Friday, July 10, 2015

Writing Around Life

I am driven. I lack a university degree. I don't have a famous writer mother or father to help me break into writing. But I have a burning desire to sell a million copies of my books.

What else do I have?

Experience. I traveled, hitch hiked around Europe, Africa, the Middle East, for ten years. That changes a person. I lived in an abandoned house beside the Caribbean. My memory is rich with experience.

But can I break into the ranks of the best sellers on Kindle? While working for $10 an hour at Home Depot? While living with a senile cat, driving a 1975 truck. I am sacrificing for my dream.

How am I going to achieve it? With ... hard work, study and determination.  I go to Barnes and Nobles twice a week and look around at all the books, and say to myself: "Every one of these books was someone's dream. I can do it."

Today I want to write about Claiming the dream. That means writing around life.

I have what I believe to be my break out novel (Touching Spirits). I published it a couple of weeks ago on Kindle, but one of my readers noticed some mistakes, so I pulled it in order to make it absolutely the best it could be. If I am going to sell a million copies I have to produce writing a high level.

I just got the manuscript back from three trusted readers. I'm on fire to sit down with my nineteen-year-old cat beside me, and reenter this world I created in my head, the world of a Caribbean I lived in so long ago. Scenes are rushing around in my head. I know the changes I need to make, the issues I need to resolve, but life is getting in the way.

It happens to every writer, right?  You want to sit and write, but you have to go to the insurance agency, or the kitchen drain is leaking.  In my case the toilet was leaking. The trick is to keep writing. Don't let the project take the entire day. Fight back.

Even though you have to do whatever, SIT DOWN AND WRITE, if only for an hour, or half an hour. You have to establish who is in charge. Don't give up a full day. It is of utmost importance.  By not giving up you take yourself seriously. You are saying: my writing is more important than this project.

I live in a house built in 1928. That means a lot of maintenance. Today it was the toilet. The pipes were put in almost 100 years ago. So, what did I do? I attacked the cast iron toilet drain, cut off the damaged piece, and installed a new one, after writing for an hour.
Despite the pressing obligations of life, I still carved out time to write. That is the most pressing thing in my life. I will reach my goal of selling a million copies, and by pushing back against the universe I am sending that message.

To all the writers struggling with jobs and projects and loved ones, remember what Shakespeare said: 'above all else, to thine own self be true.' Apply the butt glue and put your back side in a chair and stay there and write. And remember, it took Margaret Mitchell ten years to write Gone With The Wind. Did she first become 'a writer' upon publication? 

If you don't claim your time, fight for it, you won't write. There is no perfect time to write. There is only now. Do it.