Blog No. 131
I know I’ve said it before, but out of high school I went into electrical engineering. I intended to get a good paying job and spend my free time writing. I had only finished one or two short stories at that time, but I was sure that all I needed to do was secure my future and the rest would fall into place. That didn’t happen and after a year and a half I was struggling to pass most of my classes. I spoke with a few classmates who were in the same boat and looking to jump ship and realized I didn’t have to go down with the ship either. I finished the semester (barely passing) and after a terrifying conversation with my parents, I went over to journalism. That venture also ended in disappointment, but through both failures I learned a lot (and made a few friends that, if I were able to do it differently, I would probably stay the course in fear of losing them). I failed on my first novel too, and like those programs, I learned a lot, even if I didn’t get out of it what I hoped.
So far on my current novel, I have been writing in spurts of 10 000 words. I’ve done this twice and am now sitting just over 20 000 total. That’s a good start (and close to the top number I’ve been able to reach in my short career) but when those words all come in a flurry of writing with large gaps between, the positive becomes a negative. The problem is, I get excited, write a bunch, push hard to reach a goal, and burn out. The balance between pushing through and getting to the good stuff (in my writing) and going too far and falling into garbage, is tough. My issue is consistency, scheduling and focus.
Back in my engineering days, I had a particular early morning class that was a dreadful struggle. I was a young man with limited freedom and an expendable income. My nights were late and my dedication to work was lacking. Those early mornings were filled with daydreaming and drooping eyelids. I did my best to stay awake and pay attention, but it was a struggle. I like to sit in the same place when I can and in front of my usual seat was an old overhead projector. I would prop my head in my hands and blink heavily, trying to stay awake, and one day my fuzzy gaze landed on the projector’s Focus Knob. It was like a message left to me by my future self (or aliens or something else Sci-Fi). Whenever I was drifting, I would find the secret message and shake my head to chase the sleep away.
It didn’t last long. I tried to try during those classes, but I left the program a slacker. Moving to Journalism was a big step. I started learning how to do my homework, finding my weak spots and how to overcome them. I managed a few ‘A’ grades and keep focused. When I went to University, I stepped up yet again, maintain a high average (scoring a few scholarships). But that ride ended in disappointment too. But it all led me to the place I am now. I have the knowledge, experience, and wisdom from those times and I’m working on what I wanted to do in the first place. It’s just hard to find that focus some days. I’m better when I’m working steadily (strangely a lot of people get more done when they are more busy) but it’s tough to work nine hour (or more) days and head out to write after. On those free days, I have so much to catch up on (chores, responsibilities, and such) that writing takes a back seat. Sadly those tasks tend to take a back seat to “I have time, I’ll do it later.” Still, 20 000 words isn’t nothing. It’s a start. I just have to keep it going. Maybe 1000 words at a time rather than those 10 000 word jumps.
Novel: The Third Map Maker (working title)
Words: 20 102