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Updates: July 2012

July has been another busy month for me and I got a lot of things going on that needs updating.  Today I think I’ll start with the personal stuff.

I’ve decided to make my second run for Vacaville City Council.  I ran in 2010.  Though I didn’t win, I felt like I put a good run together.  Now, before you all un-follow my blog, understand I won’t be talking much about that on here.  This is my writing page.  If you care to know more about my campaign you can visit www.electflores4.com or flow my twitter account @electflores4.  I may make mention of it again but my focus on this blog is my writing.

Plasma Frequency Magazine Issue 1 Out Now!

On the topic of writing, I am happy to say the Issue 1 of Plasma Frequency Magazine is out now.  You can download a free copy or purchase the print version by visiting the website.  We have stories from O’Neil De Noux, Michael Andre-Driussi, Nyki Blatchley, Gary Cuba, John H. Dromey, Michael Hodges, Spencer Koelle, Greg Leunig, and James Valvis.  We also have art from Tais Teng, Richard H. Fay, and Laura Givens.  In this issue we reviewed To Die a Stranger by Jilly Paddock.  We also have some great advertisers.  My advertisers are what pay for the magazine.  They are how I am able to pay these authors and artists for their work.  Our Issue Sponsor was our parent company Plasma Spyglass Press.  We also had Author Robert S. Wilson advertising his excellent book Shining in Crimson.  Author Martin Vavpotic advertised his Steampunk novella Clockworks Warrior.  Nightscape Press had their newest release Worlds Collider: A Shared World Anthology advertised in our magazine.  I might add that Worlds Collider is rapidly climbing the  US Amazon Rankings.  Last but not least, Artkitty.net and Senior Beauty Consultant Alica Howell advertised in Issue 1.

Everyone from the authors, the artists, and the advertisers deserve a huge thank you.  Plasma Frequency Issue 1 is racking up the downloads.  I am even more pleased to say that people are purchasing the print copy almost as fast.  It is really great to see that people still appreciate the print edition.  I don’t make any money off the sales of the print issue, the cost covers the cost of the printing service. A big thanks go to my fellow editors.  My wife Amy Flores and my friend Lara G. Carroll have been great at helping me get this off the ground.

If you go check out Issue 1, I highly recommend you get a print copy.  But if you can’t afford the print issue or just want a sample of it.  Download the PDF.  The PDF copy is the closest representation of the print edition.  The Kindle and ePub versions had to be dramatically modified to work of those devices.  But they are handy if you’d like to take the issue along on your eReader.  Since it is free, I suggest you download both and eReader and a PDF version.

We’ve already accepted the stories for Issue 2.  We are working on Artists and have already began reading for Issue 3.  It is a never ending cycle.

My own writings:

I have good news.  My editor has told me that he will have the edits to me for Dissolution of Peace.  He has told me no later than Friday (though I hope he has them to me today as planned).  I have to admit I am starting to feel nervous about what he has to say.  This novel, these characters, and the story they have to say is very important to me.  Every character I create holds a special place in my heart, but these characters are the first I have put together.  My hope is my readers will love them as much as I do.  But, that may be a standard that is set to high.  There is a sequel planned, should my readers like it.

Yesterday I took a little breather from my writing and played around with my picture editor.  I still don’t have cover art so, I put together a little teaser for you guys in the form of part of the uniform my main characters wear. It isn’t top notch, but it was just a little something fun for you to see something from the novel.

Two of the Main Character are Officers with the Earth Security Forces.  When the world united under one government, the Earth Security Forces was put in place as the world’s sole law enforcement agency.  They police cities, military bases, protect dignitaries, and keep the world in order.  Corporal Micheal Carlson and Officer Janice Kanter are two of those Security Forces Officers.

My other writings are also going well.  My next novel is well on its way, nearly half finished now.  My short stories are still making their way around.  And everything else is going well on that front.  My time is always limited with all these projects.  But I enjoy the work I do.

I hope your own projects are moving along nicely.  Until next time.

 

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Updates: May 2012

Here we are pushing the halfway point of the year.  I’m having trouble believing this fact, but unless the calendar has adapted a mind of its own, June is almost here. What is even crazier is how much has happened since my last set of updates.

