Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Word Bank

I write almost every day.

The only days that I don't actually sit down in front of my keyboard and produce words are, ironically, days when I'm on vacation. My hours are so packed with physical activity when I'm vacationing that I don't bother to make the time that it takes to produce fiction. I reckon I've reached a point in life where writing is a job, just like my seven to three-thirty job. I've decided that this is a good thing.

Producing fiction has become for me something akin to saving money. My wife and I both have various savings and retirement accounts. We drop money in them regularly. Every pay day. The 401-k started off small. I rarely looked at it. One day I realized we had six figures in there. Maybe retirement would be a possibility, I figured at that point. We keep at it.

My writing is like that. Since the movie deal I used a bit of the money for a single luxury item. I bought a laptop computer. The laptop travels with me almost everywhere, even on the vacations I take where I rarely write. It goes to my "real" job with me every single day. Hardly a lunchtime passes that I don't spend it working on a novel between bites. Because of this I've found that I can add anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand words of fiction to my projects every work day.

I deposit words in the novel bank. They go in, every day, and at the end of a week or a month I look at it and realize that I'm that much closer to completing a new novel. In 2009 I finished two novels. I'm hoping to clear out another novel this year and start on a fourth, which is already plotted and awaiting construction.

Early this year I was working on a novel that had given me fits. I just couldn't finish it. Every day I would work on the book and every day when I thought I could put an end to it...the project just kept frustrating me. So I took a few days off and headed up to the mountains with my travel trailer. All alone. No wife. No son. Just me and the forests and the laptop. At the end of three days I found that I was within striking distance of finishing the book. It wasn't a vacation I'd taken, but a break from the world so that I could finish my work at the word bank.

Under the treated hemlocks. Where I worked on my fiction for three silent days.


Jack said...

6-figures in your 401K?
Are you counting the two figures to the right of the decimal point?

HemlockMan said...


I work with guys who have been at it far longer than I have who have accumulated almost seven figures. Just on their own--not counting their wives' accounts.

Jack said...

The 6-figure thing reminded me of a little joke. "I have a 6-figure income, unfortunately (2) of those figures are to the right of the decimal point"

I reached the 6-figure point in my 401K several years ago, then it dropped below 6-figures, but it is back now. Plus my old house which I now rent is paid off. So I can either keep that for rental income or sell it for a nice chunk of change.

HemlockMan said...

You're rich, dude!