There’s Still A Little Bit of Wick Left …

My eyes feel like they’re about to melt into a goopy mess and dribble out of their sockets as I type this. I spent most of the day going over spreadsheets and data and verifying said data and inputting new data and putting a lot of X’s in a lot of boxes. That’s not typically something I do, so I’m definitely feeling some Excel Fatigue (is that a thing?) right now.

Speaking of fatigue, it ended up working out yesterday that I had two long overdue doctor’s appointment back to back. Somehow, fate was on my side for once and I was able to schedule the optometrist and the dentist on the same afternoon. It had been 2(?) years since my last eye exam and at least a year since my last dental check up. I was convinced that after so much time, this recent brow-furrowing and eye strain was just as much a precursor to something wicked this way comes as those shadow spots between my molars they are supposedly “watching.”

So imagine my surprise when the optometrist tells me my eyes basically haven’t changed. I could use a new pair of glasses though, as my current ones look pretty “beat up.” The dentist, who was sure to deliver a hammer blow of bad news, told me that nothing’s changed. Keep on flossing, brushing and rinsing and they’ll x-ray everything next time. If they’re not worried, I’m not worried. Good to know that my aches and pains are self inflicted war wounds of my hectic life rather than something more sinister. I am not, in fact, falling apart. Although after their dilation yesterday and LED retinal flaring today, I think my eyes are ready for little rest.

Oh man, that makes me want to watch Daredevil. Guys, the episode ended with him getting caught by the cops. The cops!

I also found out that there’s a light at the end of my work tunnel as, supposedly, a replacement for my old position is to be hired by next week. I’ll believe it when I see it, but just the thought of it … well, I thought it would be squeal-inducing, but I think I may just break down and sob tears of relief. If I do, I’ll get a picture …

But all of this has somehow made me motivated to really tear into my current novel. I’m maybe 20-25% in and there’s a lot left to cover, but I’m ready to kick it up a notch. This double-job business has put me back long enough. Too long. It might have been worth it if they’d been paying me double salaries, but alas. So I’m ready to devote as much of myself to my own endeavors as I can. Lately that hasn’t been a lot, but I’m so frustrated with work-work that the idea of coming home to continue my own work actually sounds appealing. I’ve been jotting some snippets and the start of threads down so I can hit the keys running as soon as I have a quiet minute to myself. This novel HAS to be finished before August. After then I won’t have a quiet minute for a long, long, loooooooong time.

Or so I’m told.

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One-Two Punch

I mentioned on Wednesday about hoping to see the critters come climbing out of the trees – I don’t know if they are in fact monkeys. Maybe ethereal monkeys? We can work this out later – and boy did I need them yesterday. So my writing routine was interrupted per usual. At this point, is it really a routine anymore if I barely follow the same schedule two days in a row? Put that on the agenda for next meeting too while you’re at it … Anyway, I had just finished one project and was looking down the barrel of another one coming my way later that afternoon. I had about 45 minutes to myself. It was going to happen then or it wasn’t going to happen at all. I didn’t have the luxury of inspiration or warmup or any kind of prewriting. I jumped in with the sharks.

I have to say, I think it went pretty well. Cranked out about 700 words. It’s true that once the critters start showing themselves, they like to hang around if you keep coming back to them. I hit a bullet point on my outline and advanced the scene in a satisfactory way. I’m pleased with the results. In times past I most likely would have just dicked around those 45 minutes and chalked yesterday up as a wash, figuring I’d make it up to myself by writing again on Friday. Just like I don’t like working out too late in the day, I really don’t like writing the more the day drags on. I get distracted and tired and it’s like pulling teeth to put words down. But yesterday I wouldn’t give myself the luxury of an out. You can’t always have the opportunity to write when you want to. Sometimes the job needs to be done whether you like it or not.

