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.

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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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Choosing NaNoWriMo

2014-Oct-13 -> from the it's-that-time-of-year-again department Tags: nanowrimo writing 

Hey all! It's been a while since I've posted anything here, and that's a shame. I'm sorry about that. I'll try to be more regular about it in the future. Life has been crazy, and hasn't allowed a lot of time to do writerly things. Even my writing has suffered.

This leads me to the purpose of this post, and something different that I've never tried before. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner, but I have a problem. My latest book, The Spell Breaker, isn't finished yet. Normally, I would start the next book in the series during NaNoWriMo, but I can't very well do that, now can I? This means I have to come up with another idea.

Well, my brain has been on overdrive, and now I have two ideas, both of which I am keen on trying out. I like them equally, and have been unable to decide which to take on. Luckily, I have a fantastic group of friends and fans who are always willing to give me feedback, so now here's your chance.

Over the next week, I'll collect votes from you all on the ideas posted below, and then decide based on that feedback which one I want to write. All feedback will be considered, but there will be an informal poll at the end of this post where you can simply vote for one idea or the other. At the end of the day, it will still be my decision as to which one I will write, but your feedback could shape my next novel, and I may decide (based on the feedback received here) to give you additional opportunities to decide how the plot unfolds.

So... without further ado, here are my ideas:

1) A break away from my usual fantasy into a more drama/thriller type story. This idea revolves around a character named Jack Craze, who is the CEO of Craze Pharmaceuticals. He worked his way up from nothing after his mother died of a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. Not only is he the CEO of the company, he's also a genius who has developed some of the world's biggest breakthroughs in cancer treatments, even going as far as eradicating some kinds with new drugs he helped develop.

Now he has a wife, a son, a great job, and everything he ever dreamed of. Until of course his son develops the same aggressive lung cancer his mother died of. This is a cancer his company hasn't been able to come up with a treatment for yet. It doesn't respond to any known treatments, and his son is fading fast.

Mr, Sharp is a mystery. He appeared one day on Jack's doorstep with a proposition: Give up everything, including his name, fame, fortune and family, and Mr. Sharp will provide the cure for Jackie Jr.'s cancer. Jack can save his son's life, but in the process, he must lose everything he's worked his entire life for.

2) This idea continues a side story that began in my first trilogy, The Time Weaver Chronicles, and is more of an urban fantasy. Earth has never known magic, until Seth regained his powers and learned how to open his father's book. Trouble is, before he learned what the book was for, his friend Dave copied a few pages of it and posted them on the Internet for his crypto friends to look at. Now random people around the world are dying of accidents, or gaining strange powers that range from flight to throwing fireballs, to the ability to heal people with just a touch. Magic is alive and well, and now it's spreading.

The US Military doesn't like this, and is fighting to contain it. With Dave's help, they will develop something new that will merge magic and technology. Something that will help them fight the new crop of criminals that will eventually come out of the woodwork with powers they can't hope to control.

The real danger comes when an old friend of Dave's discovers how to use magic, and begins to build an army of his own. With them on one side, and Dave and the military on the other, the resulting war could change Earth forever.

There you have it. My two possibilities for this year's NaNoWriMo. I look forward to reading your feedback and seeing how the votes go. One idea will challenge my skills and push my limits as a writer, the other will advance the series I'm already writing!

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Thanks for reading!

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

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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:
64% (Writing... 64,230/100,000 words)