Tag Archives: update

Where are my sunglasses? The future looks bright…

I’ve finally clawed my way out of the pit I dug myself into, and by that I mean I quit my second job, the one that stole my nights away and demanded more time than I would have liked. It had become more of a hindrance and less of a necessity than it was in the beginning. When I started working it I had no other choice because it was what was required of me as a husband and father to support those that I love. Over the last three years that has changed, through hard work and diligence, and it is no longer a necessity to hold down the second job so I decided it was time to cut myself free from the chains I myself forged.

Words to live by with my new free time. I'll definitely be enjoying it.  photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA via photopin cc

Words to live by with my new free time. I’ll definitely be enjoying it.photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA via photopin cc 

Burning the candle at both ends had become too much, so I’m glad things worked out that I could stop without worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills or put food on the table. I feel bad that I decided to quit on them. It’s a nice group of people and I have nothing against any of them. I just needed to move on and pursue different things. I needed a change and I shouldn’t feel bad about that, but I do. I’m not the kind of person to just walk out on others so it was hard for me to quit, though I did so with three week notice with the additional promise that at the end of those three weeks I would finish up anything I still had on my plate, so four week notice in all.

That being said, it’s been about seven months since I’ve posted anything on my blog or even really checked out other blogs. To those of you whose blogs I used to frequent, I apologize for not being around. To those of you who don’t remember me, don’t feel bad, I’m not interesting enough to be all that memorable.

So what’s the plan for me now that I’ve got all this extra time on my hands? I plan on easing my way back into this blog-o-sphere thing by getting back into the Friday Fictioneers, assuming they’ll have me back (I’m sure they will, they’re a great bunch of people). Other than that there likely won’t be any other blogs for awhile, though the occasional random post my sneak in there occasionally. I’ve got some projects around the house I’ve been meaning to tackle (I’ve got a list a mile long actually), some projects I’m working on/want to work on just for fun, and some new found time I get to spend with the wife and kid.

This weekend we drove (and drove and drove and drove… it was a 12 hour trip one way) to Michigan’s upper peninsula for my sister’s wedding. A great time was had by all, though we wish we could have stayed longer to enjoy the area. Unfortunately, as it turned out, we only got to spend about a day and a half there before having to make the trek back home. Still, it was a great way to celebrate my new found freedom and my sister’s happiness.

If you’re wondering about the future of my writing, that’s still on extended hiatus. I don’t intend to write anything longer than 100 words for the Fictioneers for the foreseeable future, and I’m alright with that. I’m better with 100 words than I am with longer stuff anyway. Right now that kind of thing just isn’t part of my plans, though it will probably work itself back in there eventually.


I’m seeing red…

Sins of a Father draft being edited

This is what my editing looks like. Look how much red there is! And this is a part that doesn’t even have a whole lot wrong with it. What? You didn’t think I was serious about breaking out the red pen? Well I was, and I did.

My goal is to work through a chapter a day with pen and paper to the end before I even think of making any changes to the file on my PC. And once I make it the whole way through all 22 chapters, I’ll be starting back from the beginning and doing it all over again for a second pass to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The upside? The chapters only average about four and a quarter pages each since this is a novella, so tackling one every day is an easily accomplished task.

For those of you who a writers and hate editing your work, I find it’s so much easier to edit with a printed copy and a pen than on a computer screen. It makes me despise the process a bit less anyway, and that’s a good thing. For me personally, the biggest problem with doing it on the computer is that I have a short attention span, so I have trouble focusing on the task at hand when so many other distractions are readily available (internet, email, etc.). I find this is especially true on longer works. Longer works just seem so daunting a task that removing the computer from the equation makes it a bit more enjoyable. Give it a shot next time you find yourself avoiding editing. Just make sure the pen is red so you can easily find your edits when it comes time to transfer them to the computer.

Yes. Yes, I am.

An eye is upon you, staring straight down and keenly through,
Seeing all that you are and everything that you can never be.
Yes, an eye is upon you, an eye ready to blink.
So face forward with arms wide open and mind reeling.
Your future has arrived.
Are you ready to go?

– Lyrics from An eye is upon you by Powerman 5000

If you haven’t figured it out, the post title answers that question.

I came into this month more focused on my writing than I’ve ever been. I think it has something to do with turning thirty later this month. I’ve hyped thirty up in my mind as a turning point in my life, not because I’ll be old or because I care about turning thirty. Thirty isn’t old and it’s just another birthday to me. It actually has nothing to do with the age itself, that’s just coincidence. Thirty is when I start to take control of my own destiny. Whether I succeed or fail will be completely upon my shoulders, but there will be no more coasting through life waiting for things to happen. I know I need to make them happen if I want to get anywhere. I’m willing to do that. I’ve no problem with that. I have big plans and goals and deadlines I’ve set for myself on things I want to achieve and all of these glorious ideas floating around begging to be realeased. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to achieve what I want to achieve, but thirty is where the journey begins. Of that I’m certain.