The other highlight of yesterday is that I hooked up our Apple TV. With the babies coming, we keep talking about cancelling cable to save whatever money we can. It’s a pretty scary concept as cable has become quite the safety blanket in our lives. However, last night I finally experienced the majesty of Apple TV. Yes, we’ve streamed Netflix and Hulu and all sorts of things from a laptop to the TV, but never has it been so seamless! It was probably because there wasn’t a bunch of other programs vying for RAM space, but man, it was like watching whatever show we wanted at the touch of a button. It was hard to stop consuming media.

I finally got around to watching the first episode of the Daredevil series and I’m already in love with it. The chemistry between Matt and Foggy is perfect, the show’s choices are smart and edgy, and it’s even shot and framed in a particular cinematic experience that just oozes style. It makes me miss my old Daredevil trades. (They were a casualty when I moved and had to pare down my comic book collection.) This show scratches so many itches for me, I don’t think I could have made a better version if they’d given me complete creative control and an unlimited budget. Granted, I’m only an episode in, but having read comic books since I was 12 years old, this fills a void in my life that so many mainstream books no longer seem to hit. I’ll write a post about this soon as comics have been – and still are, I guess – such a large part of my life growing up. But for now, I want to end on a good note.

Consistent writing? Check.

New source of TV? Check

Work done for the week (for the most part)? Check

I think its time for more Daredevil, don’t you?

I Come Offering Bananas

It’s been no secret that I’ve had a lot of factors vying for my attention recently. My wife’s too. I actually just texted her “hello” as I realized I hadn’t heard from her in hours – we lightly keep in tough throughout the day – and she responded that she’s “Having a baby shower, actually.” At work. Well, that beats my day …

Actually, I’m pretty pleased with how life is going today. That’s because I’m finally getting back into a groove with my latest novel. Nothing is more annoying than a writer talking about how s/he can’t write. This isn’t that, it’s more validation that the Jane Goodall method is a thing. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post and it’s fast becoming how I view writing.

It’s weird because throughout the day, I’m typically thinking about the part I just wrote, what the scene needs in the immediate future and where the scene will eventually end up, among other things book related that come to mind. It’s not uncommon for a snippet of dialogue or a line of description to just pop into my head involving something much, much later. I jot those down and incorporate them into my outline. Anyway, I bring this up, because lately, this thinking-prewriting method just isn’t cutting it. I’m squeezing the mental fruit, but I’m not getting any juice. It’s not writer’s block, it’s more like I don’t really know what’s happening and then I sit down and I’m a discovery writer all of a sudden. The good news is that the more I’m doing it, the more the scene is starting to form in my head again so I can return to form. It’s a strange wall of sorts for me because I’m really not much of a discovery writer. I can admit that now. High School Dan, though, he was ONLY a discovery writer. He not only laughed at outlines, he openly lashed out against them. Now? I can’t get anything done without an outline. And this novel in particular has the strongest outline I’ve ever made. I have story structure beats built right into it this time so hopefully that’ll cut a little bit off of the editing process.

I’ve also switched up the music I’ve been listening too. Well, the music has evolved is probably a better descriptor. I don’t necessarily write to a specific “soundtrack,” but since a lot of my writing is done at work or in a public place, I need to listen to music to cut out the surrounding noise. I can’t concentrate otherwise. Because of that, I also can’t listen to anything that has vocals. That’s just as distracting as someone talking into my ear. Sometimes more so.

My first two novels were written to a movie soundtrack station on Pandora – stopping of course every time anything from Jurassic Park came on – and by my third book I had discovered music on YouTube and listened to just about anything that had the word “Epic” in the title. I think I’ve cleaned most of those channels out by now and I was writing sort of a party scene at night for this fourth book and needed some ambient beats to get me in the mood. I started listening to some kind of ambient/trance stuff and it just stuck. Who knows? Maybe this has become the “soundtrack” to this one, but now when I start writing it’s not that I can’t work without these psychedelic jams, it’s that I’m bored of the previous material and for whatever reason this is doing it for me. Hey, whatever works right?

I’m starting to see the critters coming out of the trees again and boy have I missed them. I’m pretty psyched to see what they show me next.

