Hello, and welcome to The Author Cafe. Pull up a chair and cappuccino.
This is a special space for anyone who calls themselves a writer. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not. I’m not — yet. Here you’ll find some inspiration, motivation and possibly a little laughter.
You are a writer and I admire you for it. But, come on, you have to be somewhat insane. You sit for hours on end tapping away at your laptop, or madly scribbling away in your notebook. You know too well the feeling of sitting alone with your ideas, trying to put them together into a cohesive narrative.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Just like you, I dream of the day I may see my work in hardcover form, sitting on a shelf at a library or bookstore — or better yet in someone’s hands. There’s nothing wrong with that dream. We should all strive for something great. But, like you I mostly write because there are stories inside of me. I call myself a writer because I have always seen myself as the storyteller in any group I’ve been in.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? I was between eighth and ninth grade. It was summer and I was spending it with my grandparents in New Iberia, Louisiana. The sticky hot weather along with rainy afternoons meant a lot of time inside for writing. The story I worked on was an epic fantasy about a world before humans, ruled by animals. I drew a map of this world (because when you write fantasy you get the thrill of creating your own world) along with descriptions of the creatures that inhabited it. I never really finished that book, though the idea is still as fresh in my mind today as it was decades ago.
My second big project was actually the first full novel I saw through to the finish. I remember the night it came to me. I was working late when I was knocked over the head with inspiration. You know those moments, when an idea crashes into you. Your heart skips a few beats. All you want at that moment is a pen and paper or a keyboard. I sat at my desk and hammered out the last chapter first. A year later I had almost four-hundred pages done. That project has gone nowhere (so far), but it was a great accomplishment just knowing I could write a book.
My third project was a children’s book, which I illustrated myself (college art major before changing to something less useful). It sits in a box, still waiting for me to act on it.
The fourth, and current project, is a thriller. It started as a young adult novel, now a novel. I’ve rewritten it four times. This is the one I can’t let fall into a box shoved back into my closet. This is the one I’m truly devoted to and will see through to the end.
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
George Orwell: ‘Why I Write’
First published: Gangrel. — GB, London. — summer 1946.
I bring you TheAuthorCafe.org. Every week come on back for conversations with authors and my weekly commentary. The official Author Cafe podcast begins in December, and I promise, you’ll want to tune in. Plus, don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook Page or Pinterest or Instagram. Look for weekly challenges like the upcoming Haiku Book Review.
I appreciate that you’re taking your time to spend it here. And I’m looking forward to sharing with you my journey as a writer and hearing more about yours.
AUDIO COMMENTARY 11/6/15
Next week on The Author Cafe: How teachers choose your reading assignments. My commentary on why it’s better to read the classics later in life.