It’s true, I have completed the first draft of my bicycling memoir. It covers the period wherein I rode 10,000 miles in two years. A quick comment at the end of my recent post about comedian Jake Johannsen went largely unnoticed, but I completed Chapter 24 (one for each month) and added an afterword and epilogue. Now I’m going back and editing it before I start showing it to other people. With the positive reception to The Bike Rider and the Farmer, my first fiction piece, I feel like the year of writing effort is beginning to pay off, and I wanted to share that with A Dude Abikes readers. Lastly, since Sorryless, who frequently comments (and who writes an entertaining blog you should check out, after mine, of course!) has requested the occasional update, here it is. Is four links in the opener three too many? If so, I am not sorry.
Panstin’ It – Hard
Let me explain that heading. There are planners, who decide in advance what they’re going to write. They use sensible tools like tables of contents, outlines, and such. They are organized and get things done. Planners are the Erkels of the writing world. Then there are pantsers — people who do things by the seat of their pants. Not much planning is going on (let’s be real, none), but they are also committed to “git ‘er done.” No judgment here. Neither is better than the other in my book, but can you guess which one I am?
Yep, A Dude is a panster for sure. But the fact is, I have finished the first draft of a book. That’s a monumental achievement for me. How? By diligently writing for 30 minutes four days a week (the days I’m not doing this here blog dealio) or 500 words. It usually turns into an hour and 1,000 words — or even more. It’s like having homework every day that I’ve assigned to myself by choice. The blog is a good outlet and practice. And the book writing informs my blog. So it’s a win-win-win — the third win is you “get” to read it. A writer is nothing without an audience, is what I mean. (Thanks for that, by the way!) But so far no one’s read my book.
So now what? I’ve basically got a lump of clay where all I had before was those 10,000 miles in my old legs. I need to mold it with care and love. I’m talking full-on dead Patrick Swayze in the era of Ghost spinning that red goop with a still-alive Demi Moore. (What, too soon? He passed away a full decade ago in 2009 as of this coming September 14, 2019. Maybe that’s a tad coarse but again, not sorry. I miss that guy. His last show, The Beast, was dark and good, as I recall, but like his life, it ended too soon. Stop smoking! A leading cause of pancreatic cancer, which is what killed him, and he smoked.)
Point is, like all art, it is a work of love, and I hope I can birth this baby into the world so other people can look at it and making weird cooing sounds and act like total idiots. And also buy it. OK, I am NOT advocating buying babies, that was a metaphor that totally went sideways. Sorry… NOT! (Sideways was a great movie about wine and men behaving like babies, by the way.)
The Times, They Are A-Tightening
By writing daily since January 1, 2018, I’ve amassed not only a book but over 350 blog posts. That’s not too shabby. At the same time, I’ve kept up with my biking, walking and yoga practices. But I’ve also not had a regular job I’ve had to show up at. That’s changing for a while at least, so that means I’ll have to budget my time better, prioritize, and cut back on frivolous things. I haven’t seen a TV show (outside of Marvel’s Agents of Shield and the Tour de France) for a month. And maybe I’ll spend a little less time on other things, too. Often sleep, which always catches up to us.
However, I managed to complete those 10,000 miles while holding down a full-time job, so I figure I can keep it up. In 2017, I planned to bike half that much time and write during those five hours a week I’d save instead. That didn’t really happen, so my writing suffered. But now I’ve made writing a daily habit, I’m seeing the results. The need to focus on what you’re doing can’t be stressed enough. Some people thrive on the background noise and din of a coffee shop. Others need a library (which isn’t as quiet as one would think). Wherever one writes a book, it’s is like a baby, which is to say not at all similar. However, treating it kindly, gently, with respect, feeding it daily are all key.
When Will It Be Done, Dude?
That’s the million dollar question. The answer is when I can finish it, hopefully sooner than later. I have a few candidates in mind of people to read it. They either have ridden or do ride a bike, and also know how to readers. I’d like to ask for their feedback and I’m hoping they’ll take me up on reading the whole thing and commenting. Other options include finding people through MeetUp, the Texas Writers League, and so on. And after it’s fully revised, there’s publishing, which is a whole ‘nuther ball o’ wax.
I don’t know how all of that is going to go. It is too soon to tell. My hope is that it’ll happen before I’m dead, so I can collect fat royalty checks, retire and see the word (by bicycle where possible). Since that’s unlikely, let’s just hope the pieces keep falling into place. In the meantime, keep reading this blog. Thank YOU for your support! Wish me luck, but more so success, supporters, and resources. Plus that old writer’s cliche — drink copious amounts of alcohol. Just kidding, alcoholism is a serious disease. Meanwhile, I’ll keep chugging away on edits.
Perhaps it will all work out and I’ll be a published author. You can be sure I’ll mention it here when I am. Even if it’s self-published at least I’d be getting my story out there. And stories make the world go round. Whereas spinning your legs makes the bike go. The combination of the two I think makes a pretty good book, and I hope you will too assuming it makes the light of day. Get out there and live a great story yourself. And then go home and figure out how to tell it.
After all, no one else can live or tell your story except you.
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