When I Grow Up I Want To Be A __________.

The thought of dropping any chance at another job and throwing everything I have into writing scares the crap out of me. Don’t get it twisted though. It’s not that I’m freaked about what people think–well, not that freaked about what people think. The real thing that freaks me out is that I won’t be able to make a living doing this deal, but by the time I figure that out I’ll have blown my chances of doing something else. That’s a serious dragsville kind of thought, you know?

This here topic has been stewing in my mind a lot lately. I’ve been in school for longer than I’d like to admit, taking “easy” classes at a junior college so I can bank my G.I. Bill money and have more time for writing. Money is a little tight, but my wife wants me to make a good run at this thing and so I figure, “What the heezy? I might as well give it a go.”

The thing is, the G.I. Bill isn’t a bottomless pit of cash-o-la. I’ve got about another year of school benefits, but after that I’m S.O.L. This is the thought that sets my brain into a you-gotta-get-a-real-job sort of frenzy.

And I know that my brain–however panicked at times–has a pretty solid point. At some point I’m going to have to figure something out that doesn’t involve using the V.A. to subsidize my dreams. The grand plan is to have a manuscript ready to chuck at every agent who bites at a query, but I get a little shook wondering if that’ll pan out. I mean, I’ve got a plan–oh Lord, have I got some plans–but the best laid schemes of mice and men tend to go pear-shaped even when we’ve got things planned out to the fricken letter.

I want to be a writer more than anything though, you know? It’s literally the only thing I can imagine doing for the rest of my days. But that what-if-I-fail thought keeps scratching at the back of my head, getting louder each time I try to turn the volume down on it.

I guess the point of this whole post is to see what you all think in a feedbacky sort of way. If you’re aiming at being a writer–and by “writer” I mean one of the full-time variety–what’s your plan for getting there? Do you work your normal job and squeeze in time to tap the keys after the office? Or are you holed up in a studio apartment surviving on ramen so you can focus on doing the deal?

Finally I want to give a high-five to my new followers, Freshinkadmin and Ladyromp. There’s no blog connected to the Freshinkadmin link aside for a Gravatar–at least not one I can see–but I stuck the link there anyways in case he or she sees it. Thanks to both of you for following!

Have a good one, duders.


Author Videos: Motivation for Those Slow Times

Hey there, folks. I was out poking around the internets tonight and I found this sweet video of Beth Revis talking about Across the Universe. I’ve been hitting a bit of a slow patch with my book so it’s good to hear a writer with a positive message. I was trying to dig up something about A Million Suns but there wasn’t a dang thang out there. Check it out, peeps. It’s sweet. Also, I want to say thanks to Robotic Rhetoric for following my blog. It. Is. Funny.

My Wifey: The Hottie McHotterson

Contrary to the popular opinion of soothsayers, the Ides of March is not such a bad day. See, March 15, 1984 was the day my wifey was born, and without her I probably wouldn’t be writing to you now.

Let me explain: in 2007 I had a wicked bad back surgery after jacking myself all to H-E double hockey sticks in the Army. After the surgery I was laid up for about a month without a dang thing to do. Talk about a drag, man. Anyways, my loving wifey got me reading about this little so-and-so named Harry Potter, which in turn got me writing stories again. Fast forward five years, a couple of published stories, and a half-done novel later and you’ve got me in the here and now working my little fingers off trying to be a writer.

So in addition the Nintendo Wii I got her and the delicious burrito casserole I’m making for her now I figured I’d ask all of YOU to go to her blog and say Happy Birthday. Because without her I wouldn’t have started down this road, and what a sad tale of woe that would be, folks.

80,000 words or 100,000 words? That is the question.

Today was a solid writing day–a 1,500 words kind of solid writing day. I finished writing chapter four and knocked 1,000 words off the top of that bad-boy chapter five. Not bad, am I right?

The only question bouncing around in my brain right now is whether or not I should be shooting for 100,000 words or 80,000. The reason I’m not sure is that I already knocked out a first draft which counts to me as the crappy draft that I would be shaving in the end. That being said, I should be able to aim for 80,000 on this draft and then see what I have from there.

I guess we’ll see. More details to come!

