The hardest part of writing is…

When I started writing, over thirty years ago, I remember thinking that if I could just finish the rough draft…I would be almost there. After all, lots of people start writing a book, but most never finish. This has got to be the hardest part of writing.

Fast forward to about twenty years ago: It’s finished. (It’s also wretched. Believe me, you will never see this first novel, at least not in its current form.) I pick the publisher I want to publish it, and send it off. It will sell, right? Most people don’t finish their novels. This one is done. Any problems they will have a professional editor fix, and I’ll be published and rich. But the waiting…this has got to be the hardest part of writing.

The rejection letter arrives. What? They couldn’t see my brilliance among all the typos, bad grammar, and poor description? Rejection sucks. I’m done with writing. Pack it away along with all my dreams. This is most definitely the hardest part of writing.

But I can’t stop writing. Over the next twenty years I make numerous starts on countless stories. Life keeps getting in the way and I keep packing it up/putting it off. Finding the time to write…that is the hardest part of writing.

Then, two years ago…RETIREMENT! Time to write. Stories get finished and polished. I finish Templars Gate (The Forsaken Templar). I even find an agent. This is it. The big time! I write There’s no such thing as Werewolves and Son of Thunder. But nothing sells. Communication breaks down. I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall. I have sequels in my brain, but it’s no use writing them unless I can sell the first. What can I write that will sell? Am I really an author? The questions…the self doubt…this has got to be the hardest part of writing.

I start entering contests, submitting for anthologies, and I get my first big break. September 29, 2011. My short story, A Requiem for Poseidon sells! It’s to a small online publisher. The book will probably only be available digitally. But it’s a sale. Twenty-five whole dollars! I have made money with my writing. I am a professional. “So, when is the book coming out?” I am asked continually. “Soon…” is all I can answer. (It’s been seven months and I still do not have a release date.) Once again, waiting is the hardest part of writing.

I part ways with my agent, and start the search for another. I have stuff now, a body of work. Two completed novels, three completed novellas, and more starts than you can shake a stick at. Though why people would want to shake a stick at anything is beyond me. I go to work every day. I don’t consider myself retired anymore. I’m a writer…an author. It’s what I do…what I am. I have two books published (and a short story in an anthology ‘coming soon’). There’s a ton of stuff I need to do, a mountain of stories I need to write, and it’s all hard work.

This isn’t the blog I started out to write. It evolved as I wrote it, as my writing tends to do. What I realized this morning, sitting here at my computer, is that the hardest part of writing…is believing in yourself.

Believe!

Steve

Chapter 2

I just put up chapter 2 of A Passion for Painting. I hope you enjoy it.

Today I turn 56 years old. I can’t help feeling that I’m at a pivotal point in my life. Almost a year into retirement, my writing still hasn’t taken off, but I’ve embraced a different lifestyle, one I think will lead to success. My body of work continues to grow. I currently have completed two short stories, two novellas and one novel. I have more stories started than I will probably ever finish, and new ideas continue to pop into my head. I look out my window and see rain clouds today, but in here it’s sunny and bright.

Until next time,

Steve

Beta Break

Well, I did get the revised version of There’s no suuch thing as werewloves out to my beta readers before Thanksgiving. I’ve already started to get some responses, but I’ll wait for a few more before I go in for revisions. I had a great Thanksgiving break. Lots of food, family and fun.

So during the break, while I wait for my betas to report back, I am working on my novel, Amulet of the fallen god. It’s at around 40,000 words right now and I’d like it to finish right around 100,000 words, so there is lots to go.

It’s a very busy time of year, even for an old, retired guy, but I’m hoping I can push the story ahead a bit in the next two weeks, then return to Werewolves and shore it up before Christmas, to give my agent a nice present.

Happy holidays,

Steve

Finding inspiration on the road

I’ve been traveling. My writing schedule has been a bit disrupted the past few weeks as we prepared then headed out on a great adventure, allegedly to deliver a load of ‘stuff’ to my son at his new home in El Paso,  TX. But it’s also been a fun little vacation away from housework, and the everyday. I have to admit, I haven’t written much the past two weeks, but over the past three days I’ve been inspired, and this mornings session was pretty productive.

The inspiration started with our hotel, Sunday night, in Coralville, Iowa. It was completely castle themed. What fun…

 

The next day we stopped in Hannibal, MO, to see the Mark Twain museum and historical site. They’ve got a lot of great stuff here. Well worth the stop.

