…And never brought to mind.

2016 has been with us for nearly two weeks now.  It pains me ever so much to find myself striving towards some significant life changes so close to the near year.  My procrastinatory personality would love to use this excuse to delay my plans but I fear listening to that part of my psyche is how I got in this mess in the first place.

2015 was a banner year in terms of bringing about change.  It’s the year I buckled down and decided that full time writer is the career path I want to take with my life.  However lavish or poverty-stricken this path decides to be, I at least will give it a solid attempt.

My health has always been something lingering on the back of my mind but before this past year I don’t think I ever made any solid steps towards fixing what is wrong.  I actually began seeing a doctor when things feel out of sorts and although I haven’t felt any physical improvement – well that’s what 2016 is for.

This upcoming year is about building on the solid foundation of its predecessor.  I know how tacky and repetitive this sounds, but I am gym bound too.  I’ve been paying for it so I might as well go, besides I have a backlog of audio books I need to get through.

Publishing & Health.  (Physical, Emotional, and Financial)
These are my goals for 2016.  It’s not original, it’s not even the first time I’ve made these goals specifically.  That being said, I am confident this will be the year I follow through.

2015 was already a terrific start. Bring on the new year.

Currently the third Krugers story is underway.  After some tweaks the Krugers 2 the beta’s will be getting to read it.
I’m looking at a comfortable time frame of the end of the month before I have this complete Krugers arc finished.

I’m still hoping by the end of Feb I will be able to give a better indication of when these works will find a home on amazon, but we’re still too far out to say if that’s an accurate goal. – But I am trying.

Cheers,
Devin.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot… – Farewell 2016

I know, I know.  The only thing more cliché than a New Year’s Resolution (especially one for weight loss), is the blog post where you talk about the whole year.

2015-12-21-1450668812-6923042-newyear.jpgWell screw you, I am not one who reflects a whole lot during Thanksgiving – which is when these sentiments are usually shared.  New Years is the time of year where I take solace in looking at the year gone by – even if I completely botched all of my goals.

Anyway, that’s enough disclaimer. Let’s talk 2015.

I rang in 2015 standing in a field with some friends shooting fireworks into the sky.  It was fun, but I couldn’t help but begin thinking about the state of the world.  There are countless explosions going off from all directions, it literally sounded like a war zone.

I won’t begin to pretend as though I understand what it’s like to live in a war torn country, I hope I never experience that sensation.  Looking at 2015 I can’t help but look back on that time and see what a parallel the night was to how the year would follow.  Both personally, professionally, and on the world stage.

2015 was rife with conflict, and the overcoming of said conflict.  Going into this new year we stand on the brink of a third world war.  The Syrian Refugee Fiasco polarized both Canada and the United States, my own Facebook friends list included.

I hope the nature of how 2016 was welcomed will do as apt a job of predicting the year as 2015.  I’ll get more to that next time.

This year will forever be noted as the year I decided to make a serious effort of this whole writing thing.  I really hit my stride this year with this decision.

It started in mid-December of 2015, I begin changing the way I thought about writing.  Especially the second quarter of 2015 – when I would be writing 4-8 hours per day.

To date, I am happy to say that I currently sit on a finished novel, a rough draft of the second novel, and two novellas.  Considering the two years prior was spent working on the first draft of the first novel, I consider this a win.

Though I guess now the pressure is on, because I’m going to need a far greater output in 2016 to feel successful, not to mention I need to get published.

After a lot of deliberation and research, in 2015 I decided self-publishing will be my avenue.  At least for now, I need to get out there now.  I need to build my audience, and I need to see what you all think of my work.  I know it isn’t going to be a masterpiece.  There’s going to be at least a handful more New Years Eve’s before I can hope to be a success story.  But it’s got to start somewhere, and I’m happy to say (and truly believe) it started this year.

Whether I’m the next Stephen King, or just another nameless hack in the kindle store – 2015 will always be the year it all started.  I focused in on my life’s ambition and decided to stop being a child and pursue it.

