Bill Blais

Just one more draft. No, really.

Changes (or ‘Getting Out Of My Own Way’)

Short version:

  • I’m back, honest and for true.

Longer version:

The last couple years have seen me crawl back into my hole, as far as this blog is concerned, and it’s high time that changed. I’ve kept at the writing (mostly), but I’ve also kept that writing largely to myself, for various reasons. Those reasons, I have come to accept, are largely groundless or, if not actually groundless, then not nearly as important as I had led myself to believe. All of them, however, are of my own making.

There have also been some life and work things that have been wake-up calls. Sadly, some of these took more than a few rings for me to actually hear, but hear them I finally have, and I’ve decided to get out of my own way and get on with what I love doing.

To that end, I’ve got a few bits of news I’m very excited about:

  • Returned to Smashwords (and pretty much everywhere else, by association)
  • Overdue novel on its way in November (K&U #3)
  • New novella on its way in December (The Last Innocent)
  • Multiple new short stories on their way in the interim (The Aesthetician; Fruit Flies; Another Night at the End of the World; One Man’s Monster; Uncle Deppo v. The Truth — Episode 23; Congestive Heart Failure)
  • Growing raft of children’s stories (surprise, surprise) in search of publishers and/or artists
  • Site overhaul (in process, mainly simplifying)

rule #0: listen to your partner

It’s that simple. That person knows you best. Period.

I know this should be self-evident, but sometimes I need a map to see the simple truths standing right in front of me. Thankfully, my partner is my best friend, so she doesn’t hold it against me.

Whatever self-indulgent or self-recriminating nonsense I might be telling myself, my wife can see right through it. Whatever mule-headed idiocy I might be putting myself through, she can call me on it.

True, it’s not always what I want to hear, but I can’t think of a case when it wasn’t what I needed to hear.

Thanks, love.


Not thrilled with recent work. I’ve spent almost all my writing time writing about the story rather than writing the story. Once again, I’ve dug myself into a hole by running with so-called inspiration rather than answering the basic, yet critical question of ‘Why.’ It takes so much longer to wrangle an answer afterwards — assuming there is one, after all — and it turns the story into a house of cards, though I only recognize after it’s written.

Maybe I’ll learn this lesson someday.

The sound of my own wheels

Having trouble with Uncle Deppo. I believe that it’s good trouble, ultimately, but right now, it’s just frustrating and disheartening.

The issue is that the questions I’ve begun asking about certain elements of the story are putting a spotlight on the various cracks, gaps and flaws in the the piece as a whole. I’m now struggling with the decision to

  • Stick with the inspiration that led to the original story and try to find out where I went amiss and address those items individually, or
  • Truly re-write the story in a whole new direction, following more recent inspiration
  • Scrap it altogether

Important and necessary process that will result in a better final piece, regardless.

Not the most enjoyable process, regardless.


Frustratingly, that seems to be the best description of recent efforts. Still, it’s generally* forward progress, so really shouldn’t be complaining.


* if not consistently

If you love a thing, set it free

Back to Uncle Deppo this morning and it’s the right thing. The ideas from yesterday are strong and I’m excited to follow them through, but there’s no excuse for not finishing what I’m in the middle of.

I was looking for an ‘easy’ win out of the other stories because they felt so good, but the fact is, if I lose track of them or they fade in intensity before I can get back to them, then they probably weren’t as strong or good as I thought.

It’s hard for me to accept that, because every new idea feels like it’s the best, but time has generally* proven to be the best lens for me.


* Always leave yourself an exit clause. See Rule #3.

Accursed inspiration.

Does it care that I’m in the middle of another story?


Does it care that I’ve been working on this other story for weeks?


Does it care that I don’t have time enough in the day to do more than one story at a time, much less the two it now demands I focus on?


Does it matter what problems I may think I have with its arrival?




Sorry, Uncle Deppo. I promise I’ll be back.

Q: When is 5 minutes the same as an hour?

A: Days like today.

I just spent the last hour working on Uncle Deppo, with a grand total of three sentences to show for it. I should have stopped after 5 minutes.

I was pretty excited, given yesterday’s excellent work, but I trapped myself in a feedback loop of revisioning and reconsidering and revisioning and reconsidering and . . . you get the idea.

Ah, well. At least the three sentences are solid, right?

I may have been a little over-enthusiastic yesterday

Can’t help but think I over-stated the case a bit yesterday, about the 5-minute real. While it’s true, I have yet to regret a single bit of time spent writing, the result isn’t always as ‘super fantastically insightful/productive/awesome’ as I might sometimes imply.

That said, it’s always — ALWAYS — a good thing.

Revising Uncle Deppo

In other news, I pushed myself on Uncle Deppo and broke through a motivational wall I was having, resulting in some genuinely enjoyable writing (in my usual, considerably cramped, in-the-margins, round-the-corners, on-top-of-and-under-and-around-itself, arrow-riddled fashion).

Who needs cryptography, eh?

No time spent writing is wasted

Amazing how that continues to be the case for me. No matter how little energy or time or direction I might have — and usually in direct contrast to that very lack — my 5 minute rule still gives me something that far exceeds my expectations.


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