Be Honest with Yourself

Welcome to Sunday everyone!

I hope you all had (and will continue to have) an awesome weekend.

Before I get into the meat of today’s post, let me show you something related to it:








(Image courtesy of the NatWest Six nations Website)

First off: Well played Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

If you’re curious, you can watch the matches here*:

Scotland v. Italy (This one was *VERY* close)

Wales v. France (This, too, was a nail-biter)

Ireland v. England (Not so close, but England and Ireland at Twickenham is always a show)

Now you might be wondering how this relates to the topic of today’s post: Being Honest with One’s Self.

In answer, I would like you to take a look at the second, and third place finishers – particularly second place.

At the start of the tournament, ~Nobody~ saw that coming.  Certainly not Scotland who got absolutely overwhelmed by Wales in round one** and there’s something to take away from that, which I’ll get to later on.

Here’s my point: Wales – and I admit that I’m drifting into metaphor here – got up in the morning, put their heads down, and got to work. They did the one thing they had complete control over: the work. They didn’t listen to folk saying how good, or how poorly they were doing. They didn’t pay much attention to Ireland’s consecutive wins (Wales lost to Ireland in Round two, after that, there wasn’t much need to pay attention to what Ireland were doing). They took stock after every match. They didn’t fiddle with what was working, and they corrected what wasn’t working.

They were honest with themselves. And, while it didn’t happen overnight, look where it eventually got them: Runner up to the second best rugby team ON THE PLANET. That’s not nothing.

Let me talk about Scotland for a moment. They took an honest look at themselves after that first match, and they got to work too. They didn’t listen when folk said that they were done in the tournament already. There may have been self-doubt, but they got back up and, they too, did what they had absolute control over. The work.

Next week, Scotland beat France. The week after that, they beat England – which they hadn’t done in A DECADE.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering what the hell this has to do with writing.

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I hadn’t been honest with myself. I’d let in the thoughts that told me that I wasn’t doing enough. What I was doing wasn’t happening fast enough.

There was more, but you get the picture. On top of that I was struggling with a scene. Really struggling, and that just made it easier for those thoughts to take root.

That wasn’t me being honest. I was overlooking what I had done. Glossing over the effort. I had gotten up every morning to write. I had even gotten home late one day because I’d stopped to meet with my writer’s group and WRITE MORE.  AND I had figured out that scene.

I didn’t fiddle with what worked, and I corrected what didn’t. I was doing the work. The one thing that I had control over. I started being honest with myself again. Put my head down, do the work. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll improve. There will be setbacks, but there is no setback so large, no defeat so complete that I can’t get back up and beat France next week***

It will take honesty and effort, and maybe it’ll take a decade of tries, but there’s always a chance if I keep working.



And, for those of you that think that writing and sports don’t mix:

First, let me say that writing and anything else that you’re passionate about, or enjoy, certainly do mix. They should mix. Take anything that recharges your batteries and use it.

Second, allow me to present to you this photo of J.K. Rowling hanging out with (left to right) Scotland players Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg, and John Barclay.







Time: 12.55 pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – The Last Candle


*For those of you that have lost 6 hours of your Sunday to Rugby..I regret nothing.

**I was glad for Wales, don’t get me wrong, but that loss stung, almost as much as the eventual loss to Ireland.

***absolutely have nothing against France, I just thought that line would be funny.

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Friday Fess-Up: March 16th

Happy Friday everyone!

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Fess-Up for March.

It’s been a week. I say that not in the usual “Well, seven days have passed” kind of way. I mean it more like “Seven entire days have come and gone and I’ve felt every one of them.”

So I confess to being a little tired which is purely my fault. Towards the end of the work week, I’ve got this bad habit of playing fast and loose with my sleep schedule because, what the hell, it’s only one day I’ve got to get through, right?






Yes, I know that’s a bad idea. I’ll tell myself that it isn’t that bad, that maybe I’m not getting the full 7.5 hours of sleep that seems to near end of the sweet spot…then I’ll fall asleep reading on my lunch break the next day.

On top of that, It’s been a mentally taxing week as well. I haven’t been honest with myself lately–something I’ll get into in more detail on Sunday–and that’s been tripping me up somewhat.

On top of that, I’ve been struggling with a scene.

Not The Book.

Not a chapter.

A scene.

Here’s a confession: I’ve been knocking my head against this damned thing for 3 DAYS!!

Part of it was uncertainty. Was too much happening too fast? Do my characters seem too accepting of what’s going on? I couldn’t find something that worked. I’d get close, then read it the next day, and think, “Nope. That isn’t it.”

