It’s been a long time since my last Writing Journal (50 days).

I’ve started and stopped several new journal posts in that time.  I can make excuses about why I haven’t journaled, including the whole unemployment thing, but really it comes down to my mood overall.  I haven’t been in a great mood, and that translated into my not having much to talk about writing-wise because I haven’t done much writing-wise.

News: My agent continues to put my books out there, which is awesome.  But that process takes time, so nothing really to report there.

Space Battles is live, so you can read my short story, First Contact, in the pages of that anthology.  A Full TOC is available over on

On Writing: After writing a novel, I think your brain needs a break.  Or my brain does.  I did all the editing I needed to do and then I sort of didn’t want to write for a bit.  So I didn’t.  I played some video games, caught up on some tv, did some reading, that sort of thing.

Even though I need a break between big projects, it doesn’t take long before my brain starts itching.  Essentially, it’s like I’m goofing off when I need to be working, and that bugs me.  Unfortunately, I’m not working a dayjob right now (the whole unemployment thing), so my schedule is off.  I used to write everyday no matter what.  Here lately, with ‘plenty of time to write’, I’ve actually written less.  A lot less.  Which isn’t normal and is probably what’s making my brain itch.

So one night, I get this idea in my head.  I keep a text document open for just such occasions – a running list of story ideas that I hope to write someday – and I quickly typed it out.  That should have been the end of it.  I keep that text doc so sexy new ideas don’t distract me from what I’m actually writing at the moment.  Only I wasn’t writing, so the sexy idea wouldn’t leave me alone.

I found myself researching stuff and adding paragraphs to the idea.  Before I knew it, I had a new Scrivener project going and started writing.  4k words later, I had the decent makings of a short story – just without an ending.  So the story is sitting there, waiting for an ending.  Maybe it’ll come to me soon, maybe it’ll be later, or much later, before the ending reveals itself to me.

(Hints: Pennsylvania, Post Civil War, Iroquois, Mythology, French and Indian War)

This dovetailed into my revisiting some past stories to see if there was anything worth working on.  I played around with a couple different stories but didn’t really land on anything.  One thing I was putting off, was the outline for Book 3.  My agent wants this, so I must do it.

Outlining, as I’ve said before, is hard for me.  I outlined Book 2, and I did find it easier to write the book, until I realized I was off from the outline (Chapter X became 2 chapters, and then the next Chapter was massively long, and needed to be split into three, and then it snowballed from there).  So for the second half of Book 2, I went in a different direction versus what I’d outlined, and I really like it, much better than the original idea.

Excerpt of something I've written recently (hinted at above)

As easy as Book 2’s outline was to write (I just chuckled, because I think, at the time I was writing it, I was probably bitching about how hard it was, and have totally blocked that out now), Book 3 has been killing me.  I do have a finished version, but I am already thinking that when I start writing the book, things will change.

But that’s okay – Brent Weeks told me I could veer from the outline if necessary.  (I’m totally telling people that if anyone says, “Hey!  That’s not how you outlined the story!”)

Having finished the outline, I am giving myself a few days to digest it before sending it to the agent.  (Always a good idea with anything you write)

Between finishing up Book 1, and starting to write the first draft of Book 2, I went through a similar time of restless non-writing.  It’s as if, I am so focused on getting the story written, that when it’s over, when I’m done, I go into enhanced-non-focused mode.  I have sat down to write, telling myself I need to get words on the page, only to spend the next hour trolling the news or clearing my RSS subscriptions, watching YouTube videos, etc.

I think this will continue until I either start writing Book 3, or I write one of the other books I have in the queue (My Space Opera, or the ultimate rewrite of Evermist I’ve wanted to do, for example).

…or Gandhi: Vampire Hunter.



  • S.J. Oakes Posted May 6, 2012 8:13 pm

    I’m just starting out to write, or maybe I should say starting out again.

    What you say about not writing even though you now have more time in which to do it resonates with me, too. When I worked full time, I snatched every stray minute to write–like having an affair. Now that I’m “retired” (thanks, economy, I needed that) and should be married to writing, not so much. It’s just more fun when you’re supposed to be doing something else. Sweet, stolen moments.

    Laughed a bit when you mentioned that Book 2 was easier to write. I’ve known women who honestly thought that baby #2 or 3 or whatever would be easier to give birth to than baby #1 had been. We have to believe these things, though, or there would never be any book series or siblings.

    I write best from a synopsis–and don’t get tunnel-vision about an outline or a synopsis. They are your first thoughts about the story. Leave it a bit loose, so you don’t feel trapped. Good luck, Patrick.

    • Patrick Hester Posted May 6, 2012 11:59 pm

      Thanks! I think my brain focuses on stuff and stress about money and jobs, and then before you know it, I’ve spent the day on job boards and haven’t written a single word of fiction 🙁


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