Today, I’m going to tell you something that I don’t like to talk about. My secret project is that I’m writing a novel. A novel that I’ve been working on for the past two years. I’ve also been working on some Counterpoint Tactical System related articles. In short, I do a lot of writing. The martial arts and writing are my stress relief, and my goals tend to surround both. But thanks to this platform, my martial arts goals are much more public than the fiction ones. One of my goals is to write a novel before I turn forty. The novel’s journey hasn’t been easy. I will stop working on it and eventually go back. Earlier this year, I cut thirteen thousand words. When I decided to throw away over a month’s worth of writing from my fictional work, I began to doubt whether this project was worth my time. A novel is roughly ninety thousand words, and I write at a pace of about two thousand words per week; so, this project will take some time. Considering that the chances a book actually gets published is very, very small, I am dedicating a significant part of my existence to a possibly dead-end effort. Doubt is always at the door, and distractions, like the internet or TV or napping, are everywhere.
Writing, you see, is a solitary effort. Writers can have writing groups, agents, fans, family, friends, publications, etc, but eventually goes off to a workspace and puts one word in front of the other. Until it makes sense to switch their order. Even when collaborating with another author, each writer, ultimately, has to sit down and do the work. When I cut all of that work, I opened up the War of Art for motivation. In the martial arts, motivation is easy to come by because you are working with someone to get better. CTS is an art that is based around working with training partners. The attributes that we are looking to build can only be trained by actively resisting another student. Any advice about sticking with fitness programs suggest finding a gym buddy to exercise with. Humans are more likely to do something if they believe another person is relying on them to show up. Writing doesn’t have this. So, I use writing advice as motivation, and the War of Art is my go to motivational book. (I have a few motivating websites as well.) I’ve read it twice and will flip to a random page for a quick, kick in the butt.
During this last time I was digging into it, I noticed how effective it was for the martial artist as well. It takes a bit of creativity, but the martial artist can apply the concepts contained in the book. As such, I decided to add this book to my What I Read Series. The War of Art entry slid under the radar as far as most of my blog posts go. I have a small readership. After two years of doing this, it’s still a good week where I average ten page views per day. My best day had 112 pages views for 79 unique visitors. In other words, my blog is a speck of dust in a galaxy size internet. I’m very grateful for my audience; it’s small but loyal and friendly.
Imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail from one of Mr. Pressfield’s associates, Callie Oettinger. She said thank you for the kind words about Mr. Pressfield’s work and wondered if I’d like any copies of his other works. Well, I had always planned after reading the War of Art to get to Turning Pro and Do the Work. Re-reading the War of Art is the only thing that kept me from devouring the other two. I had a couple more e-mail exchanges with Callie, who is a very nice person.
At that moment, I was utterly speechless. I have copies of the War of Art, Turning Pro, the Authentic Swing, Do the Work, and the Warrior Ethos all by Steven Pressfield. Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley was included as well. Thank you to Callie Oettinger, Steven Pressfield, and Black Irish Books for the gifts. To follow in their generosity, I will be giving these books to friends, family, or, maybe, just someone passing by in the street. I might go down into the word mines and give a book to a struggling writer digging for words but finding the wrong ones.
I started Turning Pro last night. I can already recommend this book. Some truths are plain to see but hard to accept. This book has used Mr. Pressfield’s life as an example about those truths. It’s going to be a great ride, and don’t worry, I’ll let you know all about it when I write another What I Read blog post about it.
As I said earlier, my blog is small. I send it out into the vast wilds of cyberspace with no thought that it will come back to me. The main audience is friends and family. Occasionally, when I write about someone with a much larger audience than me, I can tell that person visited but went away. That is all I have ever expected and wanted. This blog is a labor of love. I’m just happy that anyone reads and enjoys it. To be gifted books – the best gift by the way – was unimaginable before last week. Again, thank you to Callie Oettinger, Steven Pressfield, and Black Irish Books for making my week and for the reminder: it’s time to get to work.