One of my morning stops around the web is a particular writer whose work has helped me to the point where I consider him a mentor. When he writes about writing, I pay attention.
More often than not, he just writes about what project(s) he’s currently working on. Some days it feels more or less like advertising or promotion. On the other hand, I’m kind of interested: So this is what a prolific full-time writer does, day to day. It’s instructional, although not as instructional as when he writes something specifically about doing the craft or running a writer’s business.
I have had nothing approaching the long- or even short-term success that this writer has had, so I feel self-conscious when I update my projects here. What does anyone care about my comparatively meager efforts? If anything I’m the bad example to counter his constant activity.
For example: A few months ago I celebrated passing the 10,000-word mark on Jeep Thompson and The Lost Prince of Venus, a novella or novel of at least 40,000 words that I have promised you and myself and God will be published this year. I’m only now closing in on 15,000 words, including one stretch in March where Jeep didn’t move for more than a month. Five thousand words is a good weekend for my mentor.
OK, he’s full time in the business, and I’m back to 40 hours a week at the day job after a 2020 that saw the hours cut back to 22 for quite some time. I have less time for writing these days. And I did get a handful of books out the door last year.
I’m almost ready to release Full, my next collection of thoughts and poems and random fragments to join A Bridge at Crossroads, How to Play a Blue Guitar and Gladness is Contagious on the shelf. I said a couple of weeks ago it may be out there by June 1, and it may. I am flirting with making an audiobook of it and waiting to release the ebook, paperback and audiobook all at once, except I couldn’t do that by June 1 so it feels like stalling.
This is the 294th consecutive day that I’ve posted something on the blog, and I expect to complete a full year of daily posting on July 31, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Don’t get me started on my mentor; his daily streak is in five figures, and I have two years of this before I even hit four figures.
This post is a fine example of how comparison-itis works. Full will be the 16th book currently in print-on-demand that I have written or edited. Jeep is already the longest bit of fiction that I’ve written in almost a decade. And I never, ever blogged as many as 294 days in a row. When I compare myself to my mentor, I’m a very small fish in a very big pond, actually an ocean. When I rightly compare myself to myself, I’m wide-open floodgates.
I’m not that guy. I’m this one. I’m a writer, and I’m writing. As the mentor at the top of my list, Ray Bradbury, said: “You only fail if you stop writing.” It’s a good thing I taped that sentence to my computer.
See y’all tomorrow. And watch for my next book.