As the release of my first published work draws closer, I have been thinking about the events and course that got me here, for better or for worse. In case you care about them, here they are (part 1 | Part 2)
College was pretty easy. I went to a total party school on an athletic scholarship and pretty much partied all the time… No, wait, the other thing. I took on a pretty massive course load and barely had any time off. To blow off steam, I outlined a story about mining in asteroid belts, and corporations arming themselves to protect their interests. So I did what anyone else would do, and flew to my grandma’s on literally my last day of school (skipping graduation). I stayed there for a month and wrote an entire manuscript, but I’ll back to that in a second.
My Grandma lived in north Virginia, right by DC. There was an awesome Italian bakery with fantastic quiche right across the street, and I’d go over there and read the paper every morning. There was a Borders there, too, and James Gleick (one of my favorite non-fiction authors) did a reading there, and I got to talk Feynman, Newton and chaos with him. It was the first time I had been able to just write, and I fell in love with it.
Then I came home and went through that manuscript. The story I loved. I let other people read it. They loved it. I didn’t, however, love the tone of it. The writing was simply not mature. it wasn’t even bad, as far as I could tell, but it wasn’t something I would be proud to release. (if, indeed, it got to that point).
So I threw it away. I kept the story idea kicking around, and moved on from it (if you’ve been reading my rants from the last couple weeks, I implore more people to do the same). iw rote more, and felt the same way about them- good story, good writing, but just not… mature.
I moved, changed jobs, traveled, and did a lot of the things one does in their early and mid-twenties. One day, I got a call. It was an offer to work on a large, high-profile project. Essentially, career-wise, the opportunity I was looking for. Or so I thought.
I won’t name names here, because it would be pointless to do so, but suffice it to say, it was for a big company and was on the news more than once. Now, I like to think I am at least a good writer, but I know I’m a good engineer. So it was extremely frustrating, to say the least, as warning after warning of mine was ignored or swept to the side, only to come true. Not even a year into it, I wasn’t sleeping well, my fuse was short to non-existent and I was ready to explode.
I thought of that failed manuscript and how much I enjoyed creating it. I thought of the others since then, and my reason for not pursuing publishing them- they weren’t mature enough. I had always written to write (which is always the best reason to write). I had matured, certainly, in almost ten years since I wrote that, and I decided it was time to do more than just write.
I stayed up all night that night, outlining and writing. It gave me a peace that had been missing for the previous few months, and by the time it was time to go to that day job, my mind was made up. I wrote on the whiteboard next to my desk:
I will publish this book.
I will be successful.
That was the night of April 23. A year later, I get to write something new– mostly about the follow-up to that first release.
So, if this series of posts seems somewhat self-indulgent, maybe it is, but over that year (well, 51 weeks as of right now), I think about the people I’ve met, who have read it, supported me and given my indispensable feedback, advice and guidance- thank you. No matter what happens next, this is a dream come true for me. Thanks for helping me get here.