January 15th 2018

My birthday is in 4 days.

I guess you could say I’m not content to turn 28, despite what some people have told me about my accomplishments thus far.

Someone once said to cherish every step of your creative journey.

The Buddha compared the the life of a human to a river.

Whether by climbing or by current, life keeps moving and changing.

Let me tell you something I’ve discovered about myself in relation to something that once obsessed me. In fact, I tend to discover this eventually about everything that obsesses me eventually.

Let me tell you, I tend to realize, after far too much investment of time and energy into an activity, that the premise I approached the actions I took under was completely false.

It happened to me with tabletop war games like Warhammer 40,000. I played for years, invested a good chunk of my limited time and resources. I figured out how broken the game was after years spent on it.

The digital card game Hearthstone recently met this realization. I haven’t played it since.

One addiction. Yes, I might call these addictions, I desperately need to kick is my old habit of listening to advice shows by other writers. Mostly these take the form of podcasts, and I have been listening to them religiously for over 14 years.

While I have removed the ones I feel are most egregious from my diet, I know (And my brother has often told me) they aren’t worth hanging onto.

Over fourteen years of listening, the advice podcasts, even when they don’t sound repetitive, often simply make me feel uncertain about what I already learned. I’ve kept searching for some means of ‘fixing’ my writing, my style, my characterization… The list goes on, but I won’t bore you with that.

I’ve been realizing, and I use the word ‘realizing’ because I think I already knew this on some level, the amount of pain that comes from rejecting what you love in favor of what someone else has told you is necessary to be loved.

While there are characters in fiction I enjoy reading about, I’m ready to disagree with the idea that only people matter to readers.

I’m a reader, and knowledge of these characters often does not appeal to me as much as the worlds they live in.

While I can rail against stories and their tellers for not abiding by doctrine of character and conflict, I’ve always been a liar when I did. Self-hating world-builder. Self-loathing designer.

I’m not an actor, not a performer when it comes to wearing the minds of my characters.

I want to write what I love.

When I was an English Major I tried to write a book that would please both me and my professors. Foolishness, for sure, I see clearly in hindsight. However, just last year I tried writing books for snobby writers, people who ‘know’ the rules of storytelling. Doubly foolish I’ve been.

Eventually only one piece of writing advice remains for me to follow if I want increase my joy in what I do.

I must write. I must write what I love.

Analysis.

Structure.

Sympathetic and well-developed characters.

None of these things are the vital component of my process.

The only piece of advice left is that most simultaneously transcendent and trite truism: Just write.

It pains me to add just after writing the previous line, even this advice could use some revision.

Or perhaps that is not the kernel of truth.

It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, or what any writer does. Someone is going to hate my work, their work, your work.

Someone already does.

I’ve met other writers eager to tear each other down. In fact, I believe most of us enter that stage, but not all get out of it.

Be wary of advice. Even this advice.

Doubt every fragment of advice, even the oldest one.

Don’t JUST write.

Bye.

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Monday Check In

It’s late (for me anyway) so I’m checking in on this blog instead of Youtube.

Happy Monday!

I was going to try using a two-minute timer for this episode.

Today I:
-Wrote 4000 words in a fantasy novella.
-Developed a splitting headache
-Got another review on my book “The Mangrove Suite.”
-Drank more coffee than usual. Can you tell?

That previous stuff all accounted for, I feel pretty good about the day. How about you?

2017 Last Words

Well, I missed a lot of blogging this year.

I can’t promise next year will see me on this site more often, but that is the plan.

So, as for 2017, I’m spending a few minutes of the last hour typing these words.

2017 has been a pretty good year for me, though far from perfect.

My mother was diagnosed with a serious disease, however possible to treat.

I published three books, Tenlyres, Soul Art, and The Mangrove Suite. I’m happy with all three of these books, especially the last one on the list.

I talked a lot with a few of my friends, and almost none with most of the others. I started a podcast, Alive After Reading, and continued the other podcast with my cohost.

I figured out which of my medications are still valuable, but at a pretty high cost in time.

