Memoirs of a Conflicted Writer: Part 3

Posted on by marvazon

This is a true tale about my journey to becoming a published author. Most of the situations are factual, but character names and some speech have been invented.

October 12th 2010



I open Microsoft Word and stare at the screen for a few seconds. My mind can’t focus. I run through different ways to begin the novel, but none is striking home. I walk to my bookshelf and pick a number of books out. Some are hefty hardbacks, hundreds of pages long. I sit back down and frown. If I can’t even figure out how to start a book, how am I going to write a hundred plus pages?

I close my eyes and visualize the protagonist’s house. I think it’s a good place to start. It’s clear in my head, right to the last detail. I begin typing. The words flow out. I type so fast; I can see Word pointing out many errors. But I don’t stop. Some of what’s appearing on the screen makes no sense. I stop after two pages and sigh.

I read it back and make some grammatical corrections. But something’s wrong. I open one of the many books on my shelf. They all look so polished and clear. I also remember something a good friend once told me: “The number one rule of writing is to show and not tell.”

I frown and hit the wall in frustration. There is more telling than showing in my manuscript. I delete everything I’ve written. I start again from scratch. My cell rings, but I ignore it. The ideas are pouring out again. I try to craft sentences in as clear a fashion as possible. When I read it back this time, it’s much better.

I reach the third chapter, and the clock strikes 9 p.m. I stand up and stretch. My cell rings again. I ignore it and stare out the window. When I do look at phone’s screen, I see 25 missed calls. I call my friend, Kevin, back. He answers after three rings.

‘Where’ve you been all day?’ he asks.

‘Just busy.’ I grin.

‘What’s up with you lately? You haven’t been out in a while.’

‘I’ve just got a lot going on right now,’ I say. ‘I’ll catch up with you soon.’

I hear Kevin breathe down the phone for a few seconds. ‘What’re you doing now? A couple of the guys want to go into London. I could do with my wingman.’ He sniggers.

‘Nah,’ I say. ‘I’ll give it a miss.’

‘Seriously, Marvin, what’s up with you?’

I smile. ‘I’ve started writing my book, and I can’t stop.’


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