Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Time for a kick in the KEISTER

I seem to go through spurts in life.. I'm sure we all do.  We ride along for a while until we get dissatisfied with what we're doing.. with how we perceive ourselves to be.. with what we feel our life direction is.

I've been in a post-moving funk for about a month now.. interestingly enough that coincides with when we finished our move, funny how that all matches up.

Anyway.. so I've been in a funk for a bit, wanting to write.. getting the itch, the stirrings.. but lacking the direction and simply the ooomph.  So.. a couple weeks ago I'm reading my facebook and I see a post from an author I follow who talks about how around 10 years ago he was in the final stages of a huge life altering event.. moving from one part of the Country to another and changing careers from what he'd done for the past 10 years to pursue his dream of writing.

It got me to thinking about my own journey.. 10 years ago I was trying to get back into the swing of law school after taking a year off while my 1 year old daughter spent nearly 9 months in the PICU awaiting open heart surgery, amongst other procedures.  My wife and daughter were in Boise, and I was 300 miles away at school. To say it was an adjustment was a huge understatement.

The changes that I've gone through since then are, in my humble estimation, equally fundamental. I've gone from Law Student, to Attorney, to Teacher, to, now, House Husband.. We've moved from Boise to Utah to now Virginia, my wife has gone from No degree to Bachelors to Masters to now pursuing her PhD.  And.. we've gone from 1 beautiful little girl, to 5 rugrats.

Yet, through it all.. the desire to write, to create, has remained constant yet unfulfilled.

Which brings me back to the point of my ramblings..

Back in May I wrote about the Definition of Insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.. pretty famous little quote, I'm sure we've all heard it.

Well, I find myself in a similar situation now. Once things get hard, or uncomfortable.. we all have a tendency to 'run home to mama'.. my own being surfing the net or playing computer/video games or reading or...

... in short, doing anything BUT writing or working out or any of the things I've promised myself I was going to do.

So, I suppose what I'm saying is that.. I'm Back.  It's time to take up the mantle of 'Kevin's Esoteric Initiative of Self-Inflicted Torture to Effectuate Results'.. or KEISTER (for short).  Essentially.. it's time for a kick in the KEISTER.

The page above will diagram more clearly my intentions.. but my goal is go go back to what initially produced results back in May.. Rising each morning at 5:00 am (curse you Morgan for introducing that aspect), I will get on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and then have 2.5 uninterrupted hours of writing that I will utilize fully and efficiently.

Goals are go have a fully realized manuscript before the end of the year, and then to have it polished enough to present at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference in May.. AND to lose 1% of my body weight per week until I reach my healthy weight goal.

So.. if I am to achieve something new and dramatic, then the change must be new and dramatic.
I'm motivated and, (believe it or not), excited to see what I can achieve by sticking to this goal.

I'll post updates as I go.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Ahoy Mateys..

It be International Talk Like A Pirate day today, (September 19th).. so pull out last year's Halloween Costume a month early and let your inner Swab loose.

It's a good thing to do.. "2 Yars Up" says Steve the Pirate!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm Not A Peeping Tom.. Well, Not Really Anyway

OK.. I admit it.. I'm a bit of a voyeur.  An artistic Peeping Tom if you will....

Now before you turn away in disgust.. I'm not the yucky kind that creeps up in the dark and tries to look in your window.  That's just.. icky.

I'm more the 'read your blog to see what you're doing' sort of voyeur.  People publish blogs because we want people to get a glimpse into our lives.. we're inviting you into our head, saying.. "Here, walk around in this big open space between my ears for a bit.. take a look out these brown-tinted windows up front see what I see."

That's not creepy, but it is voyeuristic a bit. I can only imagine that you're here reading this because you're interested in getting a glimpse into what makes me tick.. so odds are you're a little voyeuristic as well, artistically speaking of course.

So anyway, I've been looking at the blogs of some writers that I follow.. and this past week I've been delving into their past, before they were 'authors'.. back when they were just struggling writers, sorta like me, (and probably  you, if you're reading this)..

.. and the results of my delving has been interesting.

One of the authors I've been reading backstory on is Kiersten White.  (http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/)

She's been on her blog since 2008, and her early stuff from back then is great.. she's hilarious, but also very real.  Her early stuff from 2008 is just great.  She's constantly writing, but she's also questioning herself, struggling to find the positives

Another author I happened upon is Natalie Whipple: (http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/)
What is nice is that Natalie and Kiersten are both friends, and they were friends during their journey from unknown writer to finding their agents.. to both getting publishing deals.

