Yeah, that's a goofy title, but here's my progress journal: I’ve been contemplating starting this thing since I joined the forum in October, but I put it off and put it off. I’ve lagged lately in my writing. My daily totals are down, and I think it might be helpful. It’s worth a try at least, and if it does me no good, or worse, distracts me from writing, I’ll just stop. No harm done. A little background, in case anyone ever reads this, though I don’t know why you would: (So, here’s the thing: I was going to write a paragraph or two, but it turned into an “artist’s journey” bio over a thousand words long. I’m just going to hide it under this here spoiler button so it’s easier to skip. Man, that thing got away from me, which is something that happens frequently. I’ll get into that more later, I’m sure.) Spoiler: A fairly typical story about falling down repeatedly. I’ve wanted to be a writer most of my life. My mother has a book we made when I was three or four. I made up the story, and she drew the pictures. It’s kind of fantastic. It’s about a dragon who goes to a beach to find some people to eat and sees a group of children playing. They’re having so much fun that the dragon realizes he’s lonely and would rather have friends to play with than eat people. So technically, I wrote (dictated) my first book around 1984. I made up a few more stories as a kid, but I don’t think I ever finished any of them, a pattern I would continue for many, many years. I never seriously considered writing as a profession though, until I properly discovered poetry in the ninth grade. It was e.e. cummings that did it for me, well, he and Jim Morrison. I was in hooked. I even won either second or third place (they only announced first and two runners up) in the city-wide arts festival poetry competition that year and had my poem published in a monochrome, plastic-bound, construction and copy paper book they printed a few hundred copies of total, I’m sure. By the time I graduated in ‘98, I’d written well over a hundred poems, maybe twice that. I used to number them like Emily Dickenson, but all these years later, I can’t remember how high they went. Out of those, a handful were pretty good, at least if you enjoy abstract, blank verse written by teenagers. Somewhere in there I won another contest for my high school’s yearly lit magazine. They never published it though. The kids voted, and I won $25 to Barnes & Noble, but whichever grownup was in charge banned it from the final version. Fucking grownups. I don’t know why the poetry stopped flowing, but it did. It may have happened around the time I quit smoking pot, so make of that what you will. By that time though, I was obsessed with movies and thought I wanted to write and direct. When I was twenty, I think, this would have been right after the millennium, a friend and I wrote a solid, if somewhat skeletal outline for a script. It was a standard fare coming-of-age party movie, but it had a good story, something akin to Dazed and Confused or Go. The project stalled when my writing partner hopped a plane to Dallas to check into rehab for a speed addiction with plans to move back in with his parents for a while after. I quit that day too. I picked up the script again a couple of times over the next year or two. I filled in a laser detailed outline and almost finished a rough draft. If I could find it now, I might try to finish it. At the time, it was a current generation story. Now it would be a rave era period piece, which would be much cooler. I have a tendency to abandon a project as soon as another idea occurs to me, and that’s exactly what happened to the script. I was over the whole movie thing apparently, and from 2004 to 2008, I wrote outlines, synopses and multiple chapters of at least a dozen novels, novellas and short stories that are unfinished to this day. One of my two main focuses during that period was a fantasy epic trilogy called Aelera’s War. Sometime before the book begins, Aelera, the benevolent goddess and creator of the universe is murdered by another goddess, her lover. She wants the throne, of course. Another goddess (there’s a whole pantheon) in charge of motherhood and reincarnation hides Aelera’s soul in a newborn baby girl before she and other deities loyal to Aelera seal the barriers between the two realms to keep the child safe. The world is entirely cut off from the gods. The first book focuses on Kalisa, the reborn goddess uniting the world to battle the forces of the evil goddess’s daughter, basically the antichrist. The second book tells the story of said antichrist, and the third book brings the two storylines together in a war for the planet and all of creation. It was way too big a project to tackle with no experience, and now it’s semi lost. Tens of thousands of words worth of outline and notes plus the first three chapters are trapped on a dead hard drive. I can likely have it all retrieved for about a grand. If it isn't lost forever, I will write it someday. It's the greatest story I've ever concurs. I consider it my magnum opus, so it's penciled in on the new slate for several years from now. My other main project at the time was a dark urban fantasy of sorts called Lucifer Posey and the Apocalypse Nymph. Lucifer is not the devil. Characters just have names like that: Athena Payne, Heroine Moon, Donnie Valentine, etc. I was told by everyone who ever read it that the name Lucifer Posey grows on you very quickly, so the initially off-putting to some but nonetheless intriguing title was working fine, I think. Again, that was just alpha reader feedback. Of course I loved it, or I would have changed it regardless. That book is difficult to explain properly, but the best I’ve come up with is that it’s a bit like Sin City, if there were monsters and all the characters had completely unexplained super powers, the theory being if everyone had them, it wouldn’t be a big deal. All the supernatural elements, even the extremely dangerous ones, are dealt with as extremely commonplace. It’s dark and poetic and seedy and dreamlike. There’s a herd of ghost children who eat anyone who stumble into the part of the city where the sun never shines, a mute, telekinetic serial killer who lives in a church basement, a terrorist apocalypse cult, sewer-dwelling vampires who rot like zombies and all sorts of wacky stuff like that. In 2008, I let a toxic relationship get in the way of my writing. All projects stopped dead within months. That relationship lasted a little over two years, and I haven’t written much since. I picked up The Apocalypse Nymph periodically over the years, adding a chapter or two every few years, sure that of all my projects, it was the most attainable goal. I never completely got back into it though. A few years ago, a vicious review from a terrible friend left me unable to write on it again. It was the only story to survive the great hard drive crash of 2015, and I plan to take it back up when I’m through with the current phase of my new plan. It’s very character driven and compelling (I’m told,) but it’s also a 20k word mess. I was discovery writing with no battle plan whatsoever, which is not my method, apparently. I was constantly editing and rewriting and making mistakes I didn’t know were huge red flag mistakes common for beginning writers. Having recently done a great deal of research, I no longer feel like a miserable failure for being unable to finish it. I was just doing it wrong. In summary, I’ve wanted to be a writer most of my life. I wrote poetry in high school and even won a couple of local contests. In my twenties I wrote most of a movie script and worked on dozens of still unfinished short stories, novellas and novels. I more or less quit writing about ten years ago. I had written a couple of hundred thousand words and never completed so much as a piece of flash fiction. in 2018, facing a career change, I realized that I was more depressed about the fact that I wasn’t writing for a living than I was that my business was failing, and really I'd been itching to get back to writing for months. I read and audiobooked more novels in 2018 than I did the first thirty years of my life, and all that fiction on the brain was begging me to write my own again. I did some research, a lot of research actually, into everything I had done wrong over the years and came up with a new plan. In October, I decided to outline five short stories and pick one to write and finish without getting sidetracked or quitting. I knew I had it in me if I could just get the work done. It’s now five months later, and the plan, like all plans, disintegrated on contact with reality, only this time I’m still working. Things are going better and I’m writing more than ever before. I’m 20k into a 50k-ish novella, with several short works FINISHED! Okay, I don’t know if they’re finished finished, but I have first and second drafts completed, which is more than I could say before October. In fact, the novella is already slightly longer than the book I worked on, off and on, for well over a decade! I don't know if public accountability is even a motivator for me, but this might be fun either way. I've never kept a blog or an online journal before. I’m going to try to race through about five months’ worth of achievements in a few posts and go from there. I have a thirteen tab spreadsheet obsessively outlining my daily quotas and word counts for every project I’ve started since October, so it should be pretty easy to fill in the gap.