Under Control

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There’s this part of my day that begins before I start writing but after I’ve eaten breakfast.

I’ve usually started making coffee or my wife has and I’m thinking about the day ahead. I may have taken my son to school(he has two periods where he’s in school)or may not have.

This period is my contemplation.

I’m considering where the story is going. Thinking about the beats to get to the end and all that I still have to write, at least right now. Some days, towards the end of a project this moments are near fleeting and I’m just rocked to get into the story.

But lately, as I work my way through the current project of which is a novel right now, but I’ll be writing a short story the next few days for an anthology to be submitted before the end of the month.

I did that a few weeks ago and it was tough to work on two projects at once. There’s a shift in my brain when I’m writing two stories at once. It’s somewhat exhausting, but as the world is what it is, I have to write in the hope to make money.

If I don’t make the money, at least I have the stories. Every story is an opportunity to get better at the craft and that’s what we’re all after, isn’t it?

So, during this morning period and the thinking about what I have to do, I’ll space off, my wife will leave the room and I’ll focus on what I need to do.

Then as I set up my laptop, login, get the music ready, I check on my family. I make sure everyone is good before I start. This has become a habit as my kids are home most of the time and my wife and are sharing a work space. Well, we’re in the same room anyway.

As I’m writing, I try to become aware of where it’s going. What is the story doing? What is happening to the characters?

By the time I’m done it’s 11:30 or noon and I’m starting helping my kids with their studies.

This is how I control things. These moments in the morning and during the afternoon where I’m hopefully present enough to help with things, which as I haven’t been working events, has become my every day.

I write, help my kids, clean the house, and make dinner. It’s been this way for the last couple of months and at first I wanted to punk out on it, but kept going. Now I look forward to it.

When I’m making dinner or cleaning those are mine for thinking through what I’d written that morning.

I never looked at it that way, but now that it’s an everyday thing, I enjoy those moments of contemplation..

See you on Monday.

Tired,Trusting Yourself, And Learning

The exhaustion of writing this fast has hit.

To give you an idea, I’ve written 96k in 40 writing days.

The first few days were hectic.

I doubted myself and wondered if I should keep going. I stopped writing for a few days to get my head right. I hit points where I had to take a day to work through things.

Luckily those days weren’t many and out of the 40 days, its been 46  calendar days since I started.

As I said in the last post, I’ve written this one with an outline and a beat sheet. I’ve followed each beat and knew where I needed to be in the story by that beat.

It’s changed I look at writing, how I construct everything about the story. I used to be a pantser and had almost no luck with an outline.

I felt stilted.

Then I realized that I could write to the beat. I could do whatever I wanted with the people in the story as long as I hit the points I needed to and reached the beats within a couple of thousand words, which I’ve done.

When I wrote on Tuesday morning I realized I’d written more in this first draft than I’d written in any of the previous 10 books I’ve written.

It is the longest book I’ve written and I’ve followed the outline and beat sheet perfectly.

It will change how I construct stories in the future as well as how I work on any project going forward.

This project has been more fun than anything I’ve written and felt like it was writing itself for most of the draft.

I know for any project that comes after it, I’ll have to sit down and plan out the beat sheet. The outline will take a minimum of three weeks, and more than likely more.

After this draft is done, it will sit for six weeks while I work on short stories and plan out what to work on next.

There is one major thing I’ve learned from this process.

No one knows you better than yourself. People can tell you what you should write, or what they believe you should write. Maybe even that they think they know you. But the truth is no one but you knows you.

Always trust yourself in your writing and write what you would enjoy, not anyone else.

 

 

 

WTF…story edition

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I’ve been working on an outline for the last 3 weeks and I started the draft this past Saturday, then I watched a movie and almost screamed. The movie’s plot was so similar to my current project that I’m sitting here, writing this blog, wondering if I should keep going.

It’s not just one or two things. It’s the main plot line.

After 3 weeks working on that outline the world the way it is I’ve been trying to find something to keep me going through all that is going on.

It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could write and put this one aside, it’s that I put so much effort into the outline. Now I have good outline, but the movie was too similar.

I’ve never had this situation before.

I’m trying to parse it out and come with a solution, but nothing I’ve come up with works.

I have to work, which is why I’m considering dumping this project for another. I love the story and everything about it, but I feel that it’s too similar.

There comes a time when I will have to put it away and work on something new, but I guess this is how it goes sometimes. I think I’ll consider it for a few days and work on something else until I can wrap my mind around it.

I have other stories I can plot out, I have books to read, but I feel I should be working. I can’t bartend because of the world and all that’s going on. So I have to write something. I must write to keep my sanity.

I said something on my Instagram stories about there are three things we can control, our mind, our body, and our soul/spirituality. My mind and soul are intertwined in my writing and now I’m trying to work through all of this.

Tell me your thoughts below.

 

New Avenues

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…

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.