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From here to there, from there to here.

When I was still in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories and write books. Long ago I’d bought into the myth that selling a book meant instant fame and fortune.

So, I tried to write a book and failed miserably. I did, however, get on the path to telling this story about the first book I ever wrote.

Like many teens in the 80s, I played Dungeons and Dragons with friends. Many, many hours of Dungeons and Dragons. Also fantasy games like Ultima, Adventure, Wizardy, Bard’s Tale. But it was the characters from those lengthy D&D sessions that stuck in my head well past high school. I knew I had to tell stories about them.

Now, I’ll stop you from your eye rolling. Yes, I’ve long since heard the “Don’t tell stories about your D&D characters. I’ve heard that many, many times over the years.

In the Navy, I read many fantasy books and I thought, “Hey! I can do this!” The excitement overtook me and I set out to write, by hand, long form, in a notebook, the first stories about those characters. I would get 3 or 4 chapters in, re-read what I’d done, or someone else would read what I’d done, and it was terrible. I’d throw it out (I wish now, so many years later, I’d have kept it all).

I did this several times over my Naval career and failed every time I tried. I would give up and shake my head. I didn’t have a typewriter. That was my excuse. My hand writing is so bad that it’ll never be good enough to be a book. I had every excuse to stop and not continue.

The writing bug kept calling me back.

When I left the Navy, I still wanted to write those stories. I’d started collecting comics again and discovered Cerebus. I read every word in those comics cover to cover. Dave Sim was quite clear that he wanted to write 300 issues and end with the main character’s death and be done with it.

Wait a minute! That’s what I could do! I decided writing comics was easier than writing a novel. Why didn’t I describe each panel and put in the words that’d go with each panel? I loved comics, maybe that’s what was holding me back. I understood story structure, but I wasn’t good at telling the story.

Over the course of the next year, I would spend time writing, by hand, the first book as a comic. My plan was that each story arc would be 15 comics and I would later re-write it all as a novel. Over the course of 300 comics, that’d be 20 books in total. I plotted and planned each arc and wrote the first 15 comic arc.

Then I wrote the next 15 comic arc. Then the third. Then the fourth.

At the time, I hung out a lot at the local comic book store and met Pete Woods. Pete was a struggling artists and fantastic! He was submitting his art everywhere. I let him read my first pages and he nodded and said “Yeah, I could draw this. Looks interesting.”

I was stoked! I had an artist. I would just need to get money together to pay him and to produce a comic, indie style! It was the wild west with comics and indies were the thing.

Then Pete got a gig doing Warrior Nun Arela. Then he got picked up to work at Jim Lee’s studios. Pete and I hung out at the studio and I met many young artists, colorists, letterers, and a couple of the big names (never Jim Lee). Pete was on the fast track and we soon lost touch as our schedules no longer lined up.

I didn’t have an artist any longer. Drat!

Then I finished school, had my associate’s in Electrical Engineering, and went to work at Qualcomm. I put writing aside. I was there for a year and started at Pacific Bell.

I’m unsure why, but the writing bug hit me again while I was at PacBell. I had these comic scripts and knew I wanted to write them as novels. It was time to write a book.

Using the first 15 comic arc as a plot outline, I wrote book 1 over the course of a year. I agonized over that book and struggled to get it written. That first version was roughly 50,000 words when done. But it was done. I’d done it. It took me 15 years, but I’d finally finished book 1 in the Of Gnomes and Dwarves series. My epic fantasy novel had been written. Only 19 more to go and I’d have the entire collection done!

Yeah. The book was awful. Even though I had a computer to write on with a spell checker, I wasn’t well versed in sentence structure, grammar, and the flow of a story. I was excited at telling the tale, but it wasn’t a good book.

That didn’t deter me. I wrote the same book again. Then I spent the next 2 years editing, re-writing, and editing some more. I submitted that book anywhere I could, only to be rejected over and over again.

It took me a long time to finally put book 1 aside and look at the pages for book 2. I’d changed positions at work and was sent off for a week-long training. I took my laptop and decided, I’m going to write book 2. Let’s see how much of a start I can get into book 2 on this week long trip.

I left Sunday afternoon and checked into my hotel. I wrote all night long until around 10pm, which was my normal bedtime. I was up at 5:00 am, showered and ready by 5:30 am. Uh…I didn’t have to be to class until 10:00 am. So, I sat and wrote until the last minute I needed to be out the door. Packed up my laptop, and off to class I went.

We had an hour long lunch. Being frugal, I’d brought lunch. I had an hour to sit there and write. We had 15 minute breaks regularly. I’d write. We’d get done around 4:00 pm. I’d go eat dinner, go back to the room, call the Mrs, then spend all night writing.

