It’s been a minute since my last update. I went back to work – due to several things, I was on summer leave. It was a great time to get some stuff put together, and projects started. But now that I’m working 50 hours a week plus commute naturally, my writing has slowed. If you’re in that boat, know you’re not alone. So this is an update of what’s going on and even some tips that I’ve picked up along the way to help keep myself as productive as possible while having a busy day job.
To quickly touch base on Grimoire. I don’t want to say break or hiatus, but let’s be honest – I have had little to no chance to write anything more on my first draft. I will admit with more than a little guilt, it is in part because I was having difficulty with the last few chapters. After all, they did not have a flow that I’m happy with. More on that later. Instead, I turned to outline the first book in a much more severe matter, and it’s been great! I feel confident about the plot, story, and how it contributes to the overall theme. Giving me the temptation to outline the next two books while I’m at it. But I Can’t seem to give it enough attention. Maybe it’s that fear of it not being good enough. But the work must continue.
My focus has shifted to some other stuff. Reading, for instance. Oh my God, how I’ve missed reading. This year I started reading On Writing by Stephen King, and if you’re following me on Twitter, you are probably sick to the point of nausea at how much I’ve complimented this book. But it’s that good. It gives me an equal measure of hope and fear at the prospect of being a professional writer (something I think is good), it also cements what I love about the craft – being a reader you get to play in those fantastic worlds of fiction. It’s safe to say that On Writing is my favorite Stephen King book period. It’s a fantastic behind-the-scenes view of an author whose work has always been near and dear to my heart. He also doesn’t pull punches, something I appreciate. He breaks it down and puts his two cents in; moreover – he drives home how the mileage does indeed vary. What works for some doesn’t for all. But he challenges you to think about not only why you write but how.
And the biggest takeaway I have is this: read a lot, write a lot.
I’m out of practice. I used to write stories that never saw the light of day, only the darkness of a wastepaper bin. I used to read far more too. There’s no way to give a series a proper treatment without getting back into the swing of things. So reading and writing.
I’m going to keep it brief because if I don’t, it will seem as though I’m working far more on my skills than I have. So here goes.
I started a project that will be released under a pen name. But this little nugget that I thought would be no more than 3000 words is almost 12k and may dovetail into something more. It has been a good source of practice and learning. I’m going to see how far down that rabbit hole I can go. I’m optimistic that the rough draft will be finished within a week if I can keep writing.
I also have a writing assignment from the aforementioned book On Writing seriously; go get it. There’s an assignment/homework/exercise, whatever you’re comfortable with. It’s going to be a short story and handwritten. Exploring a craft that I gave up long before I should have. I used to write everything by hand since it creates what I feel is the most genuine and most personable rough draft. You can’t edit; you can only write.
That’s what I’m attempting. It’s a story that I’m discovering as I go utilizing the advice given in the book. Considering it’s been twenty years since it was published, I am taking some liberties with the project. Not sticking to the names Mr. King offers or the length of the prose suggested – which is supposed to be 5 to 6 pages.
I fear it will be longer because as I’m uncovering this ‘fossil,’ I’m finding there’s more to unearth. Granted, I have inadequate tools (my fault) and a layman’s knowledge of ‘Dino-bones,’ but I hope to make do. What I find I’m not sure, but the journey has been fun so far. The final result, which is to say a finalized draft, or at least beta-reader ready, I will post on here, so stay tuned.
As for Grimoire, there’s a lot of heavy lifting to do, and if I’m being honest with myself, I need to walk before I run. It’s a journey.
Tips along the way – pen and paper; I highly recommend this for a couple of reasons. It forces you to write and not edit. Once you give up on that voice, you can do what most of us forget to; Practice Ugly.
Write and read as often as you can. It helps you learn what you like and what you don’t. Read outside of your preferred genre, don’t only spend time there but dabble; it enables you to learn what’s out there. Try writing prompts. This is something that I will start doing starting with the writing assignment from On Writing.
Like any skill you are mastering, you need to try a wide assortment of things to determine just what workflow is best for you. But tips from the pros help immensely! It’s a toolbox; understand you have limits, not only the mental and the physical, but also space and time—sad truth. Don’t put it off. Take it from someone coming to the game a little later than others – you can’t get time back.
Reading more feels amazing; while I sadly don’t have as much time to write, my ability to learn and practice has not diminished. You just have to find little bits of time. Writing by hand helps with this, too, since I maybe get ten minutes outside of my lunch break. I hope that helps motivate anyone else struggling to get words out. Let me know! Comment or send me a tweet (or whatever).
I’ll wrap up an update, circling back to the title of this post. Spooktober!
I love Halloween, and if you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you know that I do the 31 Days of Halloween. A tradition that, for me, goes back about fifteen years. A scary movie every day of October. Here’s a quick recap and remind you that you can play along or choose and post your own. I’d love to hear what everyone is watching!
Day 1 – Hocus Pocus
Day 2 – The Thing
Day 3 – The Ring
Day 4 – Misery
Day 5 – Life
Day 6 – Us
Day 7 – The Fly (1986)
Day 8 – Paranormal Activity
Day 9 – Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein
Day 10 – DOUBLE FEATURE! Hubie Halloween & Escanaba in da Moonlight
Day 11 – Ernest Scared Stupid
Day 12 – Color of Space
Day 13 – Interview With the Vampire
Day 14 – The Atticus Institute
Day 15 – Friday the 13th marathon
Day 16 – Exists
Day 17 – The Banshee Chapter
Day 18 – Thinner
Day 19 – Ghostbusters
Day 20 – The Conjuring
Day 21 – STAY TUNED!
I’ll leave you with that since there is reading and writing to be done. But here’s a campfire if you needed some relaxation tonight like me. Until next time.