When I feel like I’ll never be a real writer I remind myself that I write to make me happy. You reading what I write is just a bonus.
— Joe Hinojosa (@joehino76) October 21, 2014
I haven’t written about my work in progress in some time now. The good news is that I’m still plugging away at it. The bad is that I’m still plugging away at it. Shouldn’t I be done with it? The only answer I have is that I’ll be done when I’m done with it.
Right now, I have about 87K words but that will likely increase quite a bit. I’m thinking I’ll end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k, give or take a few thousand. I think that’s a good round number to shoot for, don’t you?
Okay, I’ve answered where I am in the writing process, but I haven’t told you what I’m writing. I’m rewriting my NaNo from 2012, trying to expand upon what I wrote back in November, hoping that I am closer to a cohesive narrative. I’ve written out several plot points that have no bearing in the story. I thought they would, but as my first draft took shape they became unimportant, taking up valuable space that could be used to better define the story I am trying to tell.
It’s kinda like a jigsaw puzzle at the moment, but one where I’m throwing pieces out and trying to find room for new pieces, wanting to see how it changes the picture as a whole. I’m pruning and adding, tweaking words here, changing ideas all around, trying to find a better way to say what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying?
It’s hard since I never took a class on book writing. I’ve been writing for almost a year and half and I’ve yet to get to a place where I’m comfortable with my work. But I’m content in the process of creating and writing. I’m pleased with how my rewrites are going. Part of it is that I’m still learning what I’m doing and how to do it. I’m cool with that.
I keep hoping to reach some sort of magically place where I can look at what I’ve written and say “It’s perfect!” But not yet. I know I’m being unreasonable. I understand that I can find myself in a vicious cycle of writing and rewriting and rewriting some more, round and round, chasing perfection as a dog chases its tail, never to catch it. I know at some point I will have to step back and accept that I have done the best that I can and that I will have to let it go.
That’s why I have a few people read for me. I need that input and it’s a valuable resource for me to have. My readers can ask me questions, point me in a direction I need to explore, and help me whip my work into shape. My first drafts have all been read and the one I’m revising is the best one which needs the least amount of work, so that’s why I’m working on this one.
Will I publish? I hope so. That’s my ultimate goal. I know I still have work to do, but as long as I keep plugging away at it, one keystroke at a time, I know I’ll be done. Then all I’ll have to do is hope that you all will be interested in what I’ve committed to paper.
I’ll never make it as a writer…
I can hear the voices clearly sometimes. You’re not good enough. No one will ever want to read your stuff. Why do you even try? The voices are jerks. I hate the voices in my head.
The voices are my own insecurities and doubts. Fear keeps me from doing what I should be doing to get ahead. The thought of another JOB makes me want to curl up into a fetal position and cry. I don’t want to work for the man. I don’t want to waste my life making another rich while I wear myself out. I don’t want that.
And neither does anyone else.
I see the dead look in people’s eyes as they trudge through the muck that is their everyday existence, and I can see the my own blank stare reflected back to me. Clock in, work, clock out, and then try to salvage at least a little bit of our day for ourselves, and our family and friends. We slave to break even, if we’re lucky. We toil just to put a roof over our heads and food to eat. We break our bodies only to fall further behind in life.
It’s happening. Look at the news. Look at the discontent among the laborers. Wages are stagnant, there is no real job growth, and hours are getting cut. The economy isn’t growing because the wealthy have stolen this country’s wealth and are hoarding it for themselves all the while wondering why they aren’t making anymore money.
I finally got a job and I’m off this week. I don’t go back until next week and only for 14 hours. The following week is about the same, but they scheduled me for a day I’m in class. Sorry, but I’m not jeopardizing my education for a go-nowhere-job where they don’t even care enough to get my schedule right. I did that once and I spent over a decade being miserable.
I’m not saying this to trash the labor force. I’m saying this to trash the employers, which is dangerous for me as I’m in the market to find a real full-time position somewhere. I am beginning the transition from student to employee all over again, and yes it scares the hell out of me.
What can I do?
My only recourse is to use the only talent available to me and try to write for a living. Right out of the proverbial gate I’m met with the reality that most writers don’t make a living as writers. I wonder; how many aspiring writers are out there right now, toiling away on their computers, typewriters, and even notepads and pens, trying to write the next big thing? I know I am. I’m one of the invisible group, hoping to be taking out of obscurity and made famous for doing what I love.
Hell, here I am writing for free for myself, just to have an outlet to express my thoughts. I have a very limited readership, and I’m okay with that. Although I do want to grow my audience, my main objective is to write for writing’s sake. I write in order to discover what I believe, to put it into words, in a logical manner, that I can defend if I have to. I write in order to practice putting my thoughts down onto paper, or in this case onto the web. I write in order to learn.
You are my teachers and my evaluators. You who have taken the time to read my thoughts have become my greatest assets. I take my blog stats very seriously, and I take my Likes as a positive sign that I did a decent job. When no one reads my post, I feel that I did a poor job and that I need to do better.
My main problem is that I haven’t been as diligent as I should. I haven’t committed myself to write everyday like a writer ought to write. Be it trash or a masterpiece, without taking the time to sit down and actively engage in this craft, I will end up as a dreamer who wants the stars but remains content to watch them from afar.
But I’m not content. I’m tired of laying on the meadows at night, looking up without trying to reach out for those distant points of light. I’m tired of dreaming the dream that I yearn for, but refuse to pursue. I’m tired of hearing that I can do it, that I have the talent, “if only you’d go for it.” I will go for it. You’ll see.
In the meantime I will trudge along on this merry road, working for the marketplace, selling myself for a meager wage. It’s a sacrifice I have to pay, that I’m willing to pay, but this time I do so with my eyes open, with a plan for the future and a hope that I can escape.
We all have our dreams, and mine is to be financially independent, as much as is possible. If I have to work to enrich some man’s coffers, why shouldn’t that man be me? If I have to wear myself out, shouldn’t it be for my own benefit? In the process, if I am successful, I will end up helping others make money.
I just have to remember this: I need to sit down and write. Success or failure rests solely on my ability to set aside some time to write. Unless I sit down and get serious, I’ve already failed. I don’t want to fail, not this time and not with this. Failure is always an option, but success only becomes a possibility if I not only try but I do.