Over the course of that week, I wrote book 2. It weighed in around 60,000 words. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. It was finished. It was, to this day, the fastest I’ve ever written anything. The closest I’ve come is writing 95,000 words in one month.

Of course, both book 1 and book 2 in that series were terrible. So was book 3 and the half of book 4 I’d written. It’s not garbage. I learned a LOT writing those book. They were all lacking.

I’d finished them, though. I learned that the best thing I could do was to finish a book, and move on to the next. By doing that, I became a better story teller.

This post is getting long. I ramble more about this in the video. Suffice to say, this is only the next stop in my writing journey. I’ll talk more about that journey tomorrow.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0122-evfseg

My brain goes where it wants to go, I guess.

Read the quote again.

One more time.

I never intended to do this blog as writing advice, but I’m going to pontificate for a bit today, if you’ll indulge me.

Back in 10th grade…oh so many years ago, I took a creative writing class. I’d written some stories before and tried drawing cartoon. All were awful. This was the first time where I had a teacher explaining things like structure, pacing, and the like. I learned about poetry and haiku as well as different styles of writing.

The teacher introduced me to things beyond what I had thought about when it came to creating stories.

Learning about writing was a great thing and I applied what I learned in the stories I wrote during her class. It was a great class (watch the video for more about the class).

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of great things about writing and I picked up many hard to forget myths about writing as well.

This is all I’ll say. I don’t subscribe to the million words of crap theory any longer.

Yes, I’ve written about this in the past. I no longer believe that EVERYONE must write a million words before they’ll write something worthwhile.

Why?

I think back to that creative writing class. everything I wrote in that class got a “A” from the teacher. She didn’t know me. Didn’t know my background. All she knew was my passion for creating what I thought was a good story. She loved the stories I wrote. So I kept writing stories.

I lost my way many times along my writing journey, but I always wanted to be a writer. An author. To have people read my stories and enjoy them. To that end, I’ve succeeded. Many people have read and enjoyed my work. Many I don’t know.

Not all the words I’ve written are crap even though, over the years, I’ve written somewhere between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 words, of those not everything it published. Many of those words will never see the light of day. They were practice words.

That doesn’t mean I’ve trunked everything from those early days of writing. As I said, I don’t think all of it is crap. Some of those stories I learned a lot from and some are decent stories. I’m sure not everything I will write in the future will be a great story, but I will learn from everything I write.

Why am I saying all this?

Because I know with every word I write, I will get better at my craft. I’ve said many times over the years, it’s impossible to get worse at art if you practice with regularity.

To that end, not everyone will be at the same path on their journey. Some will take longer to produce a quality story than it’ll take someone else. One person will write significantly faster than another person. Everyone is different. What will make a person a better writer is persistence, patience, and practice.

That’s my goal, to keep plugging away and putting out books and improving my craft. Not everything I write will be a story everyone will want to read, but that will be more a matter of taste and opinion. Not so much that the story is lacking in quality.

What I’m saying is simple: don’t try to be Stephen King with your first book. Have patience with yourself and know it’ll take time to learn the craft of writing (or any art for that matter). Practice your craft regularly. Be persistent in completing and producing work. You’ll get better at your own speed and in your own time.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0120-evarrk

15 days. I can feel the tension in the air!

The Mrs and I are back from out (mis)adventures. We got in some great hikes and I’m sore as can be. Even so, I did get back into my routine today. My workout done, and I recorded 5 a Day. It feels good to be able to escape for a few days and get right back to where I was before.

That said, it’s also great that we’re now 15 days away from relaunching my writing career. The biggest difference is, this time, I’ve got more of a plan. Far more of a plan. I even have a schedule to make sure I stick that that plan. I can’t explain how refreshing and freeing it feels to have everything laid out. I don’t have to worry or stress about what’s coming up next.

What I do need to worry about? Writing 4 short stories and a novel every 2 months. That’s a schedule I know I can stick to. I’m already half-way through the series and over the next 2 years, I need to write the second half of the series. I also have the first half of the short stories written and I can focus on that second half of short stories.

It’ll be good mental exercise to do that.

Keeping up with my workouts and the short trips the Mrs and I are taking will help me keep my sanity and keep me healthy. If I stay happy and healthy, my output should stay constant.

If you’ve read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog over the past few days, he’s talking about “pulp speed writing”. Yes, I /could/ write at pulp speed. I type quickly enough to do that, the issue is having enough hours in the day. Were I a professional writer, making enough money to support my family with my words, I’d easily be able to write over one million words in a given year. I’ve no doubt about that.

And that’s the plan. Yes, I’m working toward retirement, but I have no plans to stop writing. I’d love to have my retirement from my day job as a cushion, but I’d love to get my writing career going and have even more time to write and not be dependent on my main source of income.