And then last night we rolled into Roswell, NM, and spent today out looking for aliens.

Yup, we found ’em.

What more inspiration does a budding author need? I’ve got another week on the road before I return home. Maybe I’ll find a bit more.

Until next time,

Steve

Too long away.

A friend of mine reminded me yesterday that I hadn’t updated my blog in a while, and that a short posting telling him to look at someone else’s blog does not count. He’s right and I apologize, once again, for my lack.

I’m still waiting for word back on my short story and novella submissions. So there is no news on that front.

It’s actually been a very productive couple of weeks. Retirement is starting to settle into a routine. I get to work on my writing around 8:30-9:00 each morning and generally get in 1,000-2,000 words before noon. The plot is expanding as I go and the characters are coming much more clearly into focus. I’m at about 30,000 words so far, and aiming for around 110,000.

The most fun days for me are when the characters take the story in a direction I did not even see coming. I’ll be writing along, thinking I know where I’m headed and one of them will kind of kick me.

Character: “I would never do that, you know.”

Me: “But I planned on you doing that,”

Character: “I really want to do this instead.”

Me: “Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea.”

Character: “…and I want credit for the idea in the acknowledgment’s section when the book is published.”

Me: “Good luck with that…”

Dragon: “Can I eat him?”

Me: “Hmmmm…”

Till next time,

Steve

Retired and ready to write

Well, today was my final day of work. I am officially retired. I would like to state, for whatever it’s worth, that I believe our county workers are under appreciated, under paid, and make some of the best friends you will ever find. You guys are the best and I will never forget you.

I am now ready to enter what I am calling my vacation period. The next two weeks I will be writing on a less stringent schedule while I catch up on some sleep, and family obligations.

My Novella is out to a wonderful group of Beta Readers and while I’m waiting for their input I will be working on a short story I plan to submit to an anthology entitled APOCALYPSE TODAY. The working title is Dark Awakening. Due before the end of August, it’s a  love story set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Stay tuned…

Steve

Lovin’ my Beta’s

Well, I have my story edited and I think ready to send in. As a last step I have it now in the hands of 3 beta readers who have promised to be ‘brutally honest’ with me. After I get their comments back I will do one more revision and send it out.

I was also able to make some progress on my short story that I want to submit to an upcoming anthology. Due date is the end of August, so I should have lots of time to finish it and submit.

The big news, of course, is that I only have 2 work days left until retirement. I am so looking forward to being able to write full time. I have story ideas brewing that should now see the light of day.

Peace.

Positive progress

As I move closer to my retirement date I find my mind shifting away from my job toward my new writing career.  Just one week, five short work days, and I am no longer a Desktop Support Specialist. It is time for me to put the old behind and embrace the new.

I am planning on giving myself the first two weeks in July for my transition period. With the 4th of July festivities, and a family reunion on the weekends, it will be interesting to see how much writing I do without any structure.

July 15th is the official start of the new career. I plan to devote 2 hours a day to BIC (Butt In Chair) writing every day. An additional hour for editing. Plus an hour per day for exercise, to get me in shape. That should leave me plenty of time for reading, hobbies, and family time.

I received another very positive email from my agent. Yeah I’m going to call her MY agent, even though there is nothing signed or anything. The story is almost finished, just needs one more read through then it’s off to some beta readers.

The future looks so bright, it’s a good thing I got those fancy glasses that darken on their own.

Steve

I am Frodo

I know now why most people only give about 2 weeks notice before leaving a job. Having decided to retire over 6 months ago, and thinking about the freedom it would give me over those months has been a real drain on my energy level.

I am reminded of Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. At one point he and Sam look across this large broken plain towards Mt. Doom and realize that it is still a long trip. That was me six months ago. They manage to drag themselves across the plain and then, nearly exhausted they begin their climb up the fiery mountain. That was me 2 months ago.

I am now well up the side of the mountain, and the goal is in site (15 days to go) but it feels like I am trudging through each day. Like the ring of doom, reaching the goal is always on  my mind lately. It looms large, and there are days I wonder if I will make it.

Thank goodness I have my writing project. It seems to be the one thing that can distract me from my ‘Mt. Doom’ moods. The hope of publication, starting to connect with the writing community, and just getting into the stories I’m writing has become that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for me.

Now I know all you people who have years of 9 to 5 work ahead of you are probably saying at this point, “Quit Whining!!!” And you are right. It’s coming. The ring of doom will be destroyed. I think I hear the eagles…

Steve

I am Frodo.