I’m not just overweight bachelor living on my own anymore, the only responsibility is to pay rent and to keep the fridge stock with alcohol.  I’m a thirty year old family man who needs to start adulting – even if I hate adulting.

Sacrifices, obligations, responsibilities. They are all real aspects of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s more than just sentiment when I say this, I know it to be true.  If not for my family situation right now, I would never have done anything serious with my writing – nor would I have even got as far as I am right now.

It’s a desire to make more of myself and provide for them that drives me to keep this up.  It’s the reason I keep coming back to this keyboard even after I decide for a fact that all the words are trash  and no one will read them.

Now, if only I can get on the ball and follow through with the New Years Resolution to get healthy, we’ll be set. 😉 I’m a walking cliche.

I did agree to a very vocal and persistent friend that I would be joining him in his martial arts classes in January.  (Honestly I believe I said December, but I’m not going to argue his generosity in forgetting that) – So I guess my first short term goal besides getting the Krugers novella’s finished is to get myself in a place where I can take this guy up on that invitation.

I guess this also makes the end of the month my deadline, since I did say January and it would be wrong to not be a man of my word right?

Anyway, 2015’s theme for my life and the whole world has been escalation.  International tension is running high, and my drive has been shifted to the next level.  Here’s to 2016 and maintaining the course – and getting to my final destination of a healthy body and a library of published works.

Thank you to everyone who has offered to beta read my work up to this point, your input has been instrumental in fixing a lot of the glaring problems – and has been incredibly encouraging at the same time.

Thank you to all of you who just simply stop by and read the random thoughts I throw on this page for you to read.  My journey into insanity isn’t as lonely knowing so many of you are coming along with me.

Here’s to 2016, and doing it all again – bigger & better!
Happy New Year!
Cheers,

~Devin

 

Accepting Limitations

I’ve made no secret about the influence of the Dead Robots Society podcast on my writing path.  Before listening to these guys, self-publishing was no where near my radar.  It was big time publishing or bust – I never considered the possibility of grinding out a career selling the work myself.

stretching_beyond_your_limits_by_gilad.jpgBig time publishing deals vs Self-Publishing is akin to the poker world.  There are those who play in the big tournaments as a lifestyle.  All it takes is a single final table and you’re looking at enough money to live on while you chase the next big payday.

But then there’s the rounders – the guys who play ring game 5-6 nights a week making hundreds of dollars a night (or week).  They bring home enough money to pay their bills, have some leisure, and maintain a steady bankroll to get them through the rough times when the cards run cold.

Self publishing is the rounder who needs to grind a lifestyle from a series of small success instead of looking for that one major payday. Of course, like the poker world, there’s always a chance at unexpected success.  A rounder can go on a hot streak and triple their bankroll in a few sessions.

Wow, that was a tangent.  Maybe I need to make a separate post about the similarities between being a pro poker player and a professional writer.

Anyway, this is about limitations.

I’ve been listening to DRS and initially I would scoff at some of their word counts for the week.  When one of the guys would say they wrote 3-6 thousand in a week and the others would call it a success, it would jar my view.  I thought how small of a goal that was, at the time I was hitting no less than 3K per day.

Of course I also never expected to hit a burn out phase either.  I thought this was just my rate of production.  I was wrong though.  After powering through that second novel and now about 25% through the second part of my serialized project – I feel the burn.  I hit near 800 words yesterday, and broke a little over 1000 today.

But you know what, I don’t see it as a failure anymore.  The guys were right, there’s no reason why you can’t feel accomplished with near a thousand per day.  There’s going to be some 3-5K word days in my future, but there will also be some more zero word days too…

After finishing the second novel and coming face to face with the first zero word days of my writing career i began to get hard on myself.  I would think about how I’m a failure – this thought process ended up bleeding into my own confidence about my work.  I began thinking about maybe nothing I’ve written is worth selling.

Negativity is a toxin that will strangle creativity.  My biggest challenge thus far in this writing endeavor is to stay motivated and silence the voice telling me that all my work is garbage.  – Not recognizing my own limitations was a big culprit for this.  By not meeting my unrealistic goals I guess I gave my mind permission to tell me how terrible I am.