I finally crawled out from under my rock and picked up a copy of The Hunger Games.  I don’t know why I stalled on it for so long.  I think it has to do with the fact that I typically don’t read books that have suddenly jumped into popularity solely for the fact that everyone else is reading them.  I have not read one Twilight or Harry Potter book.  I was over at Costco and saw a copy of it sitting on their book display.  I decided to give it a read.  I won’t go into a review of it here, there are plenty of those around, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ll likely pick up Catching Fire soon.  I’ve added a “What I am Reading” box to the side bar on my website, thanks to another Goodreads plug in.

There are some other books I have on my to read list:  Horror for Good: A Charitable Anthology is one of those books.  I’m not a huge fan of Horror, that has to be said.  But, I am a huge fan of what this anthology is about: giving back.  There are some big names in the Horror community that have shared their talents with the Editors for the purpose of doing good.  Put out by Cutting Block Press, they are taking net profits and donating them to The Foundation for AIDS Research.  In my opinion $5 for the Kindle version is money well spent.  I’ll be likely to order the print edition, as most of you know, but either way I can’t help but support this.  Pick up your copy here: LINK.

I also plan to read Exit Reality by Robert S. Wilson once that is released.  I don’t think an official release date has been announced yet.  Some other titles I hope to read soon: Fading in Darkness by Robert S. Wilson and Death on Zanath by Lee Gimenez.  Of course this is all money and time permitting.

Besides reading and blogging you may have heard that I am a writer.  You may have also heard some rumors about a Novel I have coming soon.  Since I will be virtually self publishing Dissolution of Peace, I hired an editor to review it.  So right now it is over at Wilson Book Service awaiting editor mark ups.  I think this is an important step serious self publishers should consider.  A professional editor is something that is lost when you self publish.  No matter how good you are, self editing is always bound to miss something.  In any case, I’m expected to get his mark ups by mid-July.  I will certainly be diving right into fixing what needs to be fixed and getting that out to you.

I have also hired the talents of Neil Jackson at Pig and Cow Design to create the cover art for Dissolution of Peace.  I’d hoped to have some cover art to show you for this post, but good art takes time (It has only been a week or so).  I most certainly will have it up for your on Facebook and Twitter when it comes out.

I do have something to share with you.  A little update and tease to novel.  Below is the blurb for Dissolution of Peace:

“The people of Earth have enjoyed centuries of peace under one global government.  They’ve made great strides in space travel and planet colonization.  The colonies on Mars wanted independence and Earth granted without a fight to preserve the peace.

 When Earth Navy Captain Christina Serenity is brutally attacked by a traitor, her life is saved by Security Forces Corporal Michael Carlson.  On the heels of her recovery, her ship is attacked by terrorists, and she is thrown into a difficult assignment.  She must chase after the only clue they have, a Martian ship called the Phobos, to find out what secrets it hides.  To make matters worse, someone still wants her dead.

 Now Serenity must trust her protection crew to keep her alive long enough to solve this puzzle while trying to prevent an interplanetary war.”

On the topic of things taking time, I realize that for… well hell almost a year now, I have been telling you that Daddy is Tired will be coming out soon.  So far I’ve been embarrassed with every false promise I have made in hopes this would be coming out soon.  As you know this is a children’s picture book my son and I wrote together, that has been at the illustrator for a really long time.   Sadly, it is now well below his reading level.  So my hopes of he and I reading it together have been smashed.  I am utterly disappointed and have tried very hard to be understanding of every delay.  I did warn her that I would like to see it done before she had a baby because life would get hectic after that.  She assured me that wouldn’t change things.  Unfortunately it has been one life event after another.  That being said, she is doing this for free.  But, I am learning, somethings are worth the price you pay.  And the Artwork will be great once it is done, so don’t get me wrong when I speak of worth, it is the delays that are maddening.  I’ll hold off on announcing a release date until I have the illustrations in hand.  While my wife and I will be happy to see it published, my six year old son probably doesn’t even remember writing it.

