Category Archives: Future

New Year, New Me Bullshit

And I’m back again. Of course that means confession time.

I was doing really well. I was writing every single day. At the start of November, I started NaNoWriMo with a bang. I was meeting my daily word count with ease. Some days I was doubling, or even tripling it. As a matter of fact, I was so far ahead that when Thanksgiving began to approach, I gave myself a day off to get ready for it. This, of course, was my ultimate downfall. One day off became two. Two days off became three, etc. I saw my huge head start began to dwindle. Before I knew it, I had fallen behind. I told myself it was okay. I told myself that if I could meet the word count for multiple days in a single day, I would be able to catch up quickly. I told myself this all the way to December. I was under the delusion that I just needed to let it slide until after Thanksgiving. This was a lie.

I am an avid believer in refusing to even think about Christmas until I actually see the fat man at the end of the Macy’s parade. Of course my resistance to celebrating early usually means that once the turkey has been eaten, it’s a mad dash to get ready for Christmas. I spent the last month or so doing just that. All the time, I was nagging myself to sit down and write, but it seemed there was always some holiday-related thing I had to do first. Before I knew it, the presents had been opened, and the new year was only a week away. Of course, this meant I might as well just let it ride and start the new year fresh.

So here I am. Sitting on the edge of the new year, ready to get back to work. The only holidays in sight are my birthday and V-Day. I should be able to handle both without breaking my writing stride. Of course, to be honest, I should have been able to write the last two months, but there was always a convenient excuse.

I’m usually not one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I do so out of necessity.

First of all, I will finish a book. I don’t mean a first draft, (although the first draft has to come… well… first.) I mean a fully formed and heavily edited finished novel. I also have to have at least one other first draft ready to go. Both of these have to be done by the time I take my trip to New York City to meet with agents. I am not going empty handed. I must have a finished novel to pitch, as well as a back up. Just in case they don’t bite at the first.

Second, partly as a means to accomplish the first, I am pledging to write at least one page every single day. Of course one page a day won’t meet my goal. The idea is that once my ass is in the chair and my hands are on the keyboard, I will continue past that first page.

Third, I plan to be more regularly active on my social media pages. More checkins on Twitter and Facebook , and the occasional picture on Instagram. I will also resume posting YouTube videos. Mostly they will be video versions of what you read here. Of course I’m hoping to post here on a weekly basis as well.

I am also accepting a friend’s challenge to read a book a week for the next 52 weeks. I always seem to get more words on the page the more I read. Besides, maybe I can get through some of my TBR list. There’s nothing good on T.V. anyway.

Finally, I am vowing to never have to work New Years Eve again. I am scheduled to be off next year. That gives me the next two years to make things happen.

That’s about it for now. I will see you next week and let you know how well I’m keeping my resolutions.

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Doesn’t That Just Figure?

Hello again my adoring fans. Also, hello to those of you who hate me and the ones who have no idea who I am.

It appears I lied to you again when I said in my last post that I would see you the following week. Fortunately, I posted that on April 1st, so… uh… April Fools? Anyway, you should all know that I’m less than reliable when it comes to regular posts by now.

Anyway, here’s the good news. I have a story ready to ship. So far, everyone I’ve shown it to seems to really like it. Better yet, I really like it. I feel I’ve finally progressed to the point with my writing that I can start submitting it. (If you ask my girlfriend, she’d say I’ve been at that point for a while. I’ve just been a chicken.) I have a publisher in mind for the story. Yes, they are one of the better paying publishers, but that’s a secondary consideration compared to the prestige of having a story accepted by said publisher. I realize it’s probably a long shot, me being an unpublished writer, but why not shoot for the moon, right? Besides, they say they love discovering new writers. Hopefully I will catch their eye.

Now for the bad news. I was all ready to send it out. I had everything formatted properly. I had checked my spelling and punctuation several times (although I’m sure I still missed a typo or two.) I went to their website and… they aren’t accepting submissions until May 1st. I realize this is only a couple weeks away, but I’m hoping I still have confidence in my writing by then. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to send it out. I just have confidence issues.

