What To Do, What To Do

Age of Darkness, the first book in my series War of Ages, began with a map that I had sketched sometime around May 2009. Nine years later (during which I got my bachelors degree and founded a charity) my manuscript is finally at its finished product and off to an agent. It’s been a part of my life for so long that life feels…strangely empty without it to work on. I could always scroll through the pages, nitpicking every tiny nuance. But there really does come point when you have to put the manuscript down and walk away.

But…now what? I could take a much needed break. After all, I’ve been working hard. I deserve it! But what should I do with all my newfound free time?

It’s times like these that I’m reminded of a meeting I had with one of my professors (a great man by the name of J. Christopher Malone) when I was contemplating a Ph.D. He reminded me that the type of people who normally continue their studies to get a doctorate in philosophy read philosophy the way other people play video games. It’s what they do for fun and to relax. It’s how they take breaks. That’s what sets philosophers apart from those who simply enjoy philosophy. As Dr. Malone was explaining this to me, I found that my mind kept wandering to my manuscript. That moment helped confirm something I’d always known, but never really had the confidence for. What I really want to do was write novels.

So, what do I do to wind down from having finished my novel? If my passion is to write for a living, the answer is simple—I start my next project. Be it a short story or novel, I do what I love. After I finish one project, the question I should be asking myself is, “Which story do I want to write now?” I should be thinking, “Thank the gods that’s done, so I can sink my mind into this other story!” Don’t get me wrong, I take breaks from a project as I’m working on it, especially after the umpteenth edit when a bit of resentment has started to mold around a project. But I only take a break from that particular project, not from writing and reading in general. I wouldn’t want to any more than I’d want to take a break from breathing. I love doing both, and fortunately for me, breathing is required for writing so I can do both!

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