Enough of that.  I know what I can and can’t do, and I still feel comfortable I have stories  to tell that you’ll want to read.  Am I right? Well I guess we’ll all find out in 2016.

Stay tuned here in the coming days to find out how you can get on my mailing list for news about publishing dates and deals.

That’s it for now, my apologies for the ranting nature of this post.  My battery is dying and I really want to get it up before the computer dies.  I won’t have time to charge it before it’s off to work.  *Sigh*

Full Time Writing Life – Hurry up and get at me.

Cheers
~Devin
@ShallopNewf or DevinLeeNL@gmail.com

Season’s Greetings

December 25th can be a controversial time of the year recently.  We live in an age where everyone is offended by absolutely everything.  Wishing someone a Merry Christmas potentially comes off as insensitive to other beliefs – but when a company removes snowflakes from their holiday cups they are participating in the War on Christmas.

christmas_by_suryakami.jpgTruth be told I don’t want to stand on a soapbox about it so I just want to extend a Merry Christmas all you readers, and I wish all the best in whatever holiday you recognize this time of year.

Christmas this year serves as a one-week warning of the end of 2015. I’m certain I will look back on this year as the first year I made actual progress towards a life goal.  I’m not different from anyone else in that I always tend to make major plans to turn everything around.  Like most, they tend to fall short most of the time.

2015 is the year I finished and edited my first novel to completion.  By the time 2016 begins my library will consist of one completed novel, a completed first draft of a second novel, and two novellas in my six-eight part serialized tale.

Though there I do have a little bit of news to share.  I began the process of establishing my newsletter.  Of all the advice for aspiring writers, setting up a mail list tends to be the most frequent piece. So that’ll be ready to go in the new year, I’ll have a sign up widget here on the World Is Broken.

Another tidbit of news is that I finally registered the domain I intend to use as an author.  Until I get my website up and running on my own web space I have it redirecting to this blog.  So for now if you want to share this site with friends you can link them to http://www.DevinLee.ca

I’m waiting until closer to the New Year before I get all self-reflective here.  I’m returning to the tradition of a year end blog post.  For now I have to get back to work, that second novella needs to be finished before New Years.

So in short, Merry Christmas everyone!

Cheers,
~Devin
@ShallopNewf or devinleenl@gmail.com

One Step Forward…

It’s been more than two weeks since I’ve graced you find readers with my presence.  I apologize. There has been tremendous progress since we lost spoke – of course the bulk of that involves wandering the wasteland of the Commonwealth searching for my Son.  Listening to some Diamond City Radio. – I really need to get back on track.

The presently titled “Waking Ambrose” has not only been submitted for consideration to Percy Janes First Novel Award – but I received correspondence from them confirming they received my submission. Now I wait till May to get my rejection – and adjudication.

I learned something new about the writing process and how my own psyche works.  After a grueling battle with a work in progress, I am quite likely to fall of the horse.  This is the second milestone I hit, the first was getting the third draft completed.

After both milestones I found it incredible difficult to return to a steady writing pace.  I even had to abandon my TurboWriMo, because by the time I finished my edits it was Nov 20th, and I wasn’t in a head space to pull off 5,000 words per day.

I’m going to keep this short. I just wanted to check in with you guys to remind you I’m still here.  Still working at it.  My time frame may have changed slightly and I need to do some digging into my schedule to see what my publishing dates are going to be – but that’s the point of putting it so far away isn’t it?

Anyway, the current word count on Krugers Part One is shy of 5,500 words.  It’ll be close to 7,000 before I call it a day.  So, hopefully within a week or so I’ll have a solid rough draft of this first novella to get some beta info about.

Thanks for not forgetting me people,
Cheers

Devin

 

*UPDATE*
Ladies and gentlemen, I am calling a day.  Just finished this writing session and wanted to post here that Krugers Part One is presently sitting at over 7,600 words.
Hell Yea.

