They say that we are more appreciative for the things that we have to work for.
In that case, I’m *VERY* appreciative to see my novel, The Biographer, available as a print book and kindle book.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to take some time on the blog to talk about the ten artisans (writers, musicians, and photographers) whose stories, journeys, and art inspired me.
Today, I just want to talk about the journey
My journey to writing novels started on my 39th birthday in 2003. While most mid-life crises hit on the milestone years (I’m in a mini-mlc right now after celebrating my 50th birthday last month), mine started a year early.
At the time, I realized that I wanted to draw, play guitar, and write for many years, but had never taken any concrete steps in that direction. Being a rational human being, I set out to master all three at the same time.
It took about six months to realize that any single one of those three was going to take all of the free time and creativity that I could muster. So after completing one passable drawing and learning one simple song (albeit at about half time for the chord changes), I set my pencils aside and put the guitar in the corner and began to write.
There were many shocks along the way:
1) Finding out how little I knew about grammar and how many words I tended to misspell (misspell, grammar, restaurant, and author all key among them).
2) The shock of how much it hurt to hear feedback from loved ones on unfinished work.
3) Getting caught in the whirlwind of the new writing ideas of “platform” and “self-publishing.” I lost a year of writing time trying to figure out platform.
4) Finding out how overwhelming it can be to sit in a room with dozens of other authors, all of whom seem much more together.
5) Realizing that there is a root of jealousy in your heart when you see people who started after you, finish before you and write much better than you do.
Through it all though, if you persevere, you also find out how to get past the junk.
For me, I found the following:
1) If you swallow your pride and order high school grammar curriculum, you can learn all those comma rules that you skipped 30 years earlier. Spelling is fairly easy as well, if you are able to spell the word close enough for spellchecker to at least guess at what you mean.
2) I learned that I don’t want your verbal feedback unless it’s nearly 100% positive. You can, on the other hand, say anything you want in writing, and it doesn’t seem to phase me. Also, I started to believe Stephen King that nobody gets to read the first draft until it’s been done for a month.
3) If you worry about trying to write a best-selling novel, you will end up sitting at your desk writing nothing or skimming the web. I learned to focus on telling the story that I had discovered inside of me and making it available to the people I love and care about.
4) The writers conferences that I’ve been to have, to be honest, been more negative than positive experiences for me. However, I have met a lot of people who are pure gold and, next to wanting to see their own work published, they want to see others succeed.
5) I had to get over myself and realize that in every area of life, there will be people who are better at what I do than I am. So what, it doesn’t need to change a thing about my dreams.
Before I stop let me just thank all of you who have read, commented, encouraged, smiled, or simply listened to my ramblings. You’ve helped me do something that I had given up dreaming about.