Seeing them interact when they were struggling writers is both inspiring and encouraging.. and incredibly funny as they bounce things off each other and have a hilarious interaction that you can actually watch if you read their blog posts together from month to month.  Natalie started her blog in late 2007 and Kiersten in early 2008.. so you can match up their timelines and watch both of their struggles.. as well as their banter back and forth.

This was just 4 years ago that they were going through their querying.. and numerous rejections as well. Fast-foward 4 years and Kiersten has 3 best-sellers (the Paranormalcy series) and 2 new book deals wtih Harper Teen, (one for a series).. and Natalie has 2 new series that she's sold to Harper Teen as well.. the first books of both come out in 2013.

How's that for a productive 4 years for both!?!!

A sampling of some of their posts that I've found the most relevant for me..

Natalie questioning if her writing is any good, (something I find myself doing at times as well)

And her deciding that reading while writing is bad for her psyche,

I can also definitely relate to Kiersten when she laments the whole querying process,

And I swear she was watching me when she wrote her brilliant "How to write" blog post..

Anyway.. these 2 have rejuvinated, entertained, tickled, and inspired me this past week.

I will occasionally read other author's blogs for advice and inspiration..

J Scott Savage has a great blog for advice, http://jscottsavage.blogspot.com/2008/02/tools-of-trade.html

But James Dashner (http://jamesdashner.blogspot.com/)  probably has the best pre-success blog posts I've read so far.. his new website still has them, and I prefer reading his old blogspot blog.. just because that's where I first read it.

He does a great job of grouping his story and advice on the fight about mid-way down the page under the headings: "How I got published", and "Past Questions and Answers".

Anyway.. since you can't write all day long, (at least I can't).. reading these blogs are infinitely more interesting, and productive (at least for me), than staring a the TV.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Passion.. Frustration.. Pain.. You have to experience to write it.

For anyone who writes.. you must have another outlet. Your entire existence cannot be about writing and nothing else.  If you don't experience life through another outlet.. then upon what do you draw for your characters?

For some it's their family.. for others a hobby.. some take work home with them.  For others it's a mix of things.

Boise State's incredible
Fiesta Bowl Victory
For me.. It's pretty much 2 things.  My family and College Football.

I grew up just about an hour's drive from Boise Idaho, and I remember watching Boise State sports on TV with my Dad from a very young age.  When I finished my LDS Mission and was ready to get serious about school, I moved to Boise with a family member and attended Boise State.

2 Degrees later, (BA Spanish, BS Political Science), I knew 2 things.. I wanted to go to Law School, and I was a Bronco fan for life.

So much of a fan was I that during Law School at Boise State's biggest rival, (University of Idaho).. I started a fan web site that morphed into a recruiting/fan site that is still going strong, now nearly 10 years later.  (http://www.broncocountry.com).  I'm proud to say it's the preeminent Boise State fan and information website on the internet.  :)

My family will always be my #1 passion.. I have 5 kids that I love beyond all measure, and an incredible wife that I don't deserve most days, but who I chased just long enough to have her relent.  But.. my passion for Boise State football is right behind my family in fervor.

Michigan State beat Boise State 17-13
So.. when my team loses, I feel it.. and last night we lost.  (And yes.. when you're a fan who is invested in your team.. it IS a 'we' thing.) 

It was frustrating to watch us struggle. It was disappointing to watch my guys fall short of their goal.. I not only saw their pain, but I felt it as well.  Boise State has had such a charmed decade of Football.. I could never have foreseen what was coming for the Broncos when I started my website back in 2002.. I just wanted to get free recruiting information.  lol  (Totally true.)

However, disappointment, frustration, pain.. they're all emotions that our characters need to feel. Who is going to care about a Character that never faces challenges?  Why write about someone who has a great day?  What story is that?

I want to read about things I can relate to, even in a Fantasy book.. show me struggle, self-doubt, failure, disappointment.. things that I have felt and that I can relate to.  Show me resolve, inner strength.. show me admirable qualities that I want to recognize in myself.. or that I want to adopt.  Show me tenacity and determination to overcome even in the face of insurmountable odds.

Relate to me.  Entertain me.  Inspire me.  Leave me wanting to know more...

Make me a fan.. like my Broncos do every time they play.

Guess what time of year it is.... FIRST DRAFT TIME!!!