Writing is still progressing, although I really have to learn to do an outline. At least a rudimentary one that I can refer to when I get stuck. I dropped one story because it wasn’t going anywhere, only to jump right into another which is now having the same problem. Once upon a time, I was able to just jump into the proverbial story car and see where I ended up. Nowadays, I need at least a simple road map. Of course, i have to remember that back when I could just go, the destination wasn’t always somewhere I wanted to be.

I am also considering submitting a few things to some writing competitions. I still hate the thought of paying an entry fee to get read, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes at this point. Wish me luck.

Well, that’s about it for now. I will try to post again next week, but I won’t promise because we’ve all seen how reliable I am.

As always, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Also, check out my website. I’m hoping to update it when I get a chance, but I’m trying to make writing my priority, so who knows when that will be?

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I Swear, I’m Still Alive

Let me start off by misquoting Twain and say, “The Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I swear I’m still here. I’ve just been going through some personal issues lately and while I have been writing, (at least some, but not nearly as much as I would like) my social media efforts have been forced to take a back seat. Without going into too much detail I can tell you that while it’s not the most ideal situation, I have come to a solution so I can now get back to living my life. At least my trials and tribulations will make good story fodder. Right?

I have to admit something. Thanks to everything going on, I have broken my new year’s resolution. While I tried desperately, I haven’t written every day. Truth be told, I fell into a pit of depression over my situation and some days, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and go to my daily (well, nightly) job. Even when I was writing, most of it was unfit for human consumption.

Anyway, now that the worst is past, I can get back to the business at hand. I have two stories in need of editing. I’m hoping to have at least a few stories published in the next few months. As you can see, I’m back to being my usual over-optimistic self. It’s time to make this writing career a reality.

I’m afraid that’s about all I have for you today. I will ask all of you for a favor. Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, please send good vibes my way. I could really use them right now. I promise you this, I will be back next week.

I-Am-Alive

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Is It A Habit Yet?

I’ve heard it said that it takes two weeks to break a bad habit. I wonder if the same rule goes for creating a good one.

I’ve been writing at least a page a day for the past two weeks and a couple of days now and I don’t feel much different. Although I did consider skipping writing tonight and I couldn’t bring myself to. I just had to write, at least a little. I think it was partly not wanting to break my streak and knowing how disappointed I would be in myself if I did. At the same time though, it just felt weird not to write at least something.

I have to admit, I’m not thrilled with the story I’m writing right now. In the past, I would have chucked it and started something new. Luckily, I’ve learned doing that is no way to get anywhere. I have to push through and hope it all comes out right in the end. I’ve also learned that if I ignore these feelings of doubt, eventually it will be replaced by an abundance of confidence and I will love every word I write.

I’ve never been an outliner, but I think I may have to give at least a loose outline a try. I feel like I’m wandering all over the place. I’m forgetting some things I meant to put in that will help what comes later make sense. Then again, some things I know I want to have happen are happening too early. I really just need to sit down and organize my thoughts. As long as I’m not too rigid, it should all be okay.

That’s about all I’ve got right now. I’ll see you guys next week.

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I’m Not Normally a New Year’s Resolution Kind Of Person, But…

So like the title says, I don’t normally do new year’s resolutions. I generally feel like resolutions are a sure way to be depressed at the end of the year. Still, I keep making promises to myself and breaking them. Maybe having a realistic goal for the coming year will help.

First, and foremost. I WILL write every single day in 2015. This is whether I feel like it or not. Whether I’m feeling sick, or tired, or just plain don’t feel like doing it. I WILL sit down at the desk every day and force out at least a few paragraphs. I have a terrible habit of procrastinating until I have no time left to write. If Grisham could finish a novel in the courtroom during recesses, I sure as hell can do it on my schedule. I daresay I could finish at least a few thousand words during the roughly six hours a night of downtime I have at work. The bonus is, after a long night of writing, my mind is usually exhausted and I sleep the sleep of the justified. The main thing though is this. Write every single day, even on my off days, sit down at the damned computer, put on my headphones and write.

