New Avenues

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With the way the world has changed in the last few weeks I’ve been working to find a way through with my writing. I posted something about that last week.

It’s been difficult to write something in the horror genre with our current situation feeling more like it’s pulled from the pages of literature rather than the front pages of websites and newspapers.

I’ve talked about the books I read when I was younger. How my father told me I had to read what he read. I wasn’t allowed to pick my own books from the book store. He had to oversee what I read. But when I checked books out from the library, either at school or otherwise, I would read what I wanted.

I’ve tried writing the kinds stories I read for myself. The horror stories, the science fiction, and fantasy stories, but I feel, as I wrote above, that I can’t write those horror stories right now.

It would be nice to say that I could write those things, but I need something that is more fun, so I’m doing something I’ve always been afraid to do.

Those stories my father forced me to read, made me learn about politics, aeronautics, the world outside my little bedroom in Utah. and that the world is big scary fucking place.

There are things out there that can kill us, and it feels odd to write about those things with what is going on outside my little house in Utah. But now, it feels like I need to go back to the beginning of my journey as a writer, and reader.

I wrote a few stories that were like the Military Thrillers I read in the 80’s and early 90’s, but haven’t, until recently, read anything like that.

I’ve been devouring those types of books lately. Working my way through David Baldacci’s books. Some of them aren’t quite Military Thrillers like what I read long ago, but they are quite fun and I’m enjoying them a lot more than horror.

My wife bought me MasterClass for the next year, and I’ve been watching Baldacci’s classes over and over. His approach to writing makes me feel better that mine is similar.

The most important part is I’m working on a project. I read all of the early Tom Clancy books, from Red October through to the early 90’s books.

It’s been a long road back to where I started, but I’m having more fun writing than I have in a while and watching the world rise up around the characters has been a fun trip.

I hope you’re all healthy, and stay that way.

Take care of yourselves, and those you love.

We’ll get through this.

 

Something different for a while…

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With our new reality, I thought it a good idea to try something different with this blog.

I am home with my wife and two kids, both of the latter will be home schooled as our school district has closed in person classes.

I know this whole thing is scary, but I also know we as society can get through it. We’ve done great things and will continue too.

Now, here’s where I talk about the difference of what I’ll be doing now, compared to the past.

  1. I’ll keep you updated on whether anyone in my family is sick.
  2. I will promote the things I see that will help us all get through this. Here are a couple, Scholastic, Online museums. There will be others.
  3. I’ll be honest. Part of that is telling you that I’m scared. Scared for my family and the medical conditions of my sibling and parents.

This is just the beginning. I will be posting on Twitter and IG.

I’ll also be telling you what I’m reading. Check my goodreads for that as well as IG and Twitter.

I will not be reading any dystopian stuff. I just can’t.

Have a great week.

Stay the fuck home and take care of those you love.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

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I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.

 

Trying to get through…

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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.

What comes next…

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Last year I did a lot to work towards my goals of publishing, but there was still the bit of fear of doing it.

I realized that I’m completely in control of this whole thing and if I’m going to publish, no matter what form the stories are in, I have to do the work. I also must have the time to work.

I won’t be doing any events this next year if they start before 12:30 in the afternoon. That will leave the morning open for working, which is what I should have been doing from the outset, but I wanted to be accommodating to the company I work for. They are the only ones who would hire me after leaving Vegas and I felt I owed them to work any time they needed me.

I still owe them a great deal. They saved my ass.

But I’ll be 44 this year and I wanted to have more done in my life by now. I had goals that for one reason or another I didn’t follow through with.

I set standards for what I wanted to have done by the this time. I tossed them away.

This year, I plan on focusing on editing and getting things out.

Those who have followed the blog(all 360+ of you) know how hard I’ve struggled with editing. I won’t struggle this year.

I have too much at stake to toss it away.

I will publish this year, in some form.

If someone who has multiple paying jobs can do it, I can do it with my one.

