The Biggest Problem I have…

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When it comes to writing, I have things I enjoy and things I’m afraid of. You’d think at 44 I’d get over some of them, but they’re still there.

The biggest among these is the enjoyment of horror. Whether it’s writing it, reading it, or watching it, I worry about the judgement aspect.

I guess that happens to a lot of writers, but lately its been creeping into my mind and stopping me from enjoying things that otherwise I would have.

I’ve loved horror since I was a little kid and maybe it’s because I grew up in very conservative environment where horror wasn’t given the respect it deserves. Then there are the people in this world who turn up their nose at horror.

There are so many of those people.

I think it has to do with a lot of that. The being judged part of my brain still has a problem with it.

Take the book I just finished, it wasn’t in the horror genre, mostly because I felt like I needed to try something new.

After writing 10(now 11) books I felt that something wasn’t working. I’d submitted books to agents, short stories for collections and anthologies and heard nothing back. Maybe it’s my writing.

It possibly is. But if it is, I’m going to take the next few months and work on improving that.

I have story ideas all over the place. I can’t stop writing now, it’s the one thing that keeps me going daily, if I were to quit, I’d have to quit other things as well.

Its the feeling of being alone in this process that drives me crazy. I can’t afford to get and editor, especially not during this pandemic. All of our money is focused on continuing to survive.

I’m grateful my wife is able to continue her job and we can continue to have our house, when I know a few people who aren’t in our position.

I’d like to get a push. Some kind of win on this, not that it matters money wise, but for my sanity. it would be helpful.

I’ll keep writing horror and work through the issues I have with sharing them with others.

Sending them to a contest, collection or anthology doesn’t bother me, but having others know what I write does freak me out a bit.

I’m aware that most of my family, other than my wife, won’t read what I write, and maybe I need to get past their approval and stop caring about what they think.

That’s probably for the best.

Getting life taken care of

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I’ve worked on a new project for most of the last month of all this crazy new reality.

It started with wondering whether I should write the current project, something I discussed in another post.

I also talked about dropping this project because it was different and wasn’t the horror stories I believed I should be writing.

But cooler heads prevailed and I’m at almost 30k on this project.

It’s the first time I’ve used an outline this thoroughly.

I worked for three weeks on this outline and now that I’ve got a handle on how it’s supposed to work I’m enjoying it.

There are minor points I’ve set within the outline that I must reach and they’ve allowed me to write to the story I want as long as I hit those points the story works.

That I’ve written ten novels and never approached my writing this way says a lot about where I’ve been and even more about how my mental attitude has changed towards an outline.

I’ve tried this approach numerous times but now after having a MasterClass account and listening to David Baldacci, Dan Brown, Robert Patterson, I’m more comfortable within this construct than I’ve ever been.

My wife got me a subscription to MasterClass for my birthday and I’ve watched all of the ones I’ve listed above.

The Baldacci one is my favorite.

I’m able to get 2300 words or more every day, sometimes reaching into the 3k range.

But having the comfort of this new way to work makes me more confident in my writing abilities.

I miss writing on this blog three days a week but have been focusing on reading and writing so much that the blog hasn’t been part of that focus.

I’m not going make a promise I can’t keep and tell you I’ll write more posts, but I will keep you updated on how the writing is going as much as possible.

I have a deadline set for the end of June for the first draft and will probably finish sooner.

As to the rest of my life.

Kids are doing school from home. I’m unable to bartend for obvious COVID-19 restrictions. My wife has worked from home for the last 9+ years and is busy.

I work, play video games, keep the house, and yard clean.

I miss bartending. I’m an introvert, except when I’m pouring drinks.

I miss that.

I hope you’re all healthy.

Stay home, stay safe.

The No Excuses Post

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know about how I planned on publishing last fall to only have it fall apart.

Well, that’s where the title for this post came from.

I made an excuse last fall. It was determined by other factors but I still wobbled and eventually dropped my plans for publishing.

It looks like I have a lot of time on my hands right now, so I’m thinking of doing that thing now, or at least soon.

Look, we’re not in a situation to ask for a professional editor. Just can’t do it.

So I’ll publish something. I know it isn’t perfect but I also am hoping that the little money I may make from it will help my family out.

