|Nothing can stop me.|
A couple of days ago, I was crying in front of the computer. That went on for a couple of days.
Today, I feel all right. Yesterday, I was thinking back to one or two good lines in my recent novel, and laughing my guts out as I drove to the smoke shack. It was manic to some degree.
Life has its ups and downs, and yet we can’t let that stop us. This profession can be an emotional roller-coaster ride at times. Our own personality comes into play as well.
When I was having a bad day, I was still clicking on them buttons, editing that book or story, publishing this or that, making up a cover or just checking the emails.
It seems to me that we are just monkeys sitting in a room full of typewriters hoping against all odds to write Shakespeare.
It’s like a big lab experiment, and some little grey aliens are trying to determine our level of intelligence or creativity. These things are sent to try us.
And try us they do.
A button lights up, and we have to hit it, or hit them in the proper combination. If we do that successfully enough, a bell sounds and a banana pops out of the feeding chute or something; and there you go.
You’re performed your task successfully. You’ve gotten your reward. It’s a kind of feedback loop.
The same holds true for when you’re feeling pretty good and would much rather be elsewhere.
We still want that banana, and so we hang in there!
Much of my job entails waiting, waiting, endless waiting, for some page or program simply to open up. It makes the skin crawl sometimes.
Sometimes it’s all I can do not to scream at the thing.
And I can’t do it, can I? Think of the neighbours. Think of the little grey men and women in their little white suits and their big butterfly nets…
I’m not even allowed to scream, ladies and gentlemen.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new mouse. The old one was atrocious for formatting even the shortest story.
I would practically be foaming at the mouth in frustration, (possibly even muttering dire imprecations), even suffering from some real pain, bearing in mind a compression fracture at T-6 vertebral level and the 2.5-cm benign tumor growing on there. I’m right-handed, the mouse is at a certain level, and as yet, I haven’t had time to whip up even the simplest prototype of an ergonomic writer’s cockpit, where all surfaces would be at the perfect height and angle to minimize writer-fatigue and injury. It just seems to cause pain in there, but then so did hammering shingles or pole-sanding a drywall ceiling. Things are better now.
No matter how good or how bad I might feel, the one thing that has gotten me this far is discipline.
It’s carried me a long way.
The truth is that I also had a goal.
Nothing was going to happen there unless I made it happen. This is a metaphor for all of life, as I am sure the reader would agree. Strange how the rest of my life has also gotten better.
Must be some kind of coincidence…right?
This is my younger self. That kid must have had some kind of faith, and he was as stubborn as all hell, as I recall. Some kind of faith that if he put in the time, the world, the fucking universe, would do the right thing...and it will. It will. Just you watch. You wait.
Just some fucking kid with a dream, ladies and gentlemen.
If it wasn['t for you, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be where I am today.
Our goal, as you may recall, was to achieve our financial independence. Perhaps even break our psychological and moral dependence.
Our goal was to learn how to write fiction. Our goal was to write and publish a book—even if it killed us.
Which it clearly hasn’t…and so we decided to keep going.
And we are in the process of succeeding, in spite of anything that the government, or society, or our fellow human beings can put in our way.
(That frickin’ Obama. Jeez! – ed.)
Let’s be honest: life happens to all of us.
We are succeeding, ladies and gentlemen, in spite of what our own perceptions also can (and do) put in our way.
The difference is effort.
No honest effort is truly wasted, no matter how long it takes to pay off.
It’s the same as any other job. The only major difference is that I am no longer on piecework for someone else. I will never be laid off or run out of work.
I create my own projects.
I decide what gets to happen next.
I am my own man, and answer to no one.
On a Saturday night, where one person might go out and another might stay home, watching TV with family and friends, my mind is buzzing with new ideas and new insights on this big old machine we call the internet.
The odds are that I am probably working, for working is my entertainment, I guess. I like it that much.
Every so often, we manage to crack one small variable in that larger personal algorithm, and then we see some real progress.
The learning curve doesn’t flatten out or anything like that—not unless you want it to.
But once you get a little ways up from the ground, you can see a long ways and everything down below takes on a whole new aspect.
It’s a pretty good feeling, as I’m sure the reader can imagine.
All it really takes is the discipline to keep at it.
And never underestimate a kid with a dream.
Here’s the latest in the Maintenon Mystery Series:
Architect of His Own Destruction, by Louis Shalako.