I also want to get healthier. Yes, I know everyone makes this one. In my case, however, I am not setting unrealistic goals. I am not expecting to become some Adonis that makes all the women swoon. I already have one of those at home that swoons no matter what I look like. Nor am I making some ridiculous claim like “I will run a marathon by the end of the year.” I would however like to be able to run down the block without getting winded. No friends, I just want to get healthier because I’m starting to worry about myself. I’m not even 40 yet and I already feel my body breaking down. The once nearly inexhaustible strength is gone. I creak when I stand up. Even more worrying is the ever present threat of diabetes. I want to live long enough to at least see my books become bestsellers.

Finally, and I know I make this promise to you constantly. I am going to blog more regularly. At least once a week I think. I owe that to you guys at the very least. You have all been so supportive and the very least I can do is check in once in a while to let you know how everything’s going. Once again, if you notice I haven’t posted in a while, please call me on it. I need you guys to keep me honest.

Oh, one more thing. Although I won’t be upset with myself if this one doesn’t happen. I want to be published by the end of the year. I realize I can’t control publishers or the publishing industry, but I would like to have at least a couple short stories in print. The only way I will blame myself if this doesn’t happen is if 1. I haven’t produced anything worthy of publishing, or 2. I haven’t submitted my work like crazy. That’s all I can do. The rest is up to the gods. Wish me luck.

Well that’s all for now. See you next week.

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That Debilitating Fear Of Success

Well folks, what can I say? I blew it again.

I really meant to post here regularly, but there is a good reason I haven’t been. I’ve been too embarrassed. You see, I haven’t been writing as much as I had hoped. I planned to come on here telling you I haven’t been writing because I was too busy.

Yes, it’s true. This summer has been particularly stressful for many reasons. At one point I thought I was losing my job, so I was scrambling to find other sources of income without having to sell myself on the street. Luckily, my boss changed his mind and decided to keep my position. Then there was my brother’s bachelor party and wedding. They were both fun, but planning for them and getting ready for them took time. I can only imagine what they went through considering I was stressed out about it and I live 1,200 miles away. I could make a long lost of things that have demanded my time this summer, but they’re all just bullshit excuses. I still had plenty of time to write. I owe you guys the truth.

I’m almost finished with a piece that I think is good enough to publish. The few people that I’ve allowed to read parts of it seem to love it. I only have a few pages left and I know I could finish it in a few hours yet I’ve been dragging my feet finishing it for weeks going on months.

The truth is, I’m terrified. Yes, I’m scared it’s not as good as I think it is, but I could deal with that. I’m really scared that it actually is as good as I think.

I’ve always lived my life as the lovable underachiever. I tend to choose jobs where not much is expected of me. When it comes down to it, I’m afraid people will really like my story and expect more of the same quality. Deep down I know I can produce more, but I’m still afraid of letting people down. I know it doesn’t make any sense but hey,  writers are supposed to be at least a little neurotic. Right?

But never fear. I’ve faced my demons and I’m back on track. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to write a post about my first real sale. Please don’t give up on me just yet.

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I Am Officially A Professional Artist

Hey guys, you read that right. Since my last post, I’ve officially become a professional artist.

As you know, my current job will be ending at the end of summer and I’ve decided to try going out on my own selling my handmade copper jewelry. It’s art as far as I’m concerned. Check it out and tell me if you agree. https://www.etsy.com/shop/mythicflames #seewhatididthere?

An example of my work.

An example of my work.

Anyway, I’ve always been told that the definition of a professional is someone who makes money at what they’re doing. If that’s the case, I’m officially a professional. So far it doesn’t amount to much, but people have been buying my stuff so yes, I am making money at it.

Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. Okay, I haven’t writing as much as I would like, but starting a business takes time. Still, I have been able to carve out at least a little bit of writing time every day. I have a new (long) short story that just needs a little more polish and will be ready for submission. That is once I manage to get it part my editor (read girlfriend).

I am spending the weekend helping a friend get ready for the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This means a lot of hard work for the weekend but it will be worth it when I have a place to crash during the rally itself. It’s always a blast. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes motorcycles or the motorcycle lifestyle.

Well, I suppose I should get back to work. As always, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @JustinMKelly1 and check me out on Tumblr

I’m not going to promise because we all know how that’s turned out in the past, but I hope to get back on track as far as weekly blogging goes.

artist

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It’s Time To Nut Up Or Shut Up

Friends, today I received some bad news. At the end of summer my current job, which I have worked faithfully for the past seven years, will no longer exist. I received this news just before it was time to go to bed and thus, rather than sleep, spent the day tossing and turning in bed as I progressed through each of the stages of grief. In the end, believe it or not, I found serenity.

Serenity ship

I wish

After much considering and a little gentle prodding from my wonderful girlfriend, I realized I had two options.

1. I could start looking for another job where I’d be miserable and earn a pittance while making someone else rich. Or…

2. I could stop talking about becoming a successful writer and actually work full time at making it happen.

The first option would be the smart route. I would have a steady paycheck which I could count on to be there and maybe even get something with some benefits. But would I really be happy? I think we all know the answer to that.

Admittedly, the second option will be downright terrifying, but as they say, fear is an excellent motivator. If failure is truly not an option, then I can’t let myself fail. Besides, all the best writers had something I don’t. They were hungry, both figuratively and sometimes literally. The fact of the matter is, I’ve gotten way too comfortable in my current job anyway and spend far too much writing time doing other things than writing. (Damn you Netflix.) It always seemed like there was more time. Well my friends, time has suddenly gotten exceedingly short.

Don’t worry, I’m not expecting my writing to pay a living wage right off the bat. Fortunately I have other hobbies that I think with a little hard work could turn enough of a profit to pay my bills. I am an amateur blacksmith and also make copper jewelry which I sell here. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MythicFlames I admit there isn’t much in it right now but keep checking back. I’ll also post to this Facebook page when I add new items. https://www.facebook.com/MythicFlames I plan to add items on a regular basis. I am also going to be setting up an eBay store to sell some of my items as well as swords and knives not made by me. I will post the details here when it’s up.

As always, please follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60 and Twitter @JustinMKelly1. Also, check me out on Tumblr  http://www.tumblr.com/blog/justinmkelly.

I also have some informational e-books in the works on topics from wilderness survival to romantic advice and everything else I’ve learned in my time here on earth. I’ll post a link as soon as they’re done.

So basically, it’s time to make my dreams happen. Or as Tallahassee put it…

nutup

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Oh Those Summer Nights

And I’m back again. I realize it’s been a couple weeks since my last confession post. All I can say is this, it’s been a weird couple of weeks. I’ve been adjusting to summer which has finally arrived. With the arrival of summer, my girlfriend’s schedule has changed. Which means, in effect, so has mine. I’m trying to adjust my sleeping schedule to match hers so I’ve had a hard time keeping my eyes open at night, much less writing. Also with summer come tourists. Since most of my writing time is done while working at a motel, I’ve been somewhat plagued with interruptions from needy guests. I’m finally starting to settle into my summer rhythm and last night I was actually able to get some decent writing done. There, now that the excuses are done, on with the rest of the post.

Other than the issues I listed above, the writing has been going well. I have just about finished one short story and am well into a second. I know it’s not the two a week I had planned but it’s coming faster all the time. If only I could stop myself from getting distracted by the internet. Anyone know where I can get an old DOS word processor? I’m very happy with the story that’s almost done and I’m considering, after a bit of polish, submitting it to TOR. Am I shooting too high? Possibly. But why not aim for the stars?

The other story I’m not so sure about. I’m not sure if it’s going anywhere, but it’s certainly helping me exorcise some personal demons. We will see where it goes. At least I’m writing.

