same. I follow Tom because I love his podcast.

There is something that’s been nagging me about following these motivators. I shouldn’t need them. I should be able to write without having someone tell me to keep going.

But that’s the problem, I don’t. It doesn’t compute that I can’t do this myself. I need that kick in the ass every once in a while.

Today was a good example. Gary posted on Instagram about doing one thing that makes you uncomfortable.

My thing is editing. I feel like the time I spend editing is the time I could be writing. I also feel that I’m doing it wrong. That there is some magical formula to editing. After writing seven novels, I feel like it should get easier to edit, it doesn’t.

The fact that I’ve written seven novels and I’ve only submitted one of them to agents is appalling to me. It didn’t use to be. I thought I’d get better at writing through writing, I was wrong. I get better through editing.

It’s taken me thirteen years to realize this. It shouldn’t have taken this long.

When I finished my first novel, a vampire book that I love, I thought I’ll just keep rewriting. There are 8 drafts of that novel on my hard drive. None of them will ever come out. At the time there was no one, other than my wife to bounce ideas off of. Now that I have a writing group, I feel like I can do this.

Editing is the hardest part of writing. The taking away of pieces I loved in the draft, moving them around and creating a coherent, cohesive story is more important than writing something new.

I hate that it has taken this long to understand this.

Here’s what I’ll be doing to finish, truly finish the last three novels I’ve written: By the end of March 2019 I’ll be editing each novel through my writing group. I’ll post the progress on Delusions of Ink for each project.

What are you doing that makes you uncomfortable? Tell me in the comments. Let us keep each other going.