Finally, on Wednesday night, one of my protagonists said, “That’s it. I can’t listen to this anymore,” and flipped a switch, bringing about the end of the scene. When you read that chapter, you’ll know exactly where I’m talking about.  That was Wednesday and the end of that scene survived* and I was able to move on**

So there you have it: A bit of trial and a bit of triumph headed into the weekend.

Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story excerpts, and be sure to stop by on Sunday for another post.

Happy Weekend!

Go Ireland!!

Go Scotland!!

Go Wales!!

Go watch some Six Nations Rugby this weekend!!


Until then…

Be Safe Y’All.

*For now. This the the first draft, and nothing is safe.

**I am a very linear writer. From A to Z and all points in between.

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Pay it Forward

Happy Sunday, folks!

This is probably going to be a shorter post than usual, because I, somehow, lost an hour this weekend. I’m looking for it, but those things are so squirrely, I figure that it won’t turn up again for another six months.

Anyway, what I want to talk about this week is the concept of paying it forward.

Nobody has gotten to where they are now purely on their own steam. We’ve all had help. Sometimes it’s been in the form of mentor-like guidance. Other times, it’s an encouraging word.

It’s all help.

It all matters.

It all goes farther than anyone can guess.

As you go through the week, there are two things I’d like you to do:

The first is to reflect on the folks that have lent a hand, or given an encouraging word while you’re slogging through whatever it is you’re slogging through.

Then I’d like you to keep an eye out for opportunities to do the same.

There may be some of you out there that are just getting started and you may be thinking that you don’t have anything to offer.

But you do.

Everyone moves on this path – and here, I’m talking specifically about writing, but I think that with a bit of work you could apply it to any endeavor – at their own, unique pace.

And this pace isn’t a constant. Some stretches that others may find daunting, might come naturally to you, and vice versa.  The point is that you may be carrying insight that someone else may benefit from.

Even if it turns out that you’re not able to offer anything more than encouragement, that goes a long way.

We need to be supportive of one another, and even a simple “You got this” may make all the difference.


Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story excerpts and, since we’re getting on into convention season, check out the Events page. Might be we end up in the same place at the same time. Come say Hi.

Time: 11:36 am – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Fly



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Friday Fess-Up: March 9th

I’ll admit it – this is a fess-up post after all – I am not as young as I used to be.

There used to be a time (not too long ago, in fact) when I could pull a couple of 12 hour back-to-back work days and not bat an eye.

Those days are gone.

And it’s not because I’m losing sleep. I mean, granted, I kinda started the week with a sleep deficit, but that was my own, damned fault AND I had nearly paid that off by Wednesday (the first of the 12 hour days). I made sure that I still got my minimum 7 hours of sleep even though that meant sacrificing my usual writing time to do it.

Even after that – and why is it always the writing time that takes a hit when my schedule shifts – I think that it was the shifting of my schedule a few hours later (Twice!!!) that messed with my head.

Here it is on Friday and I’m kinda dragging ass.

But it is Friday.

I have happily shut off the alarms, and I’ve got a chance to recover. There’ll be rugby this weekend (Go Scotland!!!) and opportunities to unwind, and regroup, before the grind resumes.

So take care of yourselves.  Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story excerpts, and be sure to stop by Sunday.


Be safe Y’all.




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The First Draft is for You

Self-doubt is a thing.

It’ll creep up on you from any number of dark paths and try and convince you that the thing that you’re working on will never work. That it won’t ever sell. That you’re not qualified to write it, or – even better – that you are unjustifiably arrogant in thinking that you can get away with writing it.

“Who are you, ” it says, “to think that you can do this, and do it right?”

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to silence those voices. I don’t know how to do that myself. But I can quiet them down by remembering what it was that got me excited to write the story in the first place.

I can quiet them down by accepting that I probably won’t get it right. Not in the first draft.

The first draft is for getting it down. Editing is for getting it right.

The first draft is for you. You’ve got this idea and you want to explore it, see where it takes you. You want to climb the trees, poke around in the caves, and roll around in the grass of the thing.

You’re going to get your hands dirty. Maybe you get a bit of oil on your shoes, or some dust in your hair, or some odd, alien stuff that turns a patch of your shirt purple and won’t wash out.

That’s ok.

That’s what the first draft is for.

And it doesn’t matter that you don’t have specific information yet. It doesn’t matter that you’re writing about people that aren’t you, and experiences that are outside of your own.

