Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Should Write Down Memorable Moments

We're a fairly lazy society as far as technology has let us be, and that's ok.  So many memorable moments can be captured on video or a snapshot that there's no real reason to have to record the event in words.  You can simply look at the photo/video and the caption you put with it to remember the moment as if it just happened.  But not every important moment to you can be photographed or recorded on video.

Although I've had this feeling a few times before, this is the biggest one.

I just finished writing a novel.

Sure, I've got the editing, formatting, and publication headache lying in my immediate path, but I'm here to tell anybody who doesn't know that besides meeting the perfect partner or seeing your child(ren) born, there is no greater feeling than completing a book.

And that is especially true for writers like me who haven't hit it big.  Large names in the industry know they will finish.  Even the ones who are only moderately known are pulling in $10-20k advances.  The big stars, much more than that.  See, they know they will finish.  They not only have the monetary support and outside expectations blowing into their sails, but they have a confidence and really, a rush on it because as soon as they can finish one, they can get the next advance and start the royalties rolling in (if they are motivated by money at all).  At the very least, they know that this is what they do for a living, and that gives them the full confidence that they will finish each book.

But I have about 8 other unfinished works.  Moreover, a writer that hasn't "made it" yet always has to question whether or not his motivation will be destroyed by needs that dreams can't fill.  He has to wonder if he's wasting his time, and when you're writing a novel, you have a million chances to say, "I don't want to do this.  This is shit.  I'm done."

I've read a lot about this.  I, personally, have never really doubted that I was born to write, but from all I've read, the normal (I won't say average because there are few "average" writers in the world) writer often throws stories away, throws them in a desk and leaves them there forever or just stops writing them.  For many, they fear the embarrassment over their mistakes in content, form, structure, believability, or impact of a story.

Not me.

The reason is that I trust two things pretty well within myself--my ability to be a fairly accurate weather-vane for what is exciting or moving prose combined with my belief that I know people pretty well.  That's it.  I believe, correctly or not, that I have my finger on the heartbeat of human behavior and I believe that I accurately judge what will move a reader's heart and mind at a given time in our lives and that this knowledge will let me put down words that will be enjoyed by a reader. 

They say to write what you know.  Bullshit.  Write what you like.  Write what you would read--that's the best advice.  I write books that I literally read over and over.  Not because I'm proud of them or always looking for errors (no matter if they are good or bad) but because I am interested in the story.  Believe it or not, I write with a small feeling that the books I really want to read just haven't been published yet.  I write books that I know I will enjoy reading, even though I know that deep down, my true motivation comes from what happens when I imagine a reader taking in my story.  I can try to predict the impact and enjoyment, the fear or surprise that gives us that multifaceted human experience that we call life.  For reasons I don't understand and don't care if I ever understand, I like to give people something that their minds can enjoy eating and digesting.  I like to feed minds.  It's very fulfilling.  So what if mine is getting some food, too?

This is the night that I had never written about until now, even though it's my 4th published and 5th completed novel.  It feels like standing on top of a mountain that you fell off of fifty times before.  It feels like you've been wrestling a bear for six months and finally slammed his ass down on the mat and pinned him.  It feels good.  There is that knowledge that although now I do have some mucky work to do on the story, the story itself is complete (at least until the sequel).  It's done.  It's emerging on the other end of a war victorious.  It's telling your imagination, "Hey, kooky part of my brain, great effing job!  You did it.  You can rest, now.  You can go on vacation and re-charge--you earned it."

What a beautiful feeling.  This can't be captured with a photo or video--only writing, and so I did.


  1. Kevin, I enjoyed this post quite a bit (so much so I Tweeted it and G+'d it). And I agree: you should write down memorable moments for sure. And congratulations on finishing the novel!

    1. Thank you kindly. I didn't expect it to really be inspirational but I'm glad it was. I did have a feeling that novel writers could connect with the feeling I was trying to express (even though I didn't know if I was really expressing it the right way). Thank you for sharing it and thank you for reminding me that I need to write another post soon!