Are you working hard enough?

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When I contemplated giving up writing, I wondered if the problem was my work ethic.

This is never a question at my day job. It’s never been a question for any job I’ve ever worked, at least not since I grew up, which is a subjective statement.

Each of us grow up differently.

My wife was more mature than I was when we started dating. I am aware that it took me a while to understand a few things. It’s not that I’m not smart, it had to do more with who we are as people. It had to do with our life experiences. My wife went to college straight from high school. I did a year of college and hated it. There are many instances of this in our relationship.

She’s told my I intimidate her because of how my mind works, which makes me uncomfortable. There are other instances, but I digress.

Why do I have this trouble with my writing when it’s not in any other job?

Let’s analyze:

  • Imposter syndrome is a big one for me. I often wonder if there’s something else I should be doing. That I don’t owe it to my writing to focus as much as I know I should.
  • Not setting work hours. I do that with my current project, but once I’m done for the day I put everything away and do something else. I know this is the wrong approach, but I guess there’s a part of me that has difficulty accepting what I’m doing. It’s the guy part. The part that says I should be working. That I should be making money to support my family. That’s the big one.
  • Putting away things that get in the way. This has a bit to do with my day job and how I’m not really happy with it. I feel my day job gets in the way of my writing. It stresses me out more than the writing that’s for certain.
  • Exhaustion from working late night events. This is a big one. I am tired as hell some days and pulling myself out of bed at 6:00 am when I got home at 2:30 is difficult. Today was one of those days.
  • Telling people no. This relates more to my day job, which is for a bartending service. They send an email or text and ask if I can work. I say yes or no. But there are days when I want to say no because I’d rather be writing.

All of these are difficult when my brain tells me I need to work harder, I wonder if it’s screwing with me.

What this all leads to is starting to set a real schedule. Only doing events after a certain time in the day.

I know my managers don’t look at my writing as a real job, and I guess sometimes I don’t either.

It’s hard to consider something you’re doing a job when you don’t get paid for it.

There are moments of hope during the week, but they’re few and far between.

I have received about $48.00 since I published my collection last year. I know it’s more than I received the previous year for anything, but it’s not much.

I’ll be setting up a real work schedule: Mornings are for new stuff, edits are for after lunch. I’ll be more stingy with what’s important to me. Some of these are folded into others when they’re done.

I’ll start tomorrow.

Keep rolling

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Withing in the spectrum of who we are, what we do, and solve our problems, there is a movement.

It depends on our deepest fears, our darkest desires, and without these movements we are flat.

The movement is a random act of falling into our projects, our journeys, or lives.

It can push us to the limits of our abilities, or in the worst of times, push us into the pit.

Within the movement are the clockwork parts. These are the items within our mind that pushes us to new heights, or when we’re depressed, anxiety raises its head and there’s only the thoughts of despair, it will drag us down.

These are the bottom movements. They are the worst parts of trying to attain what we want. They keep us stuck in the same place, deny us our desires, and restrict our goals.

Getting out from under these restrictions, denials, is the most difficult thing we can push through. We have to get through the bottom part of these movement to the top.

At the top of the movement, like the top of the clock, is the beginning of our new journey.

It’s where we can be our most creative. Where the lights come one. It may feel like we’re not all there, but digging out from the pit, reaching the top of the movement, it’s the creative place. Where we need to be in order to make our place, make our stand and rectify our thoughts.

These creative fluctuations are normal, they keep us moving to the next project, the new thing.

Some projects may give us a hangover, but the next day we must get to the desk, easel, or the stage. Keeping the clock in rotation engages the part of our mind where our goals are at the forefront of who we are,

Limiting our mind is the way to limit our goals and where we want to be.

Push forward, go stronger, get better, keep the clock rolling.

Enveloped by Darkness

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There is something to be said about discovering ones purpose.

It brings out thoughts of childhood, of adolescence, and early adulthood.

Memories flood in of things we thought, feelings we had for others, or ourselves. But it’s within these memories the truth comes out.

We’ve pushed those memories deep to keep them from ourselves because honestly, they’re too hard to deal with. But with hiding things from others, ourselves, and keeping them that way until a sudden realization comes about, we never truly understand who we are.

This darkness that’s enveloped me since childhood was a thing I pushed down. Something I didn’t want to see the light for a few reasons.

I grew up in a very religious community.

Living in Utah is like watching a movie about a religion and never being allowed to turn it off. Being a person who is not a member of that community is a careful dance. One can’t commit to too many things. You can’t afford to show your true colors, and you must never show any glimmer of darkness.

My darkness has been around since childhood.

It manifested every time I wanted read or watch something I wasn’t allowed to, but would sneak to watch or read. It was the times I’d stay up when I was left alone and watch Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, and whatever other show was on cable or other channels late at night.

In Tim S. Grover’s book “Relentless” he discusses the dark side and how everyone has a dark side.

I’ve listened to that book on audio at least ten times, and believed that a person’s dark side had to be a vice.

I recently had a discussion with my wife on this topic. She believed it had to be a vice as well.

