Monday, September 28, 2020

At Work on a New Horror Novella

I was going to write up an article on creativity/writing this weekend, but it got away from me. I painted my son's bathroom (a long overdue project) and took care of household stuff. The Bills managed to survive and pull out a win against the Rams. Never a bad Sunday when that happens.

I did work up some cover art for my latest horror novella, The Lacerated Sky.  


"The Sky Was Strange."

It'll be raining blood. October 2020. 




Monday, September 21, 2020

What's Your Excuse For Not Writing?

My oldest son has muscular dystrophy. He used to play in a wheelchair soccer league. When he had spinal surgery to insert a rod in his back, he had to give it up. 

The wheelchair soccer got pretty competitive. For anyone not familiar with wheelchair soccer, players use a sturdy plastic box that's mounted to the front of a chair. The box is used to strike the ball. The ball is oversized (about the size of a beach ball). Two orange cones serve as a net. 

One time, at a tournament in Rochester, I observed a player who used a special mouthpiece to maneuver their chair. The person didn't have the use of their arms. To me, that showed incredible determination. We all need to apply that same type of determination to achieving our writing goals. 

How often do we tell ourselves we're too tired to write, or say something idiotic like "I'm just not feeling it today." Sometimes, when I need a mental kick in the ass, I think back to that wheelchair soccer player.  Don't let lame excuses keep you from pursuing what you love to do. Go write. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Grinding It Out - Sticking Around The Writing Game

I recently recalled a term from when I used to golf, which was about a thousand years ago. When a player was "grinding," he was fighting from behind in a tournament. Taking things shot by shot, digging in, and not quitting. In hockey, a "grinder" is a third or fourth line player.  That player might not be the most skilled, but he works hard, going out and playing physical to help the team win.

I think in order to stick around for any length of time in the writing business (whether as an indie or traditional), you have to be a grinder.  

Writing is often thankless. It can feel like you're yelling into the void and no one is listening. That you might never get where you want to go. That's when you have to grind.


Grind by hitting a daily/weekly word count goal.

Grind by submitting to publishers and markets, even when rejections pile up.

Grind by indie publishing work, even if it feels like you don't have an audience yet.

Grind by getting better at your craft and learning to become a better storyteller.

Grind by promoting your work (without being obnoxious about it, of course) and making genuine connections with people.


It's that tenacity and consistency that leads to more finished work, and hopefully meeting your writing goals. And remember to have fun. Grinding and working hard on your writing goals doesn't mean being miserable. 


 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Some New Art - Black Panther

So with the recent death of Chadwick Boseman, I wanted to create some Black Panther Art. I hauled out the watercolors and did the piece below. I wasn't terribly crazy about it, but here it is. My relationship with my own artwork runs between "That's not half-bad" and "I can't believe I shared that publicly."

Either way, creative people are never the best judges of their own work, for good or bad. 





 

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Time Doesn't Stop and Kids Grow Up

My youngest son started his college classes online yesterday. He was initially supposed to go in once a week for an in-person class, but it's been changed to all online. Have to say I'm relieved (and I think he is too), given that COVID cases are popping up on college campuses. 

This time of year is always a bit melancholy. My wife has returned to the classroom (she's a special education teacher) after six months at home due to COVID forcing schools to close. My youngest son started college. Fall is in the air. The nights and mornings are cooler. Darkness sets in earlier. The summer is waning. 

My youngest son's friends spent the majority of the summer hanging out at our house. We always enjoyed having them around. Typically, seven or eight of them gathered here for swimming, video games, movie nights, and campfires. It's down to four of them now, as the others have gone off to college. I've watched all of them grow up together, hang out at our house over the years, and coached many of them in soccer.  Some of them even jokingly call my wife and I "Mom and Dad." 

We're starting the next phase of our lives. The kids are grown. I only have one lunch to pack now (my wife's), as I'm working at home for the foreseeable future. I've been the chief lunch packer since the kids were in first grade. I suppose it's a small way to mark the passage of time. 

Someone asked if my wife and I are empty nesters. I laughed at that. The nest is still quite full. Both of our boys are at home. My brother-in-law, who is also disabled, lives with us. As crazy as it gets around here sometimes, I'm glad to have everyone around. As we move on to the next phase of our lives, that song about handling the seasons of life comes to mind. I guess we're currently in autumn, if we're going by the song. But autumn is good. There are still plenty of golden leaves and crisp, fall days to relish. 



Some New Horror-Themed Artwork

I was joking with my wife that I created some new, cheerful artwork just for the holidays. You can have a look at my two latest creations be...