Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stumbling To The Finish Line

When I finished the novel version of Delta Legend and uploaded it as an eBook, I felt like I'd just scored the winning touchdown. There was a dramatic spiking of the ball followed by a unapologetic end zone dance and plenty of full-body high-fiving.

Back then, I was living the life of a writer. Having taken time off from a "real-life" job world to write the novel, I had endless energy to devote to my task at hand. But as we know, all good things come to an end, and sadly, those days are no more -- at least for the time being.

Jumping back into the job market in this economy was not easy after several years away. Couple that with the fact that I no longer live an the area where I can rely on networking (Sonoma County Wine Country) I ultimately ended up taking a job in sales/customer service. Luckily, it's working with something I love (high-end cookware) but it's also a fairly physical job. No cushy desk job for me at the moment. I'm often on my feet for 8 hours at a stretch - and let's face it, I'm no spring chicken.

So, when it comes to writing, these days, it's more about finding the energy and spare moments here and there, then trying to focus. But I'm still at it, working away to bring Delta Legend into physical form while polishing the original screenplay. My progress, however, is often impeded by this thing called "real life." 

My tiny front porch
While my choice to step away from the traditional job market was indeed fiscally damaging, when asked if I'd make the same choice again, the answer is an unwavering, YES.  The years I spent in my tiny (600 sq. ft. ) cottage in Sebastopol, California, living the life of a writer, were some of the most magical of my life. And in the end, it resulted in a novel I'm extremely proud of. I doubt I would have been able to transform the screenplay of Delta Legend into a novel had I not done it.

Would I recommend this path to others who dream of the writing life? Probably not. Not unless you're really okay with risking it all -- draining your nest egg and compromising future career options. Not to mention living a fairly solitary existence.

My magical little writer's cottage.
But at mid-life, I'd arrived at that place where you start to think differently about things; what's really important to you and what you want to leave behind for others. I had a story to tell. 

And every time someone I've never met reaches out to tell me that Delta Legend has touched them is some way, is like a vitamin B12 shot right in the butt. It gives me renewed energy for the task ahead and I'm back in the game.

The day the book is finally out in paperback and the original screenplay is polished and ready to pitch, will likely hold far less fanfare than the day I first hit the upload button. I suspect it will feel more I'm the last person to cross the finish line of a marathon. Night is falling and the cheering crowds went home hours ago. It'll just be me, trudging through cast-off Gatorade cups to stumble across a broken finish line now laying in pieces across the asphalt. But I can see it up ahead, my finish line destination, and I'm going to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get there.