Four years ago this Saturday was a typical triple-digit heat wave in Bakersfield. I opened the local fish-wrap and saw this article about a writer’s group meeting with an interesting speaker. If I wanted to go I had one hour before the meeting started. I’m not sure why I went.
It was like a repentant sinner hearing the singing from the big tent out in the field and the irresistible urge to go see what’s happening. I wanted somebody to lay hands on me and shout in my ear, “Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.”
Oh sure, everybody wants to write a book. Until they try. I had never tried.
And like everybody, I thought it might be something I’d like to do…someday.
When I retired eight years ago, I had a burning ambition to learn option trading. And I did. And I did OK. Sometimes a lot better than OK. Only one thing stopped me from continuing. A pretty big thing. A large blood-pressure reading and a sarcastic doctor.
(You know, Dan, if you made as much money as me you could say, Screw the Market!)
But, I was hooked on spending 15-18 hours a day in front of the computer screen trying to second-guess where the market would be in 60 or 90 days. I thought if I was going to replace this passion I needed a new one. I still had playing and writing music but that’s a weekend thing.
So, I went to this writer’s meeting and some young gal from L.A. stood in front of the audience and told everybody they could write a novel in 30 days. She said in November (40 days away) was a contest called NaNoWriMo and there would be over a quarter million folks trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Hopefully 50,000 words that made sense.
I went home and told my wife I was going to write a novel in November. She never flinched. She said, “You can do it. Go for it.”
I did. I was one of 20,000 people (less than 10%) who made it and won the challenge. I was hooked.
So every November for the last four years I wrote a novel in 30 days. This year I couldn’t wait till November and already wrote #5.
Does that mean they are any good? Hell No! Most of it was vomit. The better parts were shit.
But writing is really re-writing. So that first novel from four years ago I have re-written at least four times and today I’m proud to ask you to “PLEASE BUY MY NOVEL.”
I promise I won’t keep asking.