I think I’ve stopped looking at my writing as a side project. It’s my main focus. I will bartend events this year but I won’t let it take away my focus from my writing. If I have to bring my laptop to an event, then I’ll do that.

This year I’ll publish.

There is no other way to do it.

I’ll take breaks from social media. I’ll avoid things this year. Events I shouldn’t have gone to last year, I’ll stay away from this year.

This year I have three projects in mind and a few others I’m thinking about.  I plan on writing to books and a couple of novellas as well as a bunch of short stories.

I wrote seven stories over the Christmas break and I’ll be going through all of them in the coming weeks. I have a story to submit by the end of the month and I’ll do that.

I have set deadlines this year for projects.

I know I’ll have to turn things off, shut people out, but I must do this. I have to focus on getting this done.

My son will graduate in two years and I want the both of us to go to Scotland for a trip after he graduates. Scotland is where my ancestry is. I feel there would be no better place for my son and I to spend some time together before he starts his life.

I will continue the blog.

Its definitely therapeutic.

I wrote some good posts last year and received quite a few new subscribers. But its about the content not the views.

Its nice to have people read what I write, but its better to produce good content. That’s what I’ll be doing with the blog.

Happy New Year and may you find what you’re looking for and what you need in the new year.

Stop caring about other’s perceptions.

Over the last year there have been more moments where I felt alone in my process and journey.

Where, other than my wife and one or two others, I didn’t feel there was the support I thought I’d get.

Those moments grew throughout the year. They led to decisions in my writing as well as in my social media activity.

As a writer working towards publishing, especially in the past year, I felt it was time to address this.

I went off of Facebook a year ago. Have taken breaks from Instagram and Twitter, as well as this blog.

I learned a lot from those breaks. One of things is, there are a core group of people who want me to succeed in writing, then there are those who don’t care.

A few years ago, this would have hurt like hell. Today, it burns a little, but that’s all. Those who don’t support my writing are not necessary for me to write. Nor are they necessary to my every day life.

It may sound like a rant, which I don’t do often, but maybe it is. I’ve reached a point as a writer where approval isn’t necessary for my mental health , that’s good right?

The last few days I’ve been writing something different and it’s been hard. It goes against a lot of who I am. It’s also a great story idea. When we, as writers and humans, reach a point where the approval of others is no longer necessary. That’s when we’ll stop caring what people think about us. It’s freeing and scary.

Today, I put some words on the page on this story. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it once it’s done, but its fun as hell.

Hope you’re having a good Tuesday. Make sure to take care of yourself today and I’ll see you on Thursday.

Happy Writing!

The record is only playing one song…

I intended to write a project for NaNoWriMo, then I realized there are three novels that need edits. I hit 5k on the NaNo project but it will have to wait until I’ve edited the three novels.

It will take me a while before I’m able to tackle something of long form. I have ideas for more novels, one that I know will be the next one I write.

I wrote two novels this past year, both of them need editing. One of them still needs a first pass.

I have a big fear in doing this: I often worry something won’t get written because I’m editing or writing short form. I’m not sure where this idea comes from. I’ve written about it before.

I have stories to write. and one of my goals for this year is being published. This hasn’t happened. I believe its because I haven’t been editing.

I’ve talked about this editing issue numerous times. I thought it would interfere with my creative process, what I’ve learned is it’s part of my creative process. Without learning how to fix story issues I’d have fifty novels written, none edited, which was where I was headed before making this decision.

For the rest of the year I’ll only be writing short stories, focusing on improving my problem areas, narration, dialogue, and visuals. I’ll be editing the three novels into the new year. The short stories I’m writing will go through an editing process after I feel the novels are in decent shape.

I love creating new stories, but I don’t want to have fifty novels written and none of them edited. Yes, my writing is improving, thanks to the writing group I joined and determination, but I feel its time to step away from writing novels for a while. It’s time edit the work I’ve already done.

I want what any writer wants, I want to see my books published. They won’t get there without improvement.

I’m breaking this record, it keeps skipping and coming back to haunt me. If you’ve read my recent posts, you’ll understand.

Back to work my Wretched.