Just a Pause

Posted: September 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
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What I hate about blogging is that I’ve made myself this commitment to do it, and I feel so guilty when I don’t. It’s like showing up at church after a long sabbatical and just knowing that preacher’s talking straight at you. Self-imposed guilt, however, will not deter me here. So without further procrastination, I believe this post is long overdue.

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The deadline for book 3 of Swyftt and Ape’s adventures, The Ballad Nocturne, has a deadline of December 2014. Like my guilt, this is self-imposed. It’s a beautiful part of self-publishing: not having an editor to breathe down my neck. I’ve hit some snags in the writing of said book, but at this time, I’m still committed to that deadline.

For whatever reason, Book 3 has been very hard to write.

I think, at least in part, this has to do with the fact that I know people are looking forward to it. I hate using the word “fans” because I don’t want to be elevated in any way. I certainly won’t use the word “followers,” as I’m no Messiah. But for certainly the better, I have people that have read and enjoyed the first two books and eagerly await the third. If you’re one of those people, I can’t thank you enough for your support. Also, tell a few of your friends to pick up a copy 🙂

This book is the first major writing since being published. I wrote books 1 & 2, plus an unrelated book all prior to the public release of The Dark Communion. I wrote those books for me. I enjoyed every moment of the process. Book 3 has not been this way. It’s been a struggle. It’s laborious. I’ve finished chapter 7 and have a 4-page outline, but it’s an act of Congress to find the time to write, and whenever I do, it doesn’t flow. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I’m quite pleased with what is written so far, and I’m very excited about the novel as a whole. But it’s discouraging how stunted the growth has been.

I expressed this to a friend of mine and he said, just remember to write this book for you, not anyone else. It seemed easier said than done.

These last few weeks have been very busy, very stressful. I’ve worked tirelessly around the yard and in the house, not to mention my 40-hour day job. And when I say tirelessly, I do not mean it in the traditional sense, as in that I work and do not grow weary. I’m plenty weary. I’m exhausted. I want to sleep at every possible moment of the day, and I find that very inconvenient. Not to mention a bane on my writing process. I mean, working tirelessly as if I were trying to push a car in neutral up a hill tirelessly…as in, if it had no tires. It’s been very hot and humid here. It’s been physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing work.

All the while, that self-imposed guilt finds its way into my soul because I’m not writing as much as I feel like I should be in order to make the self-imposed deadline. That is, until last night. Last night, as I lie in bed, too tired to sleep, mind racing with a million thoughts on this book and several others, not to mention the work still needing to be completed, dinners for the rest of the week, the play my daughter’s in, and the video game my son and I are looking forward to which releases in 2 weeks. Last night, one simple thought broke through all the noise and stood there like a beacon of light with an accompaniment track of an angel choir: when was the last time you read a book?

I’ve read to my kids at night. I’ve read several books over the past weeks and months for research purposes. I read the bloody internet every fragging day. But I haven’t read for me. For fun.

So today, as I was heading out the door to work, I stopped by the bookshelf and selected a Lee Child book that I’ve yet to read. And on lunch today, I read. Slowly and enjoyably, I made it through the first chapter, and I felt electricity course through me. I thought, this is what writing is about.

I was turned on to Lee Child as an author because of a literary agent I met at the Killer Nashville mystery writing conference a few years ago. Sadly, I do not remember this agent’s name, but in the panel I attended, he kept saying how he thought James Patterson was a terrible writer. He was clearly not Patterson’s agent. Then later, once I had a chance to sit down with him and he read the first chapter of The Dark Communion, he told me what a good writer I was and that I must get the comparison all the time to Lee Child because my style reminded him so much of Child’s. I’d never heard of Child before, but I stopped on my way home and picked up Killing Floor. I was hooked. Lee Child is my favorite author for just straight-up action mystery stuff. There’s no paranormal spin to his books, but Jack Reacher’s an amazing character and his books never fail to deliver.

One chapter in to Worth Dying For by Lee Child and I started to come alive again. It’s like all of the stress and pressure, all of the anxiety about workloads and deadlines…it all just melted away. At the end of that chapter, I sat in silence and savored it, as if Beethoven had just composed a symphony beside me. I though, this is why I write. Lee Child loves Jack Reacher. He loves the stories that he tells involving Jack Reacher. He takes his time as he writes and enjoys the journey of writing. While he can be hard to be around sometimes, I do love Swyftt. I hope that comes through in the writing, and I hope someday that my books will inspire others to take up whatever art form inspires them to breathe and enjoy the ride of crafting.

I’ll take the week to enjoy and finish this book, and at the end of it, I’ll no doubt revisit Swyftt with a renewed vigor. Writing takes. It drains the battery. Reading a good book fills that battery up again. I forget that, time to time. I don’t know why.

I will conclude this by saying, thank you, Lee Child. God bless you.

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Comments
  1. Josh Ruff says:

    Great blog, great insight,. I’m early looking forward for what is to come!

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