January Writing Projects

New year, new decade, new projects, trying new things.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of working on some non-fiction books. Yes, of course about reruns. What else do I act like I have any authority on? But I’ve been floundering on exactly what to do with these ideas. How do I get them out of my head and onto paper and formed into something coherent?

Well, I’m still not one hundred percent sure. But I do know that rolling it over the dips and swells of my grey matter ain’t getting it done either, so it’s time that I do some trial and error and experimentation. Let’s see where this goes.

I know I still have plenty of fiction projects to work on (and probably will throughout the year), but I decided to start off this new year and this new decade by going in a different direction.

Who knows what I might find?

You will find that Murderville: The Coldest Case is beginning on January 14th! Get in on the ground floor by becoming a patron right now. $1 an episode lets you read, $2 an episode gets you a sweet bonus every other month. Season 4 of Murderville is sure to be a chilling good time.

I’ll also be working on the next episode of Book ’em, Danno this month, but episode 8 came out last month, just before the end of the year. Give it a listen and a like and spread the word. Joy is meant to be shared.

2020 Half-Assed Resolutions

My 2019 resolutions were mostly done successfully. As you can see, still not dead, and 2019 was a better time than 2018, so we’re calling that a win. Book ’em, Danno is happening. I cleaned out my craft drawer, but I have no memory of doing it. It was either me or clutter elves, but either way, it got done. As for my art…I hung up one piece. Okay, I didn’t do something with all of the pieces I created in 2018, but I did do something with one of them and since these are half-assed resolutions, that totally counts.

2020 is a big year for half-assed resolutions. New decade and I’ll be 40. Gotta make these good.

1. Don’t get dead.

2. Have a good time.

3. Clean out my sewing drawer. I have to come to accept that I’m not sewing very much right now and that I don’t need all of the fabric and scraps that I’ve accumulated. Other people could put that stuff to better use and in the now, not in the metaphorical future.

4. Read consistently. I do read, but I’m a sporadic reader. Meaning, I can go all week without reading and then read half a book on a Sunday. As nice as spending a Sunday that way is, I’d like to read more throughout the week as well. I’m going to aim for at least 5 days a week. And since this is half-assed, the bar of how much to read on those nights is set on the floor.

5. Self-care. I am crap at self-care. I tend to wait until I’m about to fall off the ledge before I take the step back and go, “Hey, self. We should probably take a breather.” I’d like to make it more of a regular thing. Even if I could just take one day a month to assess and ask myself the necessary questions that gauge my well-being that would be great. I can work on addressing the answers for my 2021 half-assed resolutions.

Okay. Let’s get this new decade started.

December Writing Projects

Ho ho ho. It’s the most stressful time of the year. At least for me. Because I haven’t even begun my Grinchmas making this year, have barely even thought about it, and this year I have a day job to work around.

As I always say…I’m not happy unless I’m driving myself crazy.

And since I will be busy doing just that, it’s only right that I go easy on the writing this month. The only project that I have lined up is finishing the latest round of revisions on (Vampires) Made in America. I know. I started that months ago, but between NaNo and squeezing in an episode of Book ’em, Danno last month, I only worked on the manuscript for a couple of days. Despite being pressed for time, I think I can get it done since I only have about 50 pages left to do.

I’m also going to try to squeeze in one more episode of Book ’em Danno before the end of the year. I’m getting quicker on the recording, but the editing still takes me hours. If you ever wanna feel self-conscious about your breathing and how often you pause while talking, start a podcast.

Speaking of, Episode 7 of Book ’em, Danno went live just a few days ago. Give that a listen and feel free to talk it up to your friends by liking, subscribing, favoriting, rating, reviewing, commenting, sharing, whatever. It’ll make my heart grow three sizes.

And if you’re wondering what’s happening with Murderville, well, the Season 4 promo goes live for everybody on December 3rd. It’s going to be a good one, so become a patron and don’t miss out. $1 an episode let’s you read; $2 an episode gets you a bonus every other month, like the one that will be happening on December 17th.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 7

Episode 7 features two more episodes from Season 1: “Deathwatch” and “Pray Love Remember, Pray Love Remember”. We’ve got Nehemiah Persoff and James Shigeta being smug bastards while Denny Miller and Ron Feinberg break our hearts.It’s a tonal shift between episodes that’ll drop your transmission if you aren’t careful.

