I used to think that writing was just a fun thing to do. Ever since I was a kid, I've enjoyed creative writing. But up until the last couple years, I never did much of it. I would do the odd journal, write a letter, or note to the odd person but writing was never part of my daily routine the way it is now.
I've realized that I've needed to make time to write. You might have something that you do in the morning that is part of your routine that helps you create energy for the rest of your day like working out, reading the paper, surfing the internet or other routines, but this is mine. It helps me sort out what's in my head, allows me to vent, but mostly it brings the creativity out of me for the rest of the day.
As most of you may know, I am just finishing the final part of my first novel. (It sounds so weird to say or read that) I say "first" novel because I haven't written one before, not because I am planning on writing a second one. It is very slow going, and it's almost like building a house all by yourself. It slowly gets bigger page by exhausting page, but at such a disenchanting pace.
I imagine that when I am finished, I will look back at the writing process and realize that I never really embraced it, and now it is over. It's one of those things you don't learn to appreciate until it's gone. But for the most part, I am really happy with how the book has taken shape. Of course there will be room for editing and critiquing, but for now, I am happy to be where I am in the process. I have never done this before, or taken any classes, and I am not a big reader, so I don’t really know what I am doing…
I always wondered how I was going to be a writer, when I don't like reading novels. Sounds a bit hypocritical, doesn't it? -"Go ahead and read my book, but reading isn't for me" I simply don't enjoy reading novels, and to tell you the truth, I probably wouldn't read my own if I didn't have to proof read and edit it.
But I think that I have been fortunate. This novel is based on a true story and I have stayed about 98% close to the storyline. It has some fascinating moments that took my breath away. It has elements such as love, true friendship, death, travel, youth, despair, chance encounters, life lessons, excitement, humour, and moments that you long to remember. Looking back, I can't believe these all happened to me all in one summer when I was in my 20's. -It seems like such a lifetime ago.
But that summer I backpacked through Europe by myself in 1998 has a story to tell. I think it has a message for each and every person on this earth. And it wasn't something I did either, so I could never take credit for this. It was something that happened to me, that changed the course of my life. I never looked at things the same way, and I'm glad I never have since.
So I would hope that by this time next week, I have completed the first draft! It looks like the book will be an easy read coming in under 200 pages. I'm presently at 105, and I'm guestimating that I have another 80 or so to go before I finish it, if I write 10 pages a day for the next week, it should be done.
I can't wait to share it with you. For those of you who have supported me on this, I can't thank you enough for it. To know that you have people interested and waiting for your first novel, and keep asking you about it, is something special that I have treasured.
I remember in my last year of high school, I wrote a stand-up comedy piece for my final year in Drama. I was an Arts Student at Cawthra Park Secondary School majoring in Drama, and we each had the entire year to write a play, screenplay, make a video or something large. Writing a stand-up routine was the easiest thing I thought I could do. It took me about 2 weeks to write it, and then another 3 weeks to memorize it backwards and forwards. I recited it in my sleep, when I woke up, on my way to the bus, and soon it was etched in my head so that I couldn't forget it.
The problem with this is, I had said it SO many times over and over, that it wasn't funny to me anymore. I hadn't shared it with ANYONE, because I was terrified that it just wasn't funny. So the day I had to give my routine, I had no idea how it was going to be received. They were either going to love me or hate me, and I had no idea which way this was going to go.
-This book is the exact same thing.
It could be brilliant, or it could be just a big pile of shit. The only thing is, I have written it like I am writing it. If I fail, it is because I wrote it like me, and not tried to steal a style from somebody else. If I succeed, I will stand on my own feet knowing that I was honest to myself.
Oh? The stand up comedy routine I wrote? How did I do? It's a funny story. The guy before me, Scott Sprague, did this AMAZING video homage of the Billy Joel song "Goodnight Saigon" and took clips from Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Apocalypse Now and pieced them together to make a video of that song.
It was the greatest thing I had ever seen…
It could've actually been the real video to that song. In fact, it made me cry, it was so touching. In fact, it made the entire class cry. -Not hard when you think that Scott and I were the only males in the class. But I was 2 people behind Scott in the rotation, and the 2 people behind him didn't show for class that day. So guess who had to give a stand up comedy routine after a Vietnam War homage to Billy Joel? Yep. -Me.
But I nailed it. And it was funny. So funny, that I got some feedback early and I really started to ham it up, and get into the delivery. But the end of my routine, I got a standing ovation. My teacher asked me to give that routine to other classes. And I wrote it all by myself, and didn't steal it from anyone.
So here's hoping that history repeats itself, 20 years later...