I have been writing for a long time, I started with poetry and short stories in high school and have written for local magazines and newspapers, but mostly just for myself. I always considered it a hobby a way to infuse some artistic expression into what was and still is a very structured industry that I work in. My “day job” if you will, is providing executive management consulting to healthcare companies; everything from technology integration to revenue cycle management. I’ve spent thirty years in the industry and now have the luxury, really the privilege of working for myself. As much as I love what I do it wasn’t enough, two years ago I decided to get serious about my writing; I published my first novel last spring and my second this summer. It’s been a learning experience and like with most things I feel the more I invest in it the better I am becoming at it, imagine that right.
One of the very first things I realized writing longer works, 70,000 plus words for the average novel, is that it’s a significant investment in both time and energy. More than that it demands, at least for me, an emotional engagement that I hadn’t honestly expected and was initially a bit overwhelmed by. I drew from my personal experiences, from literally thousands of people I have met over the years, places I have lived – my life – and I infused all of that into my writing. I don’t write in a structured or templated fashion; my stories are not all planned out – no I learn what is going to happen as the characters do! The story happens as I type and damn if it isn’t exciting as hell and well sometimes frustrating, painful, surprising, but never boring. The other thing I learned early in the process is that music makes all the difference for me, maybe it’s the memories each tune triggers – I think the real key is it lets me melt into my own world – it blocks everything else out and I write, by God I write.
Today I was writing a couple of difficult chapters, I lost a character today – it happens – not everyone makes it in this life or in a good story for that matter. It can be a melancholy experience when a character turns left instead of right, when their choices lead to an inevitable tragic end, but then again doesn’t good writing reflect the realities of the world around us? I think it does…
A young new artist Michael McArthur just released an album – it’s excellent, I mean really good. Played it all the way through and enjoyed every track – doesn’t happen very often anymore. Anyway, these tunes were my companion today and helped lift me up a bit during a couple of hours of tough writing… If you enjoy good music give him a listen definitely worth your time –
What I love about art is how its many forms capture and express what is inside all of us – it illuminates that common filament we all share…
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