‘I’m now finished with “Back outta the World” and feel good about it. I don’t really mean I feel great about the stuff on the pages but rather how it got there. Plus, I had the thought towards the end that I really learned how to write – why then and there?- About 90 pages in? It was more than a decision to move away from the passive voice of Jay. Maybe I hit my 10,000 hours? Who knows? Just noted it for the record”
Journal entry from Sunday March 29, 2020 5:59 a.m.
No cap and gown
So there you have it. No diploma, certificate, accreditation, grade or outside validation in any way shape or form. In fact as I searched the couple journals I thought this entry originated from, I told myself it would sound more meaningful when I did find it and read it. The entry is fairly mundane. ‘Just the facts, mam” .
There is no entry from the previous days or weeks that hinted or foreshadowed the above entry. I read it again just now and doubt if you all will be convinced all that much that I believe every syllable, that I believe that the writing I have been doing since that entry on “Back outta the World”- BotW- has been something that I see as writing filled with opportunities to make the novel more interesting, engaging, intriguing and entertaining for the readers. And, just as important to me, that the writing is staying as true to my unique self as my dental records would be in case of a grisly accident involving, perhaps, a flaming sword.
As it turned out, the key words in the entry are not even words. Words are the thing in writing. Numbers are the thing in math. Yet, on the momentous occasion of my realization that I feel like I learned how to write, specifically novels, it is the numbers that tell the story. Oh well, too late for a career change.
10,000 hours later
The 10,000 reference is from Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” theory. It can get complicated but means to me simply, one must put in the time.
The second number and the more personal and equally significant to me, is the year 2020. I wrote the first draft, or version, of BotW during the early 90’s while living in Chicago and working at an early Starbucks. This is one of the story lines that make up my first published novel, Tripio. More math will let one come to the conclusion that BotW was started before Tripio and will be published after. So, am I saying that I published Tripio AFTER learning how to write? Well, yes, in a way. But only because I had to. “Those are the facts, mam,”
A writing formula Time + Intention + novels
Sorry if this is starting to sound like a word problem in math. Yet, I wrote and published Tripio because of BotW. There could be not be one without the other -as books- in the journey of my life. I had to write Tripio to get to my 10,000 hours, to put in the time, to get back to Back outta the World, started over 20 years earlier. Make no mistake, Tripio is certainly worth buying and reading- it is about as honest a book a one will find out there- but I was still learning to write while writing it.
Again, where is the proof, the diploma, the certificate that proves that? There aint’ one. But after putting in the time, I know it to be true, I know the truth about BotW. Which to me make both books, and any future ones, worth writing and reading. Put in the intentional time (my phrase, not Malcolm’s) and when the time comes, you and only you will know when your own books will tell the truth back to you.
10,000 hours and counting
More facts, mam. This is a repost from early 2020. I am currently working to transform a series of short stories entitled Altonstreet and Philpatrick into a novel. In these stories I see more opportunity for improvement. Since this original post I have added a thousand hours or so to the 10,000 noted earlier. That must mean A & P is going to be better than both Tripio and Botw. I am not sure. It’s going to be up to you to do the math when you read them.
“Time + intention = novel“