D.E. Haworth

Writing my debut novel of a dystopian/survival/thriller trilogy. Write/read fantasy and science fiction with a sweet spot for dystopian, post apocalyptic, and thriller fiction.

Thank you for joining me on my journey of writing my debut novel, which is the first book of a planned trilogy that falls somewhere on the spectrum of dystopian and urban survival. You can follow my more frequent updates on Instagram.

Straight up, September had mixed results but was positive overall. After spending the summer developing a habit of writing daily and working on main character development; I had a working plan of using September to do the Outline, and the final three months of the year to write the first draft with a 90,000-word target.

At the end of September, I was only about 40% of the way through the outline. I can tell you it was not from lack of working on it or putting my writing time in; I have been tracking time and word count daily. I don’t feel good about missing the September outline target, but I perfectly fine with my effort and the quality. It is not worth beating myself up over it. Looking back, it was an unrealistic goal. The kids started school and require more time in the evening, plus with my work schedule, I can only dedicate about an hour a night to writing. I got my writing hour in most nights with the occasional night missed due to family time. I do get more writing time on the weekends.

The outline is far more detailed than I expected. Keep in mind, this is my first time through the process. The scenes I outline are not in bullet point form, I free write what happens in the scene within the three-act structure. I don’t worry about narrative, and only add dialogue if I think of something good, that I don’t want to forget. The good news is this will help make for a smooth first draft. The reality of this is I am under absolutely no deadline, and I would prefer the quality is good, over quantity. As long as I know I am writing regular and getting the work in, I am okay with it.

My revised goal is to get 10 quality hours of work in a week. Super doable (1 hour each work night, and 1.5 hours on weekend days; if I can’t do a night during the week, it is easy to make up on the weekend). This will be the plan through the outline phase of my WIP. As long as I get in the work, and what I am creating is of quality, then I see that as a success.

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I am working on my debut novel, book one of a dystopian survival trilogy, which I am not prepared to share the details just yet. This story has been bouncing around in my head for nearly two years. In that time, I have gathered a ton of notes about the story, characters, and scene ideas. This list has grown in size and randomness, meaning they weren’t placed in a linear order.

After a couple of failed starts, I buckled down in June making writing a daily priority. I have set and track loose weekly goals, though I don’t beat myself up over it if I fall short. Consistency is vital, I have read, and I am proud that I have been consistent in my writing, with occasional days off for pressing matters and family time. Overall I do write for at least an hour on weekdays (workdays), and 2-3 hours on weekend days. I am pleased with my progress.

Knowing my personality and how my brain works, I had to make some changes to how I approach successful writing. I looked at what led to my failed attempts in the past to see what I could do to cross the finish line of writing my first novel. I am a person who can get bogged down by over-organizing, over-thinking, over-planning, and having to learn everything there is before starting; in other words, being too much of a perfectionist. I have read, listened to, and watched so many books, podcasts, and videos trying to learn the craft of writing , that it took up most of my time writing time.

Sometimes the topic I dove into had no relevance for where I was in the writing process. For example, how to market your book or self-publishing tips. I haven’t even written the book yet. Or I dive in the worm-hole that is the writing community on social media. I am NOT saying this is terrible, but if not managed, it is a total time suck. Additionally, I stopped following or doing writing prompts. Once again, NOT a bad thing, but NONE of this was getting me to my goal of writing my first novel.

When I set out in June to build a habit of writing consistently so I could get to writing the words The End, I told myself enough trying to learn to write a novel, it is time to write a book. Focus on the task at hand, write the first draft. Editing, publishing, marketing, etc. can all wait until I have the first draft.

I started by working on my theme, for the overall story in book one, and a general concept of theme for books two and three. Done.

Next, I worked on my antagonists for the trilogy, focusing primarily on book one. I put in as much, if not slightly more time into the antagonist as I did the protagonist. The antagonist has a personal theme, a character arc, and their own wants and needs. Once this was complete, I moved on to developing the protagonist (in-depth) with a personal theme related to the overall theme, their character arc, wants, and needs. Antagonist & Protagonist Done.

That was followed up by fleshing out the rest of the main characters. Character Development Done.

I should mention while all the above was in progress, I was continually writing more notes about the plot and specific scenes.

As of last week, I started outlining the structure of the novel by organizing my notes from two years into specific beats within the structure of book one. If the notes didn’t have a place in book one, it was moved to book two or book three notes. Organizing notes within book one structure – Done.

