Sitting at the Starbucks at the intersection of Taylor’s Ferry Road and Terwilliger Blvd, sipping an Americano, and listening to some peaceful yet upbeat music on iTunes… this is generally one of the best atmospheres for writing, at least, it is for me.
However, it is already 2pm, and I am meeting a friend for coffee at 5:30 on the other side of the river. So I need to be productive here. Often, in this type of setting, I like to take my time. I can write leisurely, taking care that every word is just right, stopping to surf the web, read a book for a bit, or grab a bite to eat… Not today. Today it is time to produce.
Produce. An interesting word in the English language. In its noun form, it means fruit and vegetables, or the result of any type of production (although it is rarely used in this context). As a verb it means to create, to unveil, or, as in film production, to be marginally involved in the creation of a film (aka you contribute money up front and therefore you get a small say in how the film is made plus a share of the box office take and DVD royalties etc). In music, the producer is the person who assists recording artists in creating their albums – they help with the small details: suggesting different arrangement, instrumentation, even lyrical changes. They also help with the big picture, the order of songs on the album, the mix, often working with the recording studio and the record company to keep the project on time, etc.
So yeah, the word produce has a wide variety of uses.
And at the moment, I am wishing there was such a thing as a producer for books. There are publishers, publicists (or PR specialists), advertisers, editors, literary agents, and writers themselves. But producers…someone who contributes funding and helps move the project along, perhaps reading chapters as the writer finishes them and making comments… I know it would be nice for me to have such a person.
Of course, if I had money, I could probably hire someone to do this. But the fact is that I would be silly to do so. To spend money that I could use elsewhere to hire someone to be my boss? I think most people would agree that would be a really dumb idea.
But some of you out there might be secretly agreeing with me when I say that despite its inherent idiocy, having a literary producer still sounds like an attractive idea. Probably those who are even partially agreeing with the previous statement are fellow writers or creative types (perhaps musicians struggling to fit songwriting into a busy schedule, etc) who find it difficult to be productive and self-directed.
I am fortunate that right now I am technically not employed. Who would every have thought I’d say that? I am self-employed by my own sole proprietorship called The Wellness Quest. But that is a non-profit business, and collects no money and pays me nothing. However, it takes up a significant bulk of my time during the day, and it is necessary – it may not pay me in dollars, but it pays me in wellness and health, a much more valuable commodity in my life. Because without wellness, I can’t work anyplace else anyway!
However, other than that, my only job is to help my parents out around the house, occasionally assisting my mom with something for her business or volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission to help my dad out.
It is my parents’ generosity and support that is helping make my wellness quest possible. And part of my Wellness Quest 2.0 is writing my book.
One of the most important parts of Wellness Quest 1.0 was beginning and writing this blog. While I still place a high level of importance on daily posts here for WQ2, the majority of my creative effort is being spent on writing my own semi-autobiographical novel.
To that effect, I have opened a Kickstarter account – it is still in the verification process, but once accepted (and I’m reasonably positive Kickstarter will accept it) it will hopefully help pay for my book to be published once I finish it.
This may be dangerous, but I am committed to finish my novel in six months. Yeah, I said it. Six months.
But I’m planning on having a first draft within three months. That probably seems like no time at all to some of you.
But the great thing about this novel is I already know almost exactly what is going to go into it. It is also mostly chronological, so I don’t have to skip around a whole lot (though there will be some movement back and forth through time to make a point). Plus I have the free time to write at this point in my life, and I have put this off for too long. My original goal was to have published my first novel by 25 and my first collection of poetry by 30. So I’m a bit behind on the novel. But I am going to have a draft by April when I turn 27, and it will certainly be published before I turn 28.
Wow. Ok. I know, it seems ambitious. But I think I have been too passive. I haven’t set goals. I have just tried to “see how things work out” with my writing in the past. Guess what? That doesn’t work for me. I don’t produce anything.
But I am committed to produce this time. Nothing short of an act of god will stop me from finishing this novel. My hope is that the produce of this project will not only be an interesting story for people to read, but also possibly provide a small measure of hope to those who struggle with genetic illness, addiction, or just what to do with their lives.
That purpose helps drive me, even though I don’t have a literary producer. That purpose keeps me getting up in the morning. It keeps me taking the time to write. It keeps me leaving the house and going to coffee shops when I really need to focus. In short – it is this purpose that is likely to create the produce.
I think perhaps this might be a law of the universe: that purpose produces, and without purpose, production cannot take place.
And with that thought, I will leave you for today.
Peace and produce to you all,