What’s Up Wednesday: Ready To Get Back To Work… I Think.

I’m all moved into my new office space. Well, at least the important stuff has been moved. At least temporarily.

As you may remember from my last post, I was moving my home office from the guest bedroom upstairs, to our newly reclaimed basement space.

I was planning on moving it into one of the bedrooms downstairs while I make repairs to the other one where it used to be. Once the repairs are done, I plan on moving it into the room where I did my best work. After that, the other bedroom is going to be turned into a home gym and eventually, the overly large living room will be turned into a home theater/entertainment area.

Unfortunately, my plan hit a bit of a snag.

As I was preparing the “usable” bedroom for move in, I started to realize that the moldy smell wasn’t just coming from the other bedroom. The water damage must have gotten into the shared wall between the two bedrooms. So that will have to be taken out as well.

So, change of plan. Until I’m able to make repairs to both bedrooms, I’ve decided to temporarily put my office in the currently unused living room.

After several trips up and down the stairs, I finally have a usable workspace.

Yes, that’s a bed in the foreground. Sometimes, laying down helps me think. Other times I just fall asleep.

This isn’t all of it. In fact, there’s still a lot to move down, but I should have everything I need to start writing again. Except for ideas.

That’s a joke. I have more ideas than I can handle right now. I just need the time and motivation.

I even put in a small area for when I need to relax and blow off some steam because a story is frustrating me. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. Still, I can’t wait to get everything back into the room where it belongs.

I may have made a mistake productivity wise.

I’m actually eager to get some work done. For now, I’m just going to do some very short fiction, just to get my fingers moving again. Once the bird has been eaten, the real work will begin.

I’m trying to decide if I should pick up my long neglected YA novel, or start fresh with one of the new ideas rattling around in my head. What do you think?

Now that I have a decent place to shoot, I may even start posting YouTube videos again. I’d love to get some suggestions on topics you guys would like me to cover. Leave me some comments at www.YouTube.com/justinmkellywriter .

As for my reading, I fell off for a little bit while I was making the move, but I finally finished Firestarter by Stephen King and am now reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and I’m listening to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. So far they’re both really good. I’m also reading a couple of nonfiction books on Freelance writing and copywriting.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to write about some actual writing progress.

Fingers crossed.

What’s Up Wednesday: Checking Myself Into Rehab

First off, let me explain. No, I haven’t fallen victim to drink or drugs. It’s not that kind of rehab I need. It’s something much, much worse for a writer.

The truth is, for the last couple of years, I haven’t been writing. This isn’t something easy for someone who claims to be a writer to admit. In fact, I’ve been lying about it because if I’m not writing, I’m just a fraud. Which, since I’ve resorted to lying about it, I guess I am anyway.

Sure, I’ve scribbled a few lines here and there. I’ve even written a few pieces of flash that weren’t worth showing to the world, but for the most part, I having written anything worthwhile.

I could blame this on any number of things. My struggles with anxiety and depression, twenty-four hours a day access to entertainment via Netflix, Hulu, etc., the fact that I lost one of my best friends over the summer, (Although that’s unfair to him. My troubles started long before his passing and he was never anything but encouraging.) or just sheer laziness.

All of these are true to some extent, but after much soul searching, I’ve come to realize that they’re all just an excuse. I thought long and hard about those glory days when I could hardly stop my fingers from moving across the keyboard. What’s missing from the equation?

The answer? Reading. Looking at the past few years, I hate to admit it, but I’ve only read a handful of books. I, the kid who used to always carry around a battered old paperback. The one who used to get in trouble in math class for reading during the lesson (but not too much because whenever the teacher would try to surprise me with a question, I always knew the answer.) The guy who, when he didn’t have a new book to read and couldn’t get to the library, would re-read one of his favorites until the cover fell off and it started bleeding pages. The one who often had several books in strategic places around the house, all of which I was reading at the same time.

I’ve always been a big believer in this. I don’t know how I got so far off track.

Once upon a time, I even filmed a YouTube video on the importance of reading for writers. Looking back, I think I was mostly talking to myself. Especially looking at the view count.

Truth be told, I think the biggest reason I stopped reading was the advent of unlimited entertainment at my fingertips. When I was younger and the internet was in its infancy, if I got bored, I would pick up a book. Or, barring that, I would make up a story to entertain myself. It wasn’t long before I started writing them down. Especially once smart phones came out, I became a screen addict.

So what’s the solution? I think that’s obvious. I need to become the voracious reader I used to be. Instead of taking my phone with me to the bathroom, I need to take a book. I need to make sure I always have my kindle in my man purse.