In other news, I’ve become involved in a project I am really excited about.  I am the Editor-in-Chief for a new Speculative Fiction magazine called, Plasma Frequency.  I am excited about this project for several reasons.  One, it is a paying market.  We are seeing a ton of new markets pop up, but rarely do they pay.  Eventually, depending on the readers and the advertisers, we plan to grow to a pro-rate market.  We offer both print and electronic forms.  We also provide something different to the writer.  We provide editor feedback.  There are two things that always frustrate me with a rejection letter.  One, I never know how far they read in my manuscript.  Two, I never know why they reject my manuscript.  Plasma Frequency‘s  editors changed that.  They are sending out letters telling authors they don’t accept just how far they got in the process and at least one line as to why the editor did not send it on.  When I agreed to this project, I built the process to be transparent.  Writers have a right to know just a little bit about what happens to their manuscript when they click submit.

Another great thing about this project is that they plan to review books that are published by Independent Presses and Self Publishers.  For now I will likely be the one to review them, but I think this is great news.  These two groups need a bit of the spotlight.  Surprisingly though, we’ve only received one book review submission.  We have received a steady stream (10-20 a day) of fiction submissions.  Artists and Books to review are just starting to trickle in.  So if you have one of those, now is the time to submit.  Our fiction submissions are open continuously.  If you don’t make the flagship issue (currently set for Sep 2012),  we will be publishing bi-monthly.

If you are a self published Author, we give you 15% off our advertising rates.  Right now these rates are already really low compared to other magazines.  But, as our readership goes up, so will those rates.  Of course, anyone can advertise (within our standards) in our magazine.  Our electronic issue is free, so we expect a lot of downloads.

For submission details, advertising details and subscriptions, visit: plasmafrequencymagazine.com

So what else is coming down the pipeline?  I have a new novel in the works, maybe I will have some announcements on that in the June or July updates.  The sequel to Dissolution of Peace is also in the talks.  I have two new short stories out making their rounds at the various markets.  And, of course, I will have my weekly blog posts for you.  I don’t have any new topic lined up, but subscribe to my blog to get alerts for my new posts.

 

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Updates: April 2012

I have spent so much time writing helpful posts, I had nearly forgotten to get my monthly updates out to all of you.  Luckily April isn’t over just yet, and I have some great updates to share.  So without holding things up too long, lets get started.

When it comes to short stories, I haven’t had really any new updates.  Both short stories are out to markets and only time will tell if either of them will get picked up.  According to Duotrope one story I could hear back on any day now.  The other, it will still be 25-75 days before I could hear back.  You can always watch my Twitter Feed or Facebook Timeline, I am sure to post something there the moment I get an acceptance letter.

Looking at my site traffic and link clicks.  It appears many of you are still checking out my story “Death Watch” in Liquid Imagination Online.  I love that this story has some staying power in all of your minds.  If you haven’t checked it out, you can here.  It took Second Place in the Preditors and Editors 2011 readers poll.

I have two new novel ideas in the works.  One brings back Samantha Baxter, the GPA Agent in “Dream Job”. (read it here)  It is still very early in the planning, in fact I haven’t written a word of it yet.  I’ve got another story to tell first.

Which brings me to my current work in progress: Volition Agent.  This story is a Science Fiction story that will likely be my second novel.  I will be making great strides in this novel over my weekend (tomorrow and Thursday).  I had trouble starting it, because my first novel was stuck on my mind.  I couldn’t think of a dang title for it.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I was having some trouble with a title for my nearly complete novel.  It was on my mind so bad that I couldn’t think of much else.  When I wrote this Novel in it’s first draft (and very rough form), I have planned to call it Serenity after one of the the Main Characters.  Of course, all of us Science Fiction nuts know why that would likely not work now.  Firefly and the Movie Serenity have saturated the market with that name.  Since my book has nothing to do with the Firefly franchise, I thought it best to change the name.  When I underwent the significant rewrites I had hoped a title would jump out and bite me.  It didn’t even take a nibble.

Now that trial readers are looking at it, I felt I really needed to get a title.  So much so that my mind was stuck on it.  So stuck on it that I couldn’t write.  I clicked on the random title generator about 300 times.  And it sparked 25 titles that I liked but didn’t really work.  Then finally one hit me.  Looking over all those titles and playing with the words gave me the title.  After sleeping on it last night, I’ve finally got a name for it:  Dissolution of Peace.

I have set a tentative release for early August.  The trial readers are almost done.  I will then be sending it out to for final thoughts and proofreading.  Once that is complete, I will make the final tweaks and it will be ready for publication.  I will announce an official release date once I know when it will be done.  However, you can expect to see me begin marketing it very soon.  I’ll be working on cover art next.  I have an idea of what I want to see, but I’m not an artist.  If you know a good cover artist, let me know.  As always, for up to the minute updates on my book (including release dates, giveaways, and more) follow my Twitter or Facebook.

