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I ought to write a book. Wait -I am writing a book., The Problems

I ought to write a book. Wait – I am writing a book.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

— Paperback Writer, The Beatles

At the end of September I got while hair.  I had sat down and wrote a chapter (basically an introduction) for a book on business and video games.  This got me to thinking, and I wrote an introduction for a different book.

I’m not sure, but I think I’m succeeding in writing a book now. So far I’ve written 30,687 words – using the rough calculation, it ends up being 122 pages so far, and I’m not at the half way point.

Now for the part I’m a little unsure about announcing.  It’s a book about Gamer Zone.  Basically, the entire experience from birth to death and beyond.

I decided to motivate myself in an odd way.  I set up another website (actually, I reused and existing domain) and a copy of WordPress, and just went at it.  I’m throwing it online as a serial – I hit “publish” on two new sections per week.  So far I’ve published 10 sections – all of Chapter 1, and the beginnings of Chapter 2.  But since I’m serializing it, I write ahead – I’ve only published 10 sections but there are 14 in the queue to be published already.  I didn’t just write ahead, I wrote quite a ways ahead.

I mentioned this to Brandon, who was a Gamer Zone customer.  And so he started reading, and asked if he could read the stuff I hadn’t published yet.  Then another online friend asked if he could read ahead.

Hmm… business model?  So, for the hell of it, things that are in the queue to be published show up with the first two or three paragraphs able to be read, and a note from the author on how to get access to the rest of the content – for $5.  I’m chalking it up to an experiment – I wanted to write the story, and publishing it online seemed like a cool idea.  Making money from it would be even cooler.  

But no bites on that yet.  One ex-Gamer Zone customer emailed me and is going out to buy a pre-paid Visa card just so he can buy access. 

The only place I’ve mentioned it so far was I posted it in my old Garage Games account to see if it was an interesting concept.  Other than that, it only gets hits off of Google searches.  20 to 40 people a day hit the site now (not a huge amount.)  Of those, most read at least 4 pages.  63% of the traffic is return traffic (with extra return traffic on Mondays and Thursdays when I hit publish on a new free to read section.)

That means people find it on accident, and read the intro, then start reading it.  And keep coming back to read more.

Uh… huh.  Well, I guess I’m capable of being a writer after all.  

I though writing something would be a fuckload of effort, and a huge time sink.  Well, I type around 100 words a minute when I’m writing “brain dump” style – basically just writing it as it flows out of my brain.  If I have to think about things, then I’m considerably slower (reading a paragraph and typing that same paragraph I can only hit 68 WPM).  Each content section is about 1000 words long on average (just a bit over really), so to write a section only takes about 10 minutes.  I tend to write one before I go to bed, maybe two.  So I actually don’t expend much time on a daily basis to keep the story moving.

I’ve resurrected two other books I wanted to write – though right now they only get a little attention from time to time.  I want to finish this first.

I’m not sure how much longer it will take to finish it.  I’ve been doing this at the end of the night to unwind a bit before bed.  I’ve just had so much going on, it’s not like I can spend a day just writing.  But a quick calculation shows if I could set down for about three days and write for 8 hours a day I could probably finish it in those three days (I’m not calculating for I write at perfect efficiency nonstop.  I figure the best I could do is write for 40 minutes, about 4 sections, then I’d have to go do something else for a while.)

I did some odd things.   A lot of people appear in that (btw, the name is The Story Of Gamer Zone, in case you are curious), but I really didn’t want to name names or anything like that.  At Gamer Zone, people had two names – their real names, and their gamer tag.  I’m not using either one of those – instead, I created brand new names.  Some funny, some slightly insulting, some pretty blah.  And some of it is fictionalized (and says so in the introduction) to kind of prevent from having to point fingers at people, tell things that would embarrass people, or, well, just prevent from plain old being a jerk.  It’s published online, so it could have a potential effect on people’s lives if I were to use real names and someone did a Google search for ’em.  Instead you end up with things like The SkinnyGeek, which abstracts people’s identities enough I’m not worried.  I also used the Fictionalized phrase at the beginning to make up for the parts where I don’t remember what happened in what order 🙂

Now, I mentioned some statistics for it, and it’s obvious without any work I’ve got a small readership started.  I’ve got comments enabled for all The Story sections, but hardly anyone comments.  Instead, they email me through the contact form.

I’ve gotten nothing but positive comments and encouragement from people so far.  One guy even emailed to ask questions about how I ended up  divorced – he owned his own business, and was worried that if his business failed, he might loose his wife.  Somehow he identified me as someone who might know something on the subject.  Which, well, I know absolutely jack shit – otherwise, if I did know something, I probably wouldn’t have gotten divorced in the first place 🙂

When it’s all finished, I’ll probably just set up a deal with a print on demand service, and sell copies that way.  It’s written in my speaking style – not exactly a professional writer’s style, and probably not worth sending out to a real publisher.  But if I made a couple of bucks off of copies online, cool.  Either way, I’d have a copy of my book on my self.  Not the same as going to Borders and buying a copy of my book from there, but, I’m not sure I could pull that off with this particular story.