Writing, Rewriting, and the Holy Mother of Potter

Man, I’m rocking and rolling with this new book. I’ve set out a plan–oh how I love plans!–to crank out two chapters a week, and I’ve been sticking to the thing. Each chapter is about 2,500 words or so, and as I’ve done a super wicked awesome job plotting this bad mama-jama out that the thing each one of those chapters is swimming in nail-biting conflict.

Oh, yeah. I’m stoked.

Bad jokes are what I do!

Writing 5,000 a week is actually a step down from how fast I pumped through the first draft. For that one I was doing three chapters a week and those things were bloated like nothing you’ve ever seen. I’m talking about 3,500-4,000 word chapters kind of bloat. Chapters like that make for a monster book, eh? That’s the problem with plotting out a bunch of crap and then packing in a whole bunch more crap on top of that crap. I started having to set a word limit for each chapter–a rule that’s become useful for this draft as well, actually.

No Potter? No problem!

On a non-writing note, who’s been following the news about J.K. Rowling’s new book? There’s been a bunch of hype surrounding the news, most of it good, some lukewarm. I’m more on the she’ll-knock-it-out-of-the-park side of things. Of course, I might be biased. If it wasn’t for HP I would never have started writing, and what a sad tale of woe that’d be to sing.

Which side are you on? Think she’ll crank out another amazing tale, or will the lack of Potterness end up a bust? Seriously, I want to know.

[those clever pictures are from here and here]

I Should Be Sleeping Like A Log

I’ll keep this brief.

For the past few hours I’ve been working on revisions for my manuscript and now my brain is broken. However, I think there are a few things that learned and I ought to write down before let my mushy positronic matrix rest for the night.

  1. Revision is so not the right word to describe what I’m doing with my first draft. I’m not revising anything. I’m rewriting. Thanks to Beth Revis for making such a clear distinction.
  2. I hammered out my first draft in three months and most of it is total garbage. The plot goes on more tangents than a calculus class.
  3. I cannot let myself get attached to the first draft. I have this tendency to get hooked to it–to try and make the fresh writing work around the crappy writing of the first draft. This is a bad idea. In the end I just get frustrated because I can’t force the old parts to work with the new.

Okay, that’s all. I need to hit Safeway on the way home and get some Extreme Chocolate Cookie ice cream. I think a serving of that frozen delight is the only thing that will make my brain feel better.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Sweet Black Magic

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like music. Well, that’s not entirely true. My grandpa didn’t like music at all. Movies either, actually. In fact, unless you count the organ jams they cranked out during mass on Sundays I don’t ever remember the guy listening to music one single time. I guess he was just a weirdo like that.

So let me do that last paragraph over: With the exception of my grumpy old grandpa I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. It’s like pizza for your ears, you know? Everybody can find their own spin on it–cheese or no cheese–that makes it perfect for them.

Almost everybody has had one of those friends that is always on the hunt for something new when it comes to music. You know the person I’m talking about. She’s the one who always seems to know about the next big thing before it hits mainstream. For me, that someone is my wife. Some of my favorite music is from artists that I never would have found if she hadn’t showed them to me. If it wasn’t for her I’d still be listening to the same ten groups I’ve been bumping since high school.

One of the things I think is extra cute about my wife is that she likes to mix her interests together and come up with some whole new thing. For instance, when she reads books–The Hunger Games is the first thing that comes to mind–she makes these playlists for them based off her favorite music that end up like soundtracks for the novel. I thought the idea was so fricken cool that I asked her to do the same for me. Click the songs below to check out what she came up with:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

As you might expect I am pretty darn stoked that I have this little list of music to write to. My personal favorite is going to have to be the Metric song. I feel like it totally fits the way my main character feels about everything that is going on in her life.

After she made the list for me I went ahead and burned the list to CD. That way I can listen to them on the way to my current favorite writing spot and get myself all pumped up before I start working. How sweet is that, right? Yeah, she’s pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but you guys should all be crazed with jealousy over how awesome my wife is.

But her amazing talents don’t end at just picking out great songs to put to her favorite books. Oh, no. She also keeps a wicked sweet blog that you should all take the time to peek at. If you like adventures in anime, cooking, YA lit, music, crafting, and assorted geekery then I can guarantee you’ll dig it.

That’s it for this installment. I really need to hit the sack so I can plow through more of the manuscript tomorrow. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment, follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter.