A ledge, a death, and finding myself.

:TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of suicide.

Five years ago I stood on a ledge. I mean this literally.

I was in the parking garage of the hotel and casino I worked at in Las Vegas. It was the end of my shift and I didn’t want to live anymore.

Over the previous six months, my grandfather passed away, I stopped considering my biological father as my dad, and I contracted shingles.

All of this is related to why I stood on that ledge.

I remember standing, the dry Vegas air blowing through my clothes, and not caring what anyone would think about me not being here.

I was mostly just tired. I felt like I caused a lot of pain and I was tired of hurting.

Something happened that day that was nearly the deciding factor for my life. A co-worker told me, “No one cares what happens to you. No one wants to listen to you talk about your writing anymore.”

Those words, completely full of venom and hate, led me to standing on the ledge.

I stared down at the pavement. Feeling the wind brush back my hair and rippled my clothes. Then, I don’t know why, but I stepped down and called my wife. I don’t have an explanation as to why I stepped down.

I explained to my wife what happened.

No one, not even her knew how bad my depression was. I didn’t want anyone to know that I’d lost it. I’m not sure if its a guy thing, though I’ve come to believe it had something to do with it.

I talked to her through my Bluetooth on the way home. She had no idea. I know no one I worked with did.

Today, I turned 43. Life got better after we left Las Vegas almost four years ago. I see my kids more, love my wife more, and take care of myself. I enjoy life.

One of the reasons we left was the toxicity of casino work. When we left, I was getting migraines 2-3 times a week. Since we left, I’ve had eight of them.

One of my goals after moving was to write fiction daily. I do that now. I’ve written eight books and I’m planning on publishing a book this summer on Amazon.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please get help. Please tell someone and don’t let some asshole you work with drive you to end things.

I continue to suffer from depression, but after trying Transcendental Meditation after my breakdown, because that’s what it was.

TM has become a daily practice for my wife and I. It changed my life, as well as saving it.

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.

When it clicks.

There was a moment this past weekend while writing that I found the story going in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated.

This sent me to rework the story and go after it from a different direction.

It started, as many stories have lately by being a story prompt. This one took me where I hadn’t been before in my writing. It became more personal.

The personal aspects of it is leading me towards questions I’ve asked about my family while growing up.

Where did we come from? How did our family get to America?

I don’t know why this came up. My family has been in the U.S. on my father’s side since the 1600’s. The other side has been in the U.S. since the late 1800’s.

I know bits and pieces about aspects of my family members on one side. To me it always felt like aspects of my maternal grandmother’s family weren’t told. Those aspects are things I’ve wanted to know.

I’m choosing to delve into them with my writing.

Keep writing.

There are moments as a writer when you have to ignore the world around you.

This is related to my post on Tuesday.

I often consider going quiet on social media, in text messages, and everything else.

I want to take this break to finish projects.

There’s a worry, especially as an unpublished writer, that going offline for long amounts of time you’ll lose eyeballs.

I feel this is true and if I leave all my social media I’ll lose everything I’ve built.

Being that I’m publishing on Amazon later this year, I know I won’t leave my blog or Twitter and I may have start a new Facebook account.

I don’t want to but in order to get eyeballs on my writing I may have to.

I’ll keep going on the blog because I’m enjoying talking to all of my readers.

I hope you’re having a good day!

Stop caring about other’s perceptions.

Over the last year there have been more moments where I felt alone in my process and journey.

Where, other than my wife and one or two others, I didn’t feel there was the support I thought I’d get.

Those moments grew throughout the year. They led to decisions in my writing as well as in my social media activity.

As a writer working towards publishing, especially in the past year, I felt it was time to address this.

I went off of Facebook a year ago. Have taken breaks from Instagram and Twitter, as well as this blog.

I learned a lot from those breaks. One of things is, there are a core group of people who want me to succeed in writing, then there are those who don’t care.

A few years ago, this would have hurt like hell. Today, it burns a little, but that’s all. Those who don’t support my writing are not necessary for me to write. Nor are they necessary to my every day life.

It may sound like a rant, which I don’t do often, but maybe it is. I’ve reached a point as a writer where approval isn’t necessary for my mental health , that’s good right?

The last few days I’ve been writing something different and it’s been hard. It goes against a lot of who I am. It’s also a great story idea. When we, as writers and humans, reach a point where the approval of others is no longer necessary. That’s when we’ll stop caring what people think about us. It’s freeing and scary.

Today, I put some words on the page on this story. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it once it’s done, but its fun as hell.

Hope you’re having a good Tuesday. Make sure to take care of yourself today and I’ll see you on Thursday.

Happy Writing!

Narration, critiques, and improving.

The past year I worked on narration and breaking up dialogue with narration.

I have an awful habit having long streams of dialogue with the occasional bit of narration thrown in.

My wife and my writing group have called me out on this.

Fixing this in the he last few short stories and the last novel I finished have been my goals.

Knowing what’s wrong with your writing. Having a support team to tell you what’s wrong is part of the journey of writing. Sometimes their words hurt. Sometimes you’ll want to scream, but almost always, what they tell you will improve your prose.

Fifteen years ago, when I wrote my first novel, I didn’t take criticism well. After time, I realized it’s meant to help me improve.

I wish I’d had a writing group when I started. I only had my wife. She was extra cautious when critiquing because at that point, I wasn’t a very nice person.

Today, I’m better than I was. I wish I’d have learned earlier that honest critiques can be brutal. Especially if you’re not ready for honesty.

I hope your writing is going well.

Writing is like using a big flashlight.

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Finding your way through a story is like having a big flashlight with a little beam. You’re hoping to find something, but the small beam doesn’t allow you to search a wide area. So you’re stuck searching with this big flashlight. Hoping you see what you need but know you might not.

I started work on a new project. I mentioned it last week, and it was fun, but there were times I felt the flashlight wasn’t in my hands.

It’s frustrating, and I kept thinking I should move on to another story. But I loved the fear it created in my mind as I wrote, which kept me going.

I wanted to know what happened to the characters. I worried about them. And although some writers say writing is like playing God, to me it’s more like being a harbinger of Fate.

One thing leads to another. I worry about whether the characters will live or die, but as a pantser I don’t have that control, the story does.

I’ve written all different ways, but discovery, or pantsing, works best for the way my brain works.

Not sure why it’s that way, but it is.

Anyway, I finished it yesterday. It was over 5k but needed a different pace than the 86k fantasy novel I finished in December.

Either way, I finished another story.

But I hope you’re having a good day and meeting your writing goals.