On Monday 19th February, after diligently working on it since November 2017, I completed the vomit draft of my second manuscript.
Me? Yeah, I just finished the vomit draft of my second book, no big thing.
*Internally celebrating with unrepentant, victorious screaming*
— Steve Russell (@stevetendo) February 19, 2018
The very next day I was back to my ‘day job’, earning the cash needed to put food on my table and keep the lights on by [job description redacted] with [expletive deleted] [description redacted].
Because writing in the dark is hard, especially as my process sees me perpetually bathed in the light emitted from my screen.
What’s the alternative? Actually write with my hands? What are you, a barbarian?!
It was a tough reality check after such a personal high, to once again make my way into a day job that was always meant to be a temporary (no pun intended) gig.
Let’s just say it didn’t work out that way. Yet.
My therapist once asked me what I get out of my job.
The answer surprised me.
The job I do, as much as it can feel like a personal purgatory, gives me the time to pursue the things that truly matter to me.
Writing. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And at one point – perhaps overdue a comeback – podcasting.
But with every mile that brought me closer to my Groundhog Day reality, a heavy pit developed in my stomach that ached for a future when all of this – the commute, the day job politicking, the disillusionment and discontent – could be looked back on.
As I wrote the final words for Steen (still a tentative working title), hitting that last period at the end of the ~96k, I was neither awash with a sense of self-contentment nor drowning in satisfaction. Instead, I felt kind of hollow, aware of a heavy trepidation over what comes next.
It’s the exact same feeling I had to contend with after finishing Temporary.
With Temporary, I was eager to get redrafting as soon as possible, but only after spending some time away from the project. I wanted to get it to literary agents as soon as I could, post-obsessive rewrite phase, and whole-heartedly believed it would only be a matter of time until it connected with an agent.
Still kind of waiting on that.
I don’t believe it’s a failure in Temporary. Far from it. I believe in the commercial appeal and *puts on business cap and officious voice* the saleability *throws off business cap and chokes out that tone* of Temporary’s story and characters.
It just hasn’t reached the right agent at the right time, generating that all-important connective spark as the planets align, a blood moon high in the night sky.
And perhaps it’s this that fuelled the odd disconnect as I finished Steen: that awareness over what comes next, despite my willingness to embrace the grind of rewriting (part of the job, after all) and the cold reality of Reject City.
As disheartened as I am that Temporary is yet to find a home, the idea that Steen could follow suit makes me want to stare out of a window wistfully as it gently rains (of course), contemplating life and all my failures.
The next phase of hardcore work is just getting started, and it’s human to want to know that the time invested into your dream will be worth it. But there’s no guarantee of that in this game; I’m just grateful that I have time to invest into my ambitions.
Not for the first time, some might ask ‘why’. But as Kevin Smith so succinctly puts it, ‘why not?’
– Steve R / @stevetendo