I have become one of those people who listens to audiobooks while commuting to work.
You see, the radio here is wretched. Mostly because the bulk of my commute takes place in the morning, and morning talk show hosts are either talking about their lives, or commercials are playing. When I listen to the radio, I don’t want to listen to people I don’t know talk about their lives, I don’t want to hear telephone pranks, I want to hear music. If I wanted to hear people talk, I’d listen to PBS or an AM radio station.
Uncertain of whether or not I’d be able to focus on someone talking without zoning out and thinking about something else, I decided to select a story that I’ve read a number of times before. I picked “Ender’s Game.” The last time I read it was in high school, but I’ve loved that book since I was about 9 or 10 – the same age as Ender when he… oh, right, I won’t spoil it for you.
So 9 days ago, I picked up this audiobook set, and put in the first CD. I finished it this morning when running an errand around town. Yet it kept playing.
Orson Scott Card himself began talking about his inspiration and how he started writing the story. Part of it came from Asimov’s Foundation series – I’ve read the first volume, and it’s a fantastic book – and part of it came from personal experiences in life. And as I listened to him, he talked about how he had this idea, but he never really pursued it. Not until he needed some money to pay for things.
In that moment, I realized the source of my apathy these past five years. The reason I’ve written so many things, but never pursued them, never taken them to the next level, to where they need to be. I don’t have that fire under my ass. I’m living this fine, comfortable life. I’m pursuing a career separate from my writing, and as much as I love writing, as much as I talk about wanting this to be what I am able to subside on, I don’t do it. I come home at the end of the day, make some meal or another and watch some DVD or read some book. I put so little thought and effort into my writing, and I constantly feel guilty. Guilty that I’m not exploiting my God-given talent, guilty that I’m using my time for less creative things, guilty that I haven’t done the thing that sits most strongly in my heart. And then I do this. What I’m doing now. Write about not writing.
Thousands of ideas pass through my head everyday. Thousands of stories, parts of stories, plots, subplots, character traits. Constantly, I’m filing away information away for future use in story form.
Yet I never use it. My two active stories have sat unwritten, unedited, incomplete for far too long now. It’s been almost a year since I’ve worked on either the tales of Marcus Merja or my other story. My motivation is slowly building more. Yet so often, the right words hit me when I can’t write. When I’m sitting in the car. When I’m talking to people. When I’m in the middle of a meeting.
Yet change is coming. Soon – very soon – I’m going to approach this like I’ve approached working out. I’m going to create a schedule, and set word counts, and create goals. This is going to work, because it has to work. Because someday I may have that fire under my ass, and on that day, it’ll probably be too late.