I am currently working on the outline for Act I, breaking down what I want into structure beats and chapters. This is going really smooth, and I am having a blast putting this story into some form of coherence. I have set my goal to finish the outline at the end of September.

I am so excited to get going on the first draft, and I have set my goal for finishing the first draft at the end of the year. I am shooting for 90,000, and have broke that down into 7,000 words a week, which should get me to the target. To hold myself accountable, I have put my progress in the sidebar to the left under “Current Project.”

I am enjoying the process, I am motivated to write daily, and I can see this book morphing into reality.

 

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Original Book Cover

George Orwell’s “1984” is 70 years old today, published June 8, 1949. This book was influential in my youth and has only grown stronger in my adulthood. It is required reading for my children. It was my the portal to my love of the dystopian world, and the warning to monitor your government to hold them accountable. Which has never been more important than the time we are currently living.

I have read many of George’s works, and he is definitely on the short list of people throughout time whom I would love to break bread.

If you would like to see another side of George Orwell read “Homage To Catalonia.” It is summarized on Goodreads:

“In 1936 Orwell travelled to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s own experiences.”

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Thank you, George, for one of the most influential books I have read (several times).

9305571326a429fbb9fa6783b5d30984---gun-salute-military-familiesToday is Memorial Day, a day that we recognize the personal sacrifices of those who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces.

“All gave some; some gave all” – Howard William Osterkamp

As you may have read in my previous post “Memorial Day 2019”, I don’t think I have done enough in the past to recognize this day’s meaning and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year I took the kids and a friend of theirs to the local Memorial Day Commemorative Service. The kids are young (11, 9 & 8), so I discussed the meaning of the day briefly on the way. Kids being kids, what they took away from this chat is that there is going to be a fly-over of F-15’s.

There were far more people at the event than I expected, which covered multiple generations. (Sadly that is the extent of the diversity in attendance, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the event itself or the organizers). I was pleased with the number of people and the quality of the service, for what I consider a small town event. Typical for Oregon, it started raining immediately, and the cloud cover was too low to see the F-15 fly-over, so we only heard it. I shared with the kids; that is what we call the “sound of freedom” in the military. All that aside, I think it was a great educational event for the kids.

Lt. Mark Sharp, USN, Naval Aviator

Lt. Mark “Notso” Sharp is the only person I have been personally acquainted with that has died while serving in the military. I served with him in squadron VS-21 “Redtails.” He was a pilot of S-3B Viking aircraft, and I was aircrew. I wasn’t in his regular crew, but I did fly with him on several occasions. I didn’t know him well, as the officers and enlisted aircrew didn’t really hang out in a meaningful way. He died in 1994 in a training accident as an instructor pilot flying a T-2. This I knew, but my research hasn’t turned up much other than a summary of the crash. I have learned he was from Portland, OR (where I currently live), but I didn’t know that at the time. I tried to find an obituary to see if he is buried here, but I can’t find any additional information. I thought it would be good to see where he is buried, but no luck. I’ll keep researching. In the meantime, this is all I found: “Navy pilot killed, Ft. Wayne Marine pilot injured.”

Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, USMC

0_p-nvFTItHBh1aBnQ.jpgI mentioned that each Memorial Day weekend, I would dedicate the time to learn about someone who has paid the ultimate price in losing their life while serving in the US Armed Forces; then share that person’s story. I picked Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, USMC not because his death is any more or less significant than anyone else’s death, but because it touches on a little known fact that non-US citizens are serving and dying in the US Armed Forces. This is significant because these foreign-born service members are under attack by our current President’s administration and being discharged from service, and there are veterans of our Armed Forces who have been deported. This is morally wrong. There are many reasons our veterans serve and die, but high on that list is to protect our American values, values like those exhibited in the poem by Emma Lazarus, memorialized on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Here is the TL:DR version, but please visit the links below for more information about Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, USMC, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Gutierrez was born in Guatemala, and his parents were killed when he was very young. He found himself, living on the streets as a child until he was taken in at an orphanage. When Jose grew older, he traveled 2,000 miles across Mexico by hopping trains to get to the border of America, where he crossed, undocumented (illegally for those of you irked by the word ‘undocumented’) for a better life. Now I am not going to say Jose Gutierrez was perfect, but whom among us is? He did what he had to do to survive, make a better life for himself and his sister still in his native land of Guatemala. He was picked up as an unaccompanied minor and placed into foster care. As it turns out, from later stories, he was actually an adult, not a minor. Do what you have to do to survive. He was kind to his foster family, and it is obvious they loved him. He finished high school and joined the Marines to give back to the country that had given him so much. Some of you may say he did this only to become a US citizen, as some only join to get money for college. I counter that in saying, when the time came to ship off to war, he could have gone back to Mexico, the border was less than an hour away. But he didn’t, he deployed with his brothers to Iraq, where he was one of the first Marines to fall in battle on March 21, 2003. Sadly, he died from friendly fire. He died before he would realize his dream of becoming a US Citizen, though he was awarded citizenship posthumously.

