Archive for June, 2009

Work Getting In The Way Of My Work

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , on June 25, 2009 by Dustin

I have been working after hours and weekends on this project and I am tiring of the hard work and bullcrap involved. I haven’t been able to do the writing I really want to do. I am working currently on a horror movie script and the little bit of time I have to do any work is over shadowed by my real job. Can’t I just start getting paid to be home already?

I had some positive response this week on my first draft. I wrote a pretty good non-fiction book I think. It’s still rough and needs some editing, of course, but I think I have something that could get me started in this career. Now it’s about finding an agent.

Even with this positivity I have tendency to fall into remorse and resentment on my regular job and it’s monopolizing of my time. I have to remember that this job is currently supporting my needs until I can write my way away from it. I must be grateful for working until midnight day after day on salary, psh! I have the money I need for food and for shelter and I usually enjoy this job. Sigh…

I really enjoy my writing though. I thought this same way when I got into computer too. I felt like this was the be all end all job. I guess when it gets down to it I hate working when it becomes work. When it is fun who wouldn’t like it, right? I have had moments writing when it didn’t come easy, those are the pits, and I feel like giving up then too. I just perservere. It won’t be this bad forever huh? Everything comes in cycles. Just gotta show up and do the work.

Publishing n00b

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , on June 16, 2009 by Dustin

So I am new to publishing. New as in, only ever done it myself. I have posted blogs, posted MySpace comments, posted videos and shorts on my YouTube account or person website, but nothing where someone else took a story of mine and said “Yes, we would love to have that and here is a couple bucks.” Today I sent out the first in a wave of manuscripts that will be going out for approval this year.

I have tried to be published in the past and have been discouraged by the process. I have always known and accepted the rejections. Being a standup comic you get used to rejection real fast or you can’t do the job. I am not very good, or haven’t been, at maintaining some kind of organization and process for submittal. So I would receive a rejection and then get discouraged about the repackaging process. I was too lazy to really work at being a writer. I changed that, and now feel confident about the process and the plan for publishing.

I sat down this weekend with my Writer’s Market and mapped out all the entries that will take submissions in the genre that I create, mainly horror and weird stuff. I listed them out with page numbers and anything that was pertinent from their listing. Today I found the one story that I knew was ready to go and formatted it properly according to the guidelines of the first place on my list. I read some of the stories posted on their website and the current guidelines, and everything looked in order. I then crafted a cover letter/email to the fiction editor,  attached my formatted manuscript, and off it went. Lastly I created a document to track my submissions where I listed the name of the story, who I submitted to and their contact information, and the date. Now I have a quick reference place where I can see everything that I have out and when it was sent.

I hope getting organized ahead of time will help me stay on top of the submission process. I have confidence in my work and the Writer’s Market has been invaluable in helping me find the right fit for my style. The big problem now is all of my shorts aren’t formatted or clean enough for submission. I have done a lot of writing, and tucking away. Not enough editing and preparing for publishing. So as I work daily on my writing and forming new ideas, I also take some time to look over old ideas and stories and get them prepped for submission.

Stephen King has a book on writing (Stephen King On Writing) that has reinvigorated me to get my schtuff together once and for all. I have been working like mad and will finish my first non-fiction book soon. I have ideas popping up constantly, and have been keeping a journal so I don’t lose them. Soon if I am diligent, not lucky, I will be in print or on the internet and will continue to be a hard working writer and not a lazy one.

Making Progress But Still Struggling

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by Dustin

I am a struggling artist. Not struggling financially, since I work my regular job and get consistent side work, but struggling to keep the momentum and stamina to create art at night. It’s a daily dilemma that I have to force myself into. Once I am there I am golden most of the time, but the third job starting at 10pm every night is draining me.

I know that as a writer I must keep producing and staying on track and motivated. At 10pm when my wife is going to bed and I am taking a shower to try and wake up, I feel like giving in more than I feel like trudging on. The energy to write is just not there some days. My current projects are fun too. Projects that keep me interested if I just show up to the page.

Last night I made some progress on my book. I wrote about 1500 pages in 1.5. I felt really good and energized afterwards, I really wanted to go on. But I know from past experience if I don’t get to bed by 11:30pm, I will be worthless at work the next day. This part is what I am struggling with the most. I get inspired and feel the words flowing freely and rapidly from my fingers and then times up, gotta go to bed. I wish I could work during the day instead of my current job. I wish I could write for a living.

