Growing Up

2017-Sep-15 -> from the it-had-to-happen-eventually department Tags: personal writing 

This was going to be a very different post, but I'm not sure I'm ready to post anything like that just yet.

As a writer, I hold myself accountable for the work I do (or fail to do), but honestly, I haven't been doing that lately. Loads of people know that I write. Not everybody knows the honest status of my current projects.

Them: "How's the writing going?"

Me: "Oh it's fine. I'm getting through it."

Lies. I'm not getting through it. I've been having a lot of trouble focusing on writing, and part of it is just the nature of how my mind works. It likes to focus on one thing at a time. The sad curse of it is that it doesn't always focus on one thing to completion. Sometimes it gets distracted and decides it wants to focus on something else for a while.

I hate that.

What it means is this: all I can focus on is what my brain tells me it wants to focus on. Sometimes it's card games, sometimes it's a particular video game, and sometimes it's writing. But lately, it's been mostly not writing.

I have to work hard to stay focused on things that aren't what my mind wants to focus on. Everything is a distraction. Everything else becomes more interesting than what I'm choosing to work on, and then that's not interesting any more either, until I get back to what my mind wants to do. It's a genuine struggle.

So there hasn't been much from me lately.

There's probably a name for what I have. Ask my wife, and she'll express her frustration at a husband who can be so focused on something trivial like reading an article or playing a game, that nothing else penetrates that shell. But what's worse, is that a subconscious part of my brain tries to shield me from the outside world by providing meaningless responses to external stimuli.

Her: Says something important that I should really be listening to.

Me: "Okay."

Her: "Are you even listening?"

Me: "... OMG I'm sorry."

It requires effort to shift my focus, and then effort to shift it back.

Thing is, you… my loyal subscribers. My fans. The people who support me. You deserve better. My wife and family deserve better as well.

I'm trying.

NaNoWriMo is coming up soon. This will be my 8th year attempting it. Last year I barely scraped in, but I managed to finish. This year? I haven't the slightest idea what I'm going to write. I've barely even given it any thought. Heck, I've barely thought about the writing projects I have going on already.

So here's my commitment to you, as an author: There will be something new published by me in 2018. And it will be my best yet.

For your support, for your patience, and for all you've done for me, you deserve it.

Time to bleed.

Thanks for reading!

I'm always interested in hearing what you have to say. Contact Me, I'd love to hear from you.

Don't forget to join in on the conversation in the comments section below.

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Breaking out of a Slump

2015-Sep-7 -> from the it-happens-to-all-of-us department Tags: personal writing 

I'm coming out of an epic two and a half year slump, and trying to recharge some of the things I used to do. This happens to everyone at least once in their life, and sometimes more than that. Slumps (or unproductive, often depressing periods of time) can be very demotivating, and require tremendous strength to pull yourself out of. Here are some of the things I tried when I was at the worst of mine.

Change the Scenery

Sometimes, something as small as a new paint color on the walls is enough to make you feel better about your work. For writers, it's important to do your work in a place where you're comfortable, and the color on the walls affects you and your mood more than you might realize. Other ways to change the scenery would be to go to a local coffee shop to work, or just change which room you're in. A change in scenery can make a big difference in your mood, and subsequently improve your productivity.

Work on Something Else

I know we all have projects to get done, but forcing yourself to work on something won't do you any favors, nor will it do your work justice. Writing (and other academic activities) requires a clear head, and novels require a certain mindset. The characters need to speak to you, and if that isn't happening, you'll frustrate yourself. So switch gears. Write a blog post, or do something non-writing related. I started playing Magic: the Gathering again, and though this does take up some time, I find devoting some time to a leisure activity can help bring your mind back to a productive place.

Take a Break

I released my last book in spring of 2014, and though I participated in NaNoWriMo last fall, I pretty much tossed everything I wrote then. I've also been trying to get The Spell Breaker done, but I needed to back away from everything writing and just focus on sorting out my life. This should definitely not be a permanent situation though. Taking a break from your work, and coming back to it when you start to feel better can help lift you up even higher, and you might just find that it was just what you needed in order to finish that big project.

