In ten years I’ve written very little, not nearly as much as I should have. Yet I call myself an aspiring writer. But it says so on my Twitter profile! After all, if it says so on Twitter, then is must be true.
Ten years is a long, long time. Ten years is a childhood. It’s the length of time you might cherish a family pet, or own a reliable car. Ten years gave us Central Perk, The Rachel haircut, and all the other shenanigans on ‘Friends.’ Ten years is a good, hearty, old-fashioned DECADE.
Ten years that I really have to look back and reflect on all the writing I haven’t written.
At my age, Mortality has gently – but freakishly! – rested its hand on my shoulder. “Yo, buddy, I’m right behind you,” It whispers like a mob boss, “just so you know.” I should be scared shitless by this, but I know it’s nothing more than a nudge. A friendly reminder, if you will. This isn’t The Reaper, merely his Messenger. Your time is limited, make your mark while you still can.
I shouldn’t feel old at 38. I’m sure there are 50, 60 and 80-year olds who would be tickled to backhand me senseless, give me a firm what-for, then send me off with a piece of hard candy. Honestly, I don’t feel old (though my gout might disagree), but rather I feel I’ve…wasted a lot of time.
Here we are again, back to time. Ten years to be precise. Where are my novels? My files and files of short stories? Where’s the large, southern mahogany desk piled high to the ceiling with dusty galleys and hiding cats? How could I have been so careless as to let grand expanses of days, weeks, months and years go by without producing a shred of anything I might be happy with? I know writers who would have maimed small animals for even just a sliver of the time I wasted.
I was explaining this to my partner, Keith. He laughed at me. That doesn’t happen often; he’s usually laughing with me. “Just shut up and write. That simple.” Bitch. And not just that, but this post is beginning to reek of woe-is-me. That was so not my intent.
The past ten years has definitely taught me a lesson or two. I came to realize, with relief, that I’m not a great writer. By no means! But I’m a good writer, a fair writer. I’ve learned there’s more to just writing than typing. I learned a story should have a purpose. I learned writing a novel I’m happy with is mind-numbing work. And I’ve learned patience.
DUH! That’s what the past ten years has been all about – PATIENCE! And here it is I thought I’d been wasting time. Silly, Sean, self-doubt is for teenagers!