Welcome to the End

August 24, 2014

Sometimes, you really need to know when to say enough.
This is it, folks. The big one. The last huzzah. The final countdown… I need to make a choice and I need to do it, or else this is all over.
Have I told you the story of my most recent novel? The one I finished in December? Probably not, so for the sake of filling up some time and a few paragraphs in this dusty old blog of mine, here it is.
Back in autumn of 2009, I started getting ideas for a new book. While I’d had several ideas for quite a while, this one just seemed to pop into my head. As I couldn’t get it out, even after writing down many of these ideas, I decided that it was to be my next quest in writing.
Earlier in the year (2009), I had written “Absolution”, a science-fiction novel that I was pretty damned proud of. Still am, in fact. It took me all of five months to write, two weeks to edit, and two weeks to finalize. I know I never went past the self-edit stage, and thus the queries to agents fell flat, but I was happy.
Looking back, I think I’m most happy about the time it took.
While I’m very happy with the outcome in general, the fact that I was able to write a 400 page novel in five months was, frankly, awesome. So why wouldn’t I be able to write another one in the same amount of time, or less?
Well, the early parts of 2010 saw me doing just that. Or at least, trying to.
I got about 100 pages of this new book written before other ideas started creeping into my head. While I can usually push those ideas (for short stories, mostly) aside, there was too much to ignore. Additionally, my work schedule (and job) were changed drastically about a month or so into this routine. Instead of working 4 PM to midnight, I was suddenly working 7 AM to 3 PM. I had never had to be up so early before (not even in high school!) and quickly found myself living the “traditional” American life.
I’d get home from work, do a few things, and then my girlfriend (at the time) would come home around 5 or so. We’d eat dinner, and then move on to whatever we did in the evenings. I tried to write when I had the time, but between being massively exhausted from work and attempting to spend time with her, writing quickly got pushed back.
It was beyond frustrating. My one true love, my greatest passion in life, and I could hardly touch it. I did my best at writing, and did in fact get much of it done, just not as much as I had hoped. However, that fall, I managed to pick up the slack and get working again…for about a month.
And it went like this over the next few years. That person and I are no longer together (thankfully), and my new love (and wife in a few weeks), Amy, is more than supportive of me and my love for writing. But she has had nothing to do with my inability to get this book done.
Again, it was work (moving from different jobs, working two jobs, etc.), and my own exhaustion/lifestyle. In 2012 I started working out hardcore, and while it didn’t interfere with my writing as much as you’re thinking it did, I will admit there have been times I’ve put a workout before a quick writing session. Being in good health, to me, is extremely important, so I’ve never once felt bad about it.
(And no, I’m not obsessed with growing massively huge muscles and looking like a bodybuilder. I exercise to lose weight, stay in good health, and ensure that my body remains in working order. As I no longer have chronic and unexplained back and shoulder pain, I’d say I’m doing pretty good.)
But throughout those years, I always felt that itch to go back. I’d dust off the pages and start writing new chapters. In late spring of 2013, I felt like this needed to end, and NOW, so I got busy.
I did a good job! I wrote the rest of the book…except for the last chapter.
Again, it was one of those things that just kept getting put off. And pushed back. And forgotten, and ignored, and delayed. Until December, when I finally wrote it.
For several months, a hard copy of it sat on the shelf underneath my laptop. In the spring, it finally got touched. It took me two or three months, but I edited the damn thing start to finish!!!
And here it sits. And that’s the story.
So really, I just went the long way to let you know, it’s done! Has been done, in fact. All I have to do is type the changes, which I see as a daunting task. Kind of like cleaning the litter box, or balancing your checkbook. Something you have to do, but really don’t want to do right this minute.
Every time I get pissed off at my job, I wonder why I haven’t done it yet. Every time I’m short on money, I wonder. Every time I pick up a book, I wonder. Every time I walk into Barnes & Noble, I wonder.
Well, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m the friend who, when asked his honest advice, doesn’t give it. But when begged, I simply tell people what my father always used to say:
“Don’t talk about it, do it.”
My dad and I have had our differences, but I can tell you that some of his advice is so simple, yet so mind-blowingly perfect, I cannot ignore the respect I have for him. And by simply telling me to do something instead of sitting around talking about it, he’s made the point that I, to this day, still have yet to follow.
(It reminds me of an author, who I’m so sorry but at this moment can’t remember who it was, but that isn’t important. It’s what he said that is, in that there are two types of authors—those who talk about writing and what they’re going to write, and those that just do it. While I do talk about writing a lot (why else would I have a blog? To take pictures of burritos?), I do a hell of a lot more writing, hence why I’ve been absent for some time.)
So, here’s my promise to myself (and everyone reading this, who can act as a witness):
This book will be saved on my hard drive as Draft Number 2 no later than September 6, 2014.
If it’s not, you’ll know. And if that happens to be the case, you will hound me every chance you can.
You’ll post to my Facebook. You’ll email me. If you know my phone number, you’ll call and text. You’ll visit me at work and heckle me. For the lucky few of you who know my address, you’ll come over and pester me.
Not to put this all on you. You have every right to not care (and probably do), but I’d relish the chance to have a traveling group of annoying jerks who won’t leave me alone until I finish typing the changes to this book.
That way, I’ll be able to start my pathetic attempts at querying agents. And that way, I won’t have to quit writing for good. Because, as I said at the beginning, this is it, folks. If I can’t make this happen, then it’s a pretty good bet I can’t make anything happen.
And that’s a fact you can take with you.