 

The Absolute Worst Aspect of Writing

Alright so I understand I’m still an aspiring author in every sense of the word.  I’ve adopted the mentality where I know I must act the part I hope to play, so I try not to make a lot of self-deprecating jokes regarding my progress.  This is more pertinent as an attempt to stay away from the deep self-reflecting – dare I say, emo – posts of the past.

Heroin X-X
Heroin X-X

I have an idea for an update where I was going to share the changes I’ve made in my tentative release schedule.  I don’t think Seth’s Novel or Dean’s will be among the first releases – depending on how Percy Jane shapes up.

To get to the whole point of this – and I apologize to those tired of hearing me be a little negative about things – I’ve been failing.  Failing so hard recently.  Last week I made a joke about how the time spent writing my entry could have been spent either editing or writing.  I still feel strong about having something new posted here once per week, give or take a few days.

I’ve been stuck and it only dawned on me today what has me in such a shape.  The absolute worst part of writing is the self-doubt

I would love to sit here and tell you, “my overnight job is so taxing and my sleeping is so out of whack it’s hard to find time to edit.”  – that’s bull.  I’ve sunk 20 hours into Fallout since picking it up five days ago.

Next up is the excuse, “Man, I just got Fallout 4.  What do you expect?  The game is absolutely amazing you’d be inhuman to not play it.”  – that’s not valid either.  Well yes, the game is amazing and I have been playing it, but it’s a symptom.  It’s not the cause.

Somewhere in the middle of this ditch-digging process of editing this manuscript I lost it.  I lost the confidence in my work, the chances of success, and more importantly the valuable time I have been wasting trying to see this come to light.

The thing is evidently self-doubt is very natural.  Everyone – even the well established – will feel it’s debilitating pressure.

I feel indebted to podcasts like the Dead Robots (and the Facebook community for it) for helping me stay focused for so long – it was only a matter of time before I hit this rut.

All is not lost though – I didn’t want to come on here and tell you all that I haven’t opened Scrivener in four days, and my NaNoWriMo project is still at zero words on Day 15.  At least, I didn’t want to do that and leave it at that.

I made sure to edit another chapter in the manuscript before writing this.  You know what? It felt good.  I think this self-doubt in the end was as much about being burned out than anything else.  I was plugging away for 5-8 hours every day and it got to be a little much.

So thanks for sticking out through the post, next week I’ll fill you all in more on what I project my release schedule will look like in 2016.

November Goals – To be completed before November 30th
Edit the final seven chapters of Seth’s manuscript
Win NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words done on Kruegers.

Yeah, Writer’s Life!
Cheers
~Devin

NaNoProgress – The Hypocritical Rant!

This November I find myself lacking.  There are two things I desperately wish I could find over the next twenty two days – words and time.

time_by_vive_le_rockOf course I will explain it to you all in somewhere between 300-600 words, and burn at least thirty minutes.  So I’m spending potential words and a measure of time to proclaim to the world how I am so frustrated by the lack of time I have available and the absent of words on the page.

Hence calling this a hypocritical rant. – the lantern has been hung, shall we continue?

November 20th  approaches rapidly and I find myself still more than 20k words away from finishing his editing pass of Seth’s novel.  God’s sake, I still don’t even have a title yet.  At this point I am starting to come to grips I won’t get another pass at this.  I intended to make a final pass for polish and nit picking, but that doesn’t seem possible.  I’m struggling to finish this pass in time.

I’ve learned a valuable writing lesson.  It is rather unfortunate it must be in the final days before I need to submit the project, but I learn a lot about my common mistakes.  The punctuation around dialog tags, my insistence to put that in every sentence… I think further work should be at least moderately cleaner.

That’s really the whole point of all this isn’t it?  Writing and reading are the only two sure ways to improve the craft, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’ve managed to come through this process with a couple of lessons.  It’s not just about my mistakes, but I have a much better indication for how long I need to allocate for the editing process.

So all in all, as mind numbing and soul draining as the last couple weeks have been, I’m still making progress.

