The point of no return.

There’s a moment when I’m writing and something sinister comes to my mind about the story.

I could do something really messed up to the characters and they have to deal with it. Or, I could not and it won’t be as much fun.

It’s in this part of the story that I realize I can write some twisted things if I just get past the perceived judgment of others

Most of my family wouldn’t read what I write anyway. They don’t like horror or don’t read books.

I used to wonder what someone would think about the story and I would hold back.

Now I write something and think, “damn, that was sick and twisted” and don’t think about what those people think or what they’d say.

If they read it fine, if it freaks them out, even better. But I won’t stand hand on hip waiting for their opinions of what I write as if it’s a reflection of who I am.

It took me a long time to break that thought process and I won’t go back.

I hope you’re all enjoying NaNoWriMo and getting words on the page.

I’m plotting something for a contest and I have words to write.

It’s better when you write what you enjoy.

For the longest time I’ve been trying to write a fantasy novel, but I never thought about why I’m writing it.

Yesterday I did.

I write fantasy because I felt it was expected of me, not because I enjoyed it.

I had a friend turn me on to Fantasy books when I worked in Vegas. It was a genre I never understood and one I never thought about reading.

It always seemed too complicated, too busy and of the 3 novels I’ve written in the genre none of them gave me pleasure in their writing.

I wrote them because it felt expected of me. For the same reason the first novel I wrote was a vampire story. It was expected of me.

I’ve gone back to that vampire story a few times. It’s awful, as first novels usually are, but the story idea is good and I may do something with it later.

The only stories that give me pleasure are horror stories.

There is something about scaring people.

I love the act of creating a story that not only scares the reader but is unsettling to myself as well.

Short fantasy stories are fine, little ones where the reader is following one person. Not the arching novels of Brandon Sanderson. I love to read those books, thanks to a friend, but writing them brings nothing but stress and frustration.

I’ll stick with horror. It’s what I always liked as a kid.

I’d find myself staying up when I’d go to my grandparents. Watching the late night scary movies that aired on HBO, or Tales From The Crypt. Those were some of my favorites.

I remember picking up a copy of Fangoria in the book store and staring at it.

People would stare at me, my own father wouldn’t buy them for me, but I’d sit and read them any chance I got.

The dark, the macabre, and the creepy runs deep in my blood and I enjoy writing those tales the most.

It’s better to write what you enjoy, rather than what someone expects of you.

I had a conversation about this with my mom a while ago. She told me, “I wondered why you wrote anything other than horror.”

Listen to your mom. She knows you best.

It’s what I’ll stick to from now on.

Happy Friday. Have a good weekend.

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.

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.

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.