The last thing I’ll address is my son’s and my collaborative children’s book, Daddy is Tired.  For my new followers, Daddy is Tired is a book my son and I worked on when he was in Kindergarten.  I was writing during “quite time” and my son said he wanted to write too.  So together we came up with a story that he wrote down on scratch paper with a crayon.  After a few months, I took it and edited into what we will see published soon.  I tried not to make to many changes (it was pretty good), and sent it out for drawings.

I know the original release date was the first part of 2012, but we are now a third of the way through the year and the artist isn’t done yet.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but sometimes one delay follows another.  At this point I have no updated release date.  The artist underwent surgery and the timeline is now up to her body’s healing process.  You can’t always put a timeline on that.

It had been my hope that  it would be released while it was still at my son’s reading level.  But, it has already passed that.  He doesn’t know it is getting published (in fact by now I think he forgot he wrote it).  I only hope he is excited about it by the time it comes out and hasn’t lost all interest in writing by then.  I doubt that will happen since he loves to practice his words and his imagination is very strong.  Perhaps we can come up with a few more children’s books to share.

So, with two book released hopefully coming in 2012 I’ve got a lot going on.  Personally I am glad because my family hit quite the financial speed bump when my wife lost her job.  She was the sole provider for our family and my income doesn’t even pay rent.  Some happy news will be welcome this year.  While she tries so hard to find work in this slow economy, I’m trying to relieve stress the only way I really know how:  Write.

So that is the updates for April 2012.  Can’t wait to share more news with you in May!  I’ll see you next week for my next blog post.

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Quality Versus Quantity

Recently there was a post in my writer’s forum on Robert A. Heinlein’s Rules for Writing Speculative Fiction (Appeared in his essay On Writing Speculative Fiction in 1947).  The poster argued that the rule; “You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.” was no longer a valid business practice in today’s market.  His argument is sound, and I have already blogged on my thoughts on the rewriting circle several times (mentioned here), so I don’t plan to do into it.

But it did involve lengthy discussion about the need to constantly rewrite and ensure you put out high quality work.  The argument was that, in the 1950s, there were so many pro rate markets that there was far more demand then supply.  Therefore established authors (and new ones) could quickly turn out a high amounts of manuscripts and be able to sell them.  So I thought I would elaborate on the quality versus quantity debate

Quantity

If you throw darts at a target, one at a time, you might hit the bulls-eye but it may take a while.  But, if you throw 1,000 darts at the target, surely one of them will hit the bull-eye and quickly.

Obviously, simple statistics would show that the more works, you put out the more likely you should be to get published faster.  And the slower you put out works the longer is should take.  But, if there is one thing I have learned, math has little place is art.

But the truth is you have to submit works to ever get them published.  And very few people are ever satisfied with one published work.

Quality

If you take time learning how to throw a dart.  You study how darts fly, how to aim, and the correct throwing techniques.  Then you take that one dart, and throw it at the target, you are more likely to hit the bulls-eye.

There are a lot fewer pro rate markets out there. It would be a good idea to understand the craft, and write well, before you cast your dart.  However, when is a manuscript ever perfect?  I’ve never written one.

But the truth is you have to write well, and edit them well, to ever get published.

The Debate

So do you throw 1000 darts or cast that one best shot?  I think it is a bit more complex then that.  After all, you could throw 1000 darts and they all miss the bulls-eye.  Or you could spend years studying darts, only to miss that one best shot.

There is really a fine balance between the two.  If you throw one dart a year, you won’t hit the target much (maybe with blind luck) but you also won’t get better.  But if you throw darts regularly, slowly you will get closer to your bulls-eye.  You need to submit often and you need to do a few rewrites.  How many?  Well that depends on your target.

I think the first thing you have to do is define your bulls-eye.  If it is just getting published, then there are a ton of markets.  If you want some type of payment, there are still a lot.  And, if you want a pro-rate payment there are only a few.

