Quitting without quitting.

7 Mar

When I was a child there was one thing that I wanted to be more than anything else and one thing that I didn’t. The thing I wanted to be was a writer, and that dream haunted me with every book, story and film that I enjoyed. I wrote books in grade school, stories in middle school, another book in high school, and then college happened. I got depressed and became the thing I most didn’t want to be: a smoker. In any case, I managed to quit about a dozen times in my twenties, but by the time I was 29 I was a steady smoker. I had a dream that I visited the future and was dying of cancer. I quit, and stayed quit for five years.

Then my kid got sick, really sick. It is a lame excuse, but it made me start two things. I was overwhelmed and thought I’d go mad with worry. I picked up the old habit when I was 35. At that time, I also made a pledge that I would achieve my dream of being a successful writer of fiction. I worked hard at publishing stories in the small press and was successful. I worked harder at selling my books to the small press and was successful. If I needed a break from writing, or needed to stay awake on my long commute after working and staying up late writing the night before, I would have a smoke.

Now, three and half years later, I really wanted to continue to be a writer, but not a smoking writer. This is more difficult than it would seem. There is something about habitual and chemical dependency which makes the creative process grind to a halt when you take away that chemical. I have gone without smoking for two weeks now, no small feat, I assure you. I decided it was time to start my new novel: The Pyrelord. Just sitting down and writing words seemed foreign to me. How could I do it? Finally, like pulling a hang nail off, I pounded out a little over a thousand words. It took me longer than usual, and I felt mediocre at best about my success. However, it was a success, I suppose; I wrote. Now, I will continue to do so with the hopes that I will be able to continue to be a quitter without quitting that thing which really gives me a sense of purpose and contentment beyond the daily life with my loving family.

Wish me luck. I want to have this novel done by June 1st. Here goes…

Trav

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