Advocate

What do you believe in?

 

I started this blog because I believe in myself. I believe that there is a chance that I can become a published author. I believe that someday – after being rejected many, many times I am sure – I will be published. I said that I would post on Monday’s and I didn’t. Is that because I’ve given up already? No. In this instance it was because I was ashamed of how little writing I did over the weekend. By that I mean none. Not one sentence. I said I would write a few chapters and instead I did not. I was embarrassed. Since then however, I have written probably the best two chapters yet. I am genuinely proud of them and I actually am excited to continue.

 

That brings me back to the blog and twitter and other forms of getting my name out there. Moreso it brings me back to what do you believe in.

 

I have a wife who is very supportive of me. She believes in me as a writer and truly thinks I will be published someday. She is encouraging and would support any decision I wanted to make that would affect my overall happiness for the good.

 

I believe I am a supportive husband. My wife quit her job after a long time of encouragement to do so by me. I have supported her in her journey to be a professional personal trainer. I have encouraged her on the bad days and told her how proud I am of her on the good ones.

 

I feel like I have been a bit neglectful however. I have been so invested in myself, my writing, my future that I have put her goals and dreams on the back burner. I saw other people that were helping her and I believed (and still do) that she was capable of helping herself. As the people that are supposed to be mentors to her have been less and less helpful she has become more and more discouraged in her dream but I have stayed steadily invested in myself.

 

I believe in my wife. I believe in her message about self-love and body positivity. I believe in her more than she believes in herself a lot of days. I see her and the good she can do and the good I know she will do and I am filled with pride. I see her helping people not only reach physical goals but also helping people to grow into a healthier perspective towards their body. I see her helping young girls understand that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I see her encouraging a mom who has recently given birth that is uncomfortable with the way her body looks now. I see her helping that woman to reach her goals while also helping her to love herself and realize that she is still beautiful.

 

I can see my wife genuinely impacting lives of people in more ways than a traditional personal trainer and I couldn’t be more proud of the woman that she is and what she is coming to represent.

 

I see her discouraged and I see her business not growing because of a lack of support by people that should be mentoring her and helping her business grow and it hurts me. It hurts me to think that someone with such a beautiful hurt and mind could see so little value from what they are doing.

 

Then I realize that my support has been in words only. I’ve told her I am proud, I’ve told her to hold on, I’ve encouraged her but I haven’t done anything. I haven’t offered my assistance past printing her invoices for her.

 

Well every now and then we need an advocate; somebody to stand up for us and to talk about the value we represent even when we don’t see it in ourselves. I plan on being that advocate for my wife. I plan to be more of a partner than just an encouraging husband. I plan on helping her business to grow and to sell her brand and put in the leg work that is needed to see her dreams come true. I believe in her and I know that anybody who could sit down and talk to her about her philosophy would believe in her too.

 

All of this means that I will be putting my own interests on the back burner. I will still be writing – writer’s gotta write – but this blog and any work on my own branding will be given minimal priority while I help her business to grow. I’m not discouraged in myself and I’m not giving up, I just see so much potential in what she is doing that I want to be a part of her success and help her to realize all of the things that I see happening for her.

 

Sometimes following your heart isn’t pursuing your own dreams, sometimes it’s helping someone you love to achieve theirs and that is a wonderful thing.

 

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Friday Preview #1

​Weekend Preview:
Alright so my writing schedule has been non-existent over the last couple of days. I’ve been off sick or preoccupied with a lot of other things. I thought about writing while I was home but I really didn’t have the focus to be able to do it constructively. As such, my characters remain frozen in time right where I left them; mainly, dismembered.
I’ve kind of fallen back from feeling good about the progress I was making and feeling like I was on the right track back into my old ways of feeling lackadaisical towards writing and disinterested in my own story…if any future agent, editor, publisher is reading this and is thinking, “Why would I ever want to give this guy a chance? He doesn’t even believe in his own story!” please bear with me! This would be my first novel and the truth is that if I can get a manuscript completed, polished, and sent out to you it means that I broke through the plateau I’ve been stuck in my whole life and I have truly advanced myself as a writer. 
That being said, this week has been a hard week for me and writing seeing as I haven’t done any. My creative muscles have been limited to formulating ideas, character traits and future plotlines but not actually writing the novel. I am hoping to get back on the right track tonight/tomorrow. Tonight I plan to do a fair amount of reading and I will write if inspiration strikes. I have a fairly busy weekend planned with Christmas type things but I am going to force myself to sit down and push through this rough patch in my novel so that I can get into the plot points that I am really excited about. As I’ve said before, the rough patches I go through are just going to be forced out in this first draft because I believe that when the story is all laid out I will be able to easily go back and adjust the parts of the story I’m not happy with and replace them with exactly what should be there.
This weekend’s goals are simple: 
1 – Finish opening and introductory chapters (one chapter left)