Here are some articles you can read about Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, USMC. Died March 21, 2003:

Died March 21, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com

Know the U.S. Marine who died in defense for a nation he was not a citizen

A NATION AT WAR: IMMIGRANT MARINES; Latinos Gave Their Lives To New Land

 

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I recognize Memorial Day each year in my own small way and reflecting on that this year, the “small way” stands out. Yes, each year, I post “Happy Memorial Day” and share a thought on Facebook. Usually, in the morning, I take a moment to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice giving their lives in service of our nation. Whether they were serving because of a sense of duty, or they were drafted into service; whether the cause was worthy or not in our historical recollection should weight little, because, at the moment of their death, it meant everything.

What is Memorial Day?

Yes, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer and a day where many get together with family and friends to BBQ. But it is far more than that to many in our country, especially those who have lost a loved one in military service to this … to our nation.

Memorial Day became a National Holiday in 1971, but it was observed for much longer under different names that dated back to mid-1800s. You can read more about it at Wikipedia “Memorial Day”.

Please note Memorial Day is a day to memorialize those who have DIED while serving in the United States Armed Services. Veteran’s Day is a day to recognize ALL of those who have served in the United States Armed Services.

As with most holidays, commercialism has diminished the meaning of the day. Memorial Day Sale this and that, you get it. I also think the polarization that has divided our nation has diminished the significance. I’ll sum this up here by saying, Memorial Day should be a day, where no matter our political, religious, theological, social, etc. leanings, we should take a moment to recognize and thank those who have given their lives while serving in the United States Armed Services. Whether the war or conflict was just in your mind, whether their death happened in peacetime service, that person, a man or woman, on the front lines was serving to make our country … our world a better place. Don’t minimalize their sacrifice by clouding it with the division of labels. Take a moment, and thank them, the person, in your way. We owe them that recognition.

On a personal note, while I recognize there comes the point where we have to fight the evils of this world, I ask you to take a moment to reflect on how we can do our duty to ensure our political leaders do not take their authority to send our young women and men to make these grave sacrifices lightly.

What doe Memorial Day mean to my family and me?

In honest reflection, I have not done enough, posting on Facebook and silently recognizing Memorial Day is not enough. I owe those who have died serving in our Armed Forces more than a minimal post on social media and a silent thank you for giving their lives to protect the ideas of this great nation for ALL of our fellow citizens and those immigrants who make our country so great. I owe my kids the opportunity to learn why those brave men and women who felt they had to serve, along with those who were drafted into service lost their lives, protecting our way of life.

I have vowed each Memorial Day weekend to learn about someone who gave their life in the United States Armed Forces. This will include people from all walks of life, and all past wars, conflicts, and peacetime operations. I will share what I learned, with my family and others, hoping they will recognize this person with me. This is inspired by a post in the “Wednesday Wire” that my employer, Multnomah County, publishes weekly. You can read it, My Friend Passed. Being this article didn’t mention the person by name, I don’t count this as being my recognition for this year, I need to know my recognized person’s name. I will post this person’s story on Memorial Day.

Additionally, on Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be attending a Memorial Day Celebration event, this year, we will be at Oregon City Memorial Day Commemoration Service at Mountain View Cemetery.

 

 

I wrote this short story for my own amusement, and to share with like-minded friends, but then I decided to try submitting it to a couple of online magazines. I didn’t expect it to get picked up because of the content, and because of the type of story, though I was hoping for feedback. I think this was too much to ask, as I was only provided emails stating the rejection.

I have decided to self-publish it here on my blog. Executive Order 2018211316 is about a president who is over-reaching his power, and is relevant to today’s political and social climate. It is written as dystopian/alt-reality fiction. Please feel free to comment with constructive feedback.