Anyway, I’m tired. It’s a late hour, the last one of the year. Happy new year.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to talk to you again soon.

2017
So long 2017.

Good night sweet prince.

Sayonara sucker!

Now we can’t pretend the whole thing didn’t happen, but we can try to do better next time.

Good luck, everyone.

Friday Morning Rambling and NaNoWriMo

I don’t recall exactly what happened in my dream last night.

I wish I did because they left me feeling pretty cheerful when I woke up.

It’s been a pretty odd week. For one thing, early on, I stayed up for 30 consecutive hours, hoping I could focus to finish my current work in progress in one day and night. I got a lot of words, but the book is still in process. I should be able to finish the book sometime between now and next Tuesday.

And yes, it is NaNoWriMo this month. Many writers of all kinds and commitment levels go to the trenches to try to write 50,000 words in one month.

I have done word counts like this before, but I’m a bit out of practice at the moment. Last month I almost managed it. This year, I’m not signed up to participate, but make no mistake, my goal is to write as many words as I can this month. No staying up all night, though. I want to make this more sustainable than my past mentality of writing as a special occasion (Which is silly for a lot of reasons, not least because it’s over half my job right now).

So, as November begins, let me encourage those of you doing NaNo to keep in mind sustainability for the future. A burst of words is a good time, but words week in and week out is even better, in my opinion.

Good day and good luck.

Thanks for reading.

Dreams with a Hint of Barnacles

I had an unusual dream last night. For one thing, it wasn’t a nightmare.

I enjoyed this dream.

In the dream, I witnessed a dark fantasy world, which appeared as a nested set of tales, one hidden within another down a few layers deep. For this reason,, it is tough to remember what the overall story was about.

Dark armor. Bright blades. Powerful heroes. Tragic and dramatic results.

All surrounded in wind and rain, possibly a result of the winter storm going on in my area last night.

Right now, it seems to me this dream could apply to an odd set of worlds I have been fiddling on, involving space-traveling fantasy with barnacles on giant spacefaring creatures. But now, as I unpack the dream, it fits a much older setting I’ve created a lot better.

That setting has gone by the name of Fantasy A (I know, I’m terribly creative).

This is a setting I’ve probably mentioned before on this blog, but likely that was years ago. I can’t recall precisely.

It’s a world of demons and magic, but regardless, I’m excited to pick it up at some point in the near future, especially after this night of dreaming.

For now, though I have other work to pursue. Such is the life of a writer.

Thanks for reading.

Today’s Goal

Hey everyone!

I missed posting last Friday, but today I’m warming up for a big day of writing by putting this brief post online.

Writing has been okay these past two weeks. I always want to go faster, and I’ve been feeling that lately.

Overall, though, life is pretty good.

So, today I’m planning to swing for the fences. For me, this means a goal of 5000 words. Should be doable, if a little difficult.

That’s it for now. Have a good day.

Thanks for reading.

The Deadly Sins of Writers

Let me explain the title of this post for starters.

I’ve been kicking around a nonfiction idea for writers, I think of as the seven deadly sins of writers. Greed, sloth, etc, as they apply to writers. As I consider this book (Along with my many and varied fiction projects), I realized one of these sins stands out the most to me as it applies to writers.

I think envy is my greatest challenge at the moment (With sloth/indolence being a close second).

Lately, I look at the success of others, and though I think I’m managing the envy well compared to how I’d deal with it in the past, you could say I’m a bit nervous of how long I can maintain a good attitude about my feelings.

There are lots of independent authors who do very well. I’m working to become one of them, as I’m sure many of you know. The only way to get there is to work more. That’s where sloth arrives to join forces with envy. I’m less skilled at dealing with envy of other peoples’ attitude or work ethic, and that’s what I find gets to me these days. It’s not about the money, it’s about the process. If I felt freer, I would be on my way in no time.

Of that, I feel certain. But never mind the negativity.

I have more words to do today. Just wanted to check in with you readers first. I’m still working on the sequel to The Mangrove Suite. It’s going pretty well right now, though it could always be better.

No excerpt this week. Would be too spoilery given the subject matter of the recent chapters.