After last weeks meltdown it was time for a re-think.
Or what some writers might describe as “work”.
I’ve already stated that after a year of writing I had been left with a big pile of folders which were stored on some cloud somewhere. There was some cohesion to my book but not nearly enough.
Now I have to consolidate not only the folders but my approach.
I don’t know how other writers work but the idea of researching before typing your first word seems like a big fat killjoy to me. It would be like putting a cake in front of a kid then telling him that he has to go and learn the recipe first before he can eat it. Balls to that.
I figured out my characters and a great deal of my plot as I went along. A large chunk of the plot fell into my lap only in the last few months. How could I have researched that before I even had it?
Now it’s time to do the gritty menial work that nobody enjoys. It time to write character bio’s, and with a list of characters that would put Forrest Gump to shame that’s gonna take some time. I need to research, fact check and draw parallels through the book. (It’s easy to forget something you wrote last year. I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night……….Wait… Got it. Thai green curry.)
Research, bio’s, fact checking and other tedious stuff was something that I was never looking forward to but I was only following orders. Honest. All advice I read stated that I should write my first draft without editing myself. Just let rip. So I did. It was great fun and I’m glad I did it. However, I’m now left realising the Earnest Hemmingway quote, “The first draft of anything is shit” is 100% true.
So this last week I have started writing my character bio’s. And who would have thunk it? I’m enjoying it. I’m discovering new aspects of my characters as I go and surprise surprise, I’m creating plot threads which will tie my book together and also flesh it out. I’ve realised large chunks will be binned, parts re-written and some of it might even make the grade. All in all I feel like I’m back on track.
Before I go, just as a side note. I have noticed one thing. I don’t have the same stamina writing those bio’s as I do openly writing my book. An hour or so in and I’m losing focus. The week before I wrote for six hours solid (personal best) without flinching.
Anyways, I better get back to doing more menial work.
Life has been pretty hectic over the last couple of weeks for us Liddells.
We have moved house and although it is only two streets away from our previous joint, and despite the fact that we got loads of help from our friends, the whole move still managed to become a little ole stress festival.
Throw in the fact that we recently had to say cheerio to my folks who were staying with us for the last six weeks and hopefully you’ll understand why I didn’t write a post last week.
Whether it’s moving house, sick kids, work or any other myriad of stuff that you have to wade through, life just has other things planned.
Friends will ask you how things are and often the default answer will be, “Oh, you know. Keeping busy.” Well, in all honesty Naomi and I have been up to our eyeballs in busy-ness.
It is a fact that I could have carved out some time to write a post, but (and I’m going to be brutally honest here) I really couldn’t be fucked. And, for this point in my life, I’m good with that.
I just hit the pause button.
No writing, no blogging, no researching, no inspiration, no jotting down ideas, no reading. No nothing (forgive the double negative).
I had to stop… I’ll rephrase that. Life stopped me.
Yet, through all of this the one person that has really kept his cool and shown some discipline around this joint is my son Ethan. The little sixteen month old wrecking ball has taken it all in his tiny wobbly stride.
One day his grandparents turn up from the other side of the world, six weeks later they vanish. Boom, gone. He had a little look around the guest bedroom after they left as if to say, “Where did the old folks go?” and then got on with his day. A few days later we move house. Nothing. The little son of a gun hasn’t wavered. Strong like bull.
When he’s able to form sentences I’ll ask him how he does it. Then I’ll pass it on.
So, next week once all the boxes have disappeared from our new living room, the internet is back on and I don’t have to to think really hard just to find a coffee mug, I’ll tell you about the time my wife took me to a Vietnamese brothel. Yup.
See ya then.
During the years of our education failure is clearly defined for us.
It’s the difference between right and wrong. Yes and no. It was marked in percentages and letters.
No middle ground.
Failure had negativity driven straight through its heart. It was tangible. You could feel it.
Don’t. Fuck. Up.
If you did fail there would be all sorts of “consequences”.
The job you dreamed of would now be beyond your reach. (What total guff)
You might be forced to repeat an exam or, if you really failed big time you would have to repeat the year.
You might not get accepted into university.
A load of fear mongering if you ask me.
Whilst writing my book I’ve thought a lot about failure and what it might be. And I’ve come to this conclusion:
The only way I can fail is if I don’t finish writing my book.
That would be my failure.
Sure, if it doesn’t get published I’d be disappointed, but I’m ready to accept that. The amount of variables in the world of publishing means it would be hard to pinpoint why it never made it. Everything from the time of year (romance novels are huge in February) and what’s fashionable to my manuscript landing on the wrong editor’s desk. Who knows?
