There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

It’s not as long as it seems. The days are still too short, the words still crammed inside of me.

I still love writing.

The journey . . . well, that’s something else.

It’s been a right turn detour heading the wrong way down a one-way road toward a back alley and a brick barricade. But somehow, this vehicle I’m driving is still chugging along. I’ve turned off the GPS. The compass in the car just continues to swirl around like some kind of broken carousel. The odometer—well, it certainly can’t be right. Right?

Yet I’m there in the city and then blinking to find the rugged Rocky mountains and then blinking again to see the Pacific and then again to see the bright lights.

I’m accumulating stories I can’t tell yet. Sometimes because I need to keep quiet, and sometimes simply because I don’t have time to tell them. I’ve realized this after eight years. Everybody wants to TELL YOU how to become a writer. Everybody wants to SHOW YOU how to live your dream. Everybody wants to WORKSHOP YOU in a room full of want-to-be-writers. Everybody is SHARING and SHARING and SHARING more about their writing journeys online. All while some of us are busy.

Writing.

There’s nothing glamorous about a hard day’s work. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you know it’s hard work. It might feel good and right and worth it. But it’s still work.

Doesn’t mean I’m still not inspired.

Doesn’t mean I’m still not moved at various moments of the day.

Doesn’t mean I don’t want to share this info and wisdom and lunacy that I’ve learned with others. I do. Really.

But people don’t know my sense of humor and they don’t know my current state of mania and they might be a tad bit overwhelmed with the little bits of everything I have to share. So yeah. Maybe I’ll just keep quiet and keep working.

Is this where I thought I’d be at the beginning? Well, it’s hard to say.

Where’s the beginning? Third grade when I wanted to become a writer? Ninth when I first wrote my first novel? Nine months out of college when I landed the publishing job? Six years later when I got my first book published?

Beginnings. Every day feels like a beginning. I’m presented with something that makes me go well okay what’s that look like? God didn’t put an autopilot in my heart and soul when he created me. I love everything new. I get bored easily. Ten states & countries lived in over eighteen years can do that to you. Four different high schools, who knows how many different houses . . .

Yeah. I grew used to upheaval and change. Who knew I’d crave it so many years later?

Success? Not sure what that looks like. Failure? I feel it everyday. And Chase bank and Comcast remind me.

But satisfaction? I feel this too. All the time. Not from the product or the aftermath but from the writing itself. The project. The words that keep coming.

Ten Steps To Becoming A Better Writer.

Sorry, but I can’t read your blog.

The Secret To Publishing Success.

Sorry, but I can’t attend your workshop.

How To Take Your Writing To The Next Level.

Sorry, I’d love to enroll in your monthly webcourse, but I don’t have sufficient funds.

Oh, and I’m becoming a better writer and I know all the secrets in publishing and every day I move a little higher.

The reality is that this mountain isn’t Everest. It’s Ever-changing. The scenery switches and turns over and doesn’t make sense so I don’t stay in any camp for too long.

They say Camp 4 on Mt. Everest is in the Deathzone. Sometimes life as a fulltime writer feels like you’re permanently in that camp. But you can’t stay in your tent and zip it up and try to stay warm.

You simply have to move. You have to keep going. And that’s what I’ve done.

I’m rambling. Wouldn’t you love to hear me speak at your writing conference? I was a bit manic ten years ago. Now? Well, I might actually frighten some of the listeners taking notes and asking questions on platform and point-of-view.

Maybe there’s a reason I don’t do the whole writing conference circuit. Well, there’s that one. But mainly it’s because I’m writing.

Eight years and I’ll say this.

I love these words. Those four ones. Those three. Those two. And that single, solitary, stand-alone . . . one.

I love trying to figure out how to get to the core of the story.

Description? Go Google it.

History? Go look it up . . . oh heck just Google it.

Emotion and feeling? Yeah. That’s what I’m going for.

I know I’m stuck in my writing ways and I hope to continue to grow as I get older. Can I do something with long-winded paragraphs full of colorful details? Maybe. Can I keep it logical and cold and unemotional?

Are you kidding? Of course I can’t.

Can I find myself writing a book and suddenly find something that just works? Like inventing the firework or writing A Farewell To Arms?

Of course I can.

The great stuff can’t be manufactured. There’s no simple formula for its creation. The more I study great art of all kinds, the more I realize how accidental and unintentional it can be. You just have to be creating in order to find the accident.

I so want to be a glorious accident. But then again, that’s a little like these past eight years.

A glorious accident.

But you know . . . That’s not really true.

A goal held from third grade is no accident. The means and the methods—those are just the ways you manage to make the goal work out.

I love rambling on blogs and as I’ve grown to become a faster typist, I can ramble even more. It’s a dangerous thing. But nobody is paying me or waiting for these words. They’re my own. Go ahead—edit them. I’m sure they need a good one cutting them down. But this isn’t a tree. It’s a street light made of metal. You can drive your car into it but it still won’t go away.

Just like the light inside of me. Still burning. Sometimes flickering. But never shut off.

There’s a street light outside our house on the corner of our lot that overlooks a road that turns into two. So many turn right or left under its watch. But the bulb never goes out.

Well, sometimes it goes out. But it’s replaced quickly and it keeps shining.

A glow at an intersection seeing so many cars driving by.

Eight years and it seems like a good metaphor. But then again, maybe it’s a simile. I don’t know. I still haven’t quite figured out the difference between those two things.

I’m too busy writing another book to figure it out.

And I’m grateful to be too busy.

Always grateful under the faithful glow of that corner street light.

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