Sup, friend!? That was a pretty nice Memorial Day weekend, wasn’t it? Yes, I know you were technically “working” but, really, how much work is it to cover a sailing event on Nantucket? No, you’re right; it is kind of a pain to write things down longhand, especially when it’s windy. I think that’s valid. Totally.
Anyway, now that you’re (relatively) tan and kind of
hungover energized, I thought I would take this opportunity to offer you some advice that you can utilize over the next few weeks: Finish your %$#@ book, already.
I know that there is always going to be a down period following an intense bit of writing. And yes, I know that you spent those last few weeks of your MFA life drowning in a seemingly ne’er ending cycle of thesis re-writes, Robert’s American Gourmet Chaos Snack Mix and spur-of-the-moment sneaker purchases from stores in Sweden. But that was like over a month ago, right? And it doesn’t seem like you have THAT much to do to finish. Start the book with a fresh chapter. Make the narrator do more rather than just narrate. Delete chapters 3 and 4. Get something romantic going in the middle with that girl who started out as peripheral character until everyone seemed to dig her. If the movie Romancing The Stone taught me anything, it’s that people love romance! And hard-to-get stones, apparently. But now I’ve lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh yes: just start writing again.
There are a million excuses for you to put this off, some of them even valid. But I’ll tell you a little story, Kevin. Writing a book is like training for a marathon. What’s that? No, no, I’ve never run a marathon. Bad lower back. I don’t see why that matters. The point is this: it’s very hard to begin. You think, “Oh God, how could anyone ever run 26 miles? I can’t even name things that are 26 miles away, let alone run that far. Plus I have this bad lower back from playing soccer in college.” But then you say, “You know what? Maybe today I’ll run a two miles. Just two miles.” And then you run it and it wasn’t so bad, so you begin to do a little more and a little more, until all of a sudden you’re running 13 miles a day and not even blinking.
The same thing happens with writing a book. You say, “Oh ew. How can anyone even come up with an idea that takes place over 300 pages? I don’t even want to read 300 pages. And I’m a professional writer. I’m going to pout then get an Apple-Mango smoothie.”
But then you start to write a few pages or a morsel of an idea, and next thing you know, you’re doing five pages a day, and then you have something that kind of looks like a book, assuming you would just get rid of chapters 3 and 4.
The key, though, is to see it through. The more time you spend away, the less easy it is to return to the point where you feel comfortable. Like running. Take a month off, then try and run 13 miles. Guaranteed stress fracture. Lose-lose.
So Kev, please. Just finish the book. Finish it. Finish. It. Then I promise I’ll stop waking you up in the middle of the night and making you feel guilty. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch Lost online. I would invite you to join me, but I think you have something to do.
PS- Here’s the video California Love from the magical year of 1996 (new time period!). Tupac and Dr. Dre know how to keep it rocking, probably bc they’re in the Sunshine state where the bomb ass hymns be.