Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘writing’

2021 – The Year I Rested

It’s the end of 2021 and I can say this was the year I took a break. I started the year wanting (like everyone else) to do some big things… finished the book, write more stories, self-publish, etc. I thought I would do it, but I didn’t. I did a little. A few more chapters. A few half finished stories. But nothing close to what I set out to do at the end of 2020.

Earlier today, I stared at my vision board for 2021 and inwardly groaned. The goals were achievable and I dropped the ball. When I think back on the year all I really remember is repeating pattern of work, meals, family time, and sleep. Very little of this time was devoted to creating.

Even being at home most of the time, I still found other things to do besides create. That is such a foreign feeling for me and yet I fell into this pattern quite easily. I’ve been thinking about this all day. I didn’t quit, I just… didn’t try very hard. My feeling is that I am burnt out.

One day I’ll have to do a post about the times I completely quit writing. There were two times and for different reasons. But every time I found my way back.

This year I didn’t quit. I was still writing and, even earlier this year, I wrote about adding new chapters to my novel. But I didn’t finish anything.

And that is frustrating for me.

I like finishing stuff. It is very satisfying to see a whole project completed and laid in front of me. Going into year three of this book… sucks. I want to be done. I think this desire and made me unmotivated to continue. It looks so contradictory when I write this out. I want to be done with the book, so I don’t write it. LOL. I took a light writing year and now I’m unmotivated to write.

So going into 2022, I’m going to try and get on a schedule. Maybe this will help. I feel like I’ve done better when I put myself on a writing schedule. Either way, I’m going to take the next three months to finish this book. I’m going to have an ending by March 31.

Also, I have not forgotten about putting more short stories on Amazon. But book first. That is the push for the next three months.

Happy 2022 Everyone!

Labor Day 2021

It’s the end of the summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m wishing for another month. While fall is a beautiful time of year with all of it’s exciting moments, I’m still wishing for a few more days of warm weather and long days. This year, things seemed to move too fast.

I did get to spend more time with my family this year and even had a couple of nice day trips out and about in the area. I’m not ready to get on a plane just yet. Things are still not back to normal. But in July, I went out to dinner, in a real restaurant, with no mask. That’s a win. Also, so far everyone I know is safe and healthy. Another win.

As for my writing, I wish could say I finished tons of projects, but the truth is that I am still working hard on my novel. Officially, I have been working on this thing off and on since March 2019 ( unofficially longer). Not too long ago, I got totally sick of it and considered abandoning the project, but after a few months, I have reconsidered. I read a few books, that were in my “to be read” pile, and started thinking of this novel in a new way. What story was I really trying to tell? Was this the best way to tell it? Maybe I was having so many problems, because I was on the wrong path?

So I started writing new scenes and so far, I’m liking the results. Being flexible with my work has been one of the best things I’ve learned over the years. You can’t be scared to try new things and change. Maybe these scenes will help the book, or maybe not, but I’m happy I’m still able to write more into this story. The worst feeling is to write and then hit a creative brick wall.

LOL. Oneday I’m gonna finish! There must be other slower writers out there. I can’t be the only one.

One nice thing is that I’m still working from home, so no commute for me. Those extra 2 hours a day have added to the writing time.

I still plan on self-publishing some of my short stories, so look out for those soon. I hope to get them done by the end of the year.

Lots of work left to do, but the year is not over yet!

Slow Motivation – February 2021

It’s been a slow month. I wish I could say that I killed it this month with writing, but I didn’t . I’ve still managed to get a few words in here and there every week. Progress is still slow. How I envy those that can knock out thousands of words every day, week, or month. I try not to compare myself to other writers I know. I tell myself that my path is mine alone. My career as a writer should not be measured by anyone else’s success. We all have our own problems that we need to overcome in order to write. Because your never going to have time to write. You must make the time.