Get Help

Talk to somebody about what's bothering you. I'm a very lucky person in that I have a very understanding wife who listens to me, and helps me through this stuff. I don't know what I would do without her. Find somebody to talk to. It doesn't have to be your spouse, or even a family member. It could be a friend, coworker, or even a complete stranger. Seeking professional help is also helpful, especially if you find yourself falling into a deep depression. Luckily, my slump never went that far, but it could have, and it does for some people. If this is happening to you, you're not alone; there are loads of people who are willing to listen. Give them a chance.

Don't Give Up

Whatever you do, don't ever give up on yourself. It's challenging to break out of a downward spiral, but it can be done, and you definitely don't have to do it alone. Keep telling yourself that you can do it, and keep looking for a way out of the depression. If none of the things in this post work for you, search for other answers, or try them again. Yesterday's setbacks can become tomorrows gains. Above all else, know that you and your work are worth it. Success leaves you with a very good feeling, no matter how small the success may be. If you've been having trouble just getting up in the morning, and you're out of bed now, that's a win.

If you have any other suggestions as to how to break free from the slump, please share them below in the comments. You never know when your suggestion could help get somebody else's life on track.

Thanks for reading!

I'm always interested in hearing what you have to say. Contact Me, I'd love to hear from you.

Don't forget to join in on the conversation in the comments section below.

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Going Through Changes

2015-Aug-31 -> from the life-happens-sometimes department Tags: personal writing 

Change is something that's as constant and ever-present as death and taxes, though in the last couple years, it's been much more prominent in my life than before. Most of it has been for the better, but there have been a few hiccups. I'll start at the beginning, and hopefully by the end, you'll have forgiven me for my lack of presence on my own website.

Two and a half years ago, at the beginning of 2013, I stepped on our trusty bathroom scale, and nearly had a heart attack. The scale read 253 lbs. This was the first of my epiphanies that led to a large amount of change in my life. Since then, I've taken control of my life, and lost almost 80 lbs, and am still working on the last little bit. I look better, I feel better, and I'm no longer afraid that I won't be around to see my two daughters grow up.

A little over a year ago, I realized that I was very unhappy with my employer. This was my second big epiphany. I had been working for a local company, maintaining their custom ERP system, and I learned and grew a lot in that position. Alas, that company was taken over by a much larger corporation, and their new way of doing business didn't jive with me. So I made the difficult decision to leave them and take a job with a company that is an hour drive away. Fortunately, the commute is actually the worst part of my job. I now work for a company called IGLOO Software, doing database development. I'm happier than I've ever been in a job, and just celebrated my one-year anniversary there.

With all this change going on, I realized today, that for a writer, I don't seem to be doing much writing lately. After analyzing my web stats, which I haven't looked at in forever, I realized that my numbers have been dropping steadily month over month. This leads me to my third major epiphany... in order to call myself a writer, I need to actually write. My hope is that writing on the blog again will help me declutter my head, and lead to some more creative thoughts that will help me get my next book done, which I've been having a lot of trouble with. The good news is I'm back on track, and have a good idea of how to round out the book and finish the story.

All told, this has been some very positive change. I'm happier, healthier, and am going to start producing again. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do for NaNoWriMo this year, and will be attending a local comic-con in October. With any luck, I'll have the new book ready by then, and will be able to launch it at the event. Stay tuned for more details on that.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for hanging around. I hope you'll come back and see what else pops up on here in the coming weeks/months, and hey... if you have any ideas that you'd like to see explored here, leave them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

I'm always interested in hearing what you have to say. Contact Me, I'd love to hear from you.

Don't forget to join in on the conversation in the comments section below.

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The Time Weaver

An award-winning, action-packed epic fantasy adventure about an unlikely hero, Seth, who discovers he's not human, but a Time Weaver who can control time.

Enter Galadir, where magic thrives and dark forces threaten a valiant kingdom. As the last Time Weaver, Seth is their last hope, if only he can learn to control his powers in time.

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The second installment in The Time Weaver Chronicles.

Go back in time and experience the Lyecian war. Learn how it all began, and find out the truth about Krycin, the hero of the war!

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Current WIP: approximate numbers only, working titles
The Spell Breaker:
79% (Writing... 78,541/100,000 words)