So, let’s set the wayback machine to almost 10 years ago. Gosh! I can hardly believe it’s been that long! But, there it was, “Black Monday”. My last company went through the first ever massive layoffs in its history. That is a tale in and of itself, but I’m long past “whistle blowing”, so let’s just move on.
During the transition period (re: severance), I actively pursued new jobs. Problem was, the new jobs did not care for my activity. Granted, we were at the nadir of the Great Recession, but still. A fine, strapping man of my skills?
Anyhoo, no job offers ensued. Left with unlimited time and a steady income, I chose to maximize my two college degrees. I poured myself into the stock market, using my accounting and finance knowledge to make a life for myself.
And, I went back to my creative roots and began writing a book idea I was keen on. There are many posts on this blog about “What if?” and my writing formula. In shorthand, it came to this: I would take a small laptop with me to the beach and type for a couple of hours each morning.
Between my transitional lenses and the beach glare, the only thing clear to me was this thought: “I have no idea what I’m writing!”
The whole story can be found in this blog post. Variations on this tale are plentiful in the “writing” category (right side of the blog, scroll down). For the patient, you can follow my entire writing journey all the way from the beginning.
Once I got a rough draft of the book done, I learned it would behoove me to have a website. Many authors sell directly from their sites, but I never considered I would be that popular, so I just made it a location for news about my books.
And a blog. About something. The “smart” authors apparently make their blogs about books and writing. That sounded boring. Actually, I had no idea for a theme at all. Staring at the nicely designed website, I had a familiar thought. “I have no idea what I’m writing.”
So, I name the blog “Ramblings” and that is what I’ve been doing. Now over 1,200 posts, ranging from 300 to (spare us!) over 1,000 words. I’ll do the math for you, that’s the equivalent of 1-2 novels!
As I reached the end of my book, I realized I had not yet reached the end of my story. So, a book I wanted to write became a trilogy, “Jeremy Shuttle Adventures”. Bold title. Somewhat egotistical the idea that people would read one book from me, let alone three!
The thing is, I had a pretty clear idea how I wanted the story to end. And writing Book Two, “What Next?”, came pretty easily. But, near the end of that book, between self-induced pressure to release something and just bad writing, I ended the book in the middle of the tale.
Ugh. Now, faced with the daunting task of getting from point B to point C, once again, I was faced with my creative foe. The stark reality of “I have no idea what I’m writing.”
The final book in the trilogy, “What Now?”, suffers from some of that confusion. It’s got some funny bits and I think ends pretty solid, but, what the heck was I doing in the middle?
If I ever go back to those characters, I feel I should pull out Book Three and freshen it up. Clean up some dangling plot threads and tighten the connections that are already there. As it stands, it’s unfortunate that my last book feels like the least book in the trilogy.
I have picked up the pen (metaphorically) a couple of times on either new concepts or a continuation of the JSA characters. Each time, I am halted by the conviction that I have no idea what I’m writing.
Which, when you consider tomorrow’s “Creative Week” finale, could be quite a determinant on my future creative projects. Tune in then for, “Which road is less traveled?”