The Perfect Cherry Blossom

Night number two on my own proved to be as soul-restorative as the first. I started off with some obligatory Hearthstone of course. I knocked out the third wing of Black Rock Mountain pretty easily (saving Heroic mode for something to do later) and finished up the second half of my sole daily quest. My mecha paladin deck self-explanatorily titled Gears of Justice is becoming one of my favorite decks to play. It was fun. The adventure definitely helped add some whimsy – I love reading the new boss’ hero powers for the first time (I stay away from spoilers), but after my arena marathon the other night, I was kind of Hearthstoned out.

Dinner was sushi from the grocery store.

That’s something I thought I’d never utter before, but our Kroger here is enormous. Gargantuan. So big, it could serve as disaster relief for the community in case of emergency. It recently underwent some impressive modifications which added a whole host of food options for dining, not just shopping. We also have a large Asian population in Bloomington. I don’t mean that to sound weird in any way. This is a college town with a direct line to China through our music program. Put it this way, not only is there sushi in the grocery store, there’s a sushi bar in the grocery store. It has a conveyer belt and everything!

Since the wife can’t eat sushi being pregnant and all, I picked up a couple of rolls and something called squid salad. I just had to try it and let me tell you, squid salad is delicious. That’s a second thing I thought I’d never say. I couldn’t find a matching recipe online, but it was strips of calamari, red peppers, ginger, seaweed and mushrooms in a spicy sauce.

Whether it was the sushi or a chicken and egg scenario, but I ended up drinking some scotch and watching The Last Samurai while I fiddled with some Magic cards. That’s another movie I really like. It’s a little – OK a lot – heavy on the romanticism side when it comes to foreign culture, but the scenery is gorgeous. Even half paying attention as I restructured my werewolf deck, I picked up on things I hadn’t noticed over my dozen viewings before. Maybe I did, but I don’t think I really got it, you know? I’m talking about Captain Algren’s desire to become samurai. In an epic steeped in romantic nostalgia like this, of course it sounds awesome to be samurai, but I guess I never truly understood (or had to reremember) just how much Algren hated himself for what he’d done to the Native Americans. He transposes his thoughts and feelings of one indigenous culture fighting modernity onto another in a similar situation.

The rest of you are probably like, “Duh!” But something about it really struck me this time. It’s probably because of my own writing, but I look for meaning and motivation behind actions more than ever before. Also, what happens to Billy Connolly’s character? It’s possible the guy bit it during the initial battle and I just missed it. I was wrangling my werewolf deck under control. It’s still not where I need it to be, but it’s heading in the right direction. The werewolf transformation mechanic is such a cool idea, but its really hard to pull off and be competitive in a timely fashion.

So collectible cards and movies … yep, sounds like my kind of night.

Maintenance for my site is slow going. I’ve been trying to flesh out little bits here and there to add more content.

Side note: I hate it when writers use “here and there.” I mean I get it. It’s a haphazard smattering of something, but you can just say that. I understand the intention, but it always comes off as lazy writing to me. Similarly, I hate “24/7”. Why can’t you just say, “all the time”? “24/7” is five syllables and “all the time” is three. Even though the first is an abbreviation, it’s literally longer to say than summarizing it, but I digress …

I’ve done a little work on the Comics section and uploaded the first 10 issues of my old webcomic NOD: The Animated Series. Once I took the old site down, those issues only lived on my home computer, but I wanted to put them somewhere where they could actually be seen! It’s too many to simply dump on the page so while I’m exploring options of a scrolling or viewing widget, hopefully you can whet your appetite on the first 10.

T-Rex Wants to Hunt

My wife is away on an overnight field trip which leaves me with the run of the house. Well, me and the dog. So with the cat away, the pressure for this mouse to find the right things to “play” is almost overwhelming. It’s not that I can’t usually indulge in my nerdisms, but when it’s just me, there’s this added pressure that I must. Every minute must be accounted for to gain the maximum amount of fun. That I need to really drill down and get as much as I can out of the experience. There were plenty of things I could have done, but last night boiled down to simply two. Hearthstone and Jurassic Park.

