This isn’t a post. Not really. Instead, I am approaching the summit of a very long climb and feel the need to proclaim: I finally know where I’m going!
So often we approach journeys with the destination known and the route mapped out. In detail. Who would enter a car with a bunch of strangers headed god knows where?
I started a journey 15 years ago. In Galway, Ireland, I picked up a pen and started writing a story, ending unknown. I continued writing through Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Madrid, and Munich. As my body traveled and ate its way through Europe, my mind traveled through this story. Where did it end? Once upon a time, I believe it ended in a parking lot in Calgary. The story had ended and but the journey had just begun.
I gave the story to a friend. It was ill-received. Act Two of the journey began. This was when, in hindsight, my apprenticeship to the written word truly began. I learned how to hear constructive criticism and decipher it from opinion. I pulled apart my favourite novels, and the not-so-loved ones, to find out what made them tick. And how they ticked. For they each had their own pulse. This was a time, too, when I discovered my own pulse; my writing began to tick, it had a rhythm. I just needed to block out the gibberish and listen.
Act Three: There were times over the past 15 years that I felt this journey as a whole was a destination-less one. I gave up trying to find a meaning to the story. Sometimes I gave up writing, feeling tapped out. But, like most writers, the itch remained. I adjusted my objective: I focused on learning how to write. I gave up trying to market my manuscript and trying to mold it into something everyone would like. Instead, it became a tool: I would take it out every couple of years, read it, tinker with it, dream about it, then put it away again. Sometimes I could see where it lacked and corrected it. More often than not, I could sense the grain of something, but didn’t know how to bring it out. In learning how to bring out the characters, the story, the landscape, it became my story again.
I believe that at the end of any apprenticeship, you either resent or love your craft. Fifteen years later, in Act Four, I have respect for the written word and anyone who attempts to write a novel. It’s seriously hard work. I also have great respect for those who write short stories — I am not one of those people, so I bow down to those who are called to that format.
I have written well over a million words on this manuscript alone. I slayed some very dear darlings. I have reworked, sliced, slaughtered, and applied everything I’ve learned to make this the novel I know it to be. Because, finally, I believe I figured out what this bloody story is about. And, so, I feel confident enough to say:
Waiting for Fate will grace the aisles of Amazon in Spring/Summer 2015.
It is a New Adult/Young Adult novel that, the Muse willing, is the first of a trilogy. The journey will continue. I will continue to learn and grow. I might just start a new apprenticeship!
If you feel that you are destination-less or stuck, keep moving. If you are looking for meaning in your direction, place one foot in front of the other. If you feel you are going sideways or even backwards, it may be that the world has shifted slightly and that you are actually still moving forward. You won’t know this until you run into the door, and you won’t run into the door unless you keep moving.