Idle Hands

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Once a torrent of activity, my hands have gone quiet. The fingers do not feel the flow of quicksilver to press the keys and forge new paths and stories. This is good. Writing is the act of forging, taking the lump of steel and hammering it until a final product shines through. That act – and all the hot sweat of work which accompanies it – is a marathon. After speaking to tri-athletes I understand a mote of what they go through. This process is a gratifying, self-destructive, whirlwind you cannot control. But that’s what true passion is – encapsulated insanity which burbels under the surface until we writers unleash it on the world.

No one in their right mind would sign up for something like this…and yet writers do.

We do this for various reasons, but most boil down to the desire to tell our own stories or ones which we believe are critical for our moment in time. We have no idea whether or not our stories will stick, let alone be published, but our inner desires are far too strong to keep the train from churning them out.

If writing and storytelling is our love, then communication must be our method. We are relationship builders, even if those relationships are fleeting. We want you to think you know us, yet most writers live lives of mystery and seclusion. The voices of the mob dim the cadre of whispers inside our own heads, and to those we must be true.

While my hands may be idle, be sure the devil’s workshop is open for business.

With the manuscript out in the wild I am left to my own devices, but that doesn’t mean I am not working toward the next goal, being published. This involves studying and learning, but more to the point, it involves failure. There isn’t a successful person alive who hasn’t failed. We’ve heard the tropes before, Michael Jordan’s practice routines, or J.K Rowling’s suffering before she broke through. All of them come down to the same thing – work. Success isn’t gifted on silver platters by white gloved waiters, it’s earned, and yet we seem to equate any success we see as a matter of timing or luck. Why? Because it is easier to believe someone scratched the lottery ticket of their life’s passion than worked hard for it. For if we accept they worked hard for it then we accept that we must do the same for ours – and humans by-and-large look for the path of least resistance.  

I am under no such delusions.

Even if the manuscript is good, my work on it is far from over. Edits and revisions will follow, including two scenes I already know must change. Beyond that I have a June live pitch and conference to prepare for. Unlike many writers, I am no introvert. I enjoy being around people. Talking with them, and learning what I can from their experiences. This doesn’t mean I won’t feel the bucket of panic water wash over my during the pitch session – I will – I just see it as a wonderful opportunity to infect my chosen target with the same sickness I’ve contracted.

 

Addendum:

I was asked this week to do better. The person who asked is someone I respect in the community and after some self-analysis I believe they are correct. To that end I’d like to commit some part of this weekly blog to creators and their projects. The elevation of creative voices is needed now more than ever, but at the same time I believe we need the same commitment to listen to what others have to say.

 

  • Apex Book Company (@apexbookcompany) has a wonderful selection of titles and a Patreon you can join me in supporting. They are very active on Twitter, plus backing them will get you access to the backer Discord server where we talk about all manner of oddities.
  • Looking for Leia (@lookingforleia) It’s no secret to anyone reading this blog I’m a massive Star Wars fan. Honestly it’s out of control. To that end, I backed the Looking for Leia project this week on Seed & Spark – The idea is great and from a fresh perspective, not to mention all the cool stuff they can send your way for contributing.
  • A fellow writer and Illinoisan Michael Corrlim (@mcoorlim) is in a bind. He wants to keep making awesome things but as a full-time writer with a busted laptop – he’s in a bind. If the words full-time writer don’t scare you then you don’t know how hard that life is, but as fate would have it he’s got a ton of great fiction to pick from when you give a little to his campaign (just a $500 goal)