If you enjoy the read, I would greatly appreciate you sharing with your friends.

Thank you!


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EXECUTIVE ORDER 2018211316

by D.E. Haworth

The Oval Office was bustling with chatter in anticipation of the president’s arrival to sign an executive order, the subject of which, the White House staff has been surprisingly tight-lipped about disclosing. Usually, the press corps has either been told in advance what the president is signing, or someone has leaked it. With this administration when a directive has been leaked, it often is the president himself or his senior staff. Most of the time, the president has boasted via Twitter of some ominous problem that only he can fix, even if it was he who had created the issue. This time, not a hint about what the president would be signing.

Milling about president’s desk was a group of several men in $3,000 suits, jovial and talking loudly to be heard over the chatter. From what little clues that could be overheard these men were hoping for another big political win, a win that would benefit their wealthy and political connected donors. With each new suit ushered in the Oval Office, hands extended out to greet the new arrival in what one could only call a war of handshakes. Each combatant trying to beat his opponent with a stronger grip. Amongst the gaggle of dark-colored suits, a bright spot of color stood out in the form of an attractive blond woman wearing a black knee length skirt and a bright red three button jack over a white blouse. The focal point of her outfit was the black fade to red 6-inch heels that most likely cost more than any ensemble in the room.

Opposite the president’s desk, on the far side of the Oval Office, the press corps was preparing to cover this heavily teased signing. In contrast, the conversations in this group are hushed and center around setting up for the president’s nationally televised signing of this Executive Order. The more prestigious journalists and news outlets are afforded the privilege of being front and center, while the new faces and lesser known news organizations are positioned on the sides or the back of the room. Center and foremost is Jean Anderson, covering her third presidential administration. She is conservatively dressed in a black pantsuit, with matching flats. Her years as a political journalist, show in her gray hair and aged facial features, but that matters not to those rising in the ranks of journalism who look up to her as a mentor and role model. As a previous Pulitzer Prize winner for National Reporting, and known for asking hard-hitting questions, it is common for people to look to her as a role model. It is widely known that she is liberal leaning, but that has never interfered in her unbiased reporting or her unquestionable integrity.

“Bill have you heard what this is all about,” Jean asks a colleague.

“Not a clue. Everyone’s been tight-lipped. The president hasn’t tweeted since yesterday, and the minions are obviously in the dark,” Bill replies.

“With all the seniority here, it’s got to be something big. And why so secretive? This Executive Order is bound to be something of moronic proportions.”

This made Bill chuckle.

A young staffer enters the room carrying a box of pens adorned with the Presidential Seal and the highly anticipated Executive Order, placing them on the president’s empty desk. She turns and says something quietly to the chief of staff who then calls the room to order. The suits clamor for a position close to where the president will be sitting, to take advantage of the prime-time exposure. The vice president is the first to move to his customary position just back and to the right of the president. Breaking with tradition, the attractive blond stands opposite of the vice president, where the speaker of the house would typically stand, back and to the left of the president. Camera lights are flicked on, boom microphones are extended, and micro recorders are readied to capture the president’s speech.

While it usually takes less than a minute for the president to enter after the chief of staff calls the room to order, it always seems like an eternity, the silence unnerving.

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Please visit Short Stories for a complete copy of Exectutive Order 2018211316 by D.E. Haworth (.pdf and Kindle .mobi versions are available).


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I am in the midst of working through character sketches and outlining for my first novel. I would describe the story as a dystopian/survival/alt reality. The common thread I have noticed in reading/listening to other books in this genre (sub-genre) is that a good number of them are cut from the same cloth. Often there has been a terrorist or EMP strike, and Mr. Prepper has to get home to his family. The main character lacks a character arc, and he knows exactly how to survive the situation, with the obligatory minor setbacks squeezed in here and there.

I realize that sounds arrogant, but that is what I have come across so far. There are some good examples of this genre, such as Year One by Nora Roberts, it is a fantastic example. Though many other books I have read fit the first scenario. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, but if you know of more good, contemporary examples, please pass it on.

Early in the process, I developed a sketch of the antagonist and the antagonistic forces in play, including the character arc of the antagonist. Next, I started the same process for the protagonist, developing a sketch of who the protagonist is as a person and what their character arc would be through the story. Development was moving along nicely, and I was happy with what I was creating in this process. I was getting a real good feel for who the protagonist was and how they would react in various situations.

