Thursday, November 05, 2009

And I got schwooped.

Hello Reader!  No, that isn't the title for the next chapter.  It's actually my lament.  Recently, a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA published a book.  That he started writing when he was 14.  I'm befuddled.

That's not to say I'm jealous of the guy.  We live two very different lives.  He dedicated himself to the book in both practice and mind.  I've simply dedicated myself to the book in mind.  If I had in practice, I wouldn't be a part of four different organizations and taking a neuroscience major.  I would be writing on this book everyday for at least two hours.  Too bad other things always take up those two hours.

It's stories like his that both discourage me and get me pumped up to write more.  The discouragement first.  I don't want to be seen as a follower in anyone's footsteps.  For sure, I'll be compared to someone somehow, if I get this thing published.  But I don't want to be the second runner-up in a long line of young authors.  I just want to be me.  Because that's what I've put into this book, me.  To have that be covered up by another person's accomplishments scares me and angers me a little.

Also, I just feel like something was snatched from underneath me.  It was never mine to own, this right to publish, but when you're on this kinda track, you don't hear from too many other people that are also young and writing a book.  So you get this feeling of oneness, that you're a singular individual with this singular dream.  A guy just as young as you, going to the same university as you, publishing a book hella close to your genre, pulls that illusion from right under you and it's disorienting.

I should move on though.  I do feel inspired now.  I try to look past the fact that I'll be #2 in some respects, or that I'm not really alone.  Dwelling on those feelings is a total possiblity, but my story has been nagging my head since as early on as I can remember.  And for that simple fact, I write.  I'm not doing this for money, although that would be nice.  I'm definitely not doing this for recognition, because that's so hard to get and such a random phenomenon.  This book is being written because it's an itch I can't help but scratch.  A really, really powerful itch.  And it grows stronger when I hear stories like this.

I'm a competitive guy.  I always taunt, I always trash-talk, even if I'm not good at something, I goad whoever is into competition so I can get better.  I'm not doing the goading this time, but I am competing.  It's my own little one-sided rivalry, and it spurs me on to scratch that itch.  I've never given up on anything.  It's my Afghan recklessness coming out in me, the belief that I can do anything that anyone else can with perseverance and a hard head.  Can you tell I'm ready to begin writing anew?  To begin writing Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger?

I'm not sure if this was a satisfying post for anyone, even me.  I wanted to post another excerpt of the book.  But this had to be addressed, because ultimately the blog is about my journey in writing and publishing.  My journey's been filled with rocks and clouds, where I trip or rise up.  Hopefully, I'll end up staying on a cloud.  Until next time then.

1 comment:

  1. As awesome as it would be to read that title in a book filled with more…poetic… chapter titles, I must say I understand where you’re coming from with this. I know TONS of writers. It seems everyone that I know is supposedly writing a novel or wants to write one or so on and so forth. But I always feel special because I’m the only one with a FINISHED draft, that I’ll be done editing soon, that I’ll be sending to agents in May…that I’m actually making progress. Talk is cheap, after all. But it’s at the rare times when someone young publishes that you feel kind of like there was something stolen from you… but the thing is, with us, we aren’t young anymore. Paolini (you remember Eragon, I assume) was young when he published.

    We’ve past the extraordinarily young age of publishing and I think we should be glad of it. Paolini’s first novel wasn’t really that great because he was like fourteen when he wrote it. But his later novels…they definitely show growth. With each year that passes (assuming you’re actively writing and working with your craft) you’re refining your technique and making a better final product that will please your readers. At this point, we’re as unique as any other author; I do think we have as much chance as shining as anyone else. SO, I think you’ll get to be you and that you’ll get people who read your book without prejudice, especially if you don’t mention your age. Though I got to admit, that’s kind of nuts that the kid is from your university and publishing in the same genre and started at about your same age (right?). Of course, that means you’re just as likely to get published…it means agents aren’t too harsh to the younger writers.

    No, you aren’t alone, and I guess you’re number two…but in the writing world, none of that matters. J.K. Rowling wasn’t the first middle-aged female author to write a pre-teen book with magic. But who would say she’s number two? Not the number of books she’s sold, the number of fan sites, the number of translations of the books... There will always be a million authors and there will always be writers that have more talent than you do. But the thing is, the thing that will set you apart, is your DEDICATION to your work. You put your soul into this and something beautiful is going to come out. American dream, yes? I’m glad that you recognize that recognition and wealth are random and strange in the writing world. It’s good be realistic. But I think all that matters, given the nature of your passion, is that those that read it will love it, that it will stay with them, that it will be a favorite book of the few that pick it up. ☺

    Got to say that your second to last paragraph made me laugh. That’s an awesome way to sum up the need to be the best. I love it. You get out there and write these books the best that you can make them…then rewrite them so that they’re even better. Those other writers are chumps. ☺ They got nothin’ on you, kid.

    Side note: neuroscience major?! So many ‘writers’ complain that they don’t have the time…well their majors are a lot less strenuous than yours. Jeeze.