Back in Business


Progress Update: I’ve written the first 1,677 words of Gray Spirits. I’ve also completed two poems and have a third in progress.

It’s official — this novel is happening, folks! I finally have a beginning that isn’t a false start! YES.

I got started and after the first paragraph it just started to flow. It’s been way too long since I’ve had that feeling. I’d almost forgotten how intoxicating it can be to look up thinking you’d written maybe a page, only to realize you’re almost up to four pages. I can feel the main character, Emmaline, starting to come to life.

It’s just gorgeous. Gorgeous!

To celebrate, I’m filling this blog with pure joy in the form of Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins. Any questions?


In looking to jump-start the novel again, I went back to what had worked with The Neverwood: Scheduled deadlines.

I actually dug back into my old files and found the excel progress tracker I built and used while working on The Neverwood, updating it for Gray Spirits. I’m shooting for around 3,300 words per chapter, with a target of 30 chapters. That’s 99,000 words, which I assume after editing will go down a little. Mirroring what I did before, I’m trying to complete a chapter per week, though I suspect the holidays will slow me down a bit as things move forward.

If I can stick to the schedule, that means I should be done with the first draft by late May 2017. Maybe I can even squeeze in two chapters some weeks and make it six months instead of seven. Let’s hope so! All I know is it’s started and it feels right, so I’m running with it. This story’s been bouncing around developing in my head for two years — it’s time to let it out!


I struggled a bit completing the latest poem, which was a new feeling. Most of the time when I’ve attempted poetry I’ve gone with whatever came out, just cleaning it up so it was pleasing read aloud. I never really spent any time thinking critically about what I was writing. If it sounded good that was enough for me, and I’d move on and never show them to anyone. I’ve also always had trouble getting truly personal in any of my writing, which I think is one reason I’ve struggled with poetry and nonfiction. It’s not that I don’t have personal, intimate meaningful things to say, I’ve just never been comfortable putting them out there. It’s something I’m working on. This last poem is personal in a way, but still more of a second-hand hurt (Side note: That would be a great title, “A Second-Hand Hurt”). Maybe my next one can be truly personal. We’ll see.

Anyway, I said all that to say this: Now that I’m looking to try my hand at submitting these poems for publication, I’m doing my best to get serious and think critically. Hopefully it’ll show in the finished work. I’m proud of what I’ve written, so I think that’s a good sign.


…and if you have no idea who David S. Pumpkins is, check it out below! It’s just stupid funny in the very best way.