As I moved to the next phase of collecting and developing the ideas floating around in my head into an outline, I hit my first stumbling block. The protagonist that I had created was a CIS white male, and while there is absolutely no issue with that in general (after all, that would describe me) when I looked at that in context of my story it eroded much of my desired conflict and tension. Without giving too much away, a CIS white male would have the benefit of white male privilege in my setting, which is close to our current modern day situation in America. Now I have to admit, while I get the concept of ‘white privilege’ and I recognize the benefits that it affords people like myself; every time I hear that phrase I get an uneasy stirring from within that urges me to be defensive. That is my issue, and it is an issue I need to get over.

Back to the story at hand. At the beginning of my story, if the protagonist were to remain as is, a CIS white male, the reader would most likely be thinking, “That guy would not have that much of a problem getting through that situation.” Whereas, if the protagonist is a person of color, an immigrant, female, LGBTQ, etc., then that ups the stakes of the danger they would be facing in the early chaos of the story. Sadly in our world and the setting of my story, the people in these communities are at greater risk. Coming to this realization, I have decided to go back to the drawing board and start over in developing the protagonist for my first novel.

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We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success. – Henry Rollins


As I get more serious about writing, I desire to share my stories with readers. Moving from entertaining family and myself to a more polished work of fiction with the intention of publishing for others to hopefully enjoy. With that in mind, I have just finished my first short story which I have submitted this week to Strange Horizons magazine. I chose Strange Horizons as my initial source based on what they do and don’t want:

We want good speculative fiction. If your story doesn’t have a speculative element, or strong speculative-fiction sensibilities, it’s probably not for us.

As my first submission of writing, and I am very excited but trying to manage my expectations at the same time. I realize rejection is likely, and I am okay with that prospect. I only revised my previous stories once, since it was for me and maybe those close to me; with this story, I made multiple edits/revisions based on Grammarly feedback (since grammar is not my strongest skill) and beta reader input. I used to find the revision process quite tedious, so I skipped it based on the final audience. This time I enjoyed the revision process, knowing my end goal of exposing myself to a greater audience of readers.

I so want to share my story right now (stomps my inner child), but most magazines will not accept previously published stories, to my surprise, as a newbie, this includes self-publishing on a blog. How long will it be before my short story titled Executive Order 2018211316 sees the light of day? The submission system showed my position in the cue as 398, and that it was an average of 18 days to reply. My research shows this is a relatively brief period to receive a reply, but my wild imagination is hyperdrive, and my anticipation is pushing my short patience to near eruption.

Being honest, I am battling self-doubt in regards to this submission. Is it good enough? They won’t like it. Etc. I hope they offer feedback, but that is hopeful thinking according to their submission guidelines. In the meantime, I am researching and lining up other magazines to submit my dystopian – alt reality short story. I’ll work through this process a handful of times, and if it fails to be accepted, then I’ll fall back to publishing it on my blog. I enjoyed writing it, so I am sure someone out there will enjoy reading it (besides my wife and children).

I am now working on another short story and outlining my first novel which will be a part of a dystopian-thriller trilogy.

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Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

It has been just over a month since I joined the ranks of the unemployed. I wish I could say it has been joyous, but I am not the type to sit at home. That said, I had a great time with the family vacationing in Michigan, but since I have returned home, I have been mostly job hunting. What a drag! There is a silver lining though, I have had time to write every day consistently. Which was my primary writing objective for July, forming the habit of writing every day.

My initial plan, to build the writing habit, was to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. That ended up not being practical within the confines of my family obligations and lifestyle. I revised the goal to ‘write as soon as you can’ each day, and that has tended to work better.

Another part of the initial writing goal involved the metric of writing 1,000 words a day or at least an hour a day. Unfortunately, that didn’t work well either, and frankly, it took much of the fun out of writing. I could see that working better (though probably involving higher word counts) if writing is your job or primary source of income. It is not in my case. Again I revised the goal, with the desire to make the goal something I would consistently achieve, to make a habit of writing daily.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. – George Washington Carver

The goal has been revised to read, “Write every day, as soon as you can, and as often as you can during the day.” That takes the pressure (guilt) of not getting to it right away, but the priority is still there to get it done before doing other items that can wait. There were days I only wrote a couple of hundred words or wrote for 15 minutes. Days like when I was traveling with the family, but I still made the time to write. Other days, I had several hours and was able to write a couple of thousand words. Most days I was able to write with my morning coffee, and other days it was the last thing I did before going to bed. This goal is working well for me. I look forward to my daily writing time. It is like a reward. I am proud to say, I have accomplished my goal every day over the last month.

