I've been reading since I was two, if you believe my mother. I don't recall exactly when I started wanting to be a writer, but I do recall when I began stopping myself from pursuing that dream. It was in college, when my artistic aspirations collided with the "need" to pursue something "sensible" and get some "real value" from my education.
Unfortunately, I didn't get much out of my pre-med classes or my science degree. Instead, I wound up with a lackluster college transcript, a lot of dead brain cells, and fifteen years of wandering around trying to figure out what to do with my life.
I looked into just about every career I could think of that held any interest for me: veterinary medicine, law, computer programming, culinary arts, photography, journalism, entrepreneurship, finance, music, film... I even finished my pre-med classes, took the MCAT, and applied to medical schools on two continents. Along the way, I somehow managed to collect an MBA and $40k in student loans.
Once, I tried to write a novel. In 2002, I set my standards very low and eventually met them, producing by 2004 101,000 words of garbage that I didn't believe in. When I got my first rejection, I stuffed the novel away. It was a good choice. I wasn't ready.
Now, after exhausting every career in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*Net, after completing every personality study from MBTI to Holland to enneagrams and astrology, and after fifteen years of frustration, misdirected anger, and intermittent therapy, I've finally grown enough to understand what it is I want to do.
I want to write novels.
So, that's what I'm doing now. They say you have to write a million words of junk before you get to something worthwhile. I've only written about 250,000 in my days, probably, but I've suffered enough (so I feel) to equal a million words. I'm hoping that will appease the writing gods and allow my current project some success.
I've started this site to chronicle my efforts at re-vision of the novel I abandoned years ago. It will be a drastic change, one that leaves the original first draft from 2004 unrecognizable. My standards are high, where they should be. I will meet them.
I use as strength and inspiration Steven Pressfield's incredible book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.
I'm journaling each day before I write, as a sort of warm-up. I post those daily entries here. Some are substantial and meaningful; others not so much. My hope is that the finished chronicle will provide some insight into the process I will have followed in finishing this novel. including the struggles and successes along the way.
I'm also adding a section for writing exercises. Once each week, I'll post a writing exercise from a writing book on my bookshelf and complete the exercise myself. This is a way for me to continue to improve my skills as a writer, to fill my toolbox and provide more options to me as I write my first novel and others in the future. I hope anyone who comes across these exercises will also do the exercise and post their results. This isn't a workshop; there will be no critiques from me (though I welcome comments and reactions to my work from anyone who cares to post them), but I think it would be fun to see how others interpret the exercise. Plus, it'll get us all writing, which is the most important thing.
As Steven Pressfield quotes, "It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior's life." The writing is the thing.
To the writing.