This is why I use the Darts analogy.  Because I think you should have a target, with a bulls-eye in the middle.  That bulls-eye is you best case scenario, the big deal for you.  Mine looks something like this:

So, make your target.  After all you need to know what you are aiming for.  Always aim for your bulls-eye.  You may not hit it, but keep throwing those darts.  Throw your darts often enough that you learn each time, but not so fast that you sacrifice accuracy for the odds.

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Writing is an Art

A response to Want-a-be Writers Versus True Writers

Typically I wouldn’t respond to negative thoughts about a blog of mine.  However, on Google+ I have received some responses from colleagues whom I respect and feel that perhaps they warrant a genuine response.

Arrogance was not my goal in that that post.  I am certainly no expert in all things writing and therefore have no place for arrogance.  Perhaps an explanation of why I needed to post that post is in order.

I had recently purchased a piece on Amazon.com.  It was by far the worst written piece I had seen.  A  lot of that may have fallen on the editor, but clearly it was an example of garbage being published.  This coupled with the comments I have received that my art can be done by anyone with pencil and a paper upset me.

I believe anyone can become an artist of some sort.  It may take some many years of practice and others only a few months.  The fact remains that some people are disillusioned with what their talents are.

People assume that all it takes to be a writer is to write.  Just as they assume all it takes to be a photographer is to take a picture.  Everyone takes photos and everyone writes something.

However, writing your grocery list in Courier font, double spaced,  with one inch margins all around does not make a story.  Therefore you are not a writer in the since of being an artist.

Anyone can become a great writer with time and the right course of study.  The fact remains that seriousness of the art form is needed.  Many self proclaimed writers have not dedicated themselves to the craft, and are generally not serious enough to really succeed.  As I mentioned in “Getting Published” there are many stumbling blocks along the way, in which a person who is not serious will drop off.  However, the steps in that article can clearly be skipped by self-publishing.

Next, I have nothing against self-publishing.  I may very well self published my first novel.  I only used it as an example of how the bad writing can leak in.  As one of my colleagues pointed out, “…I know of at least one author going into his fourth book with a big publisher and I think the quality of his writing is utter crap.”

She is right, while self publishing as made it easier for the crap to get in, traditional publishers have had leaks in their “filters” for years.

 

So in summary, please take this from my previous post:

Writing is an art that is difficult.  You can help struggling artists with good reviews, and you can help readers with bad ones.  While anyone can write, it takes time and patience to become good at it.  How much time depends on your natural abilities.  Lastly, I would never want to discourage anyone from getting into writing.  The hope is that my blog posts will actually encourage you to do so.

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Want-A-Be Writers Vs True Writers

Just because you write, doesn’t make you a writer.

I have recently discovered that writing has this in common with Photography.  Everyone who picks up a camera, takes pictures of their family reunion, and posts them on a Facebook Page they made; calls themselves a photographer.  That is a steamy load of crap.

Photography is an art form and requires a lot more then point and shoot.  Over the years, photography has been watered down by many factors:  Easy exposure, easier to use equipment, easy digital printing, and friends/family who won’t tell them they suck.  The result has been an over abundance of people calling themselves photographers and they have watered down the craft.  Add this to the fact that photography is a misunderstood art form (that is to say most people don’t know what makes a photo art), and the true photographers are ripping their hair out.

Writing is clearly not much different anymore.  First, most people won’t know good writing if it bit them in the ass.  I am not talking about styles, genres, or your own reading preference.  I am talking about a well written story.  There are plenty of books I don’t like, but they were written very well.  It was just not something I enjoyed reading.  Writing, like photography, is a craft.  It takes time to perfect each piece (though a true writer never reaches perfection).  But most people accept anything written on the page that is must be good to get published.

Writing is getting watered down now, just like writing.   Easy exposure, digital printing, easier to use equipment, and  friends/family who won’t tell them they suck.

Easy Exposure:

Anyone can create a Facebook Page.  I have four of them.  Anyone can create a blog.  Twitter, Google+, good reads, and much more.  Don’t get me wrong these are great tools for the Author to use, I use all of them.  However, anyone can slap “Writer of…” on their page.  It makes it harder to establish the true writer’s from the hacks.

