I changed how I read my first pass and saved my sanity, and story.

I used to print my stories out, go through them, and that’s it. When our printer died, I read it off my laptop.

I realized it wasn’t working.

I put the file in Mobi form and put it on my kindle. I rarely use my kindle for reading and it seemed a good reason to use it.

It’s worked out well.

But seeing it on the Kindle in the form it would take after publication energized me. It made me realize the story is good and that it would one day see the light it deserves.

It was an epiphany. It gave me a new view at my work that I’d never had before.

It’s not reading through my own eyes, it’s reading as if I were the one who purchased the book.

It felt like a new book, one with more potential than I’d seen before.

Having a book as a file on a computer is one thing, reading it as the intended audience would gave me a whole new perspective on the draft and where the story could go.

I’m only sorry that I’ve never done this with previous stories. It makes me want to go back through the books I’ve shelved and see if they’re worth saving.

For the longest time I didn’t think about the other stories I’ve written. I wrote them, worked on them a little and moved on to the next one.

Seeing it in a published form gave me new eyes when I didn’t believe I needed them.

I have a lot of work to do with it but reading it the way the intended reader would is changing how I work on a draft.

It’s definitely increased my enthusiasm for the project.

I didn’t see the problems the other way, but now, I see the problems and understand how to fix them because I’m reading it the way my readers would.

I hope you all have a great week.

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There’s a point when you’re an unpublished writer and all of your writer friends aren’t on the same level you feel you’re on.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

Finding hope, and the motivation to write…

I missed posting on Wednesday. There were issues and I had things to deal with.

Life comes at us hard when we’re not expecting it. It will punish us. Make us feel like we’re worthless and keep kicking until we can’t breath.

This punishment can be brought on by our actions, our inactions, or by not paying attention to our own thoughts.

Our own thoughts will beat us worse than 3 rounds in the octagon. It will take what we believe tear it apart and leave us asking how it happened.

Getting through that pain is the hardest thing we will do in our lives.

I’ve dealt with the loss of my brother, my father-in-law, who I felt close to, and the pain my mind inflicted on my felt worse.

Your mind will torture you, call you names, and when you think it’s done, it’s back for another helping of tossing you bullshit to doubt yourself.

That doubt will sink your dreams, your marriage, and any friendships you’ve created.

The only way through is to have a belief in your goals stronger than the bullshit in your head.

That belief will get you past the loss of anything. It will guide you in the darkest night and be the light to lead you.

This week has been one of reevaluation, digging in when I didn’t think I could go deeper, and trusting the process when I wanted to quit.

I really thought about giving up on writing this week. I hate to struggle and I feel like I’m struggling, not with writing but with life. I know it will get better but right now, staring at nearly nine unpublished books, it’s hard to be confident.

I’ll be pushing harder to get things published this summer and I’ll keep you posted but damn, I’m struggling to keep writing and it has nothing to do with the words.

I’m averaging 1500 words a day, reaching g 2700 words or more on some day.

Have to keep going.

Finding your voice.

There is always talk about voice. But there isn’t a great description of what it is.

I’ll give it to you easier.

Voice is that part of your writing that is you. That little part that sounds only like you.

Here’s how I do it.

I only have the things I’ve experienced, the life I’ve lived and I pull from those things.

We each have the moments we’ve experienced in our lives. Each of us can only think like ourselves, with those thoughts, we’re able to find our voice.

When you think about how life was growing up, when you’re thinking about what that time you ate dinner at your friends house and their family interaction was vastly different from your own, those are the types of moments you should pull from.

The awesome thing is, you can write with that type of knowledge in every genre. Everyone gets uncomfortable at their friend’s house. All of have been there at some point. Use it.

How you perceive the world around you is different from how I do or anyone else. Use that perception and build your characters with it.

While building you’ll discover a voice that is authentic to only you.

Writing, writing groups, and being a pantser.

There is a frustration with writing. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s there often enough to give me pause.

Not understanding where the story is heading. Not being able to control the story. As a pantser, these two things plague me daily.

Now, don’t tell me, “Use an outline. It helps.”

Not for me it doesn’t. When I write, it’s about jumping off the bridge and finding wings on the way down.

I’ve tried outlines and beat sheets. They hinder my writing. I don’t know why, but they do.

I’ve written eight books, seven of them written by discovery/pantsing. The one book I wrote with a beat sheet feels stilted. I tried to enjoy writing it, but I slogged through it to the ending.

Now that we’re done with that part, I’ll talk about today and this week.

This week I started something new, ending the story from last week. This feels different from the other horror stories I’ve written. It feels closer to me.

Getting personal in a story is something I know I’ve needed to work on. With this one, that’s why I’m doing. It’s closer and because of that, it won’t be the 86k in a month I wrote a couple of months ago. I’m working through this one more slowly. It feels like its needed.

I will start submitting my horror stories around for critiquing as I’ve found that my writing group doesn’t understand it. They don’t read horror, which is causing a problem.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a marvelous day. I will be posting pictures from my bartending event Saturday on Instagram.

It should be a nice wedding at one of my favorite venues.

How I get through the hard days.

This past week I’ve struggled to write.

It may be a hangover from the previous book and the thoughts of writing in a new world or it could be a disruption in my schedule.

I think it’s all of the above and it’s thrown me for a loop.

While I’ve worked; squeezing only a few hundred words until yesterday, the words have been stilted. There’s been no flow.

As I said already, I wrote 86,000 words in a month. This may have given me a writing hangover.

There is another thing. I stopped reading a book because it was in the same genre as the book I finished and since I stopped, so has my writing, mostly.

The schedule issue is another thing.

Every day after I take my kids to school and get breakfast, which is usually from 8:30 until 11:00. I do four writing sprints of twenty-five minutes, with a five-minute break in-between.

This is one of the ways I wrote so many words last month.

I was also more focused last month on writing, but in being focused, I did screw up a few times. I didn’t get my critiques done for my writing group.

This is something I’m really upset with myself over.

The other thing is by not getting any solid writing done, doubt and depression have nudged their ways in.

I’ve written numerous times about depression. Check out my page about Transcendental Meditation or my post on TM.org to read more about it.

I won’t let myself get stuck in the spiral again. I went back to the book I’d been reading and I wrote more than I have since last week.

Every day as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, is an adventure, but I wouldn’t quit for anything.

On to the next…

After the First Draft It’s all work.

There are times we have to ignore our research that says, “you need to learn more about the topic” and keep writing.

My current story has taken me into quantum theory, multiverse and to places I’ve heard of but never read about.

These things are a little bit beyond my pay grade, but I’m learning about them…slowly.

I want the story to be good and believable, but sometimes you have to wing it and come back after the first draft to get things done the they need to be.

Like I said before, the first draft is fast and frenetic and stopping to clarify a few things will throw you off and break the stream of writing that you’ve got going.

Writing is hard, but the first draft is all discovery; your characters, your setting, the environment, mood and all the little stuff.

When you have the first draft done, come back after a few weeks, or months and read it again to see what needs fixed, but the only way to get to that point is busting the first draft out in the first place.

The first draft is the magical place of writing, everything else is the work.