About three months ago, there was a shakeup at the company I was working for at the time. It had been a good situation that kept me gainfully employed for roughly three years, but when two of the department heads quit simultaneously, the company was forced to rethink its strategy, and they stopped hiring freelancers, At least freelancers with my particular and peculiar qualifications. It didn’t dawn on me until recently, but three years is the most prolonged period I ever spent schlepping to the same workplace every day. I was in such a routine that when I was told I’d be out of a job soon, it caught me by surprise. The company had provided more work than I ever expected in the first place, and I was given over a month’s heads up before I was gone for good, so there wasn’t much to complain about. ”Thanks for all the work, good luck, stay in touch.”
In anticipation of devolving back into the role of freelancer-about-town, with all of the feast or famine, ups-and-downs that the title implies, I did two things. First I sent out a flurry of emails and made dozens of phone calls — Hey remember me? I know, I know, I’ve been turning down work from you for what seems like forever, but I’m back on the market, and just wanted to touch base, see what’s up . . .
And second, I started writing another novel.
I met up with a colleague over dinner shortly after my job ended and when I mentioned I was writing another book, he was only curious enough to ask me one question: Why?
I didn’t have an answer. I still don’t.
My previous book was either moderately successful or wildly disappointing, depending on your perspective. (My personal perspective is variable.) But I always said, and sincerely believed, that if I ever wrote another one, I could do it better, and do it faster, than the first. And judging by the progress I’ve been making, I still believe that to be true. Nevertheless, writing a full-length novel is a tough slog. Even if I wasn’t so busy actively rewriting, taking out words, adding others, moving commas around, just the simple act of writing things down takes time, and I'm convinced that that is the number one reason more people don’t do it. Not that they aren’t good writers, not that they don’t have any compelling stories to tell, just the simple fact of time. That being said, a short visit to your neighborhood bookstore (if you can find one) will show that it doesn’t stop everyone. I can never be sure whether visiting a bookstore is inspiring or discouraging. There are an awful lot of books in the world, is there really any point in adding pages to the pile? I don’t know. Why not? I have to do something.
What I’m trying to say is, although it’s been quite a while since I revamped this website site with extravagant hopes of rediscovering the exhilarating world of online diary-keeping — and in that time I’ve only posted once (okay, twice if you count the post I deleted) — that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing.
Whether or not I post more actively remains to be seen. After all, the question of why I would want to attempt another novel pales in comparison to the question of why I would want to post in an old fashioned blog, but we'll see. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.