2 – Write first flashback scene to explain childhood

3 – Read. 
Reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing as suggested by many authors out there and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. Also, I signed up for the 50 Book Pledge (which I definitely suggest other avid readers check out) mainly as a way to keep me reading instead of just stretching a book out for months which I have done before. 
As far as non-writing activities, I am planning to watch the Santa Claus parade in my city of Markham, Ontario tomorrow and get myself a tree. Christmas always puts me in the best mood and I can always think of a whole bunch of ways to take the wonderful joy of the holiday and twist it into something more dark and sinister. There’s a reason the primary Christmas colour is red after all.

New Beginnings

Writing, for me, is such a fickle thing.

One minute I’m writing something that I think rocks and in the next I’m rereading it and stretching my finger up to the backspace key. Conversely, some days I write something that feels like utter sludge only to go back to it and think that it was really well written.

From what I’ve read this isn’t unusual for writers.  In fact, I’ve found I have more than a few common traits with other writers. On days when I doubt myself I can at least look at that and think to myself, “well if I’m similar in all of these ways to all of these other peoples who say they are writers then I must be one of them!” 

In case you’re wondering, it provides little solace. 

Anyway, I’m just having a mentally self-judging morning. Today I want to review my progress over the last few days. 

I’m hoping that every Monday I can do a review of what I accomplished in regards to my novel and maybe talk about roadblocks I’ve come up against, obstacles, and other musings that came to me over the weekend. I’m also hoping to do a weekend preview on Fridays with what challenges I face ahead of me and what my goals are for the days ahead. At least one other day of the week (not a weekend day because I am dedicating to writing and family) I plan to send another entry out into the worldwide web about anything really. Maybe ideas for other novels or short stories or random musings or just a spontaneous piece of writing. I don’t know, consider it my creative day as far as the blog goes.

Getting straight into it – this last weekend was a mixed bag. 

On the one hand I accomplished a fair bit. I mean, most other writers probably wouldn’t consider writing 5 pages a major achievement but I have had severe struggles with maintaining my perseverance as a writer in the past and almost never make it past page 3. Being over page 10 right now has me feeling pretty good about myself. Not only did things go well on the writing front but also on the planning front. My novel has been on my mind pretty much non-stop since I decided I was going to try and jumpstart the writing engine again and, because of that, the story keeps snowballing in my head. The story has transformed in certain ways and didn’t elements that I originally never considered have begun to present themselves to me as the only natural succession of events. I’ve even had some great ideas for future novels and short stories come to mind, one that I’ve actually started to work on when I hit a roadblock on my novel so that I can keep the creative juices flowing and maybe find my way around the block.

On the other hand though, I feel like 3 out of 5 of my last pages were garbage. I haven’t gone back to reread them but I’m fairly confident this is one time I’m not being fickle. I feel like I had reverted back to my 15 year old, angst filled self when I wrote them. Thankfully it’s not the plot point I’m at or the idea that I’m conveying, I’m actually quite happy with that portion. It’s the writing which should maybe sound scarier to me than it does but…oh well!

I’ve struggled with different areas before and none of them are a secret to me. Obviously commitment to a project is the biggest one I am currently working on. The other big one is being descriptive. I consider myself a story driven writer. It’s probably a good thing that I have no intention of going into fantasy because world building is something that I would struggle with. 

I’m also a very emotional writer. When I am writing a scene I always tend to stray away from describing the setting thoroughly and dive right into describing the emotional conflict between the characters and getting into the story advancement. I could write pages and pages just on a single character being introspective and I could spend the rest of the book just going from one event to the next. The problem I think is two-fold.

1) Being an effective story-teller means you can transport the reader to the place where these events are happening. You want them to feel it, see it, smell it and taste it. Yeah, I excluded hearing. Nobody wants to be able to hear what’s going on. I’m kidding but the point remains that describing what is all around the characters is crucial.