I’m a pretty big fan of Hearthstone. It’s on the simpler side mechanics-wise as far as collectible card games go, but there’s just something about it. It’s got claws in me. Big, razor sharp ones with barbs that won’t come out without gutting me. Maybe it’s because it scratches BOTH my Magic the Gathering and World of Warcraft itches simultaneous. Maybe it’s just a fun card game. Who knows?

Anyway, I had knocked out the last of my dailies that morning and needed something to that evening. You know, getting back to the whole indulging myself thing here. So I did a couple of arena runs. Let me make something clear here before we begin. I love the arena and I also hate it. I am not good at arena play.  For those of you who don’t play Hearthstone, it’s essentially a draft so it doesn’t matter how many cards you’ve collected. The game provides them for you. The drafting part is fun. I always feel like I make good choices, but then implementing this ramshackle deck usually shows me how wrong I am. The most wins I’d ever had in the arena was 4. To put this in perspective, you can get a total of 12 before the game lavishes you in riches for “winning” the arena and kicks you out.

In the spirit of indulgence, I bought in and went for a run. I had high hopes in the beginning. Grabbed rogue which is my class of choice and thought I made a pretty solid deck. Boy was I wrong. Finished the run with only 2 wins and 3 losses.

Dismayed, but not defeated I went back in. Grabbed hunter this time and built what I think is a pretty ridiculous deck. So much so, that I shattered my old win total of 4 and by 6-0 I was undefeated. 7 wins is the magic number in that this is when the game rewards you with more gold than it cost to buy in originally and you actually come out ahead. If I could win just one more time, they’d make a movie about my experience.

Nope. Nadda. Nah-ah.

The next three games was a crushing series of defeats. After that first loss, something broke inside of me and all of a sudden my sub conscious realized that it could lose. That’s all did from then on. I swear, though, that my deck played a completely different way in the loser’s bracket than it did with the winners. For 6 games it was nothing but traps and kick ass durability-regenerating bow then I entered a complete drought of traps. A Desert if you will.

Still, it made for an eventful evening. Next up was Jurassic Park to take me right into bedtime.

Let me drive home a second point here. I really like Hearthstone, but I freaking LOVE Jurassic Park. It is one of my all time favorite movies – holding the number 2 slot on the list just in case you were wondering – but more than that, it completely holds up. That film came out in 1993 and totally nailed it. I honestly compare any move that has come out since to see if it has the same level of Jurassic Park quality. The CGI is a little dated, but it still looks great thanks to the animatronics and actual costumed stunt guys. The shortcomings of one style is more than made up with the strengths of another kind of special effect. They figured this shit out in 1993. What’s Transformers’ excuse?Featured image

Seriously, how great is that scene? The T-Rex … the rain … it’s freaking amazing! So what if the goat’s leg is weird or that I don’t understand the geography of the Rex’s paddock … I don’t care. That roar is one of the coolest things I have ever heard. Followed by a close second … “Ian! Freeze!”

I know I’m looking at things with some rose colored glasses too. I love the book, I love these characters, I love the plot, hell, I love everything I’m looking at when I watch that movie. There’s something magical in that film, that awe of nature, that was so perfectly captured. I even love the soundtrack. It gets me every time. That song. You know the one I’m talking about. I tear up every freaking time I hear that song. 20 Years later and I’m still getting chills.

Add a little scotch to savor with one of the best movies ever made on top of a personal best in Hearthstone and I gotta say that it was a pretty epic night. Eventful? Maybe not. But my inner nerd is quite indulged and happily satisfied.

Makes me wonder what I’ll be getting up to tonight?

Who’s There?

Last night the most amazing thing happened. I felt one of the babies kick for the first time!

At least I think it was a kick. Who knows? Maybe the little tyke is a future boxer … We think it was the girl based on the tummy placement.

