Yesterday, I reposted a small excerpt from Gemini’s “Penny For Your Thoughts” on my writing instagram, @wmoviegrapevine. Since I am currently occupied trying to get an academic journal article published, I have been doing less writing for my second novel. However, I am also at a roadblock for my second novel, in terms of where to continue with the story. I have about 50,000 words at the moment but need another 30,000 for the novel to be an acceptable length for science-fiction. As I tried to brainstorm and dig myself out of this rut, my mind drifted back to what motivated me to write initially. I have been writing fiction since I was ten (not saying it was good, or is good), but I started taking writing much more seriously during Grade 12 in my writer’s craft class.
By this time I had finished a rough draft of my first novel, Elseworld, but had it sitting for years: not editing, or trying to get it published. My teacher shared def jam poetry with us and I began working on Elseworld again the next day.
This is the first piece I can remember seeing, and many more came after that. We were seeing people share brilliant work in front of an audience, but not for any real fame or glamour. Their lyrics aren’t in a song playing on 106& Park. They did it for the love of the craft. This is one of the most important lessons I keep coming back to. Sometimes it is discouraging to keep writing. After years of trying I have no published work and for all I know, 0 people read my average blog post. However, I realize I have to keep writing for myself. To maintain and sharpen my skills. To keep creative juices flowing and maybe even to show a prospective publisher that I am not just another person who wants to be a writer but doesn’t want to put the work in.
That was my attitude when I convinced my mom to buy me a guitar when I was in grade eight. I started listening to rock music religiously that year, Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Kaiser Chiefs etc. I wanted to be like the people on my ipod (2005, I’m getting old). Once I got the guitar I had no patience to learn slowly. I thought I’d pick it up and be playing solos in a few weeks. Frankly, I was a stupid kid seeking glory without hard work. Now, I have picked up the guitar again and still struggle to practice sometimes. Lessons are probably one of the only things pushing me to practice at the moment, since I want to show improvement when I go in week after week. Of course, my mom does not want me to sell the guitar, and I feel like that would be a betrayal at this point. I made my bed and I must now lie in it, pushing myself to tackle a chore.
I may be struggling to finish my second book now, but I know I’ll never struggle like I have with the guitar. Writing can be a lot to manage at times, but I do love the thrill of creating my characters, my world and pulling the strings. I do hope that I can one day make a living doing this, and I will work towards that goal. If not, I’ll keep doing it anyway. I might be the person in the retirement home telling nurses about his dreams, but I know I will never regret the pursuit of my dream.