Saturday, January 30, 2010

Giving this another go!

I've been away too long from my blog, and from my writing for that matter. I recently got another job, after being unemployed for over a year. Although, I must admit, it was a wonderful year of sleeping in and reading books late into the night. My only regret is that I didn't use my days wisely to accomplish more writing than I did.

Since starting my new job (I've only been there a week), I haven't sat down to write anything and it really makes me want to kick myself. I promised myself that I would sit down this weekend to write. Of course, I've done that in the past and wasted my opportunity because I ended up watching a movie or playing a game instead of writing. Not today, though! Today has been a wet and dreary day outside. Oh, and also cold. Can't forget to mention the winter storm that supposed to be bearing down on us.

Well, I got online and visited some author sites to build my motivation. Actually, my motivation was pretty much piqued already, but it never hurts to read motivational words from other (successful) authors. So, I went to Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, and Cormac McCarthy's websites and browsed for a little bit. Then, before I could let the procrastination bug bite me, I closed my browser and opened my editor. I started close to one o'clock this afternoon.

I worked on the first draft of a short story I started yesterday called Help Wanted. I had only written four pages previously. I finished the first draft today and it came in at a whopping 20+ pages! When I finished it, I opened another short story I had started earlier called Swiftly, the End Cometh. I only had one written page to begin with, but now that I've finished, it's well over ten. I know, that doesn't seem like much, but I looked at the clock when I finished writing and saw that it was almost 6:00 PM.

THAT'S A LOT OF WRITING, PEOPLE! Well, for me at least. Especially, in one day. And now look at this. I'm blogging, which means that I'm writing even more. I've been bitten by the writing bug and damn it feels good!

Okay, that's enough for today. I just wanted to write for any readers out there to let you know that if you make yourself sit down to write (even when you don't want to) you can accomplish a lot of writing. The key is making yourself do it.

One last thing, which I just discovered: my foot's asleep! Argh!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Away too long...but I'm back!

In my last blog, I spoke about perseverance being the most important thing to aspiring writers. I'm here today (after a lengthy hiatus) to reiterate and drive home that point!

It is with a heavy heart that I must return to the land of the 9-to-5ers. Due to certain circumstances, my time spent at home working on my short stories and novels has come to an end. I must return to work in order to pay down some bills like most normal people. For me, that means returning to an office environment where I will program computers. I know, I know. There are those of you who might read this and think an office job? when you work outdoors or in too-cold or too-hot warehouse jobs that think I'm a big whiny baby. Well, believe me when I tell you, it's not as nice as you think! I've worked in warehouses and outside during the summer and winter, and I can sympathize with you. I'd return to one of those jobs again if the money was there, unfortunately friends, it ain't!

Sure, the money for programming computers is really nice and you don't have to lift heavy things all day. Hell, you don't get dirty doing it and you get to sit down while you work. All of that is why am I bitching about it? Because of two things: first, I am a writer (preferably novels and stories instead of computer code) and this is far from the writing I want to do; and second, office politics! Yes, office politics is the bane in the mix, which destroys the enjoyment of all the aforementioned benefits. I know, I've run into again and again.

When starting a new office job, it's usually really nice. The new people you meet are usually nice because you're new and they're feeling you out. Your workload is fairly light, until they determine how capable you are of doing the job. You're enlightened by the large paychecks you're receiving to start filling that dwindling checking account and hold the creditors at bay.

But, then the happy sunlight is obscured by dark clouds as those happy friendly people start turning sour. Your workload increases because they realize what a good worker you are. Others around you slack off and get you to do their work for them by complaining that their stuff doesn't work and it's your fault. Yes, that stuff actually happened to me at my last job. It was great at first, but after having been there for a couple of years and learning the ins and outs of the business, everyone around me began to pass the blame when something went wrong. Where did the blame end up, you ask? Why, with the programmers, of course. So, I am not happy at all by the notion that I must return to that cut-throat environment. I'd rather work in a warehouse or at a fastfood restaurant if the money was there, but it's not, as I've said.

So, back to my driving home the importance of perseverance. I felt myself getting quite depressed with the notion that I had to cut back my writing and begin mingling with the daytime workforce again. Not to mention, I received some rejections between Christmas and New Years for some stories that I thought were exceptional. A voice inside me said, You'll never make it as a writer now! This will suck out all of your motivation to write. That thought scared the hell out of me and when I whined to my wife about being a failure, about the publishing industry being a tight-knit incestuous group that went above and beyond to keep out members, she looked at me sincerely and said that I was getting too worked up, taking my rejections personally and that I could still write.

I realized she was right. I was being too over dramatic. I had cast aside my own advice to other writers. I reread my last blog and vowed that I would not give up my endeavor to continue writing and see my work through to publication. And, I want this to be a prime example to anyone who reads this and feels that they want to give up, that they just can't make it. DON'T QUIT NOW! KEEP GOING, PERSEVERING! Eventually, you'll make it. The climb to the top of writing success is steep and arduous. Persevere.