Tuesday, December 6, 2016

You're Incapable of Writing Like That

I have insomnia tonight so I decided to pass the time reading old Drift Away blog posts.   I was reading them in chronological order to relive our cruise.   I came across this one.  25,000 Hits.  Really?   This was December `16, 2011.  Glance over at the hit count now.   Very cool.

The first comment was from an old friend from childhood, Bob.  He wrote "congrats on approaching 25,000 pageviews and keep the creativity juices flowing.  It's enjoyable reading.  Notwithstanding the fact that it provides a "fix" for your right brain.  There's got to be a book in it for you somewhere."  Those were prophetic words, Bob.  So far, two books actually, and I'm deep into writing my third.

And my novel that is now on Amazon...

Yep, I thought it would be a book about cruising on Drift Away.   Never in my life about a cryptid named Sasquatch and Bigfoot, yet there it is.

I always loved to read and write.  But in 10th grade, that changed.  We were assigned a composition in English.  I worked very hard on it.  In the old days, we'd write an outline, and then a draft, and then the final version.   I turned it in.  It came back to me as an F.  I shot my hand up, and the teacher called on me.

"Why did this composition get an F?" I asked.

"Because it is too good.  You aren't capable of writing like that.  You copied it."

I was devastated.  I took my 11th grade English regents exam.  I was walking down the hall and passed by the teacher's room.  Mr. Schwartz saw me and motioned for me to come in, which I did.

"That has to be the best regents composition I've ever read," he said.

I thanked him and left bewildered.  Ah.  He probably passed me to get me out of his class, I thought.  I can't write.

Fast forward to the early 2000s.  I was frequenting Cruising World magazine's online message board that I frequented.   I had just returned from chartering in the Caribbean where boat boys (guys who motor through mooring fields to sell everything from plaintains to tee-shirts) were said to be a nuisance.  Well, I disagreed.   I think that boat boys provide a cool service to cruisers, and will even take special orders.  I decided to write a post about it.

A couple of days later, Herb McCormick (the magazine's editor at the time) emailed me and asked if he could publish it in his magazine.  I didn't know what to say.  So I said OK.  Schooled On A Charter was published, almost word for word.  How cool is that?  Maybe my 11th grade teacher was right.  Maybe my 11th grade teacher was right, and my 10th grade English teacher was an idiot.

I went on to write articles for Cruising World, Good Old Boat, Latittudes & Attitudes, All-At-Sea Southeast, and finally Cryptid Culture.  Then this blog, and then Bleecker Mountain Life.  Finally, the two books you see above.

The vast majority of books about Sasquatch have a handful of reviews.  The ones on the market may have 10 or 20 or so.  My first book went on the market in February of 2016.  It has 82 reviews on Amazon.  But what I'm most proud of is that it has 82 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 out of 5 start.  Most of the negative ones complain that the book is too short (179 pages) which is a fair criticism.

The novel Living Among Little People: A Guide for Sasquatch is 308 pages.  At 79,000 words, a full length novel.  I just hit Amazon and only has 3 reviews, but they are all 5 star.

I didn't write this long essay to brag.  I think you regular blog followers know me better than that.  I wrote it to tell you not to listen to anyone about how well you write, photograph, paint, or anything else for that matter.  If you love to do something, do it.  If you think it's good, does it really matter what anyone else thinks?

Also, challenge yourself.  My magazine articles and my first book were relatively easy to write.  All non-fiction.  I merely wrote about my experiences.  I was a reporter.  I found fiction was very difficult for me.  At first.  I had writer's block at 13,000 words, and setting the novel aside and picking it up later didn't help.   I wrote an outline.  That didn't help (the goat ate it anyway).   I just sat down at my laptop and wrote.  In 4 weeks, I finished it at 79,000 words of a targeting 80,000.   I'm at 30,000 words of my next novel, a sequel.

Yes, I started a Drift Away book based on this blog, but I set it aside to find Bigfoot.  That may be my 4th book.

I hope all of you old followers of this blog are well.  Well OK, you passersby too.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear from you, Dave. I hope you are well, too. Congratulations on your success in shaking off the morons.