Digital Printing:

Lulu, Create Space, and a ton of other print on demand publishers have made it so anyone with an email address can publish something.  Don’t get me wrong.  This, and the e-publishing for e-readers, is revolutionizing the publishing industry.  For years publishers have excluded excellent writers based on editors opinions, agents, and other such problems.  But it has also removed the filter.  This means we are getting all kinds of utter crap out their too.  It makes it harder to know who to buy from and who to avoid.  It has also put an undeserved negative stigma on self published authors.

Easier to Use Equipment:

Word Processors, writer’s programs, easy to use publishing software, and a slew of other programs to help writers.  They are great tools, but again they enable many people to fool themselves into thinking they can write because some program keeps track of grammar errors, or characters, or chapters.  However, most want-a-be writers don’t know anything about plot threads, prose, or even when to use bad grammar.  Have you ever read a book where every character speaks perfect English?  That’s horrible, because I have never met anyone who always speaks perfect English.

Friends/Family won’t tell them they suck:

This is where you can help out.  If you have a friend or family member who writes, and they are no good at it.  Please tell them to stop.  Thank you.

Truth be told, that is hard to do.  At the very least though, please don’t tell them they are good at it.  As the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  You don’t have to tell them how good they are.  Just don’t say anything.

The true problem here is that most want-a-be writers never show their works to other writers or join writers groups.  They assume they either don’t have to share, or they are delusional to their own abilities.

How can readers find good, real writers.

You used to have some level of trust, that if they made it to bookshelves they were at least somewhat skilled in the craft.  That is simply no longer the case.   Anyone can make their way on to Amazon.com.  How do we decipher the good from the bad?  It really is harder then you think.  Many great writers are self published.  They have great blogs, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, and more.  So how do we really tell?

Well in many cases, it is simply trial and error.  You buy a book from them, they are clearly a hack so you never buy from them again.  Or you buy their book, love it, and can’t wait to get something from them again.  But there is something you can do to help with this.

Read the reviews.  The reviews will tell you what other readers thought.  Read them carefully.  Look for items that are simple opinion versus objective facts.  For example:  “I didn’t like that the entire book takes place in space.” (opinion) versus “There was an entire section of text that was formatted in red ink for no reason, punctuation is missing, and the Point of View changes mid-paragraph.” (objective facts).  Ignore the comments that simply say “it sucks” or “the best book ever”, neither of those gives you any insight to the book.  Lastly, remember rating systems (stars or number scales) are almost always opinion based.

But you, as the reader, need to go one step further.  Write a review.  Most people don’t write reviews on their purchases, despite the fact that nearly every online retailer has the ability to review.  Write a detailed review about why you liked, or did not like, the book.  If it was because the writing was bad, point out examples.  Share both your opinions and facts.  Say you liked it because of this reason and then point out the writing is strong with believable dialogue.  A good well written review helps the Author sell more books, but it also helps other readers know if they should stay away.  Bad reviews are just as important as good ones.  So write both.

I am trying to make it a habit of writing a review on everything I read.  I write reviews on Good Reads, and on the site in which I purchased the book.  You should do the same.  It really doesn’t take much time, especially in comparison to what you spent on reading the book, and it helps everyone involved.

There are a ton of good writers out there.  It is great that it is so easy to find and buy great writing from all over the world.  The downside is that some garbage is getting in too.  Hopefully more people will help the true writers filter out the hacks.  The hacks are what have given self-publishing a bad name.

Lastly, if any of you hacks are reading this.  Study the craft, work hard at it, and chances are you can be just as good as many writers.  Like any art form, writing needs to be studied.  The true writer will study his craft constantly, the hack doesn’t take it serious enough to bother.

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Writing and Family Life

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday.  I had every intention of doing so, but I also have a great family and they needed my attention yesterday as well.  My two older boys had their first ever soccer practice, the wife and I had to meet with some people to talk about Life Insurance.  Then of course I had to have play time with the kids and cook dinner, and on and on and on.  Not exactly exciting stuff but it all piled up into a nice pile of excuses (valid ones) to not write anything.  No blog post and no story work.  Opps!

My fellow writers out there with kids know exactly what I mean.  So last night as I was laying in bed, kicking myself for not writing, I thought this would be a great topic for today’s post.

Writing with Kids!

When I first started writing for my own fun, I had no kids.  I would write for hours into the wee hours of the night.  I would put down thousands of words a day, easy.  Then my first son was born.  Having a child is one of the best things that can ever happen in your life.  My beautiful wife did all the hard work giving birth to all three of our children.  I was working so she even took care of most of the late night needs of a baby each and every time.  She is an amazing woman.