For the past couple of weeks, my wife has been talking about the occasional flutter from within. So we knew they’ve been moving around. Even in the ultrasound last week, we watched them squirm. The boy never seems to sit still. And then over the weekend it was like they decided to start a dance party. Every thirty minutes or so, my wife would grab my hand and put on her belly. I was always a second too late of course. DOUBLE Of course, the moment I took it away, they started up the dance party again. Even in utero they’re already disobeying their father. Off to a great start here, kids … 🙂

At least that was until last night. No mistaking. No squinting and cocking my head with an “I THINK I feel something …” reaction. No. It was legit. Boom boom. Two quick little hits from within.

It was awesome!

Ti-i-i-ime is (Not) on My Side

This post has been something I’ve been kicking around the noggin for a while. But then talking about how you don’t have time to write is super annoying and self indulgent. It’s like “Oh whoa is me. I’ve baked all of these cookies and I just don’t have time to eat them!” You can’t see me right now, but I’m flipping my hands around in an over-exaggerated pouting manner. I may be making a face too … But the truth of the matter is that for those of use who have a day job and other commitments, establishing a “writing time” is incredibly important. Maybe it’s the scheduler in me, but for me, I’m the most productive when I stick a writing schedule.

Barring the occasional disruptive event, here’s how it used to go:

Get up and eat breakfast. Go to the gym. Get to work and catch up on emails/start my day. Knock out my writing in the morning. Be a productive member of my job from then on.

Now I know not everyone has the luxury of being able to write while they’re at their day job. No time, too distracting, etc. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let me first explain why my method was beneficial to me …

I’ve become the most productive in the morning in general. That’s because I’ve thrown myself out of bed, chugged some coffee and hit the gym. All of those things help to energize and refresh my battery. After that, the world is mine so to speak. But what’s become the most helpful thing when it comes to writing is that during all of these morning rituals, that’s when I take care of the prewriting in my head. I know come 9:30ish it’s game time so what am I gonna bring to the table?

I’m an outliner who leans more towards plotting. Some scenes I have bullet points that I need to hit and others, I know dialogue beats and what the air is gonna smell like. It all depends what I’m writing. So for me, the prewriting portion is just as if not more important than the actual writing side. This is when I think about what I wrote yesterday, check the outline for my goals for what’s coming up, and start working on the next bit. I’ll jot some notes on my phone so I don’t forget but I’m definitely more productive when it comes to actually writing if I’ve done this process all morning. This is even how I treated all of my essays in college. I couldn’t write anything without first spending time thinking about where I wanted to go with it. Even parts of this post have existed floating around in the ether of my subconscious before I sat down at the keyboard.

When it comes to a new novel, I give myself a goal of 1,000 words a day. It’s just something that’ll get my butt in the chair and keep me honest. In the beginning, it’s a target number. If I hit 700 and I like it, eh, it’s a good day. But after a while, it becomes the rule. Only 950 today? Better write 1050 tomorrow! And once that gets in place, I up the count but by then I’m usually excited enough about the story that I’m off to the races.

All of this is to set the stage. That was my life.

Now? I’m working two jobs at the same time while trying to get my home (and mind) ready for the arrival of our twins in August. First time parent. Lots to do. So there’s basically nothing but distractions in my life right now! We can debate forever about the “time to write” and everyone is going to have the process that works best for them. My favorite analogy about writing is the Jane Goodall method. The more time you stay out of the trees, the more work you have to do to get back into the critters’ good graces. So what do you do when life gets in the way and your routine breaks?

Prewriting. Prewriting. Prewriting.

You’re still working on your story. You’re still planning beats, working on dialogue, snippets of description. You’re doing the hardest part now. All you have to do later is weave it all together so it sounds coherent. Who’s rough draft is perfect anyway? The best part is you’re doing this while you’re walking around, going grocery shopping, or stuck waiting for a coworker’s report. Hey, you’re multitasking. Who knew? Also driving (I get a lot of work done by myself in the car). Any time you’re stuck in the car either too or from work, turn off the radio and work on your story. I’ll talk out loud to work out issues. If anyone stops next to you it’ll look no less crazy than you singing to yourself. Hell, they’ll probably think you’re on the phone. And speaking of the phone, we live in the 21st century. Smart phones have voice to text capabilities so write yourself dozens of notes. Even if you don’t use any of it later, you’re basically getting all of the bad words out first and making way for the good ones.

