Vagabond Voices
Published in

Vagabond Voices

Conduit

Photo by J.S. Lender © 2021

ALL I CAN REALLY TELL you is that I started writing 3 ½ years ago, but I can’t explain why or how. I can try to express to you how it felt to begin writing, but I may not do a very good job.

When I embarked on my first short story, the process was not at all what I had imagined it would be. At first, I sat down and tried to outline my story on a notepad, with no luck. Then I tried to organize the whole caper in my head, but I came up with snake eyes. I finally just opened my computer and got to work.

The process was much easier than I had anticipated. The words appeared on the screen and the story came together right in front of me. I didn’t feel like I was writing the story at all — it seemed as if some mysterious dark creature was kneeling behind me and whispering the words over my shoulder in the voice of a chain-smoking lounge singer. That part of the writing process has never changed for me — I still feel like nothing more than a conduit who simply jots down stories that are floating in the breeze.

Writing takes a lot out of me. It is uncommon for me to spend more than 60 minutes straight working on any story. After that, the ideas drift away as if they were never there in the first place, and I need a nap. Or a beer. Or some exercise. The most important thing is that after spending a solid hour writing, I put my computer away and don’t think about my new-book-in-progress until the following day.

I have heard the writing process described as a type of self-hypnosis, or perhaps a trance. That seems pretty accurate to me. When I finish an intense writing session, I often read back my work and have a hard time accepting that it came from me. Especially when I am writing horror. Again, it must be a muse or a ghost or a ghoul in a black cape whispering sweet nothings into my ear, because it couldn’t have come from me.

There have been a few snags along the way. I struggled to begin and complete a novel, so I eventually decided to stick with what I do best — writing short stories and novellas. Also, I learned that trying to earn a significant amount of money as a fiction writer in the year 2021 is a fool’s errand. But I also learned that making a ton of money as a writer and being famous is not important to me. Lack of fame and financial success as a writer have not deterred me at all — I continue to begin and complete my new writing projects right on time.

Finally, I have learned that the most important and rewarding part of being a writer is the act of writing itself. Sure, it’s a wonderful feeling when I publish a new book and finally get to hold the physical copy in my hands and pat myself on the back for a job well done. But that is nowhere near the sense of satisfaction I feel when I am working on a new book and things are clicking and I know that I am writing something of substance that will (hopefully) age well and form a meaningful connection with my readers.

If you want to get rich, become an investment banker. If you want to be famous, make silly YouTube videos. If you want to explore your mind and create a universe that is custom-made just for you, sit down and get started. There’s no time like the present…

J.S. Lender’s new book White Sail, Blue Seas is on sale now! reefpointpress.weebly.comCopyright © J.S. Lender / Reef Point Press 2021

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