Saturday, April 2, 2011

What I've Learned In Six Weeks - Writing is Difficult and Mini Vans Are OK

Week six is officially behind me and I must say, it was a tough. But it is another week in the books and after a good morning run I am down twelve pounds and over 32,000 words into the novel.

Two things about this week. First, and I don't know how many other writers experience this, as I was writing I started to question where the whole story was going and wondering if I'd wasted so much time on a story that would turn out to be crap. But I stuck with it because of the commitment I made to myself and ended up changing a couple story lines and backgrounds and things are now turning around. The funny thing is, that has happened in the past and I just tossed the writing away, starting something new. And taking that route has led to absolutely nothing being completed. But not this time! I am going to see this project through to the end and if it turns out to be somewhat of a disappointment, at the very least I will have learned a ton and that's exactly what I want this year to be. A year of trying, a year of learning and a year of accomplishment. And the only way I'm going to accomplish is to try and know there are things I will fail at. Knowing this has allowed me to keep going and make it a point to try new things along the way.

The second thing I learned this week was that we spend way too much money on our cars. Our status symbols. I especially see this as some men my age approach mid life and treat a new car as though it were a way to show off the size of their manhood if you know what I mean. Cars have become our social business cards. They announce where we believe we stand in the world and allows some to look up to us. And I say this having driven very nice cars! That's right, guilty. I loved pulling up in a car that had payments more appropriate for a nice apartment. I liked it because people looked at it and at me. I mean, there's a reason Toyota developed the Lexus and that's because people wouldn't spend $65,000 on a Toyota. But give it another name and a high price tag and you have a $65,000 Toyota.

Now, I know there are some that will say it has to do with comfort and the ride they offer. I'm not buying it. Why are high school kids, especially in this area, asking for BMW's and Mercedes. Because of the nice quiet ride they'll experience as they treat their car stereos like a live Hannah Montana concert? No, it's because they'll look cool and people will look up to them. And unfortunately that mentality has never left us, despite our age. We want to be the cool kids.

I realized this as I drove my wife's ten year old mini van down to Houston this past weekend. The ride was nice, I had enough room to bring a small college basketball team if I so desired and I got great gas mileage. So then why the hell am I driving something twice that expensive? Because I feel cool in it and there's no way in hell I'm driving a mini van around town. And that's sad because in those ten hours of just me and the mini van, I grew to respect it. But what hit me the most is that this is not a commentary on the perception of mini vans but an obvious reality of an insecurity I have. But one I can also work on!


  1. No knocking Mini-vans! I have a 2009 Honda Odyssey and I love that thing. Sadly, I think it's even my favorite car ever because of the reasons you mentioned above. It's roomy, comfortable, and has good MPG. Of course one day I will have a corvette. Oh yes, cherry red, 56' will do just fine, thank you very much. :)

  2. Love the vet. I'm leaning towards a 65 convertible Mustang! And of course, keep the mini van

  3. Here's a little writing trick that used to help me when I was writing for television. Write the title page. "Yadayadayada" Written by Tin Cup.

    Now print it out and put it on your desk where it will be the first thing you see very day as you start to right. It will trick your subconscious into believing the project is already completed and the only task now is to put it on the page.

    It always worked for me. Good luck with the novel.