Five Years On

Before I mailed it, I snapped a photo of the card I sent to my dad in Pennsylvania:

[Photo by me, 2019.]

Yesterday unsurprisingly got me thinking about him, and also about my late mom and my long-deceased (maternal) grandmother as well:

[From Frontiers on Kindle. Photo by me, June 16, 2019.]

I wrote that above during 2014, probably around this very time (early to mid summer) of that year.

[From Frontiers on Kindle. Photo by me, June 16, 2019.]

Five years on, June 17, 2019, I’m here again. Yesterday, I shut down my Microsoft Surface feeling, well, stunned. I had checked on one bit I had thought I had not done… but, nope, I’d had. And I had looked for where I had highlighted a couple of parts that needed, I’d thought, major attention… but, nope, I had dealt with them already too.

I sat there at something of a loss, thinking, well, that is pretty much that.

IT is essentially finished.

[Tentative synopsis from the paperback back cover. Copyright © Me, 2019.]

And in a sense I feel I am about finished too once more.

[Excerpt, Copyright © Me, 2019.]

The next phase is here: cleaning up and tightening up. As I jump around within its 140,000 or so words, I find myself always thinking, “I love that! Damn, I thought of that and I wrote that! I’m keeping that!” But I’m also ten seconds later thinking, “I suppose that’s okay, but I’ll have to fine tune it.” And then moments later I shudder, “Did you actually write that rubbish? Geez…”

From this point, I don’t write nearly as much as I re-read and I tinker. I add as I think I need to, I delete, I alter, and I DEFINITELY correct. This takes a month or so at least. But I have now, basically, the full book. In some ways, this is the best time. It is when I feel I have got it, but I am not quite through with it yet and I feel I can still “play around” with it to make it better and better.

I am approaching two years of writing this one so far. Yet another two years devoted to a book: I must be insane. Case in point: you likely don’t recall the “Señor And Señora” post from October 2017, but I well do. It is an excellent example of how this novel began to take form so slowly and where I was at that time. “Ana” has changed A LOT since that story “epiphany” I’d had and her creation.

[The planned final page.]

I have learned that to be an author is always to doubt yourself and to feel perpetually insecure. I recall my (now late) uncle often moaning to me. There were regular claims from him that he couldn’t spell, or how he always felt he didn’t know enough, or that what he wrote was child-like compared to “the really great stuff [FILL IN HERE THE NAME OF A LIVING AUTHOR HE KNEW AND ADMIRED] writes.”

I remember often thinking in response: “Pull yourself together, man, you write better than most people on the planet.” However, I understand him now better than I ever did while he was alive. To write is always “to slog” ahead, one page after another, unseen by others most of the time, often wondering (and fearful) if what you are creating will be any good.

Whenever I am finishing and OTHERS will now shortly have to read it, once again I start to have pre-publication terrors. I can’t help but think: What if I’m too close to its writing trees and I have failed to see the reading forest? Who am I kidding? Suppose it’s actually awful and beyond salvaging? It is going to be available in public? Maybe I should just spare myself the incredible embarrassment and delete all of my social media accounts now and disappear into oblivion?

Call that disappearance, uh, “Gone Guy?” 😉

So if you write and find you may feel similarly, remember you are NOT alone in that. 😉

Have a great Monday, wherever you are. 🙂


  1. Ha-ha-ha, dear Robert, c’mon! You ponder too much! There are so many things that make your writing THE WRITING. Only your precious style is a gem! So, relax & write on! 🙂

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