In case I find myself with only my phone, I need to make sure I always have a book on there just in case.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to follow the advice of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and kill my television. I still enjoy watching some TV and I believe there is value in visual entertainment. What I am going to do though, is stop turning it on unless there’s something I actually want to watch.

To this end, I think I’m going to start posting weekly on what books I’m reading. I might even give soft reviews, but don’t expect me to just shred someone else’s work. I’m a big believer in karma and I rarely just don’t like a book. Currently I’m reading Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. I’m on the last story, A Good Marriage, so I’m already deciding on what’s next.

Here’s hoping that a couple of weeks of solid reading will start the words flowing again. In the meantime, I’m going to be moving my office to a more remote part of the house so I’m ready to go when my muse returns.

I’ll see you next week with an update and possibly a tour of my new (albeit temporary) writing space. I’ll explain more then.

What’s Up Wednesday: Revenant

Okay. The title was a bit overdramatic. I didn’t actually return from the dead. It just feels like it. 

As you may know, for the last year or two, I’ve been dealing with some major mental health issues. I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression for most of my life, but I’m only now actually dealing with them. For the first time in forever I’m starting to feel like myself… Sometimes.

It’s still an uphill battle. Some days, I wake up filled with motivation and the will to get things done. Others, I just don’t. So far the latter still outnumber the former, but it’s getting better all the time. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten any writing done lately. Still, I did finally get my office back in order and ready for me to get my work done. I’ve even gotten most of my house clean so I’m out of ways to procrastinate. Mostly.

I’m also looking to get away from one of the biggest outside influences on my mental health. My job. I won’t go into details other than to say that while it was a great job and gave me the ability to write while on the clock, things have changed for the worse.  

I know I’ve talked about it in the past, but I’m finally taking steps to start making money freelance writing. While my first love and ultimate goal is to make a living from my fiction, for the time being, I think it’s time to put my skill with words to work for me. I’ve been taking some online courses to learn marketing and business management. I’ve also picked up a couple of books suggested by Reddit on the subject of freelancing. If I can match my current income (which shouldn’t be hard) with freelancing, I’ll be free to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Travel. 

And that brings us to the next update. 

The Writer Wagon

I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I’m finally ready to start work on my 99 Chevy Astro van.


My goal is to turn it into a camper van. Basically sort of a mini RV. 

Step one is to clean the inside thoroughly. The previous owner was a cowboy who used it to get to rodeos. As you can imagine, the inside is pretty filthy. I’m going to scrub the hard parts and take a carpet cleaner to the soft ones.

The next step is the bed. This is a small van, so I’m planning on  rear bench seat that folds out to a full size bed. When it’s in bed-mode, it’s going to take up most of the back. Once I have the bed figured out, then it’ll be time to plan everything else around it.

Ultimately, I’m hoping to take it to writing conferences and eventually on a book tour. I’m also designing it to be a mobile office for when I want to just get away into the mountains to commune with nature and get some writing done.

I’m really looking forward to the freedom the freelance life and The Writer Wagon will give me. I have a dear friend in the hospital in California and I would love to go visit him and be there until he recovers, but my current job doesn’t allow for vacation time. Much less an open-ended leave. If I were freelancing, I could take the wagon and still work while I’m on the road. 

Don’t worry. I’m not giving up on my fiction. This is just to bring in money until I can make a living from my books. I’m actully looking forward to getting back to work. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to read over my current projects to get back in touch with the stories.

I suppose that’s about it for now. I’ll be posting updates on The Writer Wagon when I have something to share. I’m also considering starting a couple of blogs on various topics. One of which will be on dealing with mental health issues.

I’m not sure when I’ll post another WUW. I suppose when there’s something to report.

Another Year Older, But Not A Second Wiser

As I sit here being a stereotypical writer in my local Starbucks while I enjoy my free birthday drink as I agonize over every word, my mind wanders over the last year.

A cherry mocha frap with an extra shot if you’re wondering.

It’s been a weird year for sure. It seems like it flew by, but at the same time, it seemed to drag on forever. While Shannon has been furiously working toward finishing her master’s degree, I’ve done absolutely nothing. 

The fact that I’ve long struggled with my mental health is no secret. For years I’ve been adamant that while I struggle with anxiety, I am not depressed. Every time I would ask my doctor for something to take the edge off of my anxiety, he has tried prescribing me antidepressants. I would argue, sometimes angrily that I’m not depressed, just anxious.

Well folks. After getting absolutely nothing productive done over the last year, I decided it was finally time to face facts. My name is Justin, and I suffer from depression. 

Now I want to make one thing perfectly clear. When I say I suffer from depression, I do not have suicidal thoughts or anything like that. I haven’t had one of those since high-school. Even then, I think they were more environmentally motivated than a result of my depression.