I’m about to attempt a daunting task. Years ago, I gave up cigarettes. I didn’t have too much trouble with it because I did allow myself an occasional pipe because, well, writers smoke pipes. Right? Unfortunately, it’s gone from an occasional thing, to a regular thing, to an every day thing, and finally to a several times a day thing. I think it’s time to finally give up the pipe. Although I might still hold it in my mouth while I’m writing. Anyone know if they still make those bubble pipes? Seriously though, I might look into an e-pipe or something although I’m still not sure if they’re any better for you. If anyone can give me any advice, I’d certainly appreciate it.  I’m hoping for a nice long writing career and I don’t want cancer throwing a wrench into those plans.

Now that I’ve got you all down and thinking about mortality, it’s time for an up note.

The great thing about summer is, I can finally get out of the house and enjoy my surroundings. I have big plans to jump on the motorcycle and head into the black hills just to explore. I also have my hiking pack to set off on the many trails around here and lose myself for a couple of days. I’m working on setting up a YouTube channel so I can show you all the wonderful places out here and I might just talk a bit about writing while I’m at it.

Well, I guess now you’re all updated on my life.

As always, check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60 and follow me on Twitter @JustinMKelly1. I’m also on Tumblr http://www.tumblr.com/blog/justinmkelly but so far all I’ve used it for is to mirror this blog. I’m hoping to change that soon. I just have to remember not to get so obsessed with social media I forget to write.

I promise I’ll be back next week with another update but just remember, writers lie for a living.

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Can Genre Fiction Also Be Literary?

When it comes to my writing, I’ve always had a bit of a dilemma.

Like a lot of writers, I have a fantasy in my head of being the modern era’s Hemingway or Faulkner. Perhaps sitting in a small cafe in Paris, dutifully punching out literary masterpieces that will be cherished throughout the ages. After all, isn’t that at least part of why people write? So that while we may pass from this earth, at least our thoughts and feelings might become immortal.

Still, while I do love reading the classics, I have to admit that my favorite books have always been in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. Particularly fantasy. It probably won’t surprise most of you to find out that I’m a big nerd. I love nothing more than reading fantastic tales of swords and sorcery. Maybe I’ve always dreamed of being the valiant hero who saves the damsel in distress, (please forgive my chauvinism,) or maybe I just long for a time when courage and chivalry counted for something. Whatever the reason, I’ve always loved medieval history both factual and fictional. I still hold out hope that some day, an archaeologist will discover evidence of dragons. I’m such a fan of the genre, I’ve even taken up amateur blacksmithing as a hobby.

Because of this, I’m afraid I’ve developed a bit of a split personality when it comes to my writing. I switch from being the serious author who wants to immortalize his thoughts and feelings in print, to the writer who just wants to play and step into the shoes of his characters to live out the lives of people he will never be.

I’ve been doing some serious thinking about this recently and have come to a conclusion. Who says genre fiction can’t also be literary? Why can’t one piece of work be both entertaining and meaningful? Of course there are examples of books that, were they written today, would be pigeonholed into a specific genre but have still managed to become literary classics. Books such as The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, and Robin Hood. The question is, Can it be done today?

I guess there’s only one way to find out.

So I suppose the point of this rather rambling post is this. I’m going to be true to myself and write what I enjoy. Hopefully my more literary personality will be able to reconcile with my other side and I can find some peace. Or at the very least, I’ll be able to finish a project without questioning whether it’s really what I want to be writing.

Of course, the fantasy bar has been set fairly high by certain contemporary writers, (I’m looking at you George Martin,) but I think I’m up to the task.

One other perk of being a successful fantasy writer, if I get popular enough, I might be invited to Comic Con.

What do you think? Can a work of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror also be literary?

Leave your answer here, or on Twitter @JustinMKelly1, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jmkelly60. Also, please visit my website at http://justinmkelly.com/ (I have plans for a major overhaul but I’m concentrating on the writing itself right now.)

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