Perhaps one day, but not today and likely not in the next few years.

We shall see.

I plan to be very open about my book numbers, sales, expenses, etc. I’m starting at the bottom, again. I’ve been here for a long time. Had I been consistent over the years, I’m confident I’d be much further along. It’s now time to see how far along I can get in the next few years.

If you’re from the future and reading this blog posts, say hello and you can see where this all started.

Fifteen days. It’s weird to say that, but exciting at the same time

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0119-ev8kag

More on topic than I thought I’d be…

When I started tonight’s video, I thought I’d be talking more about blurbs and the short stories I’m adding introductions to.

Well, I did spend a good portion of the video doing just that. The trip down memory lane as I think back to when I worked on a specific story has been a lot of fun. Adding those introductions is fun and I’m getting into a good flow.

That wasn’t the main point of the video and I do hope you take the time to watch it. My main point is…don’t wait to get started on something. Don’t wait until what you’re working on is absolutely perfect before you show it to the world. Don’t spend your hours agonizing if someone will love everything you produce.

This doesn’t matter if you’re talking about short stories, novels, paintings, digital art, YouTube videos. Everyone must start somewhere. The more you do that thing, the better you’ll get. There will always…ALWAYS be bumps along the road to success, but if you never start down the road, you’ll never know what you’re capable of accomplishing.

The point is, stop worrying and start producing. If you create art of any kind, share what you have, know it’s a snapshot in time of your talent at that moment, and move on to the next piece. Someone will find and love what you’re doing. It may not be a million people for your first piece, and that’s perfectly fine and completely normal.

I started this blog over 12 years ago. I’ve been a bad blogger. My intent is to change all that. I’m now trying to blog daily even if it’s a picture from the bird in the tree outside my window. I want to blog every single day and I’m on a 75 day streak. Consistency.

I’m trying to post a YouTube video M-F when I’m at home and able to record. I’m up to episode 114. Consistency.

And when I start publishing on May 5th, I have a schedule of what I’ll be putting out and when. This is helping me identify which works I need to have ready first so I can get those prepared and upload, and then I can commit time to the next piece and the next piece. The schedule will keep me on track so I can do what? Maintain consistency.

For me, consistency is the key. I’ve said it SO many times in so many posts and videos but is needs repeating even if I’m the only one hearing it. It’s impossible to get worse at doing something if you do it regularly. It’s impossible to get better at something if you never even start.

This blog had 40 followers when I started my latest streak 75 days ago. It’s now up to 100. I saw that number and thought something was wrong. It had to be, but 100 people are following. Let me thank you for being here and following my story.

My YouTube channel started with 5 followers in October. I’m nearly at 40.

My Anchor audio only version of the YouTube videos has one follower. I’m so happy that person is there! Thank you.

I have the expectation that when I drop GRPC book 2, my first book in far too long, I’ll sell one copy on the day it’s released and probably 0 copies for a long time thereafter. That’s my expectation. If I sell 0, I won’t be surprised. It I sell 2, I’ll be shocked. Honestly shocked.

I’ve been away from publishing for long enough that people wondered “What happened to Murdock?”

I’ve been inconsistent enough for people to lose interest in a long series that will likely never be finished. I’ve lost reader’s trust in my ability as an author.

How do I regain that trust?

Consistency.

I’m off to go make sure I don’t fall down on my face.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only:

Did a different show tonight.

Oh, yes, yes, I did record a 5 a Day With Jay, but I also met with a good friend of mine, Jack Mangan for metalasylum.net (you can watch it here)

We spent an hour talking about metal songs that ran the decades and covered nearly every genre of metal. I had so much fun.

On the writing front, I’m still getting things ready for the May 5th release. I’m no longer anxious/scared/petrified. I’m excited. I’m eager to get the books and short stories rolling out. I’ll be doing a podcast interview next Monday with one of my writers group friends. I’ll also start reaching out to other podcasters and see about getting out there and doing more interviews.

I also need to update my Amazon author profile. I went from a guy that was randomly publishing books to a “What ever happened to?” author. I was never 100% satisfied with the books I put out and now that I’ve done a thorough cleaning and editing of the books, I’m much happier with the state their in. I’ve always loved the stories and I’m more excited than ever to get the out to people.

As always, I’m glad you’re here with me. This next year is going to go by so fast. I’m glad I started blogging again so I can chronicle the steps along the way.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/eucuc2

We are One Month Away!

I can’t believe that we’re almost there. One more month and I’ll start dropping content. I’ve got all the edits done. I’ve got the schedule redone. It’s about to happen. I’ve had this master plan inside my head for a few years now, but I’ve been apprehensive to pull the trigger and do it.

