Finding Words You Fancy

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Write Through Life

I struggle as a writer. Nix that. I struggle with writing. Not with words. Certainly not with storytelling.  I struggle with doing it. I'm not alone. I am surrounded with writers that have a ton of excuses: 
"Work's been busy." 
"Family life has gotten in the way."
"I had this thing I had to do."
Depression. Moving. Vacation.
The list goes on.

Okay, before you flip a gasket, I am not saying those aren't fantastic reasons to not write - or not getting anything accomplished, for that matter. I have no doubt the things I would count as getting in the way of my writing would be touted as perfectly legitimate reasons for not putting pen to paper - finding a good kindergarten for my daughter; cancer screening; promoting my work. And, being the non-judgmental type I would never point to someone with "You don't really want to be a writer! Those are just excuses!"

But for me? Its all shit. Why? Not because I am a bad person or callous and unrealistic. Its garbage because I have made writing a priority in my life and failed to follow through with my own goals. It's a struggle because, for whatever reason I have put things ahead of my writing. And lets face it, not the things that should be prioritized. I laid in bed another half hour. I powered through, yet another, season of Justified. I told myself, "I'll play another round of Hearthstone" or "I'll grab a beer with the friend I haven't seen in ... weeks" or "I'll spend hours absorbing crappy micro-journalism on Facebook." Perhaps it's in the face of an emotional downturn. Perhaps it's under the auspice of "down time" and relaxing. Bollocks!

"I'm living life," some might say. But I want my life to be that of a writer. That is defined one way and one way only, through writing. Life isn't something that should stop writers from writing, life is the reason we write. Too sad or have no motivation to write? Write about it. Standing on line waiting for the person in front of you to get their act together? Open up a little notebook or a writing app and write what you see or how you feel. Dying to see that new episode of "House of Cards" or "Game of Thrones?" Make it a reward. Tell everyone who will listen. Make writing a priority. Don't make life an excuse to not write, rather, write through life.

Which brings me to my second point. Live. Yes, the combination of Elmore Leonard and Timothy Oliphant is inspired. Yes, I only need two more wins to get my Warrior deck to level 35. Oooo, someone posted yet another quiz about how I could actually be my favorite Babylon 5 character - let's explore Buzzfeed's unique perspective into the deeper recesses of my soul. One day a soul-weary exec at Buzzfeed is going to crack under the labor and meaninglessness of his life and have every Facebook quiz end with "Congratulations you've discovered you're a loser. Instead of living life, Don, you've made the insightful decision to pursue, yet another, useless foray into self discovery via social media. I hope it was worth it." 

I don't take pictures of everything  my daughter does because I want to do them WITH her. I want to be present in her life and my own and the validation of my social networks is not nearly as important as creating experiences with the ones I love. I don't want to experience life through a camera lens or even a smartphone screen. And I assure you I don't have my notebook out on roller coasters and scuba excursions. But my life isn't about TV shows and video games. I'm not writing technical manuals and my writing isn't made better by truncated, ill-informed political banter with people that already agree with me. 

My characters come alive by my life experiences. Their conversations more believable by expanding my own. If I honestly look at the things I am doing, while easier and cheaper, are not fulfilling. I spent over a decade being a consumer - sitting on a couch, absorbing calories and media. I mad ea concerted decision to live a life less traveled. Instead of filling my brain and bones with manufactured social detritus I'm going to take a deep breath, take constructive criticism as accountability, and see that my family and I have a life worth living. Thus instead of writing despite a tawdry, shallow existence I'll endeavor to write through life - one vibrant and worthy of my craft.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breaking the Blogging Hiatus

There is a lot going on here and it's very exciting. Having written a great deal between November and now I have been hard at work on several projects. The top priority is to get the Voodoo Western Storytelling game done. It has gone through some significant changes through a year of play-testing and I think it is just about ready to hit the streets, guns blazing. Backers will receive a PDF file to the game prior to art, which begins about May.

I'm working through the script for the Voodoo Western radio show. More details in the coming months.

I'm also writing Book Three of the Voodoo Western series, while Book Two is in the editing stage along with my Mexican Revolution novel, Fountain of Blood. I've had the opportunity to be involved with a number of short story projects, in communication with the Philadelphia Library's Book Festival, and working on a research grant evaluating local mentoring programs for young men and women coming out of Pennsylvania prisons.

I have a number of blog posts lined up in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Day 27

It's the day before Thanksgiving. I took a little break, okay maybe against my better judgement, but a break none-the-less. I still have another novel to complete as my day job so the next few days will be spent finishing that out. But for today it's shopping, cranberry sauce, and Christmas cookies with the little one. I wish you all a warm, connected Turkey Day. But hey, I've have lots of time Friday because I'll be damned if I would ever go out and shop amidst the crazy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaNoWriMo: I did it on 11/26 - 50K and First Draft Completed


YAY! 50,500 and I not only completed my word count but the first draft is finished. I have no doubt that there is more to the life of Hernan Cortes but for now this novel is put to the side until January.

***BTW in the process of going through the revision and editing process I removed the raw text. 3/30/2014***

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Day 25

I have gotten so close, but I have also realized that I am closer to an end than I thought. There has been an increase in the number of [I'll insert this later] notes to myself. I had to think about whether to insert them in the first draft or if it was appropriate to include these things in the rewriting process. I decided that the content was what was important and the wording would be relatively trivial, so I decided that placeholders would be the best approach.

***BTW in the process of going through the revision and editing process I removed the raw text. 3/30/2014***

NaNoWriMo: Day 24

This was a way slower weekend than I expected. I'd hoped to be running 4000 words a day. This wasn't in the cards and I've really been trying to figure out how to move forward and at this point, putting the end in sight.

***BTW in the process of going through the revision and editing process I removed the raw text. 3/30/2014***

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Day 23

Saturday, I went to the library write-in and struggled to get a couple thousand words in four hours. I have no doubt some of this needs serious rewrites.

***BTW in the process of going through the revision and editing process I removed the raw text. 3/30/2014***