How Long is the Writing Life?

How Long is the Writing Life?

As a fifty-(inaudible due to throat clearing)-year-old who’s recently completed the first draft of my manuscript, I do sometimes think (especially when reading about the latest 20- or 30-something best seller list debut author), “How many stories are in me? Will I be granted the time to write them all?”

Then again, who among even the fresh-faced youngsters getting multi-book deals and sweet advances is guaranteed a long life … or even a long writing life? The landscape is littered with literary one-hit wonders. Some really did die before they could publish another book. Some disliked the publicity and attention that came with their success and stepped away from the typewriter. Perhaps for others, it was the time and distance between published works that made the whole endeavor financially unsustainable. Some may have simply lost their writing mojo or descended into substance abuse, but for whatever reason were never heard from again.

What message can we take away from all this except that there are no guarantees in life anyway, so what the hell? You might as well keep writing.

So, do I have a single novel inside? A trilogy, perhaps? Or am I a late-blooming Sue Grafton champing at the bit?

The only answer, of course, is to keep writing the best that is in me. The Universe has its plan; so do I. Write. And write some more. Write as long as there are stories fighting to get out into the world. For they will be here long after I take my leave.

Besides, there are plenty of role models about whom the adage “It’s never too late!” was surely written. I’ll have what they’re having.

 

Taking Stock in the New Year

Taking Stock in the New Year

I had every intention of finishing my manuscript in 2015. After all, when I made the decision to dedicate myself to writing full-time, ten months still remained in the new year.

And yet here I sit, at the beginning of 2016, with a draft that is five, maybe six, chapters shy of being a completed story. The bones — and then some — are all there. The beginning has been polished to a fare-thee-well. The climactic scene, in one final twist of (what I hope is) shock and irony, is followed by a logical and satisfying denouement. Between the two lie twists and turns, subplots, clues, and red herrings. What’s missing are the last bits of connective tissue that will tie all that bone and flesh together into the recognizable shape that is a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT.

Somewhere along the way I realized it. I should have (more…)