Monday, April 21, 2008

Big Life Decision #1

*noooo, I'm not attempting to compare myself to F.Scott Fitzgerald...psh... well... maybe his drinking, but certainly not his writing.


I've been talking, thinking, posting, dreaming, wondering, hoping and planning in the past few weeks about some projects that I've wanted to undertake. Most of them are far-fetched and some might even call them foolish, but none are impossible.


I'm in a place right now where I have no responsibility, no concept of time, and only the wind and my crazy, moody emotions can lead me. I have some very steady, very consistant bartending gigs to provide a living. I have a lot of daylight time on my hands. Most importantly, I'm starting to become absolutely fearless with how I want to live my life.


I've been toying with the idea to write seriously for awhile, but honestly, I just didn't think I had the chops for it. I have brief moments of bulletproof confidence that makes me think I can undertake the arduous task of writing a novel, but for the most part I just don't think I have the follow-thru or the talent to make it happen. Even bulletproof confidence tends to wilt at the grand idea of writing a book.... Even writing this post I'm having crazy confidence swings about whether or not I should post this idea.

Well, maybe I can do this and maybe I won't be able to finish and maybe I'll end up looking like a bigger idiot than I already do.....But I'm going to write a book.


The only reason I post this is because I need and want some accountability for this decision. I'm going to see this shit thru come hell or highwater and the small amount of people who read this blog (about 150 peeps a day) will be there to either see me succeed and produce a mediocre book, or fail and be like every other major idea most people will have in their lives.


I have a broad outline for what I want to do, and I have A LOT of ideas that need to be put on paper. The only thing I can say with confidence is that there will be a good amount of self-autobiographical material involved and a small mix of fiction. (Think Augusten Burroughs or James Frey. Although I'll admit that some of my work is made up unlike these dudes.) I just think its a matter of pushing my ass and using the daylight and nighttime hours I have to bang out the words and once that's done.... well, then I'll let the chips fall where they may.


My life is in constant flux, constantly changing, and constantly shocking me... I've gotten calls regarding jobs in DC recently, I've gotten other bartending gigs offered, old jobs have contacted me, I get ideas to do this and that and everything in between...everything is flying at warp speed....I'm excited about life and about this decision, and it has to start now. Something big is going to happen...this I know for a fact, and I also know that this feeling (of grandeur?) won't go away.


I'm resigned to the fact that whatever the end product is or even the mid-product, may not be a masterpiece, but it will be something that you can hold and something I can be proud of. I have the time and the energy now, and now is the best time to do anything...

Blog will continue as always and updates will follow frequently. Wish me luck or wish me failure, but whatever you do, don't bet against me :)

13 comments:

Brie said...

I wish you tons of fun with this. :) I hope you'll post or link to pieces of the work as you write it.

Please just don't use "thru" in lieu of "through" in the novel. ;) I might keel over and die. ;)

Brie said...

Also, if you like Fitzgerald, you may want to check out Dr. Bryant Mangum. He was one of my favorite professors at VCU and he specializes in Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

roosh said...

Nice. start with one hour a day six days a week and work yourself up as you get more into the project.

By the time it came to the final edit of my book, I was putting 3-4 hours a day into it.

Jack Goes Forth said...

thats what scares me. Reading about your ordeal doesn't really make me want to get started any sooner, but the fact the finished product was so good does.

I like the one hour a day idea. I was either going to use time or a certain a word count (600-1000 words a day) as my stopping point.

Brie- Unlike my blog I actually intend on editing and correcting misspellings, etc...

Anonymous said...

There is no way that this book gets made and that JGF is a bet.

William said...

Hello. I stumbled across your blog about two months ago and have been intrigued ever since. Lots of luck mate! Even when you think everything you've written in crap, keep trudging through. Sometimes you have to write 100 pages of crap to get to the 10 pages of gold.

Zosimus the Heathen said...

As another recent discoverer of your blog, let me just say, "Well done!" with regards to your goal of writing a book. I'm doing the same thing myself right now, and let's just say it's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride in my own case. I started my own work way back in 2000 (urk), and when I began, I was like a general leading an army into some country that he expected to subdue within a matter of months (it wasn't quite a case of "It'll all be over by Christmas!" but it was pretty close). Now, I feel like that same general stuck in that same country: bogged down in pointless battles, and trying to remember what the whole point of going in in the first place was! (Real-life analogies that spring readily to mind are the Germans in the Soviet Union during World War II, and the Soviets themselves in Afghanistan a few decades later.) Still, I'm persevering, though, because I know I'll get there in the end. Good luck with your own endeavour; hopefully you'll be a bit more disciplined than I've been so far!

Jack Goes Forth said...

thanks for the encouragement people. I'm going to update my progress soon. So far I'm agreeing with William...everything I type is crap, but I'm not gonna stop.

Oh and anonymous, why don't you reveal yourself? Then in 4-5 months I can shove those words down your throat.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, I must say I am jealous. Just make sure you follow through and complete it. Even if its not publish worthy, you will surely learn alot about yourself and how you think through the experience, and ultimately it will be worth it.
Good luck.

JM

hannahjustbreathe said...

Stumbled here from there (you know how that goes in blogland) and just had to comment on this post.

Two things:

Committing yourself to writing for one hour a day is much more effective than committing yourself to a word count. Writing is all about discipline--and, in my experience, it's easier (and more productive) to commit to a set time than a set word count.

Don't edit as you write! The editing/proofing/rewriting happens later, when you have everything you want to say on the page. Worrying about misspelling, editing, and the like will only stop the flow of your writing (within your one hour or from day to day). Besides, a good editor will iron out all that grammatical/spelling crap anyway.

Good luck!!

Jack Goes Forth said...

thanks JM. Oh it's going to followed through on and from what I'm learning about myself it's gonna be barely readable...

But my grandkids can read it and talk about how their grand dad was the biggest perv ever.

roosh said...

I stick with time instead of word count because sometimes you get to difficult parts or a section that needs research and your pace is 200 words an hour. Plus word count goals subconsciously pushes you for quantity instead of quality.

Zosimus the Heathen said...

Re the debate over time vs word count, quantity vs quality, I've changed my mind a few times over which approach I think is better myself. While 200 words of good quality material is certainly better than ten times that amount of filler (particularly if those 200 words help you smash through an impasse you've been finding yourself stuck at for far too long), I've also found, particularly when starting out, that aiming for a certain word count every day helps you settle into a useful rhythm. Of course, when the dreaded writer's block hits, you'll find that any amount of ANYTHING, no matter how shit it is, is better than nothing! Interestingly enough, some years back, I found I was able to get 2000 words of pretty decent prose down nearly every day; I really must try and become that productive again.