The idea was born nine years ago. For an entire year, I ruminated over it, contemplating characters, developing the landscape, outlining the plot structure, but I didn’t pursue writing the manuscript. I was too scared. Graduate school had deflated me and nearly crushed my creative spirit, so I just let it live in my head, content to have it as my hobby. Then, I saw my firstborn son’s heartbeat on the ultrasound for the first time, and a part of me woke up that I never knew existed. This new man inside of me knocked aside fear, stood up to the graduate school bullies, and spoke from the very core of my being: You are a writer. Go write.
I listened to this new part of me and started The Brotherhood of Dwarves. From the outset, I knew the story from beginning to end, not every detail, of course, more like the frame of a building before the bricks and drywall and trim, and I knew there would be at least five books. Despite having not written in three years, I regained my discipline and wrote five and six days a week, hitting my page goal every day. The more I wrote, the better it felt and the stronger my voice became. I make no apologies for the first couple of chapters and cannot bring myself to give them a complete rewrite because of what they represent to me, my rebirth as a man and a writer.
I may never find real commercial success as a novelist. I’ve accepted that fact. While money would be nice and definitely wouldn’t be turned away, it’s not why I started writing in the first place. I write because it’s who I am, who I’ve always been. I chose to self-publish because I wanted people to read my work–I needed an audience to complete the story–and at that moment in history, the publishing industry was in a terrible state. Since the economic downturn, it’s now a little worse. I am proud of my decision and the risks I took. Sure, I wish I had done things differently, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount in the last six years. If I had it to do over again, I would in a heartbeat.
This morning on my way to work, I was overwhelmed with the need to complete this series. The sensation filled me up and gave me a feeling that I can best describe as a bit of mania. I saw the last two books before me, their plots stretching out to the end of the series, and excitement overtook me. I’m a writer, and writers write, so as soon as book three is polished and ready to go, I will find a way to start on book four. Even if there is never any economic success from this series, I will write it and bring it to market because that is who I am. I’m a writer.