My bartending gig is not existent right now.

I have no other way to make money and this is what I’ll do…No Excuses, right?

You’ve always known the way

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There are all these books and speakers to tell us what we need to do. But the thing I’ve learned is, we’ve always known what we need to do.

It’s the same as losing weight. We know what we have to do but we don’t because it’s hard.

Like exercise, writing and other creative endeavors have the same theory.

We know what we must do to achieve the things we want but we’re so afraid of failure and what could happen we stop ourselves from doing what’s necessary.

This is counterproductive to our goals and we have to keep our heads when it comes to our life, creativity, and check ourselves mentally.

The way forward has always been blocked by whatever we have in our heads that it difficult. Whether it is the editing process or worry about how someone will judge us by what we create. It’s all about what’s in the way.

Getting through it is as easy as that.

We see the obstacle. We know it’s there and we can choose to ignore it or continue to struggle.

But it is entirely up to us.

We have to get through that obstacle if we want to challenge ourselves and if we want our project and life to progress.

But we have to do it. If we’re truly certain of our path, there is no other way through.

Muse and Motivation, where have you gone?

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If you’re a long time reader you know my struggles with motivation. Well, I feel someone else has flown the coop.

I’ve been trying to stay motivated lately but I stare at my phone more than Scrivener.

When I do write, it doesn’t feel good and the fiasco of the missing 25,000 words hasn’t helped.

I feel like any motivation I have at one moment is gone the next. That my muse has flown away. I hope her wings have been singed by the frustration and anger pouring off of me.

So I feel I’ve reached that crossroads, the move on or die point. What I call waypoints.

It’s been hectic, to say the least. My mind has broken itself up into separate entities to deal with shit. Now with the motivation to write, the feeling that I’m failing myself, and that sobriety is making me feel better, I’ve reached a waypoint.

I can stop this train right now. Get off and never struggle with writing again, or I can what I know, fix what I’ve struggled with(hint editing)and do this shit for real.

I’ll have to do things I’m not comfortable with. I know I’m not happy with how my writing or how I’ve dealt with childhood trauma, but getting better is an everyday journey.

One step after another brother, one step after another.

So I’m stuck…

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There’s this magical art of writing things that I’m able to do most of the time.

I create stories out of thin air. Launch demons and ghouls into the world.

Today has not been one of those days.

I’m stuck.

Not in a “I have no idea what I’m doing” kind of way but more in a “I lost my story and don’t know how to get back to it” kind of way.

Taking a few days off to recover from bartending Sundance events destroyed my train of thought and where the story was going.

I had a lot of fun writing what is written, and I’ve got back and read it. But I have no idea where it was headed. I have notes, outlines and all of that but it doesn’t matter when the story takes over your brain.

You’re at the whim of muse, and she doesn’t like to be teased. She wants consistency. She wants reliability. Most of all she wants her pound of flesh on the page. When she doesn’t get it, she hides. She runs away and fucking hides.

Now, I have no idea where she went. If I did I’d ask her why she left. But today, I need her. I need all that she is. It’s a joint effort and without her on my shoulder the words don’t come and I’m unable to get things done.

I get looks when I don’t write. I need her back. I may set out something for her. A bribe.

But I’m stuck and she won’t come around right now.

I let myself down.

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The last five months of 2019 I didn’t write as much or read as much as I should’ve.

My focus left me because of a game.

I don’t know why I let it control those last few months, but I did.

It took control of who I wanted to be. What I wanted to accomplish and I became detached from all of those things.

I realized that I had to do better for myself.

Besides my wife and kids, my writing is the most important thing in my life.

It’s changed how I deal with society. It’s caused me to reevaluate my depression. I no longer look at it with a singular moniker of, “depression.”

There are many subtle levels of depression and they take over parts of my writing and how I deal with the day-to-day machinations of it.

In the end we are at the mercy of what we focus on though I finished a novel during those five months–I’ve determined that it’s quite good–I also learned a lot about myself and why the littlest distractions can detour my writing as well as the balance within my brain.

I’m determined to get something out that can be read by everyone as well as to continue posting on here.

I still have queries out with three agents and when I hear something, good or not, I’ll let you know.

Happy writing and enjoy the rest of your week.