I pulled my mind back from the window, my neighbours snoring had finally reached the level at which action must be taken. I closed my notebook, laid it beside me on my seat and formed a pincer with my thumb and forefinger. I reached across to my neighbour in the seat behind me, held my open pincer above his nose, and quickly closed and opened my pincer in a mock gesture. I saw his nose twitch as I held my hands in front of his nostrils, his head moved in response, resulting in silence.
I often travel by greyhound, it grounds me in reality, gives me the time for self-contemplation necessary for me to write effectively. Yes, being a struggling writer the cost of flying is often a necessary consideration. But I prefer the slower pace, the colourful array of characters I meet, and something about the landscapes passing by the window stimulates my writers’ mojo.
I often think back to before I sold my first piece as the miles pass, and I meet my neighbours, to the time I first decided I was going to give writing a try. Determined to be a science fiction writer, I bravely jumped into the fire confident in my ability. Convinced that the world would digest my words, that my words would change the world, and that readers would come running back for more of my wisdom. I arrogantly sent out my first attempt, sure that destiny was born.
Fame would cover me with the praise of my readers and the acclaim of my peers. Publishers would blow down my door and drag me, screaming and kicking to be left alone, into the light of adulation. Beautiful women finally find me attractive; the distractions they provide leave me in a state of euphoria, with a warm satisfied feeling. The money allows me to create an educational fund providing young, unpublished, writers with the ability to write without worrying about starving. It’s hard to find the time to write when your belly is screaming at you or you spend your day trying to stay warm and dry. Mental agility, like physical agility, requires a proper diet, and time to practice the art of thinking.
As the cold of the buses large windows seeped into my cheek, I peeled my warm skin from the cold glass. Reached down by my side for my workbook and found an empty space where I left it. I slid my hand down the narrow passage between the seat and the bus walls hoping the book had fallen in the passage.
I heard the wonderfully bright voice of the attractive young lady in the seat beside me; I think she had boarded the bus while I slept. “I hope you don’t mind, your book fell off your lap and onto my seat while you were sleeping, I was bored so I started reading.”
I smiled warmly, “No, every writer lives to write for his readers, for the energy provided by the readers reaction to the words. I write because I have something to say, something to give to the world.”
She turned toward me, “A published writer,” rolled off her tongue, and slid along my smile.
I put on my professional face, “A published writer, yes.”
I ignored her sudden interest as I realised it was a normal reaction; in truth there are a lot of very talented writers who will never be published.
I felt her eyes taking in the picture, the baggy clothes, the uncombed hair, the cheap notebook, and my nailed to the earth methods.
She smirked as she talked, “You must be rich then.”
“No, the money has been adequate, but wheel barrels full of money didn’t roll into my life when I became a writer. Writing has always been my dream, to stimulate minds, to change the thinking of readers.”
Her smirk changed as I talked, she waited until I finished. “Your right, when I was reading your writing a few minutes ago, it definitely stimulated my mind, changed the way I think of writers.”
“Owe, in what way has my writing changed your thinking?”
“Well, before I read your writing I actually thought you were kind of cute, now you bore me.”
I turned back to my picture window, and smiled to myself as I thought.
The first tempering of the writers soul comes with their first rejection, preparing them for the many to follow. For a successful writer, like any success story, must first fail to succeed. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph is a journey into the soul, a voyage of self-discovery where the story becomes all-consuming. If rejection has taught me one thing over the years it’s that first opinions can be shaped and changed with patience, which often requires years of practice and study to determine what makes one person successful while another flounders in frustration.
The best word of advice I can give to any writer struggling to achieve their dream. Learn from the words that have been written before you, make a plan for the direction of your dream, and write today. If you were meant to write there is only one thing that can stop you, and that is you.
By “Warren. J. Hayashi.”