Have you ever felt like you're living a double life? Like you're Atlas balancing not one but two worlds on your shoulders? (Geminis need not comment) Well, one of my world's came crashing down on Tuesday as I returned home to find my third official rejection letter for my novel One Blood. The agent in question was gracious enough to give me some real feedback, which is invaluable to the editing process. But you still have to find the strength to pick yourself back up.
Since completing my first novel last year and embarking on the perilous journey to becoming a published author, I feel a lot like Neo in the Matrix. Like I'm spending my days at work and nights at home searching for something. It's like a part of me is completely unsatisfied with my life.
You know the quote "be careful what you wish for"? Well this is the war going on inside me right now.
A part of me is looking forward to ditching my corporate life and venturing into the nomadic life of the successful novelist. Never knowing what city I'll be in next, meeting and greeting thousands of strangers, discussing the merits of mine and other literature. But this is not the real life of a writer. The life of a successful writer is a life of solitude broken up by months of living on the road. The life of an up and coming wirter is about solitude and rejection.
Imagine this scenario: You wake up in the morning, whenever you want. Shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed (or not). Grab your coffee or tea or cigarretes or Jim Beam (whatever gets your mind in the right mode) and settle in front of the old laptop, or desktop, or legal pads, or typewriter (if you're old school like that), and you begin to write. And you do that for the next five or six hours. Eat. Write some more. Sleep. Wake up in the middle of the night and jot down new ideas in your idea book on your nightstand. And you repeat this process for as long as it takes until your first draft is completed. In my case 7 years.
But thats the problem. I have no idea how to live the life of a writer. The above described scenario does not apply to me. I began my first novel in January of 2000 while living in Tallahassee, FL. At the time I was a full time student pursuing my MBA, so you can imagine how much writing I got done. The novel traveled with my from residences in Sao Paulo, Brazil back to Tallahassee, to Philadelphia, PA to Yardley, PA , to Woodbridge, NJ and went with me on vacations to Lousiana, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Baraceçaba, Recife, Salvador (in Brazil). I think I have an issue with consistency and definite issues with discipline. Does that mean that I'm doomed to failure? Could be.
I understand the value of writer discipline completely. My most productive periods as a writer have been those where I have dedicated myself to a daily routine of writing. Doing this makes me feel like a real writer. But put me in a circle of real writer's and you will quickly see the odd man out. Because writing for me has always bee the other thing that I do. The other side of the slash e.g. student/writer or business unit director/writer. I sometimes wonder if to be published, will I have to eradicate the left side of the slash...
But you can be the judge. I've posted some two chapters of my novel on Urbis (www.urbis.com), just search under my name. Tell me if I've got what it takes to be a real wirter or not.
"There's nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself."
-James Lee Burke-