Back at it

A few weeks ago I ended a very long pause in my writing. Three weeks ago I completed my very first full-length short story totally at close to 13,00 words.

A week after that, I resumed writing for Amazing Stories by writing a review of the latest edition of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

And today, I finished a second crime story of about 4,500 words. In total, that means that I have written more fiction in the last few weeks than I have in my entire life. To top it all off, I decided to finally start writing a novel that I have been pondering about since Marine Corps boot camp–almost ten years ago!

This novel project will be going by the working title “The Wall Watcher,” which will not work as the final title for a number of reasons, which I will discuss later on.

In the meantime, I decided to resume blogging and trying to rebuild this site to keep me focused on my writing and to try and hold myself accountable. In the past whenever I’ve started a blog (like this one) it lasts up to a week then I forget about it. Same thing has happened time after time again with my fiction writing. In fact, after the first story was completed I realized that I had taken three or four days off from writing the second one, and if I didn’t do anything right then then months or years would go by before I typed another word of anything.

Regardless, it’s good to be back.

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An Experiment

When I decided to start writing again, I was bound and determined to write at least 1000 words every single day. So far this week, that’s actually happened. My word count since I restarted my writing journey has yielded just over 5000 words in just five days.I feel like I can do more, though. However, sitting in front of my computer and forcing myself to not get up until I hit a certain number of words has been what’s doomed me in the past. I can get out 1000 words with little difficulty, but anything more usually starts to feel tedious very quickly. 
So tonight, when I get home from visiting a friend and before the Detroit Lions kickoff, I’m going to try something different. 
Tonight, to start the New Year off right, I am shooting for a goal of 2000 words. I’m going to break my writing into little chunks of 500 words a piece and see if I can’t double my output.
I will let you know before I go to bed how that turns out.

The Hunt for Metaphors

I’ve written about this several times before, most notably in one of my posts for Amazing Stories years ago, but one of my favorite YouTube videos is a lecture given by Ray Bradbury at Point Loma Nazarene University in 2002. (I’m watching it as I write this piece.)
In it, he gives beginning writers a treasure trove of advice on how to get started and how to improve one’s writing ability, and one of the main points he stressed upon early in his talk was the importance of metaphors.
In order for someone to really get good at identifying metaphors in books and stories and to be able to write good metaphors he gave a challenge. For the next 1000 nights he told the audience to read one short story, one poem, and one essay. To my knowledge, at least for those who would post about it online, no one has ever completed this task. I myself have attempted it twice already, managing to go a little over a month before eventually giving up.
Now that my passion about writing has come alive even greater than it ever has before and I’ve begun writing every night, I’ve decided to give it one more go. In the past I’ve called it my “Bradbury Diet” or my “Bradbury Program” but this time I’m not going to give a name to my challenge.
Instead, every night I’m just going to log what I’ve accomplished for the day reading and writing. Hopefully in 1000 nights I’d have read more stories, essays, and poems than most people ever will.
And hopefully I will have my name in print somewhere, too.

End of 2016

In years past I would write myself long lists of New Year’s Resolutions, many of which involved reading or writing. I know better than that, now. I never ever follow through with any of them, so instead of calling my goals “Resolutions” I just decided to call them goals, and instead of waiting until the New Year to get started I started right after Christmas. 

For the first time, I experienced my first success.

I had three writing goals for myself that I really wanted to accomplish. 

1) Write 1000 words a day minimum.

2) Finish one short story a week. And

3) Read every day.

I started these things on Wednesday. Here it is Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and already I’ve achieved these three things for the week. Last night I finished my first full-length short story. It’s not very good, and even if I polished it up I’d never want to publish it or anything, but what’s important to me is that I FINISHED a story. I didn’t give up half way through, I didn’t start writing it one night and never touch it again. I stuck with it for four days straight and finished it. 

On top of that, I wrote it in 1000 word increments–in other words, 1000 words a day, fulfilling the second goal of mine. Both of these gave me a major boost in confidence, let me tell you.

I’ve also been trying to cut back my gaming so I can read more. I’m almost through a second read-through of Philip K. Dick’s Solar Lottery and also a little over half-way into Stephen King’s On Writing. Today I’ve been reading the November/December issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, so I have three things going on right now. At the rate I’m going with my reading I should have all three, and possibly even a fourth, done by Friday. I have the next two days off of work and plan on being up late tonight so maybe I can squeeze a fifth book in this week.

So that’s my plan for the year 2017. If I keep up this pattern I should have at least a hundred books read, at least 52 short stories, and roughly 400,000 words written, not counting my blog entries.

Happy New Year, everybody!