But what if it’s not?

He says in the book that “what is the one thing that if people were to know it they’d look at you differently?”

Now, I believed it to be alcohol, like a vice, but I don’t feel that’s true anymore.

The one thing that I’ve kept to myself is that I like all these dark things. I like to watch a horror movie and be scared. I enjoy reading a book that scares me enough, or freaks me out enough, to toss it across the room after finishing it. I did that exact thing when I finished “The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum.

There is a story in my collection where I let my mind run and what I wrote freaked me out. It was very exciting to me that I wrote something that made me afraid to share it. And that is exactly why “The Leftovers” is in my collection.

That story felt freeing.

There were things in that story that I didn’t want to write, but I felt in order to be honest about the story I had to.

Now, as I’ve apparently accepted my dark side and that I’m no longer afraid to go dark, what I write may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t want to write for anyone else. I want to write what felt forbidden. Pull things from the dark recesses and put them on the page.

If you’ve read “The Leftovers” you understand what I’m talking about. If not the collection is only .99 on Kindle.

As I go back to the regularly scheduled program, I leave you with this. What is the one thing that if someone were to know it they’d look at you differently?

Use that to push yourself. I got looked at differently all my life for all the dark things I love. But it’s made me into the functioning adult I am.

Have a good weekend.

Focus is the issue

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As I sat down to write this morning I’d stop, check Twitter, and maybe go back to the story.

I’ve been doing this for the last week with every story I started.

Yes, what I said on Friday is true. When I’m not enjoying my reading material, I have trouble writing. And I must be reading within the genre I’m writing. I cannot cross the streams.

There it is in all of it’s horrible glory. I have a focus issue. I have Freedom for Mac and I’ve been neglecting using it for a number of reasons, let’s list them:

  1. I don’t want to use it because it feels like a crutch.

2. Using it feels like there’s something wrong with me.

3. I tell myself I don’t need to use it, but when I have this much trouble focusing, something has to change.

4. get interrupted by my kids a lot in the morning for various things. Then I have to stop it or let it run.

Now that they will be returning to in class instruction it will make the mornings easier, but I’ve also written with no problems while they’ve been home for the last year and a half.

It’s right now that things are a bit hectic with them going back, my wife crazy busy, and the bartending is slowing down heading into September.

There’s also one thing that has been on my mind: We’re getting a dog in the near future and planning for that in our house has been interesting. I have to fix cords, put things away and I worry about my book storage. It will be like a having a toddler in the house again.

So, focus is the issue, and the fraud police, as I stated in Friday’s post.

I only have a short story collection published, but I have a novella on submission and a short story. But as I’ve written 11 books, submitted three of them to agents, I find it hard to wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

Are my stories bad? Is there something I’m doing wrong or is my head just screwing with me?

I like to think it’s the latter, but with as many novels, novellas, and short stories I’ve submitted and received rejections, it’s a thing my brain throws at me.

I’ll keep writing because I can’t not write. Right now it’s difficult, but I will persevere, I will continue to write.

I hope you all have a good week.

I have two bartending gigs this week and while I’m masked during them, it’s starting to feel like Survivor: Pandemic Edition. Masks are rarely worn by guests and with the percentage of vaccinated in Utah, I doubt all of them are vaccinated.

But I’ll keep working because my family needs me to.

End of the year thing

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I won’t tell you this year sucked, we know it did.

I did a few things this year that I never expected to do.

I submitted a lot more, published a short story collection, and pushed myself to write things that make me uncomfortable. I also read a whole lot.

But I didn’t quit.

I know there have been a lot of writers who just could not get words on the page this year. I understand that. The year had the opposite effect on me. I wrote more stories than I’ve written in any prior year.

In the next year I plan on writing and submitting more than I have this year, which will be a hell of an accomplishment.

I wasn’t able to work a lot of events as a bartender this year. It put a strain on our finances but good planning by me in the early months of the year sustained us through the year.

I look forward to doing events next year, but I’m so tired of people not being cautious or saying things like, “If it were up to us, you wouldn’t be wearing a mask” or “We’re all friends here, you don’t need to wear that mask.” As if being friends makes the virus go, “oh wait they’re friends, I won’t infect them.” The virus doesn’t care about your family or friendships.

This year I also started to use my whiteboard more. I list when a story is due, how many words it needs to be and who the publisher is.

This has helped me write a lot more and keep my focus on publishing. I haven’t had a story picked up yet, but I’ve come close.

I’ve made a list of submissions until May for short stories as well as for novels I want to publish or submit to agents. I have four novels or novellas I’ll be submitting, self-publishing, or writing in the next 12 months. There will be others that come along, but I know what I need to have done by certain dates and that keeps my head in writing.

I know I have a bit of privilege as my wife works from home and pays our bills with her salary, which allows me to write as much as I do, but if I’m not writing I feel like I’m letting her down.

I will continue to grind, to push myself in directions of horror and other genres that I’m uncomfortable with. I have to push myself because it’s the only way to improve.

Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you tomorrow.