I’m glad people don’t ask me for advice very often.
Here’s the thing. It took me almost three years to write the first 45,000 words of “Men Waiting For Sleep.”
It took me two months to write the last 45,000.
It’s done. Dear god, it’s done. The first draft of my fifth novel is complete, and it is now in the hands of my beta readers. And to be completely honest, I don’t give a damn if it’s good or not. It was the most amazingly difficult project I’ve ever completed, and I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t even sure I was going to finish it. In fact, at one point, I was sure I was done being a writer. People tend to think writers have this magical gift to sit down and follow their writing through to the end, because the final product is all people ever see. PEOPLE don’t know about the unfinished manuscripts. PEOPLE don’t know about the nights staring at a blinking cursor, the hours in which you can’t make that goddamn thing move regardless of how clever you feel, of how hard you work. Entire months went by and I couldn’t make that cursor move.
That’s why the blog has been quiet lately. I finally got that fucker to move.
Once it got going, I didn’t want it to stop.
I had to stop writing everything else. I had to stop taking photos, had to stop riding bikes, had to stop drinking beers and hanging out with friends and petting the dog. I had to write. I had to FUCKING WRITE. I had to sit down and see what happened next, because I don’t make the characters move. I just watch them and see. What. Happens.
The last two months have been exhilarating in that sense, even if they’ve been difficult and infuriating. This novel has been a representation of every challenge I’ve had over the last three years, every failure, every missed opportunity, every self doubt. Can you see why it wouldn’t matter if the book was good or not? It’s finished! What else matters? People will like it, people won’t. But I finished. I finished. I finished. Can’t say that enough because that’s all that matters.
I’m glad I don’t get asked for advice very often, because I’m far too blunt. I can’t tell you much about language, about plot, about characterization. I can’t tell you how to get published, how to become the next JK Rowling or John Irving or (god forbid) Stephanie Meyer. I can’t tell you how to get past that one goddamn sentence, the one that has gotten you hung up for weeks.
But I can tell you this:
Put the pen to the paper…and fucking push.
The first draft is done, and I am thankful.