Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path: Step 3 – Commitment

The ultra-condensed version thus far: You start off in a funk and then decide you want to do something.  Then what?  Then you do something about it.  Commitment is that time where you decide come hell or high water you’re going to make progress on this and stop putting things off.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been committed to something – where I get so excited and worked up about a project, whether it be writing or roleplaying (which for me has always been a kind of  rough writing exercise).  But you’d be surprised how long it took me to get to a phase where I knew if I started something I would (eventually) finish it.

I’ve written elsewhere about the first novel I wrote, back in high school.  That was where things somewhat changed, because I proved to myself I could do it (even though it would be a decade before I’d do it again).  But before that I tried and failed many times.  I’d start, get worked up, write twelve pages, then drop it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I suspect this will be in Step 4: Wavering.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but my commitment tends to come and go in spurts.  Sometimes with large droughts in between.  That’s the most depressing part.  I don’t mind that they happen.  I mind that they last so long.  Really, who do you have to blame other than yourself for that?

Commitment is an odd thing, if only because of the ways to gauge it.  The pep-talk ra-ra aspect of the book tries to get across the key points of “you get out of something what you put into it” and Big Risk = Big Rewards.

And while I feel commitment right now, it’s more of the “oh well, I’ll see it through to the end” slog.  Much (but not all) of the fun is gone right now.  Perhaps it’s just the Kitten Club novel, which I’m struggling with.  I’m 100 pages into the edit (about 1/3 of the way) and I’ve made some big cuts. Now I’m getting to the point where those big cuts are having ramifications that I need to fix.

There is fun to be had here, but it’s more of the jigsaw puzzle making things fit nature than creativity.

One thing this chapter suggested was to look back at what you wanted to do as a child, what you wanted to be, and let that guide you to where you’re going to go now, how you’re going to commit yourself.  For example, one of the writers of the book wanted, among other things, to solve mysteries when she grew up.  Now she’s a mystery writer.

When I wrote my first novel I wanted to be a sci-fi writer, and part of me still does, but when I look back at my childhood aspirations I see something else.  Hell, I still see part of that when I look in the mirror.  The fedora, the side bag, the vest I wear.  The bike trips I’ve gone on in a dozen different countries…

I want to be an adventurer.   Always have.  Always will.

Sure I might never get to explore the Temple of Doom or find the Lost Ark, but I want to write Indiana Jones type stories that are as much about intrigue and mystery as adventure and escape.  It doesn’t matter if such adventures are set in the past, present, or even the future.  It’s the exploring that matters.

And I think I know, without a doubt, what my next novel will be.  Hell, I’ve already written the entire back story for it for a roleplaying adventure last year.