Here I am, reading over my book, working on finishing it and turning it in even though, in my secret heart of hearts, I could be easily convinced to keep going with it, a draft as long as my arm if you’d let me.
Once this is done, I’ll be working on a new novel. That one is not under contract. No one in the world is waiting to see it. And there’s no guarantee anything will come of it once I’m done (as I’ve learned, with others, the hard way). I’m still planning on writing it though. I’m going to work on that one with just as much dedication—if not more—than the one I am about to finish revising today.
Listen, I hear things a lot like, wow, you’ve written a book, I wish I could do that. Then I say why don’t you, and the excuses come.
Is it hard? Yes. Does it take a lot of time? Oh my yes. Is it easier to give up and do something—anything—else? Yes, yes, yes.
But if you really want to do it before you die the only person stopping you is you. I know—I’ve stopped myself many times. I’ve had to go to work. I’ve had to do that one last freelance project. I’ve had to sleep in. I’ve had to go out. I’ve had to watch bad TV. Fact is, if you don’t end up doing it, then I guess you didn’t really want it that badly. That’s okay. Don’t feel too guilty about it. I’d like to find a way to move to California, but I probably won’t and I’m sure my friends are tired of me talking about it. It’s not like my life will be meaningless if I don’t make it to California. I’ll be fine. Really.
Then again, if you find yourself talking about writing a book year after year after year, maybe you’re cheating yourself out of something good. It’s not like anyone else really cares if you write your book or not—only you do. The big questions: Do you have a story to tell? Do you have the talent to make it good? If your heart says yes to both, give it a go. If your heart says yes to only the first one, please be nice to your ghostwriter. If your heart says that what you really want to be is a race-car driver, give that a go. Do what you’ve always wanted. Try it now, while you still can. This is my current life’s philosophy so if you know me in real life and don’t see me until 2010 you’ll know why.
Starting next week I’ll be back in first-draft land. You know, the place where you keep walking for weeks and still the mountain doesn’t get any closer. The place where you spill crap out onto the page and hope no one’s looking. You have to spend a lot of time there. It’s tiring. It’s annoying. You look out at that faraway mountain and it sure seems intimidating. Impossible to reach. Scary even. But I want to do it, so I’m throwing out my pile of excuses and wading in.
Who’s with me?