The main casualty of this lesson is my NaNoWriMo project.  It’s eight days into the thirty day month and I sit at a staggering zero words.  It’s disappointing, witnessing the rising counts of my writer buddies doesn’t help.  Alas I still feel capable and up to the task.

There’s no point in setting easy goals you know you can do without a struggle.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, NaNoWriMo itself was never going to be a difficult exercise.  To win you need to write 1,667 words per day for thirty days.  Well my average is over 3k.  This delay in my NaNo beginning just makes it a more difficult challenge to aim for, without being out of the realm of possibility.

For me NaNoWriMo will be half the time, so it shall be renamed TurboNoWriMo.

I know initially it sounded like I was losing my mind, but it’s not the case;  okay, well not entirely.  I’m feeling the grind of this editing process and the pressure of the deadline looms, but that’s what being a writer is all about isn’t it?

As grueling as this whole ordeal feels I still get a small feel of accomplishment as I finish each chapter and I imagine it’ll feel terrific after the final one is complete.

I have to get back to work. Words and time are precious commodities this time of the year – so I hope you guys appreciate that you’re important enough to me to spend at least a part of it on you. 😉

Cheers
Devin

The Logical Next Step – The Road To The Publish Button!

Before getting involved in this mess I underestimated the obligations one must accept on the road to being a published author.  I knew there was more than simply writing, but I did not comprehend the sheer weight of the rest.

I finished the first strunkOptimizeddraft of Dean’s novel.  It weighs in at a little over 86K. Although I know there’s a hell of a lot I need to fix with it, I am so damn proud of it.  At the risk of sounding as though I’m developing a large head, I can feel how much I’m improving.  This craft of writing is becoming getting more refined with every outing.

That being said, I was not prepared for the required energy for the editing process.  Now that Dean’s draft is done and shelved for the immediate future I have turned to Seth’s novel.  I have to get this polished and edited to submit to Percy Janes in November.

It turns out that it takes me about twice as long to edit a chapter as it took me to write it.  It’s become a daily grind such that I’m looking even more forward to NaNoWriMo and to get started on Krugers.

I can’t imagine I will feel less drained when I start having to write and edit on the same day until it’s done.  I may need to let NaNo fall behind for the first half.  It’s okay though I feel I write fast and prolific enough that I’ll hit at least 50K by November 31st.

If you’re an aspiring author and working the grind of editing, then shall I make a recommendation for you.  Go to EditMinion.com and use it to help.

It’s a great tool.  It won’t help plot holes, or even grammar and spelling, but it will highlight when you’re using a single word too often, and it will draw attention to all your adverb usage and examples of passive voice (both should be limited)

It’s been a valuable ally in my current project, and I know it can be for you to.

Well, that’s about it.

Seth’s Novel – Being Edited (Starting Chapter 9 when I finish this post.)
Dean’s Novel – Rough Draft finished, awaiting editing in December.
Krugers – A few beats outlined, but highly anticipating the start of November to dive into this one.

~Cheers
Devin

On To The Next One!

It has been approximately thirty seven days since I finished the draft of my first novel.   I have been working on it for about three years give or take and there is still a decent amount of editing and polish left to apply before I call it a finished product.

When I started this whole thing I was so green to the process, I would hear someone say they spent three years writing a novel and think there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  In fact if you’re strictly in it for the craft and you’re trying to write your magnum opus only intending to publish a single work in your lifetime, then sure go for it.

Just don’t get the idea that you’re the next Harper Lee who can write a single novel and live on its success for a lifetime.  It doesn’t happen that way.  The odds are firmly stacked against you.

If you want to make a living in the trenches putting out genre fiction then three years is a time frame which guarantees writing will remain a hobby forever.  Unless you hit the lottery and your book goes viral you are not going to make a sustainable living.  You are not the next E.L James who will strict it big modifying your fan fic.

Hell even if you are the next E.L James, you still can’t get into this with that attitude.  It’s not feasable.

I am ecstatic to write that as of October 25th, 2015.  Thirty seven days since completing the previous draft of my first novel, so realistically we’re talking abotu thirty four days since I started writing this work – I am finished the first draft.

