#IWSG: The First Book

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Insecure Writer's Support Group

On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (open to anyone and full of great resources and information for writers) post their answers to a monthly prompt on their blogs.

Authors benefit from getting an insightful prompt for generating more blog content, and IWSG links all respondents, which is a way for writers to discover each other. Pretty neat!

April 5 question – Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you’re at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I do indeed remember writing my first (and only) book-length work, Red Soil Through Our Fingers. The first draft was written during a July Camp NaNoWriMo in the middle of a summer off, back when I was teaching in Boston. Almost half of that first draft was written in a single weekend, on a mini writing retreat with my wife at the time and another couple. All four of us were then part of the same writer group.

We rented a (questionable) loft apartment above a brotastic surf shop in Wells Beach, took the Amtrak Downeaster up from Noath Station, ate labstah rolls, drank a case of Sam Summah, and wrote basically nonstop while alternating between loft and beach. I pounded out something like 28,000 words of an incredibly shitty first draft in three days, and finished the rest over the next 2-3 weeks. Revision and self-publication took another year.

I have never been able to replicate the experience. Red Soil remains my only completed novel.

At the time, I was wildly optimistic about turning out two more sequels and making it a trilogy, then moving on to a dozen or so other scifi ideas floating in my head. Alas, it was not to be. As I’ve described in other IWSG posts such as Getting Unstuck and The Circle Reforged, it took a long time to get through some Life Journey obstacles and find my way back to writing.

Where am I now? I’ve redefined writing success for myself and set goals that are more about consistency and small wins than pushing for big projects. I’m happy to have completed two short stories since the return, both of which are in circulation; I’ll feel a bit better when one is picked up, I’m sure! I also started (and have since put aside for now) a new scifi novel, and reformed / reconnected with a writing group.

I’ve spent the first few months of the new year focusing on “process work”, and feel as though I’m on the cusp of Something. After spending a lot of time this spring training for two marathons, I’m ready to dive into a new creative endeavor; that many miles doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing… or much of anything else really.

I’m optimistic I’ll be able to complete another novel… someday. Maybe I’ll try another NaNo this summer after the move West…

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  1. You sound like you’ve come up with some good strategies for writing your stories. It’s so easy for the rest our lives to get in the way of our writing lives, yet if we love writing that
    much we’ll do it no matter what. Keep on writin’!

    • Thanks Steven! It can be hard to carve out the time, but it’s always possible to do *something*. And just keeping the ball rolling in some way seems to help stave off the long droughts.

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