Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Get It Done

This is for all you runners, joggers and no-talent sloggers who've ever fantasized about winning an Olympic Gold Medal or accomplishing something else unbelievable as you ran down the sidewalk in a torrential downpour for the only reason being that you loved what you were doing. Remember those nights when you were the only one splashing down the sidewalk? You would get home and as you peeled off your sopping rain gear you would remember "man I was out there all by myself". But so what, does anyone else care? I don't think so. You were bumbling down the road in 30 degree weather with the sleet pistoning your sorry face for the basic reason being that you loved it. Most people would never understand what you were doing out there; as in "what's the point"? You can work up a sweat at the Y.M.C.A. or some toney exercise palace that costs a $100 a month to run on a treadmill with plugs in your ears, listening to wimp rock and watching fat boys like Will Ferrell and Hugh Black on high def. What I'm talking about are dreams that we all have that might not become real but so what, dreams are a big part of people's lives; dreams for yourself, dreams for your family, dreams for your kids. Some you attain, some you don't, but you don't give them up.

What I'm really talking about are the dreams you know you never had a shot at. Yah, right, you're going to be an N.F.L. quarterback like Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl driving down the field for the winning touchdown or you're going to invent a cure for a deadly disease or yeah it's you and Tiger Woods walking toward the clubhouse at Augusta on the 18th hole with all those fat-cat corporate hackers cheering you on. If you are going to dream it might as well be something big. Right, and it never happens for 99% of us does it? So what, we get on with our lives and everything is alright but we still have that fantasy of doing something amazing or heroic. Something that people will never forget.

Well so you're just a no talent fantasizer who's never done anything athletically or personally on the world stage, much less the national, local or neighborhood stage. What do you do about it? You don't have a clue do you because you're not only a no talent unathletic schmuck, you're too lazy to take the obvious next step of what.....? Let me spell it out for you! You use what discipline you might have to write a book! If you've got the intestinal fortitude to be out running in God-forsaken weather in the middle of the the night you can get it done! I'll guarantee you something has been inspiring you to be out there in the dark all by yourself. Something has been winding it's way through your imagination as your steamy cold breath billows in front of you and your running shoes send exploding geysers of icy water up your legs. Sure why not? Because anything can happen in a book, because it is what is in your creative mind that ends up on those pages and if it's your main character winning the World Series with a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth or piloting a rocket ship to Mars or tracking a vampire through the sewers of London or climbing Mount Everest in a brutal storm you are only limited by your drive and imagination; it's what has pushed you out the door for all those years.

Yah, I know what you're going to say because I said the same wimpy stuff to my lazy/slacker self too. Whine, whine: I don't have the time, I can't spell, I never had good grammar, etc. etc.; in other words I don't have the guts to even try... to even give it a shot. Then you realize, yeah I've got a pretty good idea for a book that people might like (whether it's family, friends or people who feel sorry for you.) So what do you do next? You write a chronological outline of what is going to happen like you did back in school a hundred years ago. That's where it all starts because then you have something on paper which is more than you had last week. From there it's a matter of every day expanding that outline into scenes and chapters and amazingly your book will grow and develop before your eyes! It's not going to happen over night but if you keep at it someday you will be finished.

Hey it doesn't matter if one person likes it, the point is is that you put it on paper and it's there forever; you took the time to do it. You got up an hour early every morning or you spent an hour writing at lunch instead of socializing or when the rest of your family was in bed you were pursuing your dream. You were putting pen to paper. That's the only way it's going to happen and it happened for me! It took a few years but I got it done. And you know what? I don't know anyone in my life, as in family, friends, schoolmates or coaches who has written a book.

It's true, I haven't found anybody in the mainstream publishing world to publish my dream (although I'm still working on it.) Nobody in that rarefied industry seems to be interested. That's OK because no one can take away the fact that I did write a book. Maybe only twenty people have read it, but I don't care because I know my novel is a damn good story! I know because I read all the time; as in I have a book going every day. I know a good book when I read it and if I don't like it I'll give it a few more pages, then if I still don't like it I'll dump it and go on the the next one. In other words I'm not some rookie who reads their one book of the year and says "oh my goodness it's so relevant" or "what great characters, they are so unique and sympathetic!" My book is a terrific story with people whom I brought to life! My imagination introduced them to me and it was great to meet them! Just like you will know your characters in your story. You might not know them all at first but they will magically come alive with a joyous surprise and you will wonder where they came from. They came from you!

My story and the people who inhabited it were part of my life! I had something inside me that had to be written and I brought it out. (Like you can.) The very cool thing is that when it was all done I didn't feel embarrassed to read it. My story had good and bad people, it had humor, it had drama, it had individual and family love and it had failure and redemption. When I would proof read my novel one more time I would be amazed at the emotion that was inherent in the story. These were events and people that I had created that were based on reality and they would never cease to warm me with the recognition of what I had written over a whole lot of years.

Another cool thing about writing a book is that running seems to encourage the process. As you run you will think about your book and characters and scenes will develop from all that nourishing blood flowing through your body and into your brain. If you reach a point in your book where something isn't working or doesn't make sense just think about it on a five mile run. The clarity that comes from your body functioning at it's peak will find a solution.

So give it a shot. See what can happen when you commit yourself to your own dream. As it's been said: "Everyone has at least one book inside them but it's up to that person to bring it out!"

"Only you can make your dreams real!"

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