My form of depression was much more subtle. I would wake up in the afternoon (night shift worker) and sit there doing absolutely nothing until it was time to go to work where, again, I would do absolutely nothing. Luckily, my job doesn’t require much of me beyond being there and awake. Still, the whole point of taking this job was to give me time to write. Instead, I would sit in front of my computer browsing the internet and watching Netflix on my phone until it was time to go home. 

Other days, I would feel the overwhelming urge to cry for no reason. I would just be sitting there in my usual stupor when suddenly I would feel the tears welling up for absolutely no reason. I wasn’t thinking about anything particularly sad. It was just raw emotion welling up inside me. When this would happen, an inner voice would tell me it’s because I hadn’t written anything in months.

Still, I would sit there telling myself to go write something with absolutely no motivation to actually do so.

Worst of all, it was starting to effect my relationship. I found myself getting irritable for absolutely no reason. I found myself lying about how much writing I’d gotten done out of shame and embarrassment. Shannon has always been so supportive of my writing and I felt like I was letting her down.  

I finally decided it was time to do something about it. At the beginning of this year, I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss options and I’m proud to say that I think I’m finally on my way to recovery.

Now I’m not going to try to claim I’ve completely kicked my problem, but I’m at the point where the new meds should be taking full effect and every day, I feel a bit more motivated.

Forget the video I did at the beginning of the year. I’m considering today the start of my personal new year and for once, I’m feeling positive about it. I can’t promise I’ll start blogging regularly, but I’ll hopefully see you again soon. Wish me luck.

P.S. Since I just turned 42, I’m still waiting for the ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything.

Nothing yet.

Fiction Friday: The Mongers, Part 4. Now On Patreon

Part 4 is now on my Patreon page. It’s only a dollar for the whole month. Check it out here.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/21424192

Or wait a week, and I’ll post it here. I could really use the support.

Sorry. No Posts This Week

Hey guys. I’m really sorry about this, but I’ve already missed What’s Up Wednesday. There won’t be a Flash Fiction Friday either. I have a pinched nerve in my back and I’m having trouble concentrating on anything but the pain. Hopefully I’ll be back to work next week. Send your healing energy my way. I really need it.

Not Another Lame New Year’s Resolution

First things first. As the title says, this isn’t some lame new year’s resolution I have no intention of keeping. I don’t believe in them. The timing is purely coincidental. Consider this my letter of intent.

I have failed you. I haven’t written much since early October. For once I at least have a good reason. At the beginning of October, I took a trip back to my home state of California. Ostensibly, to visit friends and family. But I had a higher purpose. I wanted to bathe myself in my beloved Pacific Ocean and let it recharge me. As for that part, it was a successful mission. I felt refreshed and ready to take on the world. Sadly, all that energy was soon taken from me as my appendix chose that moment to burst and put me in the hospital. Then came the complications which I won’t go into.

I’m not going to lie to you and claim I couldn’t do any writing because of it. I did write some. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really feel up to doing much other than recuperating and wallowing in self pity and worry over medical bills as I fought my way through the infection.

By the time I did feel somewhat back to normal, we were well into the holiday season and I let my old friend procrastination talk me into putting off any writing until after the holidays. Now that the holiday season is over, (No, I don’t count New Year’s Eve.) I have run out of excuses. It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to turn this hobby into a real career.

That being said, here is my pledge. First and foremost, I will write every day. This includes weekends. Some days it may not be much, but I will write at least some. Secondly, I will update this blog on a regular basis. I haven’t decided how often just yet. It probably won’t be daily. Truth be told, I just don’t have that much to talk about on a daily basis. It will probably be weekly or perhaps twice a week. Of course, if I have something to talk about I might post an occasional bonus update. Lastly, I am hoping to occasionally put up some free short fiction. I have come to realize that although I tell you I am a writer, most of you have never read anything I have written other than this blog.

Now I want to ask you for a favor. I need you to keep me honest. If you notice I haven’t posted anything new for quite some time, please call me on it. Sometimes I need someone to crack the whip on me.

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Which One Of You Did It?

Okay, confess. Which one of you did it? Who was it? Who put the jinx on me? Over the weekend the heater in my house went out, then the heater in my mother’s house went out, then the heater in my car went out. Now my refrigerator is making funny noises. I know things break but come on, all at once?

Other than everything I own falling apart around my ears, things have been good. Writing is, well, progressing. Still haven’t come up with an idea for a screenplay yet. Let me rephrase that. Haven’t come up with a GOOD idea for a screenplay. At least nothing that hasn’t been done a million times before. I’m working on a short. Once it’s done I have to decide whether to try to publish it or put it up here. I know I’ve been promising you original stuff for a long time now. What do you think?

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