I can confidently claim writing is a daily habit.

My job is moving to Los Angeles.

Sadly, they didn’t invite me to go with my job. Granted I made it clear I wasn’t going back to California.

What better time to take another crack at writing. I can’t remember exactly how many times I wanted to launch a regular writing routine only to have it derailed (though it has been less than a handful).

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. – Henry Ford

I loved that job, and I’m sad not to be working there anymore, but I believe that things happen for a reason. While it is not always clear to much later, my initial thoughts are that this is an opportunity to relaunch my writing career. Maybe “opportunity” is a better choice of words than “career.” As much as I enjoyed the job, the pay, and the opportunities that the position provided, it was a very time-consuming job. Between that and my responsibilities at home (primarily my two young children), there was little time left for writing. If I am, to be honest with myself, that last sentence is an excuse. The reality is I didn’t make the time to do it.

I am constantly day-dreaming and coming up with stories and story ideas. Any free moment, my mind drifts among fantastical ideas. I enjoy coming up with the ideas and developing them. I need to get them down on paper. I believe I would enjoy writing. I think I have what it takes to be a good writer. I like crafts that involve opportunities for continuous learning. Plus, it would make a great retirement career. Yes, I am at that point in my life where I am ready to start moving towards my retirement career.

How do I know find myself in this situation of having to relaunch my desire to draft a novel? I have narrowed my previous failures to three reasons: failing to make writing a high enough priority (more on that later), sacrificing writing time for learning to write (the cycle of having to learn as much as possible to write) and spending too much time getting organized to write. In other words, I am my worst enemy when it comes to writing.

Finding myself without a job, but with a decent severance, I have the luxury of taking time off before moving on to my next position. While the fantasy of making a living from writing is enticing, it is not practical at this point. What is practical is taking this time off to develop a system and the habit of consistent writing. That system needs to address those three reasons.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

I was listening to the Creative Penn podcast (number 382) “Redesign Your Life to Prioritize Writing with David Kadavy” (https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2018/07/02/redesign-your-life-prioritize-writing-with-david-kadavy/), that got me thinking that I need to redesign my life to prioritize writing.

The main reason I have not succeeded in my past attempts is I failed to give my writing the proper priority. On paper, I made it a priority, which is the say I put it on my to-do list although I would accomplish many things before allowing myself to sit down and write. I would make sure I had all my house chores done, the kids’ needs met, my professional responsibilities completed, spend time with my wife, etc. In other words, finish adulting, then allow myself time to write. Once I completed all that stuff, I found myself with no time left to write. Even this was false because I would tell myself I’m too tired to write and I would play Xbox or watch TV. I cannot shuck some of those responsibilities, but what I can do is accomplish the writing before meeting all those other responsibilities. That means I’m going to have to change my life to ensure that writing is the first thing I do in the day verse hoping there’s enough time at the end of the day to squeak it in.

I need to build the habit of sitting down to write, actual writing, every day. In the past, I have given myself goals, such as write 1,000 words a day or write an hour a day. That all sounds good except there were days I didn’t even have the time for that. To be successful this time I feel I need to get away from (at least temporarily) quantified goals. To complete my goal of making a daily habit, it needs to be simple, achievable, and realistic. I think we’ve all heard ‘if you do something for 21 days will become a habit’. I need to do this for those three weeks. An achievable goal is sitting down at the beginning of my day and writing. Write for however long; it may be working on a novel, a blog post, developmental writing, or just writing something that may get thrown away at the end. Working on the craft of writing, not outlining, editing, research, etc.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The other bad habits I have been spending too much time learning to do something and spending too much time organizing to do something. A previous mentor once said, “the best way to learn something is to get out there and do it. Yes, you’re going to make mistakes, but that is how you learn”. I need to take that to heart. I don’t need to know everything to write. I can be writing and learning. They can co-exist. Organizing, outlining, research, editing, etc. can wait until I’ve completed my daily writing. Writing takes precedence.

My plan for the next 21 days is to write first thing, well right after my cup of coffee. I’ll keep you up-to-date on how it’s going via twitter and on this blog.

Please share in the comments what you have done to create your successful writing habit. Or share the challenges you have faced while trying to develop a writing habit.