Editing is for getting it right. The first draft is for you.

Take that idea and run with it for as far as your feet will carry you. Go through the forests, or down access corridors. Make that jump to Light-Speed and see where you end up. Go so far and so fast that you can’t hear the voice of self-doubt over the wind in your hair, or the roar of the engines.

That’s what the first draft is for.

Editing is for marking where the mud pits, and the black holes are.


Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for excerpts from my stories.

Time: 10:22 am – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Skalds and Shadows


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Friday Fess-Up: March 2nd

Happy Friday Y’All!

Welcome to the first Friday Fess-Up for March.

This had been a better week than the last patch of weeks I’ve been through. I’ve been making progress, though I do confess to not getting up every day to write. I’m learning that I need a solid 7 hours of sleep at night. Every night. I’m starting to place a higher priority on snooze-time and, when life gets in the way, something has to give. That’s just the way it is.

So I’ve been making progress. I’m also going to confess that on some days, the word count was in the negative numbers. At the end of week though, I’m happy with what I’ve got.*

That just goes to show you that progress, as a thing, isn’t linear. Sometimes, progress is going backwards, either because you’ve run into a dead end, or what you put down earlier isn’t going to work, and you’ve got to get rid of it, or move it.

Additionally, Scrivener’s word count feature keeps tabs on the manuscript part of the project** and anything that I might pull from the manuscript proper shows up as a negative to the total word count.

I don’t think this is a problem. I don’t know how the folks that wrote the software could tweak that feature so that it makes differential judgements, so I’m not going to sweat the details.

So far I’m 23k words and some change into the new book, and I’m still on track for getting it done this year.

One book a year, that’s my target pace, folks.

So that’s going to about do it today. This feels like an upswing week compared to a few weeks prior that…could have gone better.

And, on Wednesday, the music came back. That makes me happy.

Be sure to check out the Freebies page for excerpts of stories, and be sure to stop by Sunday for another post.

Until then, be safe Y’All.


*For now. This is still the first draft.

**Not notes, character profiles, etc.

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The Sound of Silence

I’m going to subtitle this: “The Head Wants, what the Head Wants.”

I have always listened to music while I’m writing. The kind of music varies (or at least it used to), but it was always there. It’s there right now, in fact, as I’m typing this.

I use music for a number of different reasons. Sometimes it’s for inspiration. Sometimes it’s a layer between me and the rest of the world – a bit of distance between my head and the stuff that wants to worm into my awareness. Sometimes it’s because I just want to listen.

Whatever it’s for, I’ll eventually reach a place where one part of my head is listening to what’s playing and another part is doing the writing. I’ll lose songs sometimes. I’ll glance up at the playlist and find that some songs have played, and I’ve totally missed them.

It doesn’t happen instantly. At first, the music is front and center, like a huge rock tossed into a deep* pool. There’s this splash, and then there are waves. As I work, the waves smooth out and become ripples, which eventually smooth out and become still.

Now I know I’m mixing my metaphors here, but bear with me. Imagine that huge rock down at the bottom of the deep pool. See it begin to spin. It’s one of those really craggy and pitted rocks, so there’s plenty of spaces for the water to catch and swirl with the spinning rock.

This is the music going to work.

Gradually the rest of the water gets caught up in the movement. The two are still separate – the rock and the water – but they are caught up in the same thing.

Here’s where the metaphor starts to fall apart, because I don’t *Need* the music to write, though I prefer it to be there.

At least I did.

All this week, I’ve been writing in silence. One morning (it was probably Monday) when I fired up the playlist, something didn’t click, and I couldn’t handle the sound. So I turned it off.

I did the same thing the next day. And the next. I didn’t question it because it was working.**

It wasn’t until I was composing my Friday Fess-Up post, that any kind of explanation came to mind. Like most things, I wasn’t *looking* for a reason. My fingers were just doing their thing and, “My creative head needs quiet” came out.

It stopped me for a second, the “Rightness” of that line. In an earlier post, I’d said that I’d been dealing with some things and I still am.

The waters are still turbulent.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m much better off than I was a week ago. Additionally, I don’t mean to imply that this blog isn’t a creative endeavor. It’s a different kind of creative thing, with a good dollop of reality mixed in.

Which doesn’t change the reality that my creative head needs quiet. I don’t know how long that’ll last, but I’m not going to force it.

Time: 11:16 am-ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Sacred Worlds



*No, I am not tooting my own horn here. There have been days where, in terms of “Water” containment, my head more resembles a damp sponge than a deep pool, and I’ll be the first to admit it.