So, what’s the problem?

Time. Time is the problem. Well, not technically time itself, but lack thereof. I’ve barely written anything at all this month. Granted we’re only six days in, but I still feel like I’m slacking. I’m not really, there are just other things that need to come first at this point in my life. That’s what being a responsible adult is all about right? Making hard decisions and sacrificing what is necessary for the good of your family? Unfortunately, at this stage of the game that sacrifice has to be writing time. I don’t much care for that, but for now writing just doesn’t pay the bills. I’m not making excuses, just thinking out loud. Facing the problem head on is the only way to find a solution, so that is what I’m doing. What’s that old saying? Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery? Well, consider this me admitting I have a problem. Now I’ll work on finding a solution, preferably one that doesn’t wear me out physically or mentally.

Don’t worry about me though. I’m a smart cookie. I planned for times like this in my goals and deadlines. I knew things like this would happen so I accounted for it, and I must say I’m glad I did. Going into something with realistic expectations is far superior than blind faith that you can overcome impossible odds. I guess I’m just a realist in that regard, even if I’m a dreamer in most other aspects of life.

Dream big or go home, just keep the expectations in check.

Where the best ideas come from

I just realized I haven’t yet posted anything today. I almost broke my unintentional streak unintentionally.

This is going to be a short one, because it’s late and I’m tired and I still have a few things to finish before I head to bed.

Did you ever have a great idea then someone utters a phrase that completely reroutes your original idea to an even better place? That happened to me today. The phrase was completely harmless and had nothing to do with my newest WIP, Whitaker’s Island, but those few words changed the entire face of the story.

My wife and I took the kiddo to State College (where Penn State University is located) to do a bit of shopping and then stopped for a bite to eat in Boalsburg. We’ve only been to Boalsburg once or twice even though its only a couple miles outside of State College so we don’t know the area too well. We drove around for probably fifteen or twenty minutes looking for the place my sister recommended, making lots of wrong turns along the way. We didn’t have a GPS or even an address so we were just driving blind until we happened upon a billboard for the place.

Anyway, after we ate and as we were driving out of Boalsburg, my wife said, “This place reminds me of one of those towns you go to, but you don’t ever leave.” We had a little bit of a conversation about her meaning before she fell asleep and I made the forty five minute drive home with my thoughts about the story twisting into something far greater than it was before.

I wasn’t planning on going to Boalsburg today, we only ended up there because my hockey game was canceled due to rain. I’m glad it worked out that way. I wouldn’t have this wonderful new story line if it didn’t go down like that. Just goes to show that the greatest inspiration comes when you aren’t actively searching for it, but instead when you are just living your life.

That is all. You may go to bed now.

Lock me up and throw away the key

All signs point to me being completely insane. I’ve decided to start writing yet another novella and I haven’t even finished the two I’m working on yet. In fact, I’ll be starting it immediately after I finish this post. Before you send me to the looney bin, you should know that there is a method to my madness.

Here’s how my mind is working at the moment. I have four basic stages of writing: Draft 1, Draft 2, Edit 1, and Edit 2. The goal of starting another project is to have a project in each stage of the cycle at all times. Currently, the ladder looks like this:

Edit 2 – Sadly, nothing is currently this far along

Edit 1 – Sins of a Father

Draft 2 – The trials and tribulations of Cherokee Johnson

Draft 1 – Whitaker’s Island

When each of these progresses up the ladder, a fourth story will be added to the bottom rung. Currently, the fourth is slated to be a story I have dubbed Epoch, but that’s subject to change when the time comes. There are a lot of other ideas floating around in ye olde noggin and one of them may just fight its way to the top of the list before I get to the fourth rung.

Having multiple projects helps keep the creativity flowing. If I’m not feeling Mr. Muse’s juju on one I can move to one of the others. Surely he’ll have something to say about one of the four. Plus, when I finish one I don’t have the overwhelming feeling of how much work I need to put in before I finish another, because the next is already in the editing phase. I need to keep the pipeline full to keep writing. If I allow that overwhelmed feeling to sink in then I can go for months without writing. I don’t want to allow that. I refuse to allow that, thus the four step plan was born. By keeping something always near completion, I don’t notice the amount of work required quite as much and can keep my spirits up.

There is also the novel, The Rain (working title), in the works, but that’s being viewed as an “I’ll get to it when I get to it” sort of deal at the moment so it doesn’t count as one of the steps on the ladder at this time. It’s currently at the beginning of Draft 2, so when the time comes it’ll just squeeze in and halt whatever is below it, just not yet.

If I can stay motivated and friendly with Mr. Muse (if not friendly, at least keep a working relationship going) I’ve got big things planned for the future, but that’s a post for down the line at some point. Right now, I’ve just got to focus on doing what I do. “Keep on keepin’ on,” as Joe Dirt would say. Thanks for the support and friendship, guys. It means a lot.

Love, peace, and chicken grease, my friends.