Writing for a living is a goal of mine, and I think it is attainable with some hard work. I have never been averted to hard work in the sense of physical or mental anguish or strain. But when I don’t know the material or it’s hard for me to work around my mental blox, that is where I start letting off the gas and wanting to pull over to the side of the road. I have been working on my inner artist over the past six weeks, and I have learned a lot about how I self sabotage. I have been learning to recognize negative thoughts that have no base in anything but fear. It’s still difficult to immediately move past these fears though and I find myself having to talk my inner artist off the ledge more often than not.

Progress is still progress and anything I put out there still makes me happy in the long run. My inner whiner can peaks it’s head out every now and then but it is my job to push him back down and not let fear run my progress into the ground. If I continue to do the work no matter what, even when my initial thought is “I don’t wanna, I wanna sleep, wah!” I have to teach my inner artist that I deserve to create. I am good enough at what I do and this is not a wasted effort. I have a lot to share with the world and who are you to keep me from my gift, self?

So tonight I will sit down to the page and crank out some more pages, and have fun doing it. I found that cranking out pages is much easier when cranking out some metal on my headphones. (Headphones are a bit cumbersome, but no one in my house can sleep through the volume I need to really get  my blood flowing). No more excuses self, stop being such a god damned pussy and just enjoy the ride. The whole world is waiting for what you create.

My Own Space

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , on June 11, 2009 by Dustin

tea pot deskMore than one source over the past two weeks has been telling me I need a space to write. Something comfortable. Something, mine. Currently I write where I can. At my desk at work, in the airplane terminal, or the kitchen table. I don’t have my own space. I don’t have anything around to inspire me or make me feel comfortable in the spaces I write. I think this may be causing my lack of enduring enthusiasm. I don’t like where I am sitting down to the page.

I have been thinking about creating a space for myself in my house. We bought the little house a year ago. It has an office and an extra room, but neither of these places is isolated enough to keep me from wandering or wanting to get up. The spare room is, to an extent, but I have created this space for my artist wife to build and create her art. So what is left for me? I could take the small corner unused in the living room, but to really feel isolated I would need to wear headphones and put up a Chinese screen to section off the corner for myself. I could use the laundry room, but it doubles as the catbox room, and that aint happenin’. So the only place left is outside or the garage.

Outside isn’t going to happen either, because the shed or the porch is just not very comfortable during most of the year in Southern California. 110 degrees isn’t uncommon where I live and being in a metal shed with a fan and a desk will deter my writing more than being around stale urine and cat shit. No, outside isn’t going to work, so the last place available to me is the garage. This is a man’s domain anyway, or at least I try and convince myself of this. I look around and see a lot more stuff in here from my wife than me, so who’s domain is it. It does have a nice work bench and drums and tools. I do feel comfortable out here, especially with the iPod sound system I jerry rigged out of some computer speakers and a subwoofer. But the work bench is not at a comfortable height and there is a heat problem in the garage in the summer as well. But I could do my writing at night and open the door a crack to get a nice breeze.

Alright, so I picked the garage. A long road to haul to finally get there, but yes I am going to build myself a little place in the garage. I have started to move things around and eliminate boxes of stuff I haven’t touched since we moved in. I have cleared some room and started to get some kind of organization in the space.  I cleared things away from, and off of, my work bench, and have called people who are storing things in my space, and told them to come and get it.

I keep stalling, and holding out my arm to progress for me. Having my own space is secondary to my nature, which is to take care of others. So I have to put a foot forward when I want to put it back instead. I keep thinking that I need to do with the space I have and I don’t need to go to the trouble to create something only I use. Which is just bullshit and me trying to feel sorry for myself.

I think I am going to go try and find a cheap desk and toss it in a corner and put up some things that make me happy. Get the iPod ready, cause here I come. I need a routine, and I think to have a solid routine I need a comfortable space. Time to get serious with taking care of my inner artist. At least I will have somewhere to do it, even if all I do is sit there and stare at a blank page daily, inspiration will come eventually if I just show up at the page.

