Book Progress Update

Remember when I challenged myself to finish a rough draft of a book by the end of this year? Well, I figured publishing progress updates would help me stick to that pledge.

So, here goes update #1:

I haven’t started it.

When’s Your Book Coming?

I had some friends over on New Year’s Eve, shortly after I started writing things on here again. (I refuse to say “blogging” even if that’s what this is.) They asked me why I had started again, why I stopped in the first place, and if I was going to write anything else.

I shrugged. I don’t know what this is. I don’t know what I’m doing with it. I’m not very good at committing to things, especially personal creative projects.

Then one of them looked at my bookshelf and noticed the debut novel of a friend of mine, The Dilettantes. He turned to me and asked, “When’s your book coming, Warren?”

I shrugged. I have only ever taken a crack at writing a book once, about five or six years ago. I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest and finished a roughly 50 page draft of a half-cooked idea. I sent it to my friend Michael who had already written a book, received his constructive criticism, revised the draft, and haven’t opened it since. I’m not sure why.

At the time, I remember thinking I had a decent idea for a book. Not that I would necessarily know it if I did. It seems like that when you do any kind of writing on a regular basis (especially if you do it as a job), people kind of expect you to eventually write a book of some kind. But it’s not an easy thing to do. At least I don’t think it is, I’ve never really tried it.

I think part of the problem is the writers expect so much of themselves that they think their first book will never be good enough. Actually, forget the first book. The first draft will never be good enough. We don’t stop to realize that maybe, just maybe the first one doesn’t have to be perfect. We do revisions on our writing all the time but somehow expect ourselves to write something on that scale perfectly on the first go. I mean, I’m almost certainly going to come back and find grammatical errors in this after I have posted it. I’m going to write those revisions. So why can’t I write a book?

Partly because I’m not sure what I would write about. I’m not sure I could pick up a five-year-old draft of a novel and continue working on it. I’m not sure it’s even a story I would want to finish. But I guess there’s really only one way to find out.

Maybe it’s all about holding yourself accountable? Let’s try that. I will finish a draft of a novel by the end of 2015. And it will be perfect.

I have no idea what I’m doing

I haven’t written a blog post like this in about four or five years. I used to write them all the time. They varied from embarrassing drunken confessionals in university to embarrassing sober holier-than-thou rants for the university newspaper. A lot of depth to my work, I know.

For the last five years, I’ve been making my living as a copywriter for advertising agencies. Something about having a day job where you write and/or think for eight plus hours a day makes you not want to rush back home to sit at your computer and write some more. Especially when you’re already getting paid to write, even if it is for an eye lash enhancing drug endorsed by Brooke Shields. Instead, I tried using my free time to try other things: photography, improv, stand up comedy, etc.

Those things were and continue to be great, but as cliched and corny as this sounds and reads, I felt like something was missing. Writing used to be something I always did when I wasn’t at school, when I wasn’t working a shit kitchen job, when I wasn’t trying to eke out a journalism career in Edmonton. It was always what I turned to at the end of the day. So I’m turning to it again.

I’m posting this today because god forbid someone thinks this is some kind of New Years resolution to get back to writing like I used to.

How fucking lame would that be?