For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been writing a novel for the past couple of years. It is still coming along, slowly and surely. It gets longer and better by the day. I wish it was done already. I want to be done with it and move on to the next thing. I want to be done with it and let everyone read it. I want to be done with it and clear my head. But I’m not done.
I wake up every morning. I skip breakfast and head straight to my writing place. I write or edit until the middle afternoon. I do this religiously. Sometimes it seems I make amazing progress and other times I feel I’ll never be done. But I keep on. “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle,” I heard in a movie once. Barton Fink, I think. I don’t know if any other quote could express my thoughts more accurately right now. I have been writing this novel forever it feels. And forever I will write it, if that’s what it takes.
I stay up until the middle of the morning to meet word counts, finish a chapter, edit another page, and so on. I wake up, read what I’ve wrote, change it until I like it, and repeat the process. Day in and day out.
I’m numb. There is part of me in every character I have created. Every single one. It’s sick, the things we writers imagine. My google searches look like a serial killer, my wall is covered with more sticky-notes than a secretary, and I have more open books laying around than the Library of Congress. I eat maybe two meals a day, listen to more podcasts and music than I have real conversations, and I don’t even notice the effects of caffeine anymore.
This isn’t some badge of honor. This isn’t a plea for help, or pity. This is just me talking about me for a moment. I write this book because it’s a story that has to be told, and I’m the only one that can write it. I have many more to follow it up, so I’ll probably be writing until I’m six feet under or my ashes are blowing in the wind somewhere.
I’m not delusional about how well this book will sell. It may only sell four copies, with my mom buying two of them. It may never gain a following and I may never be a writer that your friends have ever heard of. I’m fine with that. I’m still going to write. I’m still going to put in my 10,000 hours for greatness, and I’m still going to try to be the best.
I’m not suited for the corporate world. I hate authority, I half ass jobs that I don’t enjoy doing, and don’t enjoy jobs where I’m responsible for anyone else’s work but my own.
Writing is my chance to not do any of that.
Some of you don’t even enjoy reading a book as entertainment, so you’ll never understand why I write. Hell, you probably won’t even make it this far down this post because your attention span is limited to 140 characters. Some of you are so concerned with the number of followers and likes you get to even get off this anti-social media and have real conversations with people. I get my best writing ideas from real interactions.
That’s one thing I love about books. They’re never about the great Facebook post the main character wrote, or the great Tweet the villain put out before he killed the girl. Characters aren’t concerned with their latest selfie they put on Instagram or who commented on what. Fictional people have more real lives than most people today, and some of you wonder why people prefer books over humans.
I love to read. I appreciate books so much better as a writer. Every book I read makes me realize something else I can do with my own writing AND something new about myself. Every single one. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, the sight of a stack of blank paper, and the warmth of a newly printed page of action and dialogue that I created.
My goal is to write this book, and then a million more after it. My goal is to be considered one of the best writers of my time. Of any time. My goal is to make someone sit on the edge of their seat, cry, rip a page out and nail it to their wall. My goal is to leave a part of me in this world long after I’m gone. My goal is to change a life.
Hi. My name is Gary, and I’m a writer.