Focus Like a Jedi

September 3, 2017

Having hobbies is a great thing. If not for hobbies, what would we do with our spare time? Clean the house?!

Way back when I was 13, my brother and I got a game called Hero Quest for Christmas. It wasn’t your average board game. It had a campaign feature, lots of interactivity, and an ever-changing game board. Neat!

That love of gaming carried over into my freshman year when not only did I get into this new thing called collectible card games, but a few friends introduced me to role-playing games. I mean, I knew what they were, but didn’t have anyone to enjoy them with.

I never looked back, despite a few years of not doing much.

So for the past few years, I’d been out of gaming pretty big time. I wanted something new that I could play, not waste a lot of money on, and actually enjoy with a community of others. Last October, I found my game.

Star Wars Destiny, a new collectible card game from Fantasy Flight Games. My relationship with FFG is long and varied, but I can always count on them to make quality games. This was no exception.

I’ve been into the game pretty hardcore since it came out. Due to a lack of funds and time, I haven’t been able to go to any of the big, major tournaments, but that should change next year. What’s cool is, there’s a new set coming out in two weeks!

It’s been killing me. Specifically, my writing.

Okay, not that much. But I recently made my master list, and I’ve been following it pretty good. Editing, mostly, but things are getting done. I’m happy! It’s a lot better than sitting around and not doing it.

The worst thing is, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the new cards from the upcoming Star Wars set. More than I should be.

It’s okay, though. This excitement lasts a few days, then dies down, and I’m back to the grind. In fact, as I write this, it’s a three-day weekend for me. What time I have to myself (which is most of it), I can do pretty much anything I want, which again is mostly editing.

However, I did come up with a new story idea the other day. Why?! I’m trying to finish a novel here!

I just need to promise myself to keep working on this. Star Wars is awesome, and I’m super excited about it! But it’s killing me to have to wait. That’s good, though—it isn’t going anywhere.

And neither am I. But the chance to get my writing back on track and have things where they need to be is. Time to keep it moving. Time to put the cards aside for the weekend, and focus. Like a Jedi.

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Bowing to the Master

August 27, 2017

Earlier in the week, I created a “master list” for writing. It is my most important stories that need worked on, and specifically what needs done with them. I’m very happy I did this.

Mainly, it’s staring me in the face. I literally wrote with an ink pen on college-ruled paper what needs to happen. It is sitting on my desk in a place where it won’t get covered with junk. I need that.

See, I have this big problem with mentally telling myself to remember to work on something. As the days pass and I still haven’t touched it, it slowly slips away, and I move on to something else, usually not involving writing at all.

Sound familiar?

We all do it. I know not everyone does, but a vast majority of human beings don’t follow their own basic rules or agendas. It’s okay, but not for me. I was having one of my typical days of anguish last week while on vacation. Five days in a row without having to work, and did I work on writing at all? Not very much.

I know my wife and I did a lot of fun little things, so it wasn’t like five 24 hour writing sessions in a row. But I could have done more. I should have.

So I made the master list. Not only am I managing to get these things done, I’m also able to plot out timelines of when they’ll be out and into the wilds. I think that was the main reason, to be honest. In addition to not having The Third Tower finished and ready for editing (which, believe me, is at the top of the list like King Kong high atop the Empire State Building…), I realized that I have three short stories out in the wilds right now, and they’re not exactly having much luck.

More stories need to be out making the rounds. Things need to be edited (seriously, why would I do a second draft on something in 2012 and then never touch it again?), and things need to be ready.

Things need to be DONE.

And that’s what I’m doing with my master list. If you don’t have one, seriously consider it. It might just change the way you work on your writing.

Mr. Proactive!

January 25, 2017

I’ve been busy busy busy!

A short story I’ve had an idea in my head for over three years finally got written. I’m happy with it, but it’s not perfect. I know that’s nothing to worry about, especially at the beginning of it, and also because it’s part of a triptych. Three related stories, all with the own characters and plots. Now I just need to write the last part!

I went through my writing folder and found several stories I had, erm, forgotten about. I hate it when I do that, but several works are finished, and have been for some time. I need to go through this more often!

This also means there is another flash piece I can give ya’ll! I have a whole bunch all ready to go, but this one especially fitting, given recent events. You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

Also, with all these ideas out of my head, I’m able to get back to the nitty gritty. In the Pale Moonlight is almost ready for release (next month!!!), and The Third Tower is able to get finished…finally!

Just wanted to keep ya updated. Hope you’re having good luck too!

PS – I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack for the past few days. I haven’t listened to it in some time, but man, it really gets my brain juices flowing!

