(Almost) Average August Recap

It’s finally August 31st and I can back down from posting a bit. If you’ve been following along this month, you might’ve noticed I went on a post frenzy, sharing a new post every day.

I decided in late July to give it a try and I’m proud to say I’ve made it to the end. I think instead of my normal once a week posting schedule I adhered to prior to August, I might up that to three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

calendar-159098_960_720During this past month, I’ve had the most visits, views, likes, and comments since I’ve started this blog several years ago. I was blown away by the response I’ve had and hope to continue offering interesting posts going forward.

So in case you missed it, here’s a rundown of the last 30 days.


New Release: Twilight Madhouse Vol.1: My post about a new horror anthology featuring 10 stories, including my short piece “Achievement Unlocked.”

“Gate” Crashing: My rant on using the suffix -gate for scandals.

Writing Ideas: My tips and tricks when trying to get the creative juices flowing.

Reality Bites Book Awards: I was nominated in four different categories.

Rough Writing: I reminisce about a difficult lesson learned.

Morning Routine of a Non Best-Selling Author: It’s exactly as it sounds.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews: I discuss the latest reviews for my book The Selection.

Review Circles for Authors: I’ve started a Facebook group for authors to give and receive reviews.

Tools of the Trade: A nice discussion about the hardware and software I use to write.

Forgetting to Remember: My terrible problem with remembering names.

Dirty Dish Philosophy: Lessons learned from washing dishes.

5 Posts for Indie Authors: 5 blog posts I thought were informative to the indie authors of the world.

Flash Fiction – “Zombie Says”: I offered a free story for you the reader!

Author Spotlight – Greg Alldredge: An interview with scifi author Greg Alldredge.

Review – “Fire Eyes Awakened”: My review of R.J. Batla’s new book.

“Self To Younger Self, Come in”: Words of wisdom I’d share with my younger self.

Review – “Twilight Madhouse Vol.1”: My review of the horror anthology with my story “Achievement Unlocked” in it.

10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing: As the title implies, 10 lessons learned since I started this journey.

Reality Bites Book Awards – Final Round: I made it to the final round in the category of “Sci-Fi Author.”

Giving Back: I strongly believe I need to give back to other writers in any way I can.

Eclipse Comic Con Recap: I attended an awesome event and met new friends.

Upcoming Events: A list of all the places you can find me in the next few months.

Just Finish Already!: Get that story out of your head and on the screen.

Indie Comic Creator – Todd Black: A super talented creator of indie comics I met at the Eclipse Comic Con.

Musical Inspiration: How music inspires my writing.

Sacrifice for Greatness: What are you willing to sacrifice in order to be great?

Choose Wisely: Important decisions can lead to lasting consequences.

Author Spotlight – Pamela Morris: My interview of Pamela Morris, an excellent horror author you should know.

“The Selection” – Chapter 1 Preview: I offer the entire first chapter of my novel The Selection.

Youthful Dreaming: When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be Spider Man.


 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my month of madness. When you have time, please check out the posts from this past month and please consider clicking “like,” commenting, or sharing whatever interests you.

Thanks for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nearing the End

As I write this, I’m just over 34,000 words into my latest NaNoWriMo attempt. I intend on getting to the end and completing my fourth novel. With the upcoming long weekend, I should find enough time to power through and hit 50k by the end of day on the 30th.

You can actually read what I’ve written so far. I’m using the Tablo writing platform and I’m quite impressed by the experience so far. I’ve had someone comment and I’ve received over 120 reads. You can find the story here. I do caution you to read it with a certain amount of understanding. It is a very rough draft with all sorts of problems. But, you can still read the story and get an idea where I’m going with it. I’m open for suggestions and critiques as well.

What I’ve discovered over the years participating in NaNo is something that correlates to my day job of sales rep.

Writing daily and uploading my word count on the NaNo site gives me instant visual verification that I’ve accomplished something. It shows me how many words I’ve written since the last time I uploaded my word count, my average word count, my expected completion date if I continue at the current pace and many other quantifiable bits of data to help me push on.

In sales it’s very much the same. I have monthly and annual goals. Every order counts. Every dollar adds up. I can break down my goals by week and day if I want to. Small orders eventually add up to larger totals. I could have a weak sales day and counter it with a spectacular day that covers for the shortages. Daily I can check my totals and watch as I get closer to my goal.