I’ve been tracking my writing for the last few years too. What I’ve noticed is during the winter months, I tend to write less. Blame the cold, or the early sunsets, or the “winter blues.” I slow down this time of year. Then in early spring, like mid-April/early May, I perk up and start writing more.

So, I’ll won’t beat myself up too much. I’m putting words on the page. Maybe not a ton, but some. I had hoped to finish this novel soon, but I still have a ways to go. I still so proud that I am still plugging away at this thing. It would’ve been so easy to quit. But no, I’m still working.

Slow progress, but working.

January 2021 – New Year, New Writing Goals

Happy New Year!

It’s 2021 and I know we are all happy to see this new year begin. A lot is going on in the world right now, but I want to concentrate on what my new writing goals are for 2021.

Last year, it was all about my novel. I spent the majority of my time at home writing this book, and I’m still not done. I hope to be done by the end of this month. I can feel the ending coming close. Of course, the work won’t be done after I finish. The real work begins when I step back, look at all these words, and see if I have something worth sculpting into a novel that should see the light of day. For me, the hardest thing about writing this book is the belief that the story is worth spending my time on. It’s been well over a decade since I finished anything longer than 5k. Taking the time to write this book was a bit of a gamble, but I felt like it was time to dig in and write something that would have a chance at a larger audience. Short stories are great, but most people read novels.

So my #1 goal for this year is to finish a polished draft of my book, find an agent, and get a book contract.

Goal #2? Write at least one new blog post a month. I have neglected this blog in the past year and I need to do better.

Goal #3 is to continue to submit my short stories. I want to get at least one new submission per month. I did submit a few places last year with a stories I’m still trying to place. I got some great feedback and strong encouragement to submit again. This makes me want to keep submitting to find homes for a all my works.

Finally Goal #4 is a long neglected one. Five years ago, I self-published a small book of my stories. Since then, I’ve sold at least one copy per year. Although, I wasn’t getting rich, those sales meant so much to me. I’ve read that most people who self-publish don’t even sell one copy, so for me to have a handful of sales with barely any platform is heartwarming. (If you are one of those people — THANK YOU!) I remember two years ago coming home from the hospital and seeing a massive stack of emails. There were a few rejection notes, but also there was a letter from Kindle saying I had a royalty payment. It was a nice bit of news during a difficult time.

So the goal is to self-publish more work. Some of my short-stories as single buys and another chapbook. I also want to make my work available on other platforms ( other than Kindle) and maybe a print copy available too. That’s a lot to do, but I feel like this is something that should have been done years ago. I’ve been caught up in other things (health problems, job loss, other writing, etc.). I’ll always have something else going on, but I’ve got to make time for this.

Those are my goals for 2021. Sound good? I think so. I hope all of my readers are staying safe and I wish you all a wonderful new year! See you in February!

Mid Summer Update 2020 – I’m Okay and I Hope You are Too

It has been a while since I posted here. To be honest, I did feel like posting much. This year has been tough for so many and the last thing I felt like doing was adding to the noise. I felt like being quiet, still, and reflective. I live alone, which is great for the most part in a non-pandemic, but it can be problematic. By living alone, I am the one be to seek out human interaction. I make the effort to call, drive, fly, or any other kind of interaction with the world outside. The pandemic has severely curbed that. Six months ago, I saw my co-workers, family, and friends on a regular basis. Now, mostly Zoom, or email has been the norm. I have gone to see my parents and a few other family members. I am sure to mask up and stay a safe distance away. (Side note: My mom had a tested negative a few weeks ago. She had no symptoms, but needed to get one before she could go to the doctor. So, it seems following the rules of masks in public and social distancing have kept her and by default, my dad, safe. Yay!) But it’s not the same.

Back in March, I couldn’t write. Fiction was a luxury. I recorded no fiction writing that month. The guilt for wanting to do something so frivolous made me freeze in my tracks. Everything kind of stood still. I was aware the seasons were changing. I stopped wearing my winter coat and broke out my spring one. The cherry blossoms appeared. The days got longer.

