Writing a Book Foreword

I was fortunate enough recently to be asked to write a Foreword in my friend Eric's book, "A Green Winter in Mosul, Iraq." http://www.lulu.com/shop/eric-mcnail/a-green-winter-in-mosul-iraq/paperback/product-24137030.html The process of writing something like a Foreword was quite alien to me. It's a very personal piece of writing. And while I feel like I do fine coming up with, I don't know, zombie jokes and ridiculous scenarios in short stories. Giving something as serious as someone's memories from the Iraq Invasion the attention it deserves from a perspective of personally knowing that individual ... ... well that's difficult for a very internal INFJ like yours truly. Still, I'm very proud of the man for writing his memories down, and I feel that what he shares is a very important…

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Goals, and Reaching Them

If you would've told me last year that I'd get to writing a story, and that it would make sense, and flow, and I'd hit 30,000 words, I would've thought it crazy. Well, boom. Would I like to make more progress? Yes. Is that a 3 or 4 week take in words for people who write, write, write? Sure is. And it took me months. Don't. Give. A. Shit. Their journey is not my journey. That's something worth keeping in mind. Every journey is different, all that matters is you getting to whatever finish line you've set up for yourself, and that's exactly where I'm headed. Today, I celebrate, then I keep writing. Next goal, 40K.

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Sometimes You Can’t Word Good

I don't believe in "Writer's Block" because I don't think there's some mythical force preventing you from throwing words up onto a screen. I DO believe that sometimes, your brain is not able to function in a creative way - maybe that's what you'd call writer's block, I just call it, "Having a shit-ass day." There's nothing blocky about it. So what I end up doing when I'm having shit-ass writing days is to find a way to occupy my typical writing time with other things. Editing (a soul-sucking chore, to be sure), or writing anything OTHER than my current work in progress, or polishing up some outlining, maybe a little research, etc. All of these things help the project move along in secondary ways…

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A Spud-Like Short Story

Because sometimes, you just have to write a noir scene about a detective and potatoes... ********** I pressed the red circular button on my small audio recording device, set it down on the detective’s desk, and looked up at him. The street lights outside were mostly blocked by the drawn shades in his dank charcoal-grey office, and a slow trail of cigarette smoke was curling it’s way from his bandaged left hand, past his square jaw, until it finally stretched out and blanketed across the paint-peeled tin ceiling above us. Private Detective Poe Tatum looked as if though he’d been run over by a delivery truck with an Idaho license plate. Twice. He brought his bandaged hand to his mouth and took a long drag…

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Writing Exercise – Something’s Missing

So I'm in a small local writer's group (when I mean small, I mean small - most weeks it's 2 or 3 of us, the max is 4), and we decided to issue a kind of "homework" assignment week to week to stretch our writing brain. It's nothing terribly burdensome, so it doesn't affect the WIP (Work In Progress, for those of you who are bad at acronyms OMGWTFLOLBBQ). This week's assignment - write a scene in which there is a character focused on something that is missing. For me, I decided to focus it on loss (eh, I'm an oft-downtrodden INFJ, it's a thing). Here, without any further explanation, I give you my 500-ish-word scene featuring poor Sam ... ********** The screen door creaked…

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The Current Struggle

Two posts in one day? Not really, because while I'm writing this the same day as my previous post, I'm going to set it to post later, but man it would TOTALLY count if I published it right now! Anyway. I'm having an internal struggle, and I need to write some things down to hash it out. My struggle has to do with the awful INFJ thing of "get yourself out there." I consider myself a healthy INFJ - I'm creative, and yes I have my bouts of anxiety and such, but I do understand what it takes to get me on the right path again (basically, everyone go away I need solitude). Part of being an INFJ is having near constant conflict in your…

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Holidays are Over, Back At It

So one of the things I'm learning through my own writing journey here is that there is no perfect way for me to write. I always found myself incredibly jealous of people who have a dedicated writing space, a quiet house, a time set aside to pen their Great American Novel every day. Maybe 2000 words each day, flowing perfectly from their hands, with not a pressure in the world but to create. But, this is real life. There's holidays, kids, work drama, arguments, shit breaking everywhere (hello, house, I'm looking at you), snow falling, personal insanity (injuries!), and more. Yeah. Injuries. Right before Christmas I slipped, fell, and destroyed the knuckle in my middle finger on my right hand. I'm 3 weeks away from…

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Published Writer

Sometimes, awesome things happen.  Like this: Last year, I submitted an article idea to a martial arts industry magazine (I own a dojo, so it's a thing), to see if I could get an article in there about a subject I am quite passionate about - mental toughness and personal accountability. I wrote an email asking if they accept such submissions from plain non-writing folk like me, and then ... Nothing. A few weeks after sending that email I received a response from the Editor of this magazine, and he basically said, sure, send a full pitch idea of the story (a few paragraphs), he'll bring the idea up to his roundtable of staff writers, and if it's greenlighted, he'll have a staff writer contact…

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Ten. Thousand. Words

I know it's not a "HUGE" total in the grand scheme, but for an aspiring writer trying to focus on writing ONE THING, 10,000 is quite a personal mark.  So, go me. I'm writing everything (as explained in a prior post) with Ulysses, an amazing app/tool for organizing thoughts.  It's built exactly how I think, which is why I dig it so much.  Not too fancy, not too complicated - but still with enough features to navigate quickly and just get to the task of putting words down. I actually hit the 10K mark some time ago, but it wasn't the real 10K mark.  When I write, I write pieces, and sometimes out of order (that's just me giving up on my brain), so TOTAL words…

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A Break, Now Back At It

I've probably written a paltry total of about 1,000 words in the last, I don't know, three weeks. Pathetic.  Pitiful.  Embarrassing. However, I did manage to go on a vacation with the kids, get a lot of business-y work done, and oh, get married.  So that was a thing. Sometimes, life takes over, and you've got to just kind of roll with it.  It doesn't mean that writing and story progression hasn't been in my head. With everything else swirling around, my brain cannot handle the break, focus, and concentration it takes me to shut it all off, sit, and write.  Even though I should. So I afforded myself this little break for a few weeks to get some life stuff in order.  Sailboat rides,…

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