Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Writer Writes... Again!

I haven't had much to write about since I last posted over three years now.  I only had one follower. (Thank you Laura!) It didn't seem like I was reaching as many folks as I'd hope I would when I decided to blog. Except something happened today that inspired me to want to write a post after all these years.  First I should say that in addition to turning half a century this year, I managed to write a novel.  I finished my first novel on Halloween of this year.  I got the idea to do it from reading this book called NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM by Chris Baty.  

In a nutshell, Baty goes into detail how you can make time to write a novel of 50k words in 30 days with the correct time managment.  If you're doing the math, that is roughly 1,667 words a day.  Baty is also one of the founders of National Novel Writer's Month (aka NaNoWriMo) that occurs yearly during the month of November.  I decided that I would participate this year (more on that later). 

I should say that there are some works of literature that are roughly 50k words - THE GREAT GATSBY, HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, BRAVE NEW WORLD* - just to name a few.  Now I'm not saying I'm anywhere near to being as talented a writer as Fitzgerald, Adams or Huxley have been.  But I like to think that after reading many books (ever since I learned how to read over forty-five years ago) I did pick up a few things here and there.  Not to mention that fact that I have written a screenplay for a feature film ten years ago.  Plus you don't get to be my age and not gain some wisdom from years of life experience.  Hopefully with practice I can become a better writer eventually.

To prepare for writing a novel this month, I read tons of books on writing structure, format, style. etc.  I even went over notes from previous creative writing courses that I took when I was in college.  Then I decided to write a "practice" novel during the month of September of this year.  My goal was this: I just wanted to see if I could discipline myself enough to put in the time to actually write something and stick to it.  Baty's book is perfect for busy folks who have grueling work schedules, children to raise, full-time students, whatever: busy people.  It's crafting the proper time management that can be applied to ANY situation.  Since I'm currently not working (it gets harder to find employment after turning 50-years-old even with a new media degree in Filmmaking and Multimedia, I have found out the hard way: "Over qualified" really means "you're too old bitch!").  So I needless to say, I have some time on my hands lately. It's also quite therapeutic mentally, I find.

Anyway, writing the 50k words in 30 days was a breeze for me.  In fact I passed the 50k word count on the 25th day. Some days I was on fire writing pages and pages of text; while some days I was lucky if I could come up with two decent paragraphs.  But I persevered and kept on going until the 30 days of September was over. That being said, my 50k words didn't exactly make up a cohesive novel.  To tell the story I wanted to tell, I used the month of October to add an additional 50k words and voilĂ : My first novel.  Something that I can now check off of my bucket list.

So now that that was done, the hardest part is finding a publisher who would be interested in reading it, let alone decide to publish it.  You'd think that living in New York City, where  some of the biggest publishing houses on the country are located, this would be easy.  I can tell you it's not.  It's all about who you know.  And even though I did temp work in the mid '80's for Simon & Schuster, I regret now that I never bothered to cultivate any professional relationships with anyone over there.  My loss, I can assure you.  

But in the meantime, I am now working on my second novel for the NaNoWriMo contest.  Today I passed the 37,000 word count on this the 22nd say of the contest.  (It's a sequel.  I think I might try and write a trilogy like Stieg Larsson or Suzanne Collins.   I only hope that I live long enough to see them published unlike the late Larsson.)  As long as I'm writing everyday, I feel like that half of the battle is already won.  One of my favorite novels that I've read since the last time I posted here was Sara Gruen's WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.  When I found out it was one of the published novels that she wrote for the NaNoWriMo, it was incredibly inspiring to me to want to compete and write for the contest. Even if doesn't get published, at least I can say "I did it", right?  

Which brings me to why I decided to post on my blog again.  Today someone I've known for many, many years now.  Someone I that I've always consider a friend, said to me: "What's the point of writing if nobody will publish it?"  How's that for words of encouragement? With friends like that... but I digress.

I'm not going to let this person (whom shall remain nameless here) nor anyone else for that matter, stop me from creating stories and writing as much as I want until I can't do it anymore.  Even if they remain on my laptop long after I'm dead and gone, at least I know that I actually accomplished writing a novel or two or three.  In the meantime, it has also encouraged me to continue putting this blog out into the universe.  Even if I only have one follower, than at least I've reach someone out there.

So, I'm putting this out into the universe with the hope that there may be a publisher who would be interested in reading what I've written.  Feel free to forward this posting to your friends, family, colleagues, anybody, I don't care.  You never know: maybe somebody out there in the world knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows get the picture.  If you decide that this isn't something you want to forward to anyone, that's fine too.  Instead smile at a stranger or say a kind word to somebody you pass everyday but never spoken with.  A little act of kindness may not seem like much to you, but it sure couldn't hurt anyone to put some positive energy into the universe, could it?  (This is where I would put an emoticon of a smiling face if I figure out how to do that here or if this was a video this would be the part where I would say "Thompson Out!" and drop the microphone on the floor and exit the frame stage right.)     

*According to Wikipedia, so take it with grain of salt. You know what I'm talking about here.