I’m a 70+ year-old geek. I learn at least one new thing every day. My neurologist said, “That’s great. Keep doing what you’re doing. I have never had a patient who leveled out and stayed at such a good level as long as you have. I’m going to make you my poster boy for demonstrating the benefits of my treatment of Alzheimer’s.”
Most of all, to learn something each day, I read. And most of everything I read is on my laptop. I read to become aware of the world’s problems or events and to be ready if someone wants to talk about those events. I read Firefox’s Pocket Newsletter, but only the articles featuring newsworthy events, discoveries, or interesting topics. I don’t waste my time on opinions, illnesses, goals, and attitudes of people I have not, and probably never will meet. There are exceptions:
- Texas legislators,
- and Hollywood stars I admire.
I get three newsletter emails each day and I pay little attention to the politically bias articles. Sometimes, I get a chuckle out of comparing the differing reports on the same event. I don’t read the gossip or advertising posts.
I seem to have lost time to read fiction.
I seem to have lost time to read fiction, other than the speculative junk in the newsletters. Does anyone else remember the long-ago days when publishers gave you a notification when something is not confirmed or a matter of opinion? Back when there was no such thing as news that was fake.
I read textbooks relating to math, applied physics, and quantum physics—especially those books which relate to all three. Years ago, I dealt with the soft sciences: philosophy, psychology, social services, counseling, coaching, and psychiatry. I went so far as to get a Ph.D. in theology. While the Alzheimer’s affects my short-term memory, anything I study I seem to retain. Now I’m studying the art of writing.
I revel in the research on writing, editing, and submitting prose. The idea of writing a novel was consuming me. I have a story I want and must write. Writing Love the Weapon has already cured my nostalgic despondency.
My romance novel focuses on my life’s greatest desperation, involving PK, the novel’s heroine. Ever since my fiancé, PK, dumped me in the early ’70s, when I reminiscence I relive the anguish. I chastise myself for disappointing her. I daydream about her beauty, her charm, and her elegance. Although I severed all contact with her more than fifty years ago, I spend a lot of time thinking about her. I regret my narcissistic, egotistical mindset that forced her to rethink our wedding.
My first wife was a quick rebound from PK. I sincerely love my second, current and final wife. Neither of those two appear in my novel. I wholeheartedly love my wife, but there is still a hole in my soul and a love for PK. After I retired, I decided the best way to get over PK is to tell our story in a novel. I read everything I could find on the web about how to write a novel. I found I enjoy online research.
I also enjoyed the research on historic events occurring from 1960 to 1980, in which we were deeply surrounded. I wrote about some of those events and set in my hero’s participation, to give the writing some credence, some ring of truth. Some of the story’s chronicles are my experiences. Some of the book is autobiographical. The science fiction portions of the book result from my youthful daydreams and my educational studies. Where the romance novel differs from the actual vicissitudes of real life is a requisite of the novel’s genre. The first rough draft went through a lot of rewriting and re-arranging.
I became consumed with writing this novel.
I became consumed with writing this novel. The words rapidly flow through my fingers and onto the paper on the computer screen. I devoted entire days to the writing. By the time I finished the first rough draft, I expended more than sixty consecutive hours of writing plus a few hours of sleep, across just three days. Then came the tasks of creating or strengthening the character and story arcs, solidifying the scenes, and building the drama. The first draft had too much telling and not enough showing.
My emotions ran wild.
While writing, my emotions ran wild. I was angry and egocentric while describing life in my mother’s house. I was gloriously happy courting and proposing to PK. I fought tears while my hero was being told the engagement was off. Then I felt lonely and unwanted while my hero heedlessly walked through Vietnam. The dangers of war didn’t matter to me. I was a “hot dog” taking every opportunity to do battle, simply to occupy, or block my mind. I don’t remember experiencing fear. I became a danger to myself and my Green Beret team.
Every re-reading, editing, and rewriting invoked the same emotional responses as the first writing inflicted. Much too often I had to calm myself because my wife or my daughter walked into my home office.
Finally, I realized the novel has served its purpose.
Finally, during the third rough draft, I realized the novel has served its purpose. It has cured my misery. I remember PK is a part of my history and my present is even more blessed because I experienced that relationship. Now I want to finish and publish Love the Weapon, just for the accomplishment of the goal of becoming a writer. I’m now certain that I want to be a writer.
I stumbled across the concept of becoming a freelance writer. I read and copy a lot of articles and instructions on writing blogs, articles, how-to guides, emails, e-books, stories, and novels. When I discovered AWAI (the American Writers and Artists Institute), I felt I found a home. I have yet to make a personal connection at AWAI, but AWAI’s emails, blogs, and articles give me a missing sense of warm fellowship. I devoted my mornings to learning the art, and the process of writing, and I allocated the afternoons to the novel.
I decided I want a career in online research and Web Writing. I put my novel on hold while I learned many things from the blogs and articles found in AWAI’s free lessons. Even the technical aspects of keywords, SEO (search engine optimization), and website auditing excited me.
Then I found AWAI’s Wealthy Web Writer training. For a low-cost membership, the training, in twelve steps, gives access to “Wealthy Web Writer’s resources to launch, expand, or grow your freelance web-writing business.” I knew the hype of becoming rich was just inducement, but I don’t care how little the income might be. I just want to show my wife and daughter (a 42-year-old whose home we share) that I can do it. I just want to be published. Not like the poetry I published in my twenties, not like my community theater scripts produced in my thirties, not like the email Bible Studies I send, and not like the hundreds of technical documents I authored, but writing which earns me the title of “author.”
Each of the AWAI twelve steps involves dozens of articles. I don’t just read the articles, I study them and place notes into computer files for later reference. I already have a huge digital library stored in the catalog “C_WRITING Resources.” I devoted all of my time to those lessons. So, the novel has spent the last three months in the hold status. I found more resources when I joined the Professional Writers Alliance. My library has over 600 files in more than 100 catalog folders. I studied each of those 600 articles and I’m only in step eight of those Wealthy Web Writer’s steps, out of twelve steps. My confidence has grown to the point I’m thinking of stopping the study and taking the plunge to pitch to prospective clients.
This article has re-awaken the desire to finish the novel.
This article has re-awaken the desire to finish the novel. So, I’ve returned to allocating time before 6:00 pm each day to writing and after 6:00 pm to completing the novel. I expect this new allocation of time to delay the accomplishment of becoming a “Wealthy Web Writer.” But I eagerly anticipate the two novels that will follow “Love the Weapon.” I have already written some scenes and notes on book to and book three.
I am now editing chapter 15 of the book’s 21 chapters, in its third revision. Editing takes a great deal more work and time than writing the story. I’ve written some scenes, defined some characters, and taken plot notes for the second and third novels to come in this series. Writing this article brought to mind a fourth book for the series.
I have a lot to cherish from my journey through writing Love the Weapon.
I no longer grieve over the loss of PK. In fact, I cherish the time that I spent with PK. PK, too, was a joyous gift from God that fulfilled her divine purpose in my life and then went on to bless another man. Not only have I realized the blessing in the short time God gave me PK’s attention, but God has shown me His blessings that follow her – those blessings that would not have occurred had I taken the path written in the novel’s happy-ever-after-ending. I have a lot to cherish from my journey through the production of Love the Weapon.