I was quite stressed about doing a book a month. Yes, I’m confident I could have kept up that schedule for a good-length of time, but I’m also confident that at some point, I would have a life roll and my production would grind to a halt causing me to stop altogether.

I don’t want that.

To keep my books rolling out, I’ve got a backlog and now I’ve got a schedule and a plan. I’m getting all the wheels greased and getting ready to push this thing down the hill. It’s hard to explain how excited I am to do this.

As I get ready to launch, I’m still watching courses, reading blogs, watching videos, on the next steps I need to make once I get books out there. Mostly, I want to get books and stories released before I worry about things like advertising. I do plan to do that, but it’s not something I’ll be doing in the next six months or so. We’ll see how the plan goes and how things change.

That said, I’m glad you here with me for the ride as I chronicle my journey. It’s going to be interesting even if I fail.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0112-eualbf

Going wide and slowing down.

The past couple of days has allowed me to do a lot of thinking away from the computer. Some changes and all of it good. I think.

First off, I’m going to slow down the planned release schedule. The more I look at the schedule I’ve laid out for myself, a release a week for 12-18 months, looks incredible on paper. It really does. I’d be excited to hold to that schedule.

That said, I don’t think it’s tenable. I think I’d get started and fall flat on my face because I’m trying to run too far too fast. There’s no hurry. There’s no rush. I have a limited audience (and if you can’t wait, let me know and I’ll send you books now!). With that limited audience, there’s no one banging down my door for the next release.

On top of that, I still have a family and a day job to content with. If I burn the candles at both ends, I’ll burn out quickly and this won’t be fun any more. I don’t want writing to be painful and beat me down. I want it to be fun. If that means I need to slow down and not pump out content at breakneck speed, so be it.

For writing, I would still like to get a book every 2 months done and on top of that, get 2 short stories per month written. This will keep me filled with backlog and should something happen that breaks my writing stride, I’ll still have a backlog to content with and keep content flowing without interruption.

Secondly, I’m not going exclusive with Amazon. I’ve given this a LOT of thought. I want to maintain control over what I’m doing with my stories and where they’re released. If I go exclusive with Amazon, I wouldn’t be able to participate in a book bundle, should I get an invite. I wouldn’t be able to sell direct from my website. There are so many other reasons, but mostly, with the amount of content I’m going to put out, I want to reach the most readers possible. I don’t think Kindle Unlimited is the way to do that. Again, if you’re desperate for my books and on a limited budget, drop me a note and we’ll work something out. Heck, join my beta readers team and you’re all set.

Thirdly, My Favorite Daughter got her first full-time position with what she’s calling “her dream company”. The company is based out of Hawaii and they have an office here in San Diego. She’ll be a Jr Graphics Designer with, for a starting salary, do quite nicely with her first job.

I wouldn’t be more excited for her. She applied and interviewed for this last year. After a series of interviews, the company put all hiring on hold. She reached out to them recently and jumped back into the interview process. She signed her paperwork today and starts toward the end of the month. It’s an exciting time for sure!

Finally, an update on my reading goal for 2021. I plan to read 40 books this year. Currently I’m sitting at 7 read. With all I did this month, and very little reading, I’m not concerned that I’ll miss this target. I finished Patrick McLean’s Manligator yesterday and started Dee Dee Ramone’s autobiography today. Can’t keep a good reader down.

I’m off to relax and read a little before bed.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0111-eu4mq9

A little slower than intended…

Hey Howdy Hey gang!

I didn’t do as much this evening as I intended to do. These things happen.

You want to know how the sausage is made? This is going to be that kind of post. If you’re not interested, feel free to skip this post. It’ll be dry. Probably short, but not very interesting.

Still here?

I’ve cleaned up and prepared V&A1, 2, and 3. Also Golden West 1,2 and I’m almost done with 3. I had wanted to do another 3 books tonight, but with the weather pounding on my brain, I didn’t get to it.

I still have Almost-Super Heroes 1 and 2 to clean up as well as GRPC 1 and 2. Then I need to get to Astel, Paradise Palms, and Super Natural Learning, 1, 2, and 3.

When I get the clean up/edits done and back into the manuscript, that’s when I can prepare the ebooks. And then I can work on getting the print versions ready to do. Finally, I can upload everything and start scheduling.

There’s a lot to do and I’m putting pressure on myself to do things quickly. Today I needed to take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize all I really need to get accomplished is to have the books and short stories ready for May. Yes, it’d be nice to have EVERYTHING done, but this isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. I will have time to get it all done.

I’m off to get some sleep and get my head back. Tomorrow it’s not supposed to rain again, is it?

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/etheig