Other writers might deem not getting published as a failure. And maybe it would be for them.
My point is that you determine what “failure” might be. Not anyone else.
Naomi and I always run from the same set of rules:
If you can handle the worst possible outcome, then anything else on top of that is cream.
So if, when I’m finished my book and the only copy has to rest on my bookshelf waiting for the day my son is old enough to read it, then I’m super happy with that.
What will I do if that happens?
I’ll start writing my second book.
First off thank you to everyone who commented last week on the launch of the blog. I apologise for not getting back in touch sooner but…. well… I’m pretty much useless when it comes to operating the blog. This, like writing is a learning process.
Just know this; when I start operating computer devices, small mushroom clouds appear on the horizon. I’ve come to accept it. I just hope you can too.
Around eighteen months ago a friend of mine broke his leg whilst playing 5 a-side football. It was a particularly nasty break. An opponent wiped out his standing leg. A few operations and a titanium rod for a shin bone later and he was on his way to making a full recovery.
But here’s the thing. When I went to visit him in hospital I felt two things:
#1. I felt pretty bad for him. He was obviously in a lot of pain. “Ouch” doesn’t cover it.
#2. Aaaand that horrible emotion jealousy. Yup, jealousy.
I wanted what he had. Three to four months off work in order to write my book. Even with the financial implications it would have for me and my wife.
The idea of putting my entire life on hold appealed enormously. I could get it all done, put the book to bed and have it over with in jig time.
How far behind the 8 ball is that for thinking? Not only did I want a broken leg, but I thought I could nail my book in that allotted time. It was completely naive thinking from a total rookie of a writer.
Even worse, I then backed out completely and and told myself to forget it all. Instead I’d back Naomi’s ambitions. (A shocking stroke of martyrdom if there ever was one. Basically I didn’t have the guts).
You see my wife is an entrepreneur. She is a whirlwind of creativity, enthusiasm and forward thinking. Undoubtedly you’ll get to know her as we go on.
I would do the “right” thing by putting food on the table whilst supporting my wife (and now child) so she could achieve everything she wanted to. I’d do what a man has to do and be a breadwinner. I’d work myself into the ground for my family.
What a selfless and courageous act!
What a guy!
What utter horse shit.
I was waiting for life to hand me an opportunity to start what I’ve always wanted to do. Like, since I was a kid.
What I didn’t know then that I do know now is that I was falling foul of a big bad thing called Resistance. (Note the use of a capital letter. It’s that much of a prick.)
Resistance is that nagging voice in your head that tells you to forget it. It tells you that whatever you are planning is going to fail.
It might even tell you that people will laugh at your new blog.
Resistance had told me that I would need a broken leg in order to write my book. So naturally I called the whole thing off for a year. I mean, who wants a broken leg? Pfft.
This definitely won’t be the last post concerning Resistance because I face it every single day.
Hello and thanks for checking out my blog.
I guess I may as well put my thumbs in my braces and tell you what you might expect from me over the next while.
First off I’m going to be myself and remain as uncensored as I can be without driving you all away in droves. I swear like a docklands hooker so don’t be surprised if the odd curse word appears on your computer box. It’s just how I talk. (Oddly enough my creative writing so far is, for the most part, a much more gentle read.)
The real meat and bones of this blog is to (hopefully) chart my journey from being a truck driver to a published author.
Every Thursday I’ll share my everyday life, my thoughts and my ambitions. I’ll share my strategies, the pitfalls and the learning curves (which I’m sure will be steep and plentiful)
I’ll guide you to my sources of inspiration and anything else that I think might be useful. I may even share some of my writing. Hopefully we will all learn something along the way. If you want to keep up with all this in real time, drop your email address in that box on the right and I’ll email it to you every Thursday. Save you having to come back here.
The plan is to document the full journey. It would be pretty special to get to share it with you and hopefully get to know a few like minded people too. I am completely open to feedback and really looking forward to responding to you. Feel free to drop me a comment. I’m particularly interested in hearing from all different kinds of creative folks so don’t hold back and get in touch.
I would now like to state from the get go that I have absolutely no idea how this is all going to turn out. I’m also highly aware that this could unravel before all of our eyes and that I could end up looking like a prize arse. But those are the risks I’m willing to take.
All I intend to do here is declare my truest intentions and stick my flag in the ground.
So with that said, let us begin.