– by Albert Berkshire (the real one)
You know the expression – “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Yeah. I guess. But I also value the pee stops. Sure, the journey is half the fun, but getting to the finish line is pretty sweet, too.
From March 30 to April 29, 2012 (yes, I guess that was just the other day) I was engrossed in a project with a fellow writer, a colleague, a friend. Tommie Lee (no, not that one, the real one) is working on his fourth novel; I, on my first. The project was called 30 In 30. Our goal was to each add 30,000 words to our projects over 30 days. Some days were a struggle. Some days it just flowed. Some days I needed more and more wine. Some days I just needed to have a conversation, and then the words poured out of me. Some days I just needed to be left alone. Some days I completely understood how writers, authors, could become antisocial, brooding alcoholics. Some days I loved what I wrote. Some days I didn’t think I would ever make any progress.
In the end, we each added around 32,000 words. We succeeded in our goals.
The book isn’t done. I probably have another 20,000-30,000 words that need to be written. I tell you the word count, because based on they story so far – the story that is nothing like it was when I started – I know there is still a lot of ground to cover. And after twisting and turning through character development, new character introductions, and bizarre twists that even I, as the author, didn’t see coming, I am finally enjoying the process.
Writing a book is a lot of work. A LOT of work. But it is good work.
Over the course of my professional career, in radio and advertising, I changed my title many times. I was once a “radio personality”, a “presenter”, a “creative writer”, a “producer”, and for some time, a “writer, producer, voice actor”. I keep trying to simplify, or fine-tune my self-description. In all honestly, I would simply like to be known as “author”. That’s the end game. That’s the resolution. That’s the dénouement.
When I tell people I am a writer, they often ask me what I write. Thing is, I am a sarcastic bastard. I have often responded, mostly out of frustration with having to explain my career – the one that hasn’t yet produced a complete novel – with “Well, I like to start with words, then sentences, and if I get on a good roll, I feel I can step it up to paragraphs.” I’m often met with a blank stare. Deserving, I am sure.
The other challenge I face, and forgive me if I have shared this before, is the typical response to the revelation, “I’m a writer”. That usually gets me a “Oh. You should write a book.” Yes. I should. I am trying. Believe me, I am trying.
Here’s the thing: A writer writes a story when the writer has a story. No sooner. No later. No pressure can create it. No pressure can stop it. It is either there, or it is not. There is no middle ground. And if there is middle ground, I sure want to know where that is so I can plant my flag and call it home.
Actually, check that. It sounds like a mediocre compromise. I’m not interested. I’d rather have the extreme highs and extreme lows of storytelling – and believe me, the highs are really high, and the lows are really low. My friends know all about it. I am either excited to talk about my work, or I want to erase any memory of ever having mentioned what this is about.
Today, is a good day. So let me tempt you with this notion: Someone loves. Someone lives. Someone tells the story. Someone better buy this thing…because I already have the characters and outline for my second novel. Funny how that happens.
This journey has been interesting. It has taught me a lot about my day job – perhaps the only reason you read this Blog. There are times I wanted to throw it all away and start over. But I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into it, and it will pay off – either as a successful novel, or a complete project that bleeds bliss. It’s like your marketing. You put a lot of time and effort into building your brand (or having my company, Great Creative.com, do it for you), and then you just have to be patient.
Sooner or later, when everyone is ready, they are going to want what you have. You just have to be diligent, be focused, and be original.
There’s a character in my novel who is willing to wait forever for something. But he never focuses on the waiting, he only focuses the benefit of the wait.
The benefit, in the end, is the one thing you (or he) want more than anything.
For what are you waiting?
Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He just wants to be an author, which is why he’s so focused on finishing this novel. Currently, he lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. He’s waiting for something, and it is definitely worth it. Patience and determination has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.