2) If I just went from event to event and spent pages here and there of deep character thought and focusing on drawing out emotion the book would be about the size of a novella. Well, maybe it would be a bit longer than that but it would not be long enough to be considered a novel. Descriptions are needed to bulk up a piece of writing.

I’m not saying you want to bulk up a piece of writing for the sake of bulking it up but adding descriptive narrative adds layers to the novel. 

So, in saying all of this, my problem with what I wrote over this weekend is that I went from event to event without stopping to explain the setting. Seeing as I wanted this to be a chapter that sets the readers teeth on edge I need to work on this. Thinking about what I wrote I know that it didn’t meet the standard I have set for myself and it needs to be worked on.
However, I am not at all discouraged. 

This isn’t the first time that I started novel only to end up writing something that I considered to be garbage. The difference between this time and all of those other times is that in the past I would delete all of those garbage chapters and go back and start over. That usually resulted in me quitting because of frustration and never picking up the project again. This time I made a rule for myself: 

GET THE STORY OUT

This is only the first draft and I already know that it is going to be far from perfect. Even the parts I like are probably going to undergo major rewrites suggested by myself and then by others. Instead of TRYING to make it perfect the first time only to never get any further, this time I’m going to push past all of the crappy bits of writing and I am going to finish the novel. I want to know that I have created a story that is complete with a beginning, middle, and end before I go back and start trying to fix all of the problems.

The second draft I’ll go back and I will fix all of the mistakes I already know are there. I’ll probably do this 2 or 3 times before even passing it off to any friends or family members to read and critique. I don’t need to have my first draft come out like the last draft of a Stephen King novel. That would be insane to believe possible.

I think in the past I’ve had so little faith in myself and my abilities that when the weaknesses started to pop up I immediately thought that it meant that I wasn’t cut out for this and that the novel would NEVER be good. I judged my own first draft, page by page, as if it should be finalized.

This time I’m giving myself the chance to finish the story and then go fix it. I want it to be something I am proud of when I start sending out query letters to agents.

The week continues and the story keeps developing itself even before it finds its way to my computer. 

OH, on a final note. For any aspiring authors like myself out there that may feel overwhelmed about more than just actually writing their first manuscript – head on over to http://www.roliterary.com.

Specifically, listen to their podcasts! I’ve found them extremely helpful and informative and they’ve made me feel way less stressed out about all of the stuff that comes after I finish my manuscript (especially finding an agent).

Whys and Wherefores

This is the story of a man on a journey. 

A journey to claim a part of him that has been lingering inside and tormenting him, begging to be free. 

Once upon a time I was going to be a writer. This was not a dream of mine it was, as I considered it, a fact. I always wanted to write fiction. What genre you may ask? The fuck if I knew. I just loved telling stories.

Once on a walk home from school I told my little brother that yellow “golden” leaves were dangerous. I told him this elaborate story about a kid who picked one up and kept it and, eventually, turned into a tree.

Pretty stupid but it just goes to show that I was an imaginative bugger.

In grade 4 I remember that we had these regular writing assignments. I don’t know if that was when I fell in love with writing or if it was another time but this was the time I remember with the most clarity.

There are a lot of different instances where I can remember writing and storytelling but the most impactful one was the most random.

I was waiting for my little brother to get out of school so I could walk him home and a plane flew over me and I thought, “what if it dropped a bomb?” Messed up thought for a kid to have but the thought was there and it grew and it evolved into something I never expected. This was the first novel I ever wanted to write and it became the one I tried to finish for years to come. 

The important point wasn’t the failure. There was now a seed in me waiting to grow into something beautiful. The problem is that it was never properly nourished. Instead of growing out and blossoming it has grown internally sprouting from all of the dark places inside of me, festering and tearing me apart.

Bleak imagery. My point is that I have tried and failed to commit to writing a novel for so long that I have lost the belief in myself I had as a child. I no longer just think I can and will be a published author.

Instead I feel like a failure and a disappointment to myself.

Every now and then we get a second wind and maybe this is finally mine. Maybe this is my chance to recapture the magic of being a storyteller and the passion for writing. Maybe this is where what I have believed only to be a dream for so long has shifted back to being a reality.

Maybe my time has come.