Reverse Writers Blox

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , on June 10, 2009 by Dustin

When I have a project I am working on, this is usually when more ideas come to me. I try and write them down but more likely than not I take them and distract myself from the task at hand. The end result is multiple unfinished books, short stories, scripts, projects of all kinds. I have so many little project plates a spinnin, I never know what to work on when I get some free time. I found this on Urban Dictionary . I am grateful that the ideas seem to always be coming, but I need to get an organized, concise, way to keep these ideas at bay.

My Wife has always told me to keep a journal for all of my ideas. Sometimes though, they come in such a flood that I would have to keep a pad in my pocket and a pen in my ear (or on, in would be painful). I hate having a bunch of shit in my pockets. You know what, now that I think about it I do have the ability to type up little notes on my current phone. I never even thought of that. HA! Now it’s up to me to use that tool and stay focused on one project at a time.

It’s so tempting to move on to a fun, exciting, NEW project when the current one becomes work. When things are fresh I usually have no problem moving along single mindedly typing away. But after a while when the ideas are drying up and I can’t find my way to the ending, or I know exactly what I want and how to get there, but it is a lot of manual labor, I start trying to play outside, metaphorically. I want to stop doing my homework and go ride my bike with the kids in the neighborhood. I ask my internal mother if I can just do this later and go play for a couple hours until the street lights come on.

I let myself play a lot too. I play video games, music, books on CD, reading for recreation, and now this blog. I can justify it all too. Oh, I only have a few minutes. No time to get into that book thing I am working on, so let’s play guitar hero for a little bit. All the while I resent myself for not having it done. I look across the room at my laptop and frown internally. If I work hard on the book I will have the time later on to play with my new toys (ideas).

Maybe I could reward myself with a new story, short or not, after I finish with a current project. That way I always have something to look forward to. I have been told that having something to look forward to is the key to happiness. I am looking forward to fostering those ideas and growing them into more fruitful projects. When they become work I always have more on the way. And as long as I work I will be rewarded with my playful side giving me the idea flood. As long as I store those ideas up for rewards later, then I have nothing to complain about other than having too much fun at this art stuff.

I Feel Like A Slacker

Posted in Writer's Blox with tags , , , , on June 10, 2009 by Dustin

IMG_0032I am feeling like a slacker. But how can I say that? I have written in my book this week, and everyday in the morning. I have met for some comedy one on one with a fellow comedian. I started carrying a notebook for ideas and actually wrote some down. I wrote a whole chapter, or at least the first try at one, and started work on the chapter I have already written, adding to it. But yet, I feel like I am slacking.

What am I, crazy? Other people would tell me I have done a lot, more than them. What do I want of myself? Daily progress is measured by my harsh standards only. Because I haven’t finished my book I am a failure? Maybe because I still feel like I have nothing tangible in my hands, or in others, that I have created. I’m working on it, and pretty consistently I must say, but it’s not done it’s not out there, it’s not being consumed and appreciated.

On top of all this I go and start a blog late at night when I should be sleeping. Who reads blogs, who has time? Who has time to write one, I should be writing in my book, or painting that painting I have had in my head for the past two weeks. (side note, I just ran spell checker and so far no misspellings. Pretty good for me; progress). I have been thinking about writing a blog. I got on that twitter site but it seems like little bits of a message are just not fulfilling at all. I need to type out a few paragraphs to make it work for me.

Currently I am doing the Artist’s Way with a group, and I am loving it. I am empowering the me and what I want. What I want is to create and share with the world. I don’t want fame but I do want some recognition and the ability to do what I want to do. Working for someone else is all fine and good, but I need something more. More freedom to move about the world and let loose man. I am breaking into my new self with this book/program and I feel great. But I still feel like a slacker.

I look around my house, I look in my ridiculous garage, I look into my cluttered head, all evidence of my slackness. I look at my writing and don’t see the progress for this week but the lack there of. I don’t see the quality but the missing quantity. I am my blox. I am my harshest critic. I am lucky to live and work around completely supportive people. I know that my work loves me, and that even if I left them and they had to find a new replacement IT Field Manager, they would sincerely wish the best for my success. That is a gift. My wife loves me, and wants only what makes me happy, which sometimes is just taking care of her, so I guess I don’t blame her there.

I guess after typing this up and looking it back over I can say that I need some gratitude. I am feeling great in all aspects of my life, and I am making progress in my art. I may have the blox, but they can used as building blox not creative blox. Time to get to work dude.

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