It’s beyond exciting because not only have I finished the draft with enough time to mentally prepare for NaNoWriMo, but I have six days that I can sink completely into the polish and editing of the first novel – including deciding on a title for it.

November 20th, I will be submitting that first novel for Percy Jane First Novel Award, it needs to be great and having a week long buffer before beginning my NaNoWriMo project is certainly a huge help towards that goal.

If I can keep up this pace I know I’ll be able to hit my deadline.  I should be ready to announce some publication dates by the end of February, with enough of a back log prepared for release that 2016 is going to be a very busy year for me.

As 2015 comes to a close I finally get the feeling that I’m not just running on a treadmill, I’m actually getting some mileage on these plans.  Let’s hope I can keep up the face and by February you’ll know exactly when you can expect my first e-book to show up on Amazon.

Cheers

~Devin
E-Mail: Devinleenl@gmail.com
Twitter: @shallopNewf
Facebook: Coming In February!

Mailing List To Come Soon As Well

Does It Get Any Better?

I’m not going to lie this entry is probably going to be a little more fluff than normal.  There isn’t really any major news to report on in my personal or writing life, but I have every intention of keeping this blog as current as possible so here we go.

passion_weight__by_m0thyykuThere’s a certain feeling of euphoria surging through me as I arrive at Tim Horton’s with my laptop to start today’s writing session.  Truth be told I’m pretty significantly behind where I want to be with the current projects, it looks like I’ll still be editing Seth’s novel during November.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to divide my time so much during NaNoWriMo, but I really don’t feel comfortable leaving Dean’s story cold for a full month and trying to finish the rough draft in December.

This week had a zero word day but I allocated that time to see the Attack On Titan movie at Cineplex. There was only one showing on one day, so it had to be done.

It befuddles my mind why it took so long for me to dive head first into the writing world, I’ve never felt like this about anything I’ve ever done.  Just sitting down at the booth, opening the laptop and my exercise book with notes in it, and popping the tab on my coffee cup have given me this warm fuzzy feeling.

Starting a writing session is a high unlike anything else I’ve experienced in my life, and embarrassingly enough I have a lot of alternatives to compare it to.

Presently I’m still waiting to finish the rough draft of Dean’s Novel so I can get to the edits on Seth’s.  I’m still hoping to get those edits done before November 1st to offer all my attention to my NaNoWriMo serial project.

Dean’s novel just popped over 75,500 words and I’m hoping I’ll be bringing it to a close within the next couple of days.  It’s only moderately behind schedule, but between sick and other obligations there were a few set backs.  All in all I’m confident I’ll still be hitting my goals.

Also a very rough outline of the Krugers serial got plotted while at work last night, I assume I’ll put a little more effort into that tonight, getting more characters created and establishing more rules for what these characters can do.

It’s quite an exciting time.  The best part of it all is that this is basically the norm, there will always be new projects coming up and new ideas to flush out and work on.  I love this whole process.

My seriously regret not giving this a serious run years ago.
Anyway, enough ramblings, I need to try and hit 78K on Dean’s novel before work tonight.

Cheers,
~Devin
E-mail: devinleenl@gmail.com
Twitter: @shallopnewf
Facebook: Coming Soon…

P.S:  I am presently only finished the first chapter but I feel the need to spread the word anyway.  Betty Rocksteady, another Atlantic Canadian author has just released her book “Arachnophile” – published under Eraserhead for their Bizarro Author series.

From my best assertion this story is a paranormal, horror-ish love story.  A man having troubles with his wife falls in love with the girl next door – who happens to be a giant spider.

Like I said, I’m only a chapter in but I’ve read a some of Rocksteady’s flash fiction and know how twisted of a mind she has when it comes to her writing.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest and I think you all should check it out too.

Click Here to Buy
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UPDATE

After the aforementioned writing session I just crossed the 80,000 word count. There’s three chapters left to write and I’ll be putting this to bed.  I’m projecting if I can get a good session in I can finish Dean’s novel as early as tomorrow, Oct 25th, or the next day at the latest Oct 26th.

Eff Ya!