When people think about the challenges writers face, they often think about finding good ideas or proofing for grammar. None of the How-To books deal with the things that matter most to me: finding the energy, the drive, and the passion to keep going, to keep going when all seems hopeless, to keep going when a thousand new books appear every day at Barnes & Nobles just to discourage you, to keep going when nobody you know takes your writing ambitions seriously.
I feel that I exist in two worlds: Aenya and Reality. When I was a kid, my teachers complained that I was always “in another world.” I got detentions in elementary school daily for daydreaming. As I got older, that “other world” started to fade. There’s an old movie called “Mazes and Monsters” about a kid (a young Tom Hanks) who loses his mind playing a tabletop RPG. The movie, I suppose, was meant to scare kids from using their imaginations—but I forever envied Hank’s delusion. Aside from my lovely wife and wonderful daughter, this world sucks. Real life, I realize, is different for each person. For me it is angry customers, taxes, bills, lease agreements, contracts, lawyers, accountants, and parents, all of whom want things from me. I am exhausted with problems and suffer chronic fatigue related to stress.
Recently my car engine exploded and it cost too much to fix. But I worry about buying another car. I need one to get to work, but will I be able to afford a car payment and send my daughter to a good school? Writing is important to me, but it is not urgent. IT can wait; bills can’t. But the further I delay from writing, the older and more stale the story becomes in my mind. When I started writing my book, Xandr was older than me, and now he is younger. Sometimes I am sick of Age of Aenya or The Dark Age of Enya. It’s like reading the same story over and over for ten years. How do you maintain the drive to keep writing despite so many more urgent problems, especially when the work only seems to matter to you? How-To Write books never deals with this stuff.
Now I have to shake off my fatigue, put the problems of real life out of my mind, and try and transport myself to that other world (hard to do at 35) so I can start chapter 10.