**And the early morning is my writing time. I’m there to get words down. Get all introspective on your own dime, Ken.


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Friday Fess-Up: February 23rd

Welcome to the Final Friday Fess-Up for February.

I am *so* going to miss the alliteration.


Here’s what’s sure to be an unpopular opinion:

My Fandomness Quotient* for the 4-day work week is on the wane. Even as little as 5 years ago, I’d be all over a 4-day work week, but now I just don’t have the energy to try and squeeze 5 days of work into 4.

So I don’t even try anymore.

This, of course, brings on its own kind of stress. It seems like the majority of my time these days consists of dealing with, or trying to avoid stress. I don’t remember it always being this way, and I’d sure like a shift to where it wasn’t as big a presence in my life.

But these are tumultuous times we’re in and, really, the only way out is through.

Speaking of getting through, I think that I’m past the low point in writing this book. I’m still not cranking out 1000 word days, but I’m also not scraping by with 100 (or less) word days, either.

Every book is different – they say – and this book is just that. I’m writing in a new space and I’m not listening to *anything* when I write. Both are choices, but if you’d told me around this time last year that I’d be writing in silence…

Well, that’s just crazy talk.

But here I am.

And I’m not going to fight it. At the moment, my creative head needs quiet,** so quiet it will have…

Give yourself what you need to get the work done. There’s no shame in that.

The only way out, is through.

Be sure to check out my Freebies page for excerpts of my stories. And Be sure to stop by on Sunday for another thrilling installment.

Until then…


Be safe Y’All.


*I have no idea if this is an actual thing.  If it doesn’t exist yet, it does now!!

**I can’t say that I blame it, with everything that’s been going on…

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Circling the Wagons

One of the unexpected benefits to keeping a – more or less – weekly blog is that, if you go looking, you can spot trends and patterns in life, the universe, and everything.

Looking back over the past few weeks, every Sunday post I’ve tagged with “Challenges” and “Life,” and I hadn’t noticed that until this morning.

Here’s why that’s significant: I’ve been struggling with…Something…lately. I’m not being vague, I simply can’t articulate what it is, but it’s there. It may not even be a single thing, it may be a combination of things but, whatever it is, it’s triggered a serious need for me to have more control over my environment, to the point where, earlier in the week, I walked clear down a hallway to throw a switch so that they (there are 3 in that hallway) were all pointing in the same direction.

We joked about it at the time and, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but, looking back on it, it was a hint that something wasn’t quite right.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve got a pretty good idea that it reached some kind of tipping point at the beginning of the month. I’m not going to go into details, but there had been a lot of “This-just-happened-and-now-you’ve-got-to-deal-with-it” going on. They’ve come from different areas in life, but usually it’s been more spread out.

The way I figure it, I’ve been circling the wagons, mentally, for the majority of February.

And I never mentioned it to anyone.

A big part of that is because I don’t have a solid answer to the inevitable “Why?” That alone makes it difficult to talk about.  Take that and mix in a predilection for being quiet, and you’ve got an eventual problem.

I’d been dealing with it inappropriately, letting stuff slide, etc.

I realize that I’d been venting some of that back pressure here on the blog. I’ve said before that this blog was as much for me as for you, but it hasn’t been enough. I’ve been waking up, telling myself that I just had to get through the next 12 or so hours, or the next couple of days and I’ll be ok.

That’s no way to live.

So what am I doing about it?

More Self-Care. I’m taking a look at my habits: Sleep patterns, the amount of exercise I get, the amount of mental “Down Time” I have (I suspect that it’s not enough). I’m stepping back from stressful environments, and that includes reducing the amount of time I spend on Social media.

That’s going to be a bit of a juggling act, because, as a writer, I do need to engage and instill interest in me and my work.

But I’ll be checking it less often and I’m going to be using Twitter’s “Mute” feature.

A lot.

There’ll be more of the things that make me happy, that I’ve been putting aside because there wasn’t time, etc.  Maybe I can skip the 15 minutes of scrolling through Facebook and go do something that matters more.

We’ll see how it goes.

In the mean time, take care of yourselves.

Time: 11:50 am – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Wheel of Time (Live)

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Friday Fess-Up: February 16th

Happy Friday Folks!

Short post today because I’m about spent, mentally.

I’m sure I’ll get into more detail on Sunday. Time for some self-care this weekend.


And sleep. Definitely sleep.


If you’re reading this, Congratulations: You made it through too!


Be sure to check back Sunday.

Be Safe, Y’all

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