Updates

October 30, 2016

There have been some good things going on lately. A few bad, too, but isn’t that par for the course? I’m not on top of the world, but things are looking up, so I’ll take that as a win.

The Good:

-The poll that I’m in is going very well. Thanks to everyone who has voted for me! I appreciate the assistance and support. It’s good to know that so many people believe in me. Even if I don’t win, I know I’ve got more than enough love from all of you, and you’ve got mine as well.

-Some publications that I’ve submitted to are taking longer than usual to get back to me. I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything and I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, it’s nice to think that they’re deliberating over my work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get that long awaited email very, very soon and have a new reason to dance on top of a table.

-A year or so ago, I wrote a story that was basically my realistic take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. You all know how much I love MOTU, and I really love the sword & sorcery aspect to it, not to mention the sci-fantasy twist. I’ve written a lot of stuff like that, but never anything inspired so directly by it. By realistic, I mean that it’s going to have much more adult themes, and more understanding of how and why things are the way they are other than simply to sell toys.

Well, the story ended on an ambiguous note. Apparently, no one wanted it because it doesn’t slap you in the face and tell you directly what happens at the end. Yep, you read that correctly: publishers think that you’re an idiot and need me to hold your hand and tell you straight up what’s going on.

So I decided to make this into a serialized story. As of now, there will be 7 parts to it. I’ve been busting ass on part 2, and am almost done…but every day I say I’ll finish it, and life happens. Could today be the day? I hope so—it’ll allow me to get the rest of it done as well!

-Lots of people have been interested in my Halloween story! The sheer amount of exposure I’ve got with it is amazing! But maybe you could support a struggling author? It’s only $.99, folks!

The Bad:

-A publication has had my story since June 27th. They haven’t even opened it and looked at it yet. Come on, this is one of the biggest and most well-known pubs in the USA. You can find it at any chain bookstore, fer cryin’ out loud! I know they’ll say know (yeah yeah, so what if I’m cynical?), but why make me wait so long? Unprofessional, I say. Feh!

-I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. Typical, but I’m trying so hard to do it and life just keeps getting in the way.

-I haven’t even started looking at getting “In the Pale Moonlight” published. A friend was supposed to be reading it, but she hasn’t said word one about it. I really need to get off my arse and just do it!

That’s all. I’m happy and working, but need to get it moving a little better. Wish me luck, and stay awesome!

What a long road it’s been…

If you’ve been following things, you’ll know that my wife and I have been renovating her dad’s house, readying it for us to live in. For the most part, we’re done! It’s nice…really nice. Still, there’s a lot that needs to be done.

A big part of me wants to just put it aside, like many homeowners who have dozens of half-finished projects sitting around. Unfortunately, I have some major things, like hooking up the dishwasher, finishing the kitchen floor, and hooking up the range. If not for those, I’d be good as gold.

So the writing is on the backburner for now. I can handle it, but it’s burning me up, from the inside out.

While packing, and subsequently unpacking, I’ve unearthed more notebooks and folders jam-packed with old writing that I can shake a pencil at. Stuff from a few years ago, stuff from college, even stuff from high school. One notebook has writing from sixth grade, way back in 1992! That was unfinished homework, though, so it doesn’t count.

Regardless, I’ve been itching to get things done. I had a list of unfinished stories and such that has been collecting dust for over a year now. More and more stories need edited, and let’s not forget how many stories I could be submitting.

But the submissions wouldn’t even be going as well as I’d like anyway. I have a few stories out right now, and of course it’s the same old sob story. If a publication is still actually active, they take forever. One week after their due date for response, I’ll email, they take a few days to either yell at me to wait, or give me a half-assed rejection.

Then there’s the ones that don’t even respond, the ones that aren’t open anymore. Sometimes, they are in fact open, but take their sweet time to even respond to the queries, and don’t seem to notice that they’ve taken twice their quoted time to get back with you.

Too many of them are closed, though.

I can’t understand it, except ambitious people that get too overwhelmed. Well how long does it take to put a simple message on your website that says you’re closed, you’re behind, or you’re having second thoughts? It’s way more professional than, say, no contact at all!

This is why I’m getting into self-publishing. I know it’s risky, but at least my stuff will be out there. The only big problem is the time it takes to get things prepared for it, and here we go again with not having enough time for it.

But I will. Soon, things are back into place. Hell, I have some time occasionally at work to get this stuff done! (Just don’t tell my boss). So, editors, publishers, and fellow writers (who will surely cross-promote with me, right?), is the time now? Is everything going to work out?

Soon, this house is going to be finished, and I’ll be back at work like nothing ever happened. Right?

Of course it will. Because it has to.