The biggest problem I have – at some point, I’m going to have to do something about copy editing.  I do spell check on the fly, so no problems there really.  But what I don’t want to do is go back and read it myself and edit it.  I know EXACTLY what the fuck is going to happen – I’ll start changing things.  And changing things.  And re-writing.  And re-writing.  It would end up being the death of The Story of Gamer Zone.  When I was in High School I wrote a short story called The Arctic Fox.  I think the last count was something like 16 re-writes since I first wrote it.  Very bad idea.

So, before I do something like send it out for publication, I’ll have ta’ hire someone to proof read it.  I haven’t the foggiest notion how much that costs yet – I guess when I actually reach the end of the book writing, I’ll start searching and find out.

I’ll more likely than not do the other two books in my “writing queue” and call it good.  I’ll never be a famous author or anything – but I don’t have to be to earn my “Tshirt” for this one. 🙂  Both books already have some content written.  One I had to re-write from scratch – I originally wrote the first couple of chapters, what, 15 years ago?  Jesus.  I just like the idea of the stories they both tell, since they are unique.

I mention The Story on here for two reasons – some people might be interested in it, and secondly I’m actually going to throw out a couple of posts to some places and see what happens with the readership of The Story.  And if that link got passed around and came back and people start reading it and go “Wait… what?  Davis?!” I figure at least a couple of people would be wondering why I never mentioned it in the first place 🙂

So, that’s my big news.  I’m writing a book, and I’m getting close to half done.  You can read it online at the Gamer Zone website.  Or not 🙂  It’s just more of my drivel, but told in a less random manner for once 😉

Oh, and one more thing… I had a… hm… surreal moment I guess would be the best way to describe it.  My friend Brandon introduced me to someone the other day – “This is my friend Davis.  He’s an author.”  I almost said “No, I’m not an author.”

I’m… an… author?  What… Hm.  I’m writing a book.  Uh… I guess I am an author.

The term Author its a bit different to me than it is to some people I suppose.  Actors, for instance, hold no special special significance to me.  There’s just another craftsman, and they don’t even have to be particularly good to be successful (For instance, Jean Claude Van Dam).  But authors, excuse me – Authors, capital A – are a different thing to me.  Authors are men and women of ideas, of thoughts, emotions, great truths, and great lies.  They are driving forces in our culture in many ways – who doesn’t know the name Stephen King, even though he’s not famous as a football hero, actor, or disgraced politician.  Maybe it’s because I hold such importance to the books themselves (one of the only possessions I refuse to give up is my collection of books.  You can have that over my dead fucking body.)  And of course the times I’ve met or known an author (I’ve known three now, and still talk to two from time to time) usually proves to be a bit anti-climactic really.  They are just another person.  But somehow in the back of my mind, Author still holds great significance to me.

I’ve thought about writing books more than once now.  And for the life of me, I have no idea why it never occurred to me if I write a book, I’m an Author.  Wow.

Yeah, ok, probably sounds a bit nuts to everyone else.
 

The Problems

So the good news is I’m starting to feel better.  The bad news I’ve been crammed up with depression and anxiety for a while now.  Heck, I finally emailed Meredith and apologized and explained it a bit.

I’m not sure what’s going on, but, I’ve been having pretty persistent issues lately.  I’ll say it’s somewhere between “the blues” and “depression”.  It’s not seizing me and preventing me from working – heck, I just keep plowing on with the projects I’ve got going on (two fucking underbid large projects in a row.  OUCH.  Luckily my projects don’t often involve parts, just labor, so I’m not out anything – it just ties me up from moving to another project until I’m done.)

Even worse, I’ve been afraid to talk to people.  I mean, like deathly afraid to talk to my friends.   That’s what I emailed Meredith about.  Nick and Heather invited me over, and honest to god, I was afraid to answer and tell them I was working (which I was – I didn’t lie about it, but, I had a hard time telling them I couldn’t show up.)  I have no idea why either.  I just… cringe and end up not bothering to contact people when I think about it.  Some people are in my face (Doc and Brandon.  I live with Doc, so I can’t avoid him, and Brandon calls about every day if I don’t call him first.) so it’s not like I don’t talk to anyone at all.  

I finally forced myself to go out and do something last weekend on Saturday.  A customer of mine was having a Halloween party (on the 1st.  Go fig.), and I went.  I almost didn’t because I didn’t have a costume, and no money to spare to buy one.  I finally beat up on myself enough to get off my ass and go.

This is one I’ve definitely got to figure out.  I’m assuming it’s more chemical imbalance than anything else is the source.  I bought some St. Johns Wart… and I tend to forget about taking it on any consistent basis. 🙂

It’s lifting, I think – I’m not sure.  I’m probably being overly critical about it, but, the last thing I need is to be fucking depressed when I’ve got so much to get done.   

Anyway – I thought I’d share what’s going on.  Partially for catharsis, and partially in case anyone wonders “Gee, Davis doesn’t seem to post much anymore – what happened?” 🙂

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