I’m at the tail-end of a ceremonial shot of Jack Daniels. I’m celebrating.
This past week, I’ve figured out a structure for my book, and the start of the order of content and how to make it marketably different from most of the non-fiction offerings out there.
I want my book to be profoundly literate. I want it to be the best thing I ever write. It has to reflect all I’ve accomplished so far, and all I’ll accomplish in the next two years, as I finish this life-change dream I cooked up in the fall of 2007.
Whoa! Holditaminutethere! What book?
Right. When I decided I wanted to change my life, I also promised myself that, if I got even halfway where I dreamed of getting, I’d write a book about my journey.
For the first year and a half, I didn’t bother thinking much about it, I was too busy working on changing myself. But, New Year’s Eve 2008, I was trapped at home thanks to my bad back and record snowfalls, and I wrote a promise to myself that I would now have to fulfill that goal of writing the book, so the time was coming up when I’d need to start figuring out HOW to do it.
Here it is, 13 months later, and I’ve figured it out. All in the span of about 8 days.
I’ve come up with a very sophisticated storytelling structure that is going to demand that my flow and transition be better than its ever been, and that my six-degrees-worldview be sharper than ever, too.
Truth be told, I think my flow and conversational ability to slip in and out of topics is one of my strengths, so I don’t think this challenging way of telling my story will hinder me, but rather bring me out at my best… if I commit to the time it’s going to require. Which I can, and will.
By coming up with the way of telling the story, it now makes all the goals I’ve set in my life for the next year absolutely pivotal to accomplish. Not only that, but the way I want to tell the story also helps me figure out the order in which I need to accomplish my life goals for the next 18 months as well. Also?
In the span of 8 days, I’ve gone from wondering daily “How the fuck do I tell this story?” to believing I can write a book worthy of sparking discussion and passion. I believe in the story now, and since the story is about me, I have to wonder if it’s going to change the passion and belief I have for myself, and for the better.
I will learn more about myself through this process than any other process I’ve ever endured. It’ll be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, because of the honesty I’ll be forced to put forth. The book’ll be the accomplishment I’ll smile about until the day I die, when I get it done like I think I can.
I’m not sure I’m ready to start the writing yet. I think I’m going to, though. I’ve spent some time this afternoon plotting things out in an old-school lined notebook (see inset) and I feel great about having a starting point at all.
I didn’t know where to begin. I’ve had a lot of people make their suggestions about it. “Start at the beginning,” meaning where I decided to change my life. Others suggested the point at which I almost died on my scooter. But none of those felt real to me. I’m not an unskilled enough writer that I have to do the beginning-middle-end approach to anything I write.
And my beginning? Was a VERY dark place. I don’t want to start from the darkness; I want to start from a point at which everything has changed and, for the first time ever, I come to really believe it in my heart, too. I know when that time will come, and I’m very, very close to it.
But I don’t want to start at the beginning. That sounded smart for a bit, until I realized it was a bleak and obvious place to begin from. “Bleak and obvious” is not how I ever want this book to read.
There are a lot of writers who’ve used brilliant structure in a few books I’ve been wowed by, and they are:
- Wallace Stegner in Crossing to Safety
- Pat Barker in The Regeneration Trilogy
- Martha Cooley in The Archivist
- Jim Crace in Being Dead
- Alex Garland in Coma
- Zadie Smith in White Teeth
That’s barely even scratching the surface. Sure, they’re all fiction, but so what? That’s good writin’ for ya. Yes, I prefer really contemporary writing, and I intend to write from more of a fiction feel.
To feel like I’ve finally come up with a structure that pays homage to all the sort of writing that’s blown my mind over the years, it makes me feel fucking fantastic. Finally. Few people can probably relate what it’s like to go over and over and over an idea or a challenge for more than a year, on a daily basis, and never make any headway, and then, suddenly, boom, in the span of a week or so you make more progress than you thought possible, when the idea of achieving that dream at all was beginning to die… which, for me, it was.
I feel like I could sleep for a year, I’m so at peace with myself in this perfect moment, here, now.
That’ll pass soon, I’m sure, but what a great headplace to hang out in, if even for just a night after so long of banging my head against my inner walls.
Fuckin’ A. Yeah. I’ll drink to that.