Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Year Ago...

... I chose to dream

In January of 2010, I had a profound conversation with my alter ego. (I do that often. What can I tell you?)

"Ara," I said, and I listened intently. "In 2009 you worked on the craft. You wrote short stories, studied the craft, and experimented--a lot. It's time, little brother. It's time to give it a shot again at writing a novel."

This was a hard conversation for me to have. My first attempt had been painful -- 5 years painful. And when I was "done" it really sucked eggs. Stinky eggs. The good news was that in the stink, I discovered that I had made all the classic mistakes. Only up from there, right?

The planning began. I was searching for that brilliant idea. That one idea that no one has thought of. I stopped getting hair cuts, and even lost  some of my youthful features (sort of like the picture below)

I wrote notes, index cards, mind maps, you name it--I did it! None of it resonated with me. I started to think that maybe I don't have anything worth telling.

Then in May, I went on a business trip to Paris--French Open--the idea was born.

Here's the thing: I dared to think, to believe, that I can write a complete story. A story that I wanted to read. A story that I wanted to know how it would end. In eight weeks I wrote 70k words. I took a break, then came back to it. Worked with really smart readers and by Nov 1st I was done. I had my first, complete, manuscript at 94k words. I did it. I did what had not been available to me for more years than I want to admit.

Now, it's being shopped around. More on this later.

While I waited on agents, I started another story. You see, I was worried. What if I only had one good story in me? I love doing this? But can I do another one?

On Dec 21st a new idea came. Thirty two days later, I was done with a YA Paranormal story, today sitting at 65k words (the sweet spot for this genre, I am told).

One year ago, I dreamt. One year later, I have two stories I am proud of. One that I'm pitching to agents, and another that I will begin revising in about two weeks.

This brings me to one of my favorite excerpts:

"But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
- W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

Dream it. 
Then Act on it. 
It's your dream. 
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 
Not even your alter ego.


  1. Awesome. It's amazing how much commitment matters. I can't tell you how many published authors I know who worked at it for years, but finally got published within a couple years of making a *concerted and serious* effort to write.

    Great work, and good luck!

  2. Thank you, Gwen. And I have to say, following other aspiring authors (twitter or blogs), and those who are about to release their first novels, makes the commitment not so crazy, or unreasonable.

  3. This is a fabulous post and just from reading it I can tell that you are totally going to make it. I'm so excited for your future success! :)

  4. Michael, thank you. I'm committed (not the asylum type... you know what I mean). And when you are committed, magic does happen. Thanks again!


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