06 November 2018

The Writer Explains His Absence From this Blog is Due to Work on a Novel


I haven't written anything on this blog for awhile. Not that anyone would notice (except of course for you my faithful reader Mrs. Elaine Cartwright of Dayton, Ohio -- by the way, is little Jamie over his cold?). It's not that I haven't been writing at all, because in fact I've been writing up a storm (though not a storm big enough to damage homes). But the writing I've been doing has been in an effort to complete a novel. I'm delighted to say that the first draft is finished and I'm currently revising and refining and making sure that it is truly Pulitzer Prize material.

Now that you've all had a good laugh....

This will be my third completed novel. Unlike its two predecessors this one is very good. Of course that's just my opinion as I am thus far the only person to have read it. My first novel was interesting but a mess and now it is lost to the world. The second was pretty good but perhaps a bit too ambitious and as it involved a school shooting was a turn off to would be literary agents. I believe the third time is a charm. In any case it has been a labor of love and I'm proud of it and when it's completed and at the mercy of strangers I will write a prequel and then a sequel.

It is a gross exaggeration to say that "everyone has written a novel." Very few illiterate people have attempted to do so. Most plumbers do not spend their idle hours plugging away at the next Moby Dick. It is also rare that an infant even attempts writing so much as a novella. But it it is true that a lot of people try to write novels and many, such as myself are teachers. Many teachers aspire or did aspire to be something else. Some just teach.

Also there is something of playing the lottery to writing a novel. While your odds of getting rich by writing a book are probably greater than the odds of winning a multi hundred million dollar jackpot, the odds against being published are long indeed. Also the fame and fortune many would be novelists long for are rarely achieved. For every JK Rowling who has made a lottery's worth of dough writing books, there are thousands who've made enough to pay a couple of months rent and many thousands more who can't understand why no one will publish their book.

There, is, of course, self-publishing, the last refuge of the writer. Many writers aiming for the best seller last eschew the very idea as beneath them. Many who do go that route don't even break even on the proposition. But a lot of people don't write novels solely for the chance to be rich and famous or even widely read. Some people just love to write. If not a word of mine ever gets published (perish the thought) I will be sorely disappointed but will not have regretted one second of the writing process.

It has been my ambition to write a successful novel since I was eight years old -- maybe earlier. Over 50 years later I've only written three and at best only one that may see the light of day. There are various reasons for this. One has been drugs and alcohol which stymied a lot of my artistic ambition. Another has been depression which has at times rendered me incapable of typing a word let alone enough for story. Of course work and family have eaten up a lot of time. I've needed both to survive. But the biggest impediment to a successful writing career has been laziness. Which is no excuse at all. I owe myself a lot of apologies for not forcing myself to write daily.

Writing a full length novel takes work. As one can see on this blog I've easily written a slew of short stories (some aren't bad). I can write a decent short story in one day, though most take longer. A novel is infinitely more complex an endeavor, especially when you have work and family obligations.

I hope someday to share glad tidings here of the publication of my first novel. I've finally conquered my laziness and write religiously. This has allowed me to complete the first draft of my novel and make headway on the revisions. I'm really loving the hell out of it and recommend to anyone who has an inkling that they'd like to write to just do it. 

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