Well something else happened with the miracle of becoming a Dad.  The days suddenly got shorter.  There was not longer 24 hours in day, I am pretty sure time accelerates.  I would wake up in the morning with every intention of getting all my daily tasks done, including writing.  And then I would eat breakfast, and just like that it was time for bed.  I am sure something happened in between breakfast and going to bed, but it was all a blur.  Two years later, my middle child was born, and two years after that my youngest.  Time had now sped up exponentially with each child.  I no longer ate breakfast.  I woke up, did a bunch of things all related to child care (none of which I remember) and then I went back to bed.

Needless to say, writing never seemed to happen.  Days turned to weeks, weeks to month, and next thing I knew my oldest son was five years old and going to Kindergarten.  I know what you are thinking, I thought it too.  I can write while he is in school!  Well I have a two other sons, who need my time.  And you would be amazed how much of my time they need.

But I needed my writing time too.  My craft was for me, and I needed some me time.  At the same time I had some other epiphanies at the same time and really began to look into writing.  My passion for writing had bloomed, but now I needed to find the time.  The great people of my writer’s group has a lot of great ideas.

Some get up early before the kids and get an hour in that way.  The problem is, I am just to damn lazy to get up any earlier then I have to.  In most cases, laziness beats determination especially when you have three young boys who never stop sucking the energy from you.  So that option was out for me.  It may work for you, and if you want to try it… go right ahead.  I will pass.

Some suggested waiting for the kids to go to bed for the night.  But my wife works twelve hour days and the only time I get with her is after they go to bed.  Did I mention she is a beautiful woman?  So the last thing I want to do is spend time with my keyboard over her.  She is fully supportive of my art and would likely let me write to my hearts content, but I am a man too.  And as a man I want to spend time with her too.

Others simply wrote while their kids play around them.  I am a paranoid Dad.  The second the house in quiet, I panic.  My house is never quiet.  And as soon as they see me distracted they find something they should not have and they get quiet.  They think they can get away with it because Dad is busy.  Well when I write, I can’t have distractions.  The words come to mind far faster then I can type them (and I type at a decent speed).  Stopping every few minutes to put on the black and white stripes to referee the latest toy dispute distracted me to much.

Of course there was nap time.  In the early years that did not work.  When all three kids are asleep I was playing catch up on the house work.  The stuff you don’t want to do around kids because the seem to some how ruin it.  You know the toy the never play with so you pick it up and now they want to use it.  Or the dishes they see you doing, and now they need a snack (three boys always need snack).  And now, my two older boys don’t even take a nap.  So, that takes a lot of work.

Any of these tips may work for you, but not for me.  But I still needed to write.

So what did I do?

The idea actually came from my mom.  As she so often does, she has ideas for everything.  I suppose its her nearly thirty years of Mommy experience.  She suggested that when my little one goes for his nap, I impose “Quite time” to help the older two relax.  So we did that.

It wasn’t to long into this that an idea came to mind.  I should share my writing time with my kids.  I hear you all yelling at me right now.  “YOU IDIOT YOU JUST SAID YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!”  First, don’t yell at me.  Second, I mean to actually share the quiet time as art time.

So, I put my little one to nap.  Then I start the two older children on their homework.  This is when I work on picking up the house, doing the dishes, and helping with my kids homework.  After that we continue quiet time with “art time.”

They color, draw picture and read books.  I write.  For two hours we do this.  We stop and share with each other.  Mostly they show me what they draw or tell me what they read.  But sometimes we work together.  My oldest boy and I put together a children’s story.  And I am working to have it published very soon.  Its like a writing group with my kids.

Share in the passions you have with your kids.  Art is to important and too many kids don’t get it in school anymore.  I have completed a lot more writing sharing the time with my kids, and they are enriching their minds with books, arts, and crafts.  They need the time away from the TV.  You never know what they may become in the future and the art time may be what they need.

Family is always first, that will never change for me.  And it should be the same for you.  But, family time does not have to trump writing time.  It can be shared.

Does this work for me?  Yes.  Your results may vary.

If you have kids you have to fit your writing (or other art) around, please comment bellow on how you do it.  I would love to know.

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