This has been a long time coming. Too long, I’ll admit. I’ve known I wanted to be an author since I was six years old. Then I procrastinated for twenty years.
Most of that time was spent frolicking amongst projects that never could quite hold my interest. There were a couple large ones that respectively dominated my creative endeavors in high school and college. I learned a lot of lessons from them – first and foremost that I was stressing too much over the small stuff. I was spending all my time drawing maps and making relationship diagrams. These are good things, and I still do them – but my great big flaw was that I didn’t WRITE as much as I needed to. I wrote “snippets” here and there, and never made myself push through a full draft of anything.
You could blame overconfidence, partially. I’ve always been so certain that I COULD write a book, that I didn’t exert the effort to prove it. Maybe there is such a thing as believing in yourself too much.
You could also blame fear. Creative types suffer (and benefit) from bizarre psychological makeup, and mine happens to be a mashup of extreme ego and fear of success. Or fear of failure. Possibly both. It’s hard to be certain. At any rate, there has always been this sort of cringing reluctance pulling me back from the edge of the diving board.
Then, in October of 2011, I decided enough was enough. I found out about National Novel Writing Month three days before it began, and I said, “It’s time.” I barely even had an idea. I had an amorphous remnant of an old project, but it had potential, and I chose to spend thirty days and 50,000 words finding out if I could turn that idea into a book. I had never written that much consecutively. On any project, ever.
In the beginning, all I had was Jul and Rhys. That was it. The scene where Jul finds the Tower was the first thing I ever wrote about Archetype – and that original encounter is largely intact, miraculously. When I started writing Nov. 1, I didn’t know Mac or Camille would become narrators. Destin didn’t even exist. He was invented a couple days later to balance Mac out, the Chewbacca to Mac’s Han Solo. Havenwood didn’t have a name. And Bea was a hell of a lot sweeter. (Trust me, she’s better this way.)
I’m proud to say that I won that year, in more ways that one. I completed 50,000 words of Rocket and Sunchoke (The Thief’s working title) by Nov. 30, and gained the confidence to see it through publication.
Two years later, the little nugget that was inspired by a 13-page short story has become a 90,000 word novel, the first in a series of seven. I still draw maps, and I still draw out genealogies. I still draw character sketches. I still procrastinate. But I have learned how to COMPLETE something. And that’s pretty amazing.
Here’s to the next six, and whatever comes after that.