The First Day

Hello to you. Some of you may know me, and others may just stumble upon this page. My name is Steven Oaks, if you have not noticed, and I am an author. I am a writer of poetry, which happens spontaneously, and an author in the Science Fiction Genre. Today I took the first step into the grand journey of becoming a full time worker in the literature field by quiting my day job. There are those of you out there that might see this as a mistake, or perhaps a foolish idea. However I see it as an opportunity that I can not let go. It has been a dream of mine since I was very young to write novels. That being said I’ve yet to sell anything I’ve written. This is I think in large part due to the fact I have yet to show it to any perspective publisher. I have set myself up for a single year to see if my dream can become a reality. I’ve saved just enough money to try to see me through that long, and in that time I desire to shop around what I have written, and also continue to write. It is my deepest wish that you follow me on my journey. I will from time to time update on this blog, probably once a week as I don’t wish this writing to interfere with my fictional world creating ability. However I will let everyone know that is interested of what I have achieved in the week between posts. There may be smaller posts that involve perhaps the number of words I’ve written, or perhaps how excited, or depressed I am with the world that I have created, and those may come out daily.

This first post I will talk a little bit about how I achieved writing a novel in the first place. Now this may not work for everyone, but I took a bit of wisdom from Cory Doctorow. He set himself up with a word count goal per day. When I first started writing I set it up low, as I was unsure how much would be appropriate to begin with. I started with merely 1,000 words a day as something to strive for. As I began to get more comfortable with writing I bumped it up to 2,000. This was what I averaged, but there were some days where I only had enough time to write 1,000 words or so, so I made myself make it up the next day. If I missed two days in a row it became a real struggle to accomplish making it up, so I began a rigorous schedule.

My days began in bed with me doing a little reading of world news, or just traversing the glut of information that you can receive by reading Reddit when you follow the appropriate sub-reddits. I would get up, grab something to eat and watch maybe a few YouTube videos about topics that interested me while I ate, and then proceed to begin the effort of creation. I started writing in silence and found that there were times when ideas would just not come, so I switched over to a track of music that had little to no lyrics. If you are interested in listening to what I was while writing you can find it here (LINK). Though the second song in that list is a personal favorite I had to skip it most times as it would distract me enough with its lyrics as to pull me out of my somewhat disconnected state. I think what I did to myself by doing this was put myself in a meditative state, or at least in the same mind frame everyday, so as the days went by I found I could easily delve back where I left off as if I hadn’t stopped writing the day before. However this having just awoken I was refreshed.

Also after I had completed my daily goal of 2,000 words I would go out and exercise for at least an hour. There were days when I would go out for a run, or just a walk, but mostly I would ride my bike. As luck would have it I live in a town that has a wonderful trail that leads to another little town 10 miles away or so. While out on this trail I would listen to audiobooks or podcasts that I found would strike notes with me and help me come up with new and interesting takes on the world. As I began doing this in September the weather was perfect for being outdoors in the Indiana fall. Not too hot, nor too cold to enjoy nature. The trail itself is lined with tree’s of many varieties, there were even apple and mulberry trees. While I did not slow down enough to consume such wonderful bounties, I enjoyed the idea that I could. But the days began to get colder, and I had to start my bike rides later and later into the day just so I could stay warm. Soon enough it simply was impractical to wear so many layers to participate in the outside world. Again the world strove to make us all the cave dwellers who rarely venture outside.

Picture of me on the trail in near winter garb below.

stevebike

At this point my venture of writing was at an end as I had found a well paying job thanks to a friend. While I had completed writing my book, it still needed some work. I had lined up a couple of people who’s opinions I respected to help me edit, and they began their work. While I strove to continue writing the second novel in this series I found myself far too exhausted to really focus when I got home from working a full day. I was able to at least look at the edits that were made to my first book, and help clarify anything that I might have left off, or approve of the changes that they felt were necessary, however the spark was all but gone from my mind. The creative person that began the journey of making a story was being burned away by the day to day challenges of holding a job, and trying to do it well.

I continued to at least try to write on the weekends when I wasn’t working, but I was unable to regain the clarity that I had possessed in the initial creation. So while I enjoyed working with the people I had met at my new job, I felt it was time that I leave. While having a good job in this day and age is hard to come by, I felt that just living to work and making money were not enough reasons to continue there. I feel it is more important to strive for your dreams. Now I certainly may fail, that is something I’ve come to accept, but the regret I would feel by not even trying would be a worse burden on my mind than failing though I tried.

So here I am, an unemployed striving artist. Something that I never thought I would do, as I have always been the logical mathematically minded individual, and have in my youth scorned the idea of the creative trying to break the bonds of society to striving forth to make a place for themselves. Though I find we all usually have that mindset as we’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that getting a job that you can stay at for life, marrying, having kids, retiring, and then finally dying are what we should be doing. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but that isn’t my dream. So please wish me luck on my journey, and I wish you all the chance to try for your dreams.

-Steven Oaks

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