Today begins the seventh month of my year dedicated to writing. Starting with character and plot development and proceeding through writing and refinement, the first six produced editable drafts of three novels.
The first was the back-story of everyone’s favorite Air Force officer from The Anvil of the Craftsman entitled Operation Naji, followed by Boone Hildebrandt’s first and second titles Absinthe and Chocolate and The Bonus Pool. Together, these total a bit over 245,000 words, as each exceeds my personal goal of an 80,000-word piece. Writing the manuscript, however, is not the only step in publishing. It will be at least a year and a half until these three novels are edited to a standard of perfection, formatted and ready for sale.
An occupation which entails working a 40-hour week encompasses 2,080 hours over the 52 weeks of a year. Thus far during my Anno Scrittura I have put over 1,266 hours into Single Candle Press. This, for me at least, seems to be as much as is humanly possible.
The desire to write was always there from the time I understood the concept of fiction. The chance to write as a primary occupation was a long-held dream, one that I first articulated more than fourteen years ago. Career goals, financial realities and survival needs being what they are, it took that long to reach a point in life where this year at a keyboard was possible.
What do I do? That’s a simple enough question.
Fifty to sixty hours a week, I labor under the weight of the assumption that it matters if I live deliberately, love intensely, and suffer immensely. I meet people as I travel without moving, some of whom share my sentiments and others who do not. All of those I see come into this world for the very first time.
They are strong and weak, faithful and faithless, smart and stupid. They are capable of gut-wrenching decisions, either tragic and destructive, or selfless and noble. They have both broken my heart and inspired my soul beyond expression in words.
I send the results of many hundred of hours of work out onto a flood plain of maddeningly obscuring literary crap. It is populated by a clientele seemingly of the opinion that I should work for a year and a half on 80,000 word novels that they may either download for free or purchase for 99 cents. I do all this in the hope that someone, somewhere will find my message in a bottle. For those few, my words might become an edifying component of this peculiar experience that we call a life. Once in a while, my writing seems to do exactly that. The intermittently reinforcing nature of working in hope proves itself often enough to keep me going.
Along the way, I have been blessed to discover that I am far from alone, and there are others just like me. Perhaps the commonality of our experience is another subtle sign that something, some day, will indeed come of all this.
In all likelihood, however, my Year in the Chair will come to an end never to be repeated. If only a few people read what I have written, and the experience moves forward with them through their days to bear eternal dividends, then that will be enough. The work of God takes place in infinitesimally small increments, and every beach has a finite number of grains of sand. From such faith grows concepts such as Mission and Testimony, and from trials are produced souls who embrace Virtue.
Six months remain. We will do what we can with them.
Choose to Love, -DA