That attitude and ability to be patient when the days aren’t going the way I’d like have helped. Of course I’d rather make the goal as soon as possible but knowing if I stay the course I’ll eventually get to the end is a comforting thought.

Writing a novel isn’t easy. Heck writing short stories and essays isn’t easy either. But with determination, patience, and a willingness to trek on when everything seems against you, you can get to the end. You can make the goal set for you. You can do something amazing.

If you are writing this month, I wish you the absolute best. Don’t worry about editing or if your story is going where it needs to go (see the link to my story in progress for confirmation of this) Use this time to write. Editing comes later. Fixes can be made when the month is over.

I know I write about NaNo a lot. It’s something I get excited about. It’s a month long sprint to 50K and there’s nothing like being engrossed in your work so much that it’s the only thing on your mind. Characters become good friends. Settings seem like memories of a real place once visited. Plot lines intermingle with one another.

If you’ve never tried it I challenge you to do so. If nothing else, it will get you in the mindset of writing. It will give you an excuse to put your story down on the screen or paper.

Good luck to all the writers this month. You’re almost there! If you failed and won’t make the deadline, don’t worry. You’ve started something wonderful. Keep at it. One word added to another gets you that much closer to the goal. You’ll finish and that accomplishment is more meaningful than you know.

 

 

Writing the Race (or Running for the Writer)

Writing the Race (or Running for the Writer)
Running has been an activity I kinda fell into.  Several years ago, I’d been working out at the gym trying to stay in shape.  Every April there’s a local race called the River to River Relay Race that I’d been wanting to try but never had the courage to do.  My assistant at the time knew I’d thought about it and she convinced me that with a little extra work running (especially hills) then I’d be in perfect shape to give it a try.  I worked hard and by the time the race came, I was excited and ready.  It was a fun time and I was hooked.
Before then, I’d never run.  Ever.  I was a skateboarder growing up, but I’d never gone for a jog or any other running.  The River to River Relay is like doing three 5K races in one day.  On hills.  Ask anyone who’s done it and they will always talk about hills.  It’s not for the feint of heart.  And that was my first race ever. 
After conquering that race, I ran regularly and entered several 5K races.  The best I placed was second in my age group, but that was more by default than anything else.  There were only four or five in my age group at that race.  But it was a win.  I felt like I belonged.  
I’ve been running part-time since then and it’s a great way for me to stay in shape.  I enjoy the mental clarity I gain while running.  My mind will clear itself of all extraneous thoughts and creativity flourishes.  Some of my best ideas came while running.  It gives me a chance to sort through my thoughts and form them into something coherent.  I’ve been able to figure out plot points and story twists all while climbing up hills and running along roads.
I didn’t start with the hills and I didn’t one day wake up and claim to be a runner.  “Hello day!  It is I, runner Jason!”  No, instead it took a lot of practice.  I couldn’t run a 5K without training shorter distances.  I had to get my breathing under control and recognize the limits of my body while training.  
I’m sure I’m not the first one to make the connection, but the steps it takes to be successful as a runner are the same as writing.
It’s not like all of a sudden I claimed the title of “Writer” either.  I had to work up to it.  I wrote.  I failed.  I had to see what training steps I needed to succeed.  I worked on my craft.  I couldn’t just start writing a novel without some concepts and artistry to fall back on.  
I tried NaNoWriMo four years ago and failed.  I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I had no idea what it took to write a 50,000 word creative piece.  I’d written a 75 page thesis for my Master’s degree, but that was a different kind of writing.  
After failing that year, I read more.  I searched for sources to help me collect my thoughts and write a long piece of fiction that had plot, theme, and characters well thought out and researched.  That year, I was able to come back and win NaNo and the confidence it gave me has sustained me to this day.
I’m not published anywhere other than this blog.  I’ve written over twenty flash fiction/short stories and have three NaNo novels under my belt.  
Just like my first real race and the momentum I gained, winning that year in NaNo was crucial to building my confidence.
I still read, I still seek ways to improve in both running and writing, and one day I hope to be better than what I am now at both things.  
Running and writing both take a tremendous amount of patience, dedication, and practice.  You can never have enough of any of those three if you are going to succeed.  Sometimes I want to give it all up, the running and writing, but then I realize I enjoy both too much to stop.  I gain so much from both that it would do me no good to give up.  I have to push on.  I have to endure.  I have to work harder to be better.  One day it will all pay off.