Chipping away at the wall

I wanted to start this with some clever parallel between the storm raging outside and my want to really dive into a new project, but nope. Not happening.

I’ve officially, with a necessary nudge from my wife’s wisdom, put Joshua Harkin’s Return to Nightmares on the backburner. I’m at this point where the lack of progress has become an overall headache with regards to getting *any* writing done at all. Not helpful.

So I thought it would be neat to maybe revisit a project from before, starting it fresh. I dug up the file, transferred from a previous laptop, only to discover two curious things.

Curious thing one – the last time I had worked on it was exactly two years ago to the day. Curious thing two – I actually really like how the draft started off, so I can’t bring myself to just scrap it and start fresh. However! I now feel less interested in working on it because there is so much groundwork in place.

Damn.

That all constitutes more progress than I’ve made in the past three months combined (because I’m still getting the hang of being a father to two wee beasties).

I’ll chalk that up as an overall win and try to use it to propel me forward.

I am not my heroes

Hello, Wor(l)dPress.

In typical fashion, I’ve taken an extended time between posting. In typical fashion, I have been mad at myself for doing so and wondering why, oh why, do I still maintain this. That last part is a bit exaggerated, though. I covet my domain on here like a dragon with gold.

Today, while driving home from work and alternating between the current CD in my car and NPR (Kai Ryssdal hosting Market Place and PRI’s The World make my soul happy), I had a thought. It hit me hard, square between the eyes, and with all of the abrupt unapologeticness (that is a word, damn it) of such in-transit revelations.

I am not my heroes. I will never write like Neil Gaiman. I will never be the next Terry Pratchett. My works won’t be on the same level as Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore.

And those aren’t the things that I should want. I’m none of those people. My writing is my own, with influences from the writers I enjoy but also years of me finding and refining my own voice. There is some humor, some dark fantasy, and a whole lot of whatever the Hell I’ve turned into in terms of narrative voice and creativity. I am way more okay with that than I ever realized. At the end of the day, what is most important to me is continuing to write, continuing to strive towards publication, and (to a lesser degree) dreaming of somehow, someday becoming a well-known writer.

And so I continue.

This post brought to you courtesy of Sia’s “The Greatest”, which I have had on repeat as some sort of anthem to fend off any stress from recent weeks (I couldn’t say why if I tried, but I enjoy that song entirely and unapologetically), and the glass of Laphraoig Quarter Cask I’ve been nursing for over an hour now.

(Pity) Party’s Over

Real talk, brought to you in part thanks to having a serious, much-needed discussion with the lovely lady in my life.

One day, I dream of being a moderately well-known published author, with at least one work available for sale at Barnes & Noble. I’m aware that this may seem, or in fact may be, shallow. The big, shiny, and seemingly-unattainable goal: to write for a living, or at least make some of my living from writing.

Here’s the real talk: I need to stop being so down and out about making a living from my writing, convincing myself it’s never going to happen, and double up my efforts on making it happen. That means I need to stop comparing myself to established authors. I need to stop looking at my peers and feeling like a failure by comparison. (You guys keep doing you, though; awesome work all around.)

I need to stop whining and making excuses. I am most certainly far too guilty of doing both of those things.

Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King happened at a breakneck pace not because of the job I worked providing me with time to write nor the fact that I had a specific publishing goal in mind. It happened because I said I was going to write, and then I wrote. Constantly, and without concerns for what I would one day do with that book.

And so I will write.

Challenging myself

Or, really, admitting that I’m a bit challenged. I haven’t decided yet.

I have a headache. It has been a trying, busy sort of day. I’m drinking a glass of scotch that was aged in bourbon barrels because I wanted scotch, I wanted bourbon, but I also couldn’t justify that kind of drinking on a Tuesday. Did I mention I have a headache?

This weekend provided a sort of fine point to a murky, nebulous series of thoughts I’ve had lately in regards to my writing. They have been mean, loud, and generally unpleasant thoughts. This point is actually more of a thought-out, nicely worded middle finger to those thoughts because I’m tired of being my own punching bag, tearing myself down, and fixating on the difficulties of writing instead of the actual craft and the joy I derive from it. Case in point: I’m really enjoying writing this, even though it’s largely unplanned, because I am applying no pressure to myself to get it done. There is no arbitrary deadline, nor is there some comparison to other writers and their work. When I hit Publish, it will appear on my site (with all typos that sneaked past my lazy editorial eyes tonight; you may live this once, typos).  Continue reading

Some world-building

…and a little teasing.

In case any of you have been curious as to what I’m up to, writing-wise, I wanted to tease a little of one of my more recent novel ideas. Instead of just giving away some of it, however, I thought I’d share the world-myth as a little bit of a tease.

Bits and piece of this had solidified a while ago, but some of the finer details really solidified today. I’m really pleased with what I have here–though it should be noted this is a first draft of an idea that is being fleshed out in a full novel–and so I hope it’s an enjoyable read. Continue reading

A novel conundrum

Oh, hey. It’s six days into 2016 and I’ve managed to not continue writing the date with a 15 at the end. I’ll chalk that up as a pretty solid victory. Hopefully you’ve all had victories of your own, both creative and otherwise. (Really, though; can we take a moment to appreciate how easy it is to slip up and put the previous year on something? Because if you think otherwise, you clearly have your shit far more together than I do.)

With a new year, I find myself with new ideas. This shouldn’t be mistaken for me having new ideas and knowing what I want to do with them, of course, given that the new year also brought me being relocated to a new store at work. At least the ideas are there?  Continue reading

Concept envy, and feeling defeated

This is the sort of confessional post that I feel iffy about writing, because it betrays my well-established gruff and grumbly persona and exposes my soft, vulnerable under-belly. All right. Let’s get this out of the way so I can get some actual sleep tonight, and then maybe try to see where my brain goes with writing tomorrow.

Lately, and by lately I mean for quite a few months now, I have felt defeated. I haven’t had ideas popping into my thoughts like before. My projects have been gathering cobwebs like it’s their job. As I said earlier today: I feel less like a writer as of lately and more like someone who wrote here and there. I feel defeated.  Continue reading

Renewal, and resolution

After multiple reminders (and a robo-call from WordPress), I renewed my domain name ownership for Misadventures in Fiction. It was something of a prolonged back-and-forth, both internally and through dialogue with a couple other people. I didn’t make this decision lightly, which sounds ridiculous since it was a decision that cost me $18 and one that doesn’t necessarily hold any real weight of its own.

But it does, or at least it does to me. I identify as a writer (a comment that may shock and astound some of you, as I have not done much writing at all in the past year). It is painful that I’ve accomplished so little. Maybe a part of it is that my ambitions don’t match the reality of what I’ve accomplished. Or perhaps I’m letting myself continue to be bogged down by the less-than-great parts of 2015 (which, as a year, has had more good than bad, but I will not miss it when it has gone). Whatever the reason may be, I haven’t been writing. And that sucks.

I’m not calling this a New Year’s resolution in the same way that I don’t believe in those things; they usually fizzle, at least for me, and end with more frustration. Instead I am choosing to say I’m going to build up my resolve to write more often. Maybe not every day, or every other day, but I need to return to writing fiction. Otherwise, what the Hell did I finish college and work so hard to write a book for?

Plus, I mean, $18 could buy a lot of other things and so I feel like I need to make damn sure my investment proves worthwhile.

Meanwhile, I have all sorts of boring adult shit to do tomorrow. I also have a Christmas gift I need to finish up. I’m glad I got these thoughts out, if only for my own purposes, and hopefully I will see a gradual return to writing, creating, and finding my way back to approaching the creative process with a sense of wonder despite whatever background noise there may be. Time, of course, and my capacity to follow through on what I want, will be the deciding factors.

Bracing for the hiatus

Today’s a sleepy, do-nothing sort of day, which would work out far better for me if I didn’t have work in about an hour. (Well, in an hour from the starting time of this post, anyway.) I also can’t help but feel a bit obligated to actually try writing posts with actual depth to them, as I have four days (three after today) of blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, and so on, before I start my self-imposed month-long hiatus from most social media and blogging, operating under the assumption I’ve probably reached the goal of One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0. Given that I started this back in January, I’ve probably exceeded that goal, and this might be a small admission that it’s actually quite difficult to keep track of if I’ve blogged for one hundred consecutive days. I imagine I could have crossed off days on a calendar, but hindsight and whatnot.  Continue reading

Money helps the art go ’round

I’ve got a couple topics floating around in my brain, and I’ve also got some great short stories in there. And some eventual progress on the novel idea. Ultimately, there’s a lot of drivel-poop in there, too, but it’s been a long week and I’m trying to recover. This topic is probably a hair on the lazy, underwhelming side of things, but it’s also a personal curiosity of mine that I feel like exploring. You know the old song: “it’s my blog post and I’ll write what I want to”.

Web sites like Kickstarter exist to help ideas happen. There is a clear benefit for both sides involved in the site. Backers receive various types of increasingly impressive macguffins for helping creators make their idea a reality, except in the cases where crowdfunding fails to reach the goal or the creators don’t meet their promises.

And then there are web sites like Patreon. Patreon fascinates me because it’s the idea of giving creators money to help them continue to create. There are rewards, yes, and it can be set up in a tiered way like Kickstarter, but it’s an ongoing process instead of a one-and-done sort of thing. I find myself feeling oddly torn about it because it seems like the act of saying “gimme” and hoping for the best, but that’s not a warm and cheerful way of looking at things. People get some sort of thank you, creators get money to support their creative ways, and everyone wins. Yet I’m still oddly suspicious of it. Maybe it’s because I wonder if I could give it a try myself but think it’ll turn into a study in how much failure I’m capable of.

The real questions are is this something worth checking out as a writer? What thoughts do you folks have? Am I being a technology-fearing, change-fearing doofus? Let me know.