Listen on Soundcloud or iTunes

I thought I had a picture of Denny Miller from this episode, but I don’t. So here’s one of him in Emergency! about five years later.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner!

I hit 50,000 words on November 17th and finished the first draft of The Support Group Meets on Wednesday on November 21st. Final word count was about 54,000 words, which isn’t too bad. I’m already thinking of revisions. Of course, I’m going to sit on it for a while before I go down that road. No telling what some time and a fresh read will bring.

Most days, the words came pretty easily. The hang-ups were usually me getting started or not getting distracted by social media. I think all but one day I was able to get my word count in before my day job shift started. I was lucky. The story flowed really well. Any issues I had were me getting in my own way, like always.

One thing I’ve noticed in the last few NaNos in which I’m writing an actual novel and not a couple of novellas is that the first drafts are getting better. I’ve got a better understand of the story, even if I don’t have the most exact outline. My first wins were due to very specific outlines that I followed. Those manuscripts usually needed a lot of revision, but that bit of hand holding helped me get the confidence I needed to know I could get the job done. They gave me the base to build on to do a better job of crafting a first draft. They helped me get a better feel for what the story is and how to get it down on the page.

There are still things I struggle with. I have yet to successfully execute a B-plot in a first draft. And even after all of these years, description is something that usually happens in the revisions. I put some key things in during the first draft, but never enough. Some people put too much; I’ve always been the opposite.

The challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is no longer a challenge for me. It hasn’t been for a while. Now the challenge of each NaNo is small and more specific. It involves challenging myself to do better, to write a better first draft, to work on my writing weaknesses.

Hopefully…someday…it’ll pay off.

Have a Bad Day

I woke up from a dead sleep at 4am with an anxiety attack. It had something to do with the day job, an insignificant thing that my broke-ass brain decided was a much bigger issue and decided to flail about it despite my repeated attempts at logic and reason. It took almost two hours for me to get back to sleep and even then, I ended up having fitful anxiety dreams.

This set the tone for my day. It colored everything I did. How I interacted with other people and dealt with them, how I went about my writing and my day job shift. When I finished my exercises in the morning (because I made myself do them), I sat on the floor with my head in my hands for twenty minutes, inert. I knew that it was going to be a day. I was going to be out of sorts.

And you know what?

I let myself have a bad day.

There’s this idea that bad days should be avoided at all costs. Do whatever you can to not have one. Don’t let that one moment ruin your twenty-fours hours. Change your attitude, change your perspective, other people have it worse, don’t let it get you down.

Granted, no one wants to have a bad day, but I think so much of that is because people don’t like dealing with other people having a bad day. It makes them uncomfortable. It’s awkward. They don’t know what to say or what to do. So, they tell you not to have one so they don’t have to deal with it. Which perpetuates this idea that bad days are some kind of failing. To have one means you’re not fighting hard enough to be happy and therefore not burden the other people in your life with your unpleasant, unkempt shit.

In the past, I would have struggled to turn my frown upside down and that struggle would have made my bad day worse. I would have pushed and everything I touched would have gone to instant shit. Like the Midas touch, only crappy. Instead, I knew from the minute I woke up with that anxiety attack that I was going to have a bad day and I accepted it. I didn’t wallow in it. I didn’t take it out on anyone else. I just acknowledged that this was the day that I was having and it was okay. I was allowed.

The result?

My day wasn’t great, but it didn’t get worse. It was bearable. I was more productive than I thought I’d be because I didn’t push myself. I gave myself an out for everything on my schedule. I forced nothing. I took nothing personally and I ate comfort food for dinner. I let myself be, I had my bad day, and I didn’t make anyone else uncomfortable in the process. My day ended up being grey instead of black.

And it ended better than it started.

Two bowls of cereal have that power.