Not All Accomplishments Feel the Same: Life as a New Writer part 2

continued..

To explain my writing experience I have to go to the beginning:

Although I had wanted to be a writer I never consider myself a writer, so, I journaled. I journaled from the time I was 16, sometimes daily sometimes with an absence of many months. When I turned 27 I moved to Europe, and I took a journal along with me. I spent two years living abroad sometimes journaling sometimes not, but it was during my short life in Prague that I had faithfully journaled, recording every moment every day. I had captured nuances and conversations, in fact, it may have been the first time I wrote outside of myself.

When I reluctantly returned to the states, I found myself sitting on my aunt’s bed in her one bedroom apartment hiding out from a hot Colorado summer storm, flipping through the pages of my history in Prague, longingly reading over the transcripts, and it was at that moment (eleven years ago) that I realized I had a story. It wasn’t an amazing story. It wasn’t going to save lives or change the way people felt about the world, it was in the words of Sylvia Plath, a potboiler. Yet, to me, it was a necessary story and it wanted to be told. Right then and there on my aunt’s computer in two to three days I wrote the entire first draft except for the end. I didn’t want it to end how it really ended, but how did I turn fact into fiction? Hell, I didn’t even know how to write.

Soon after I traveled across the western United States with a man, his dog, his depressed mother and her bottle of vodka, but that is another story. I carried a printed copy of my endless manuscript along for the ride, but the electronic copy had been lost. I shoved my novel in a folder and ignored it. Two years later, I decided to return to school. I applied to a community college because I had left my previous University giving it a big, “fuck you I hate math”, and decided to walk sans diploma, but never mentioning to anyone that I hadn’t officially graduated. Now I was returning to math to grab that diploma that I chose to leave behind. While at the college I decided to take a fiction writing class for fun, but I found with the math and working I didn’t have the time or the energy to write, but being the crafty procrastinator that I am I cheated, sort of. I began to use excerpts from my novel as class assignments. When I transferred to a new state college to study English full-time, I found that this technique aka “strange cheating” assisted me through out my academic career.

It was during this time that I was sharing my novel with my classmates and pretending that it wasn’t a novel that I thought about finishing it, but it took me another three years before I sat down and retyped the entire thing out again, but still with out the needed ending. I had an incredible love hate relationship with my work. There were moments when I wanted to burn the thing and moments when I thought it was brilliant, but ultimately it was the characters that kept talking to me. They would interrupt my dreams and daily thoughts living out their lives as if I was still writing them. In 2007, seven years after I got my initial idea to write the book that I was now calling Zizkov, I started working at  a corporate office. It was the most secure job I had ever had in my life. I had actually made payments on my student loans, I could buy clothes, I could save money, but I didn’t write. I felt my experience of the artist fading into a nostalgic past. At this time my grandmother passed away and I received a small inheritance, and had saved enough money to quit my job for 3 months, and still live comfortably. Once and for all I was going to write this damn book. I was confident I would complete it in three months and then find another corporate job as a receptionist. I would feel accomplished and be safe and secure and sound. September 15th, 2008 was my first day as a full-time writer and it was also the day the stock market plummeted into the sea like a mobster in cement shoes.

Continue…

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