I’m still working on my new schedule and I know come August, that’s going to change again, but never stop. Sharks need to keep swimming and you need to keep writing. At least that’s how I tend to look at it. I use the gym as another example. People like to say that writing is like working a muscle and they’re right, but I’m looking at the consistency here. When I first started going to the gym – or even after an extended absence – those first few days back suck. They suck a lot. The first week is hard and the second one is even harder. You’re sore. You’re tired. It’s exhausting. And then somewhere around week three something magical happens. Suddenly it’s not so bad. You kind of like going to the gym. You see improvements and you feel good about it. That’s how I look at writing.

When I sit down to write may vary these days, but the basics never change. I must work on it in my head before I do and I must write every day. If I (and you) can accomplish those two things, the rest of it’s going to fall into place.

That John Lennon Quote

Yesterday I had every intention of writing a post about time management but wouldn’t you know it, I caught up with other things and totally missed the boat. I was going to rectify that today. That was until my wife and I went to the doctor’s this morning for the ultrasound.

We’ve been waiting for this moment for months. Well, years really. Ever since we found out she was pregnant we couldn’t wait to discover who was in there. After the last physical, we’ve had this anatomy check appointment hanging over our heads for so long it felt like it would never arrive. We’ve gone over every contingency and while it feels like there are an abundant amount of scenarios here, in actuality it looks more like something Mendel could chart with peas.

Two boys. Two girls. Or one of each.

Naturally, me with only brothers and her with an only sister, the thought of something outside of our comfort zone was pretty intimidating. We’ve both been hoping for one of each. A best of both worlds scenario. Something we know – at least theoretically – how to handle and it gives us an excuse to straddle both worlds. She loves Disney. I love comic books. Nothing is too-boy or too-girl.

The ultrasound tech asked us if we wanted to know the genders before we began. Of course we did! But for whatever reason in the heat of the moment, saying we’re just too damn excited didn’t sound like a legitimate excuse. I think I said something along the lines of, “Well, we want to know for planning purposes, you know. Can they share stuff? Do we buy just one of each item or can they double up?” or something equally bland along those lines.

It was an anatomy check so the tech went through piece by piece making sure our babies’ spines, kidney and hearts were all in the right sizes and places. It was an enormous relief knowing that it was in fact two humans in there and not a puppy and a dinosaur as I like to answer whenever people ask me “What do you think it’ll be?”. But as the limbs got counted, I was getting more and more anxious to find out who these little critters are.

Baby A?

Boy. I’m having a son.

Then the tech started the process all over again. By the time I had feebly wrapped my mind around what the news of Baby A meant it was on to B.

Four limbs … accurately-sized organs … and the tech stops right at Baby B and says, “Well, it looks like you’re gonna have to buy one of everything.”

I may not remember the tech’s name, but that’s a line my kids are going to be sick of hearing me say.

Balloons and Babies

We celebrated my birthday over the weekend. Thirty-one. We made a big deal of it last year as I was officially thirty, but now I’m officially in my thirties. This whole age thing has always felt skewed for me. I know people always say age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel. What gets me is that I meet other people who are around thirty and I’m like, “Yeah, that dude is totally thirty. Makes sense to me.” But then I look in the mirror and I don’t think that I look even remotely like Mr. Otherguy Thirty. I definitely don’t look like I’m twenty. I look, I don’t know, Dan-age, I guess.

Aside from some philosophical quandaries, my birthday also  meant an excuse to eat some delicious food I’d otherwise wouldn’t have much of an excuse for. White chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies! Who said that chocolate-chocolate and peanut butter are married?  The big day also gave us a reason to go out for a meal too. It’s not that we don’t typically eat out, but Rachel and I pride ourselves on our cooking and with future beings to save for, the discussion of whether or not we should go to a restaurant usually boils down to: Can we make food of similar or even better quality ourselves and is the price point worth getting out of the house for? We stay in quite a bit.

