I Want it All

February 17, 2015

I don’t struggle with blog titles, but I like to put something witty up there. This one just came to me, before I even started writing it. Not only am I listening to the same-titled song by my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode, but it actually seems fitting for what I’m about to write.

I just wanted to share a few writerly things going on for me right now, so hopefully it makes sense.

+Just before Christmas, I received a positive response from a publication regarding a story I submitted. They want to publish it! And, they want to pay me for it! While I was excited about the prospect of $25, I was more excited about getting a story published. However, I haven’t heard back from them since, and I know better than to pester them about it. I do know that they’re having some issues right now, but man, I wish they would just keep me updated as to its progress…

+I’ve started writing “The Third Tower” again. I originally hoped to have the whole book written in six weeks, which is that awesome pipe dream many writers have. At first, it seemed like I would. Then Christmas got in the way, as well as short stories I simply HAD to write. I’m not upset though, because I pounded out some great short works in that time. Still, it’s back to basics with novel writing, and I’m happy. In just the past few days, I’ve done more work than I normally do in a week, so I’m in good spirits.

+I need to read over a short story before putting it up for workshop. I keep telling myself that it won’t take more than an hour, but as the title says, I want it all. I don’t want to waste writing time on review, but I need to. Hopefully tonight I will, but who knows? Maybe I’ll want to write more. This is not a bad thing.

+Editing on “In the Pale Moonlight” is going swimmingly. My editor is very positive about it, and I think once my final version is done, things are going to be pretty positive for me.

+Not writing related, but I’ve been looking for a new job for quite some time. While I’m currently employed and get paid quite well, I still really want something new. In the meantime, I’ve got lots of free time at my job to stand around, so I write. Seriously, I’ve written A LOT during down time, including most of “The Third Tower”. Last night, I wrote a whole chapter!

Things are going well, but I know they could be better. I’m working on myself, meaning I’m putting more effort into things, but a lot of this depends on other people as well. Hopefully they take what I have to offer, and help me to get where I’ve always wanted to be.

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Maybe call in an existential crisis, or maybe it’s something else. I go through this every now and again, as do a lot of people. Not just writers or artists or other creative types, but people in general, who live lives as normal as it comes.

Of course I’m talking about my lack of success in the field that I would prefer it to be in, which can come in varying degrees for many different people. For me, it’s the fact that I’m not at the point on my career path I’d love to be at. Allow me to explain.

It’s 2015. We’re living in the future, baby! I’ll be 35 in June. While I do have several very important things going for me that we as a society are “expected” to have by this age, I still don’t feel like I have what I always wanted.

Sure, I’m married to the woman who makes me happier than anyone I’ve ever known. I’ve got a job, that while it isn’t my dream job and the best thing ever, it still pays fairly well and could be a lot worse. I don’t live with my parents, or anyone other than my wife and cat. I have a car, that I own, and has no problems at all! I’ve even got a kickass collection of Riddler action figures and collectibles!

But I’m not a full-time writer. Sigh…

We all have goals in life. Some people just want a family. Some want a mansion in the hills. Some want a specific car. Some just want to be gainfully employed. Some want to be taken care of so they don’t have to do anything for themselves, those lazy bastards…

But I want to be a novelist. I mean, I am, as I’ve written three already (one of which is being professionally edited as we speak!). But I want to make a living off of my writing. I want magazines to pay me big bucks for stories I write. I want publishers to pay me big bucks for books I write, and then to see them in bookstores like Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.

And yet, I’m not there yet. I’m getting there, and with the help of my editor, it’s going a lot faster than I expected. < Cue “Happy” by Pharrell! >

But again, I’ll be 35 in four months. Why couldn’t I have done this sooner? Why did I have to be so lazy in my 20’s and even my late teens? Seriously, this is all my fault. I cannot blame a single person who isn’t name Myke Edwards. I opted to do other stuff than write, or edit, or submit, or get my ass in gear and get moving on this.

Why couldn’t I have done this stuff when I was 25? Or even 30? Why did I sit around for five years (seriously, FIVE YEARS!!!) on finishing my most recent novel? And why did I wait for six months before even thinking about editing it?

Today is a friend of mine’s birthday. She’s 26. I’m so glad to see her happy with everything, at least as happy as I can tell through her Facebook feed. But just a little bit ago, I thought of myself at 26, and how blissfully unaware of my future as I was. All I cared about was getting drunk and…well, that’s about it. Why did I have to wait so long to actually get serious about writing?

I’ve known since I was 15 that this is what I’ve wanted to do. Well, technically 11 if you really want to split hairs. But my dream since the age of 15 has been to be a novelist, and it never stopped. Oh, if only I could have had someone stand over my shoulder and beat me any time I strayed from my path.

But that’s not how life works. I need to accept that I was lazy and can only learn from my myriad past mistakes. I need to work hard and often to ensure that I can have the life I want, and always have. Because let’s face it, no one’s going to just hand it to me. I’ve always believed that hard work pays off, and I need to deliver on that, or else I’ll just fall by the wayside, and this blog won’t be updated anymore.

(By the way, earlier when I said I want to be paid big bucks, I am well aware that it won’t happen for a long time, and I really need to be successful to make a lot of money. That said, I don’t want millions of dollars, really just enough to live off of. I don’t need a mansion or a fleet of cars, just enough to provide food, clothing and shelter to my wife and myself. Anything else is probably going to charity.)

Often, critiquers will tell me any time they see an adverb, the word was, a passive sentence, telling instead of showing, etc., that editors will reject my story outright just for using that. While those things are “rules of writing” that, sure, make something flow and sound better, I got a shock to my brain today.
I opened up an issue of a big-time fiction magazine (found in print form on newsstands all over the country, possibly world), and noticed in a story a few things I never thought I’d see:
Passive voice!
Overt use of the word “was”!
Adverbs!
Telling!
So here I am, wondering how this story made it into a popular, big-time magazine like this, having broken those rules. I mean, didn’t an editor read it? How did it not get rejected right away?!
Does this mean that if I write a story that’s really good, even if I break those rules, I still have a chance of getting published?
Sorry if this seems like an angry rant (which is obviously is), but I’m so irritated at workshoppers who “guarantee” I’ll never have any chance of getting my stuff published if I break these rules. I know what Stephen King says. I know what pretentious grammar Nazis say. And you know what?
I really don’t give a shit.
I’ll write how I want, and take my chances when I do. So far, things are going fairly well. So go ahead, make your guarantees. I’ll enjoy reaping the fruits of my labor, while you sweat it out and worry about pointless shit that doesn’t mean a damn. (Not you, per se, but the hypothetical you that has pissed me off before.)