It wasn’t until April 4th, the day before my birthday, that I really woke up. It was Saturday and I had plans to dash out to the grocery store early. I reached for a tea cup and my back seized up on me. I was bent over in agony, my back spasming several times, trying to reach for the pain killers. A few hours later, after the drugs had kicked in and had a ice pack on my back, I vowed to myself that I needed to take better care of myself.

First better physical care. I never really healed all the way from my surgery in 2019. I dropped a lot of weight, but it came back due to stress, new medication, and a job where I sit all day long. I may not have been able to get to a gym, but I certainly had more time (no two hour commutes anymore) to do something at home. Also, no more stress eating. I tried to clean up my diet, drink more water, and figure out how many calories I should be eating. Things are not perfect (when is it ever), but I’ve lost weight, sleep better, and no back pain.

Second better mental health. I realized that my feelings toward fiction writing were my ego talking. Not writing depressed me. I beat myself up for not writing. Then I asked myself, what good does that do? How does my guilt make anything better. So I started to write again… and I haven’t stopped. Lately it has been everyday, but I started with just a few times a week. At least this way I feel productive, hopeful about the future. I believe my better attitude helps others. Now when people ask how I am, I can say I’m pretty good. And by me talking about how I stay sane and strong, other people start to think about what they can do. My mom has taken up weaving. My brother is going back to school (on-line). Maybe folks are realizing that life is short. Time to start exploring interests and aiming for life goals.

I also started to mediate daily. A few minutes a day to remind myself what/who I am grateful for has done wonders. Like most people, I had been focusing on what I don’t have in life. Now l still have goals, but I also take a time out to remind myself, that I do have a lot that some people don’t have. I still have a regular paycheck, a place to live, people that care about me, my health, and a thousand other things that I take for granted. That daily reminder keeps my ego in check. No guilt anymore.

The novel progresses. I’m deep into it now. Dare I say more than half-way? It feels like a real story now, with multiple characters, setting, dialogue, etc. Moments that were only in my head are now on paper. I hoped to be done by the end of the summer and that is possible. For reference, I haven’t written anything over five thousand words in over a decade. This is the biggest project I have worked on since GW Bush was in office! Yep, it’s been a while. I didn’t even know if I had another novel in me, but here it comes. Flowing out everyday like a steady stream.

I’m doing my best, and I hope you are too. I hope you are taking care of yourself in every way. Even after this pandemic ends, I hope you continue to live your best life. Times are hard right now for many and there is a lot of fear. I don’t have the answers, but I do know, for me, that making my little corner of the world the best it can be makes all the difference.

I’ll write another post sooner than 6 months — I promise.

January 2020 – New Year, New Goal

Happy 2020!

We’re in a new year and that means it’s time to talk about new goals for the year. Last year my plans got derailed. I had these big goals to write more stories, write my novel, and grow my blog. I did write a couple of stories, write some of my novel, and gained a few more followers, but still I fell short. Throw in recovering from surgery, getting laid off, money worries, and starting a new job, and well, the goals just didn’t happen. I fell behind. Then, I beat myself for falling behind.

So for 2020 I’m scaling back the goals. I only have one.

Write and sell my book.

That’s it. One single focus. I may do other things (rewrite some stories or maybe another chapbook next winter), but the primary focus will be on the book. I’ve ignored it far too long and this is the year that I really devote time to it. Writing a novel is a brick by brick building process. It won’t get written in a week, or a month. But it will get written this year.

It’s not an exciting goal on paper, but the last time I finished anything that was over 5,000 words long was 2003. I’m a bit daunted by this goal, but I also know that I can do this. I’ve done it before and I KNOW I an do it again. I just have to stick to my mantra — Put words on the page everyday.

Also, if you missed the news, I had a new story published last month by Scarlet Leaf Review. You can read it here.

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!