Not sure where this is going.

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought about where I’m going with my writing. What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong?

I don’t have answers to either of those questions. I feel I put in enough time editing than I used to. I feel I’ve worked hard to overcome many of my crutch issues.

I submit when I see a call that a story will fit with. I work on my craft by reading books on writing and reading all genres of books. I’m thinking of stepping away to work on something else. Myself.

I have a novella out on submission and a thriller novel that I’ll be submitting in August, but after writing 13 novels and novellas, I’m not enjoying this. I write daily because that’s the deal my wife and I made when we left Las Vegas.

I would write and bartend a few days to make ends meet.

Anymore, I wonder if I’m helping her out enough. If I’m helping my kids enough.

Am I doing everything I can to make them happy?

There’s one thing about this I haven’t put forward often. Am I doing enough to make myself happy?

I don’t usually think about this. I used to put myself before anyone. That came from having the biological father I did. He always put himself first. I did that for years. I’ve worked hard to not be that way, but I think something was lost.

I think more about making others happy and not myself. I worry about whether others are getting what they need. I never consider what I need. It just doesn’t feel like I’m as important as everyone else. Maybe that has to do with my childhood, I’m not sure. I know this mentality has screwed up how I view my writing life.

I’m leaning towards getting the thriller submitted and seeing how it goes. Afterward, I’ll reevaluate my writing and whether I’ll write to submit, which is what I’ve done for the last seven years.

I have my story collection on Amazon and wish it would do well, but it hasn’t. After two years on Amazon and other places, I may pull it after it goes through its cycle on KU.

Today I finished a story, and it’s brutal and destructive. I don’t know what I’ll do with it right now. Probably keep it with the rest of my stories on my hard drive. I’ve worked hard on these stories. I’d like someone else to enjoy them.

I’m beginning to think I missed the turnoff somewhere. I don’t know where to go from here.

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Back to work

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There are many clouds over my head as I write this. I feel their showers, their thunder, and I’m waiting for their lightning strikes.

I’m writing from my desk as I construct a new project from my wife’s dream. I can’t give the details, but it intrigues me, and while she’s given me permission to construct something from it, I will stray into something darker than I’ve done before.

The factors of the dream are not what will make it terrifying. It’s the elements I intend to add.

This is where I dig into what I’ve been doing since my last post.

Over the last few weeks, I finished the exercises in Writing In The Dark Workbook. This book has changed how I create without completely diving into the exercises.

I have thought about sharing my response to the exercises, but I’ve created too many beginnings for stories, and I want to keep them to myself.

I will say this about the two books, yes, there are two. The first is Writing In The Dark, based on Tim’s articles. The second is Writing In The Dark: The Workbook, and you will do some work.

This book makes you look at your writing in a new way. It did with me, at least. I feel I’ve found a way to create an outline with a horror novel.

I’ve never found a way that actually works for me. I’ve always written horror as a pantser. It’s when I write thrillers that I’m able to create an outline. After finishing the workbook I feel more confident in my writing, which I’ve struggled with for a long time.

Moving forward, I will revisit this workbook with every project.

I have to get to the editing on my thriller novel this week. I will be submitting that to agents in the next couple of months. I still have a novella out on submission. It has been over a year, but I’m holding out for it. I love the story. It would be great for it to be picked up.

I will see you next time.

Getting through it

There have been many days where I wanted to quit. When it all felt worthless. When I wanted to throw my laptop and all the stories I’ve written in the trash.

This last week I spent time with my family at Disneyland. It was fun but we have our issues sometimes. I’m sure it’s that way with every family.

It made me realize that my head was getting in the way of my progress. I was letting my thoughts run my life. That’s not a way to live. The thoughts were terrible and I wish I could forget all of them, but they’re still there in some empty space in my brain.

I didn’t write on that trip. I barely took any pictures. I stayed as much in the moment as I could. And it was hard. I can’t remember the last time I put everything away and stayed in the moment so solidly. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve done.