We’re also pretty good cooks.

Last weekend I discovered the joy of seared ahi tuna. And Rachel proved once again that she is the Birthday Queen.

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We like Up. A lot.

Our Hawaii plans have been put on hold indefinitely as there are new critters to care for, but not only did I receive some great sentimental gifts from my wife, but a promise of adventures yet to come. See what I mean? We really like that movie.

She came down with a cold and Easter plans were also put on hold this weekend. That left me with a lot of time indoors and time on my hands, so I put it to good use and worked on the future nursery. We had to get rid of the guest room, but we didn’t have that many guests anyway. Two babies means two of everything, except for rooms as we try and save space.

Here’s me working while under the supervision of their older sister.

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Even with cramming two cribs in there, the room is going to be pretty small, but it took me a solid 5+ hours to prime and paint the darned thing. There’s still a second coat to go, but I’m a little painted out. On top of that, I’m still doing the jobs of two people at work, ran four miles before even going into work this morning, and I may or may not be coming down with what Rachel’s picked up. So we’ll see how motivated I feel tonight.

Birthing Pains

Welcome to my first official blog post!

I’ve been toying with the idea of running my “official” writer’s site for a while now and letting a few ideas roll around before I actually landed on anything. With three novels under my belt – arguably, I think that only one of them is any good – and being a quarter of the way through number four, I decided it was finally time (maybe past time) to pull this proverbial trigger. And on my actual birthday no less!

Part of what had been tripping me up for so long is that I couldn’t land on a single idea for a blog. I don’t feel confident giving other people writing advice on a continual basis as I’m just as likely to abuse the comma (used to use it like a Band-Aid) than anyone else. I also over think my tweets and have never been good at Facebook posts, so the thought of a published journal of my day to day life didn’t sound compelling to me either. So that left some of my other interests: Comic books, book books and video games. I like all of them, but I’m rarely an authority anymore as most of my time has been spent getting our lives ready for the birth of our first children: Twins! Wait, that’s ANOTHER thing I could write about! See where I’m going with this?

So instead of focusing on just one thing, you’re going to get it all. One day it might be a plot issue I’m tackling, the next it’ll be about a half marathon I ran. Oh, and I’m putting new tile in my kitchen floor in a couple weeks. You’ll definitely be hearing about that one. Whether you’re here with me at the beginning – which might only be my mom and my wife. Hi guys! – or if you’re reading from the future, consider this a manifesto of sorts.

For years I’d always – still do, actually – wanted to be a comic book writer. I spent a long time wrangling other people into drawing my dreams. It finally hit me that I didn’t always need another person to translate the images in my head. I love telling stories and I love crafting them. Why can’t I do both? Thus, I wrote my first novel, A Binder’s Oath. Needless to say it’s sitting safely in a digital trunk right now. I’ll probably pick its corpse like a carrion bird for a few good ideas later, but I’m not thrilled with it enough to fix it into a real boy. Working full time at Indiana University only leaves me with so much extra time to write, so time management is incredibly important. And once those babies are born you better believe that it’s going to become even more so. Anyway, I say all of this to illustrate a point. I’m so happy I wrote that book because it taught me so much about the novel writing process, but more than anything it showed me that I’m a novelist at heart. Even if nothing I write ever gets published, I’m not going to stop. I’ll crank these suckers out. My pace is about one a year right now. I hear that’s not too shabby.

At this point, you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with a blog?” That’s a good question. I’m glad you asked.

Stories. I come from a family of born story tellers and I’ve been fascinated with the concept of stories for as long as I can remember. I’m becoming more confident thinking of myself as a writer, but I’m definitely new to the writing community. I’ve done a lot of lurking and not so much posting and I don’t meet with a writer’s group. Although, I would definitely like to. Anyone in Indiana? So I have some tips and advice, sure, but more than that, I have stories that I want to share. I think they’re interesting, hopefully you will too.