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.

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The idea that got away

I recently did something I have, on a fairly regular basis, told myself not to do. No, I’m not talking about eating spicy food and then rubbing my eyes (because I still do that more often than I care to admit).

So there was this story idea, right? A basic framework of an idea, with tangible if not fully-realized characters, right there in front of me. It could have had big, neon signs saying “Write me, Philip, you lazy, well-intentioned bastard.” It practically did.

Tonight has been spent being cranky because that idea has gone, having very fragmented thoughts that I’m fairly sure are just the flotsam and jetsam of me rereading Dreams and Shadows trying to manifest as something more, and eating ice cream. Halo Top is really hit or miss, I’ve decided, but there are a few flavors I’ll need to stock up on.

My question is this: what next? Should I revisit a novel project I already started on but abandoned? Should I really put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and get to the serious proofreading and editing for Dissonance in Harmony? Should I force myself to stop being so damn serious and just try writing stuff? Thoughts?

Eating Halo Top Vanilla Bean feels like the adult equivalent of eating paste

Sure, that’s a long-ass title, but it’s catchier than my usual go-to of indicating I’m not dead, that I’ve not forgotten I have a WordPress, or some pop culture reference. Related: how the Hell do I have 18 drafts? I need to do some belated spring cleaning.

The Halo Top, for the record, isn’t half bad, but it has a weird consistency – just to set the record straight.

“What’s new in the land of Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction (and life)?” asks no one in particular.  Continue reading

My world is slightly askew

I had to Google “askew” because my brain kept telling me it’s pretty sure there’s an i in there somewhere, to which I (and Google) called bullshit. Joke’s on you, brain.

Today is an appropriately dreary day, as I just got back from vacation in the Outer Banks yesterday and my impending return to business-as-usual tomorrow has me feeling gloomy and out-of-sorts. It’s like waking up to discover everything shifted ever-so-slightly to the left with no explanation as to why, and I feel like I’m bouncing into every single wall there is to be bounced into. Something like that. If you’re reading this expecting poetic nuances, you’ll want to navigate elsewhere. The most thinking I’m doing at the moment is the standard focus on  writing (and my lack of discipline in regards to writing)…and if I should finally get off of my ass and either start unpacking or go to the store to pick up some of the essentials. The milk in my fridge isn’t technically expired, but the aroma it gives off when opened suggests otherwise.  Continue reading

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

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

Phil’s Official Writing Challenge Guidelines

I would have titled this “How to Write In Ways That Will Make You Feel Like Your Soul is Dying”, but I realized that might be a hair melodramatic. Special thanks go to my college pal Andrew Webb for texting me last night with the following texts, as he was inadvertently responsible for this topic.

Phil, I have done a terrible job with writing since I stared working full time, how do you do it?”

I responded by saying I force myself to find time every day to write, even if it’s just a little. If I get stuck working on one thing, I focus on something else. Above all else, it’s important to find time for writing. That resulted in this response:

Do you force yourself to a genre or anything goes including journaling?

My phone had conveniently been switched to Do Not Disturb mode by that point, however, because I had to be awake at 6a.m. and those texts first arrived after 12:30 last night. Feeling somewhat guilty for not answering, and finding this to be a good blogging opportunity, I decided to give a long-form answer in the form of a proper writing challenge anyone can hold themselves to (for the sake of self-destruction, really). Keep in mind that I may be a subject matter expert of sorts, but I am by no means a be-all, end-all source of wisdom on writing and so this is mostly just issuing a challenge to help writing in the same way I’ve been keeping up with my writing. Feel free to adjust it in ways, and let me know what works best for you in the comments below. It can be a sort of note-comparing among creative folks who also like finding their limits and then using those limits to inflict torment upon themselves. I’m joking, mostly.

Also, I really should note how much of a gigantic ego-boost it is to have people asking me advice on writing. Holy shit, folks, that is awesome. Right. Moving on… Continue reading