I’m usually on my phone looking at social media, but I only did that on a couple of instances last week.

Being in the moment was as difficult sober as I knew it would be. There were too many times I wanted a drink to steady my brain. It made me want a drink and it also made me lash out at my family. That was my fault. I wasn’t prepared for all of what was going on around me and I wanted to dull it.

No dulling happened and I stayed a bit angry. I’m angry at myself today for not handling it better and for not understanding how difficult it would be to manage all of the stimulation around me. Which I should have.

Now I’m back at the desk working this week. I’m making my way through Tim Waggoner’s Writing In The Dark Workbook and will have a review with some of the exercises up when I’m done.

I can’t say enough about how this book has helped me. I’ll save that for the review.

I hope you’re going to have a good week and as I struggle to deal with my behavior I hope you’re managing your own.

F This and Getting It Right

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I’m trying to get my head right.

These last three months have challenged me in ways I never thought possible.

I’m reevaluating where my energy goes. I’d put a lot of it into social media, at least in TikTok and I’m feeling like that’s been part of my problem. I took the app off of my phone and will only look at it on my desktop or laptop.

I started working on Tim Waggoner’s new Writing in the Dark Workbook yesterday. I’m feeling better about my writing while making my way through the exercises, which is more than I’ve been able to say in months. The book is fantastic and while this isn’t a review for it, I think it’s as good if not better than the original book.

I believe a perfect storm happened over the last three months and staring at TikTok as much as I have screwed with my head. I used it to dull my senses about everything else that happened.

This is something I used to do with alcohol but having given up alcohol I needed to find something else to dull me. Social media is a good drug, but its after-effects are a bitch.

I need a middle ground on all of this and I’m having trouble finding it. I know my post the other day probably freaked a few people out. It’s been a hard three months.

I’ll be offline for everything this next week as I travel to Disneyland to celebrate my son’s graduation from high school. I intend to get back to writing as my head feels clearer than it has in months. I’m not sure what caused it, but I’m not sure I’ll be using TikTok anymore.

Emotions, endings, and decisions.

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I haven’t written a word on here in a few weeks. Today felt like time to say something.

I’m dealing with some severe mental issues and its taken me out of my head. I write because its the only thing I truly enjoy anymore, but even that has been difficult.

I have a novel out with my editor, a novella out for consideration with a publisher, two other novellas sitting on my hard drive but after the last three months I’m not sure I want to do this anymore.

Once the novel is done with my editor I’ll go through it and submit it to agents. I don’t know what else to do with it. If that doesn’t pan out I’ll self publish it. The novella with publishers is one I hoped would do well, but after almost a year of it being out, my hope is dwindling.

I’m having all kinds of feels for my writing and while I’ve struggled with depression before, this time feels different. This time is more difficult to pull myself out of it. I’ve had so many bad thoughts over the last three months and I’m beginning to wonder if the lack of my writing going anywhere is a part of it. When you’ve written 12 1/2 novels, 4 novellas, and hundreds of short stories with nothing to show for it, life begins to look different.

Am I writing for the right reasons? Is my mental health worth this?

I’m beginning to wonder about those two questions more and more.

Why do I write? At first it was to prove to someone that I could do it. As I continue down this road of being an unpublished author, that’s no longer the reason. I like stories. I like to read them, to create them, and maybe I’ll continue to write in my free time but only for me. I’ve reached the point where I no longer feel a benefit to myself for my writing.

My mental health is the worst its ever been. I’ll be in California with my wife and kids celebrating my son’s high school graduation next week. The following week I’ll be looking for a therapist because I can’t do this by myself anymore.

If I decide to continue writing after those first few sessions of therapy I’ll figure it out, but I’m leaning towards stopping. It’s not enhancing my life anymore. It’s drudgery and it’s screwing with my head.

I will be spending tonight watching my son graduate from high school. I’ll be considering whether I continue writing over the next few weeks. I am leaning towards quitting.