About That Great American Novel I Was Going To Write…
At long last, I am embarking on a long-desired project, the completion of my first novel.
I have been writing for nearly as long as I could read. Before my 30s were defined by my love for photography, I spent much of my teens and 20s writing. Most people do the majority of the writing in their lives as children, whether they be book reports, essays, or other class assignments.
As a child, I had an aptitude for mathematics that I also failed to relate to. It was something I could compute, in my head, on paper, or with a calculator. But I never saw that math becoming a part of me. This must explain why I didn’t choose to be an engineer.
Writing was different. It was…different. There was skill required. It was challenging to eliminate my naturally voluminous use of the passive voice. I noticed that I had…ideas. It required work, but I found I could express myself in ways that trigonometry couldn’t. When college came, I gave little thought to majoring in anything other than English.
One of the things I enjoyed most about my English program at San Diego State University was the generous use of elective courses. I took a variety of literature classes as expected, but I also indulged in every creative writing class I could muster (one irony here, the one class I never got schedule was about writing a novel). Then, my love of writing exploded.
I did well in my classes, and the deadlines motivated me. My work included dozens of short stories and poems, many of which were not used in any classes. I also write snippets and outlines for many others.
Life Gets In The Way
Life intervened. My final years at San Diego State were as a part-time student in night classes, because I was already neck-deep in my career in IT sales. As I finished school and completed my degree, the deadlines weren’t there. Work had to be done, and often the hours after work were used to catch my breath. I drank more than I should. I lived. But I barely wrote.
Much was learned from that decade, and I jumped headlong into my 30s with a new obsession in photography. I am extremely happy with the results. I am mere months from my 40s, and the long-desired goal to create and publish (even self-publish) my work is there.
So, here we are. In 2017, I am planning to write a 100,000 word novel. To keep things simple, my aim is for 20 distinct chapters of approximately 5,000 words each. I would like to have a draft complete around September, with a goal of doing the additional rewrites through the Fall. Is this the Great American Novel? I suppose I will know soon.
I hope you will join me for the ride. The plan is to have status listed on my blog as well as some sneak peeks on the Writing Pages section of my website. I look forward to sharing my creation with you!
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.