THERE WAS A TIME not that long ago where I would wake up between 9 and 10 in the morning, grab my laptop and make the short walk in the blistering heat to the nearby mall.
Passing the smoothie bar to get my daily limonada de coco, I’d arrive at the coffee shop, park myself down in the corner directly under the cool fan and sit in that one spot for many hours until hunger drummed on my belly and said, “Um…buddy?“
It helped that at the time certain factors helped ease my journey into becoming a fledgling writer.
- I had accrued the necessary funds to be able to dedicate a year of my life to explore my interest (passion?).
- A stranger in a strange land, for a year Colombia’s surface was barely scratched. Without knowing a soul in my new habitat, writing became my refuge. I spent a large chunk of my days exploring alternative new lands, and painting them on the page.
- Abstinence from alcohol for an entire year meant that my productivity shot through the roof. Feck off nasty hangovers!
Outwardly, it probably appeared that I was wasting hundreds of hours chasing ghosts. Hours that could have been spent topping up a tan, improving my spanish or mingling with the paisas. However, inwardly my spirit soared. I couldn’t have been happier being glued to that seat.
Abandoned characters that had been roughly sketched out in my imagination years ago began to creep out from the shadows; a place where they were conceived but had been tossed to one side. This time felt different. Now they had fresh hope – hope that they would be found. Perhaps a chance to find a safe haven to explore and run and play.
Instead of ignoring them, I encouraged them to step out from the cover of darkness and into the light where they suddenly began to take on form, colour and shape, eventually growing beyond my own expectations.
Writing became a labour of love over the course of that year.
While on one hand, I could honestly think of nothing more I would rather be doing (big statement living in Colombia, I realise!), it came at a price. My self-imposed solitude meant my social life took a dive. After all, who could compete with my fictional parish priest Father Tom Regan?
In the space of a month, I lost 15lbs during the writing of Sigil.
I was so wrapped up in the telling of the story, trying to download what was in my head to paper as accurately as possible, that everything else faded into the background.
This wasn’t some grim desire to tough it out. It was simply that I became so energised/obsessed with a need to spill my guts on the page, that by the time the sun swung down, so with it came the realisation I hadn’t actually eaten.
That single-minded determination and focus has deteriorated rapidly since my return to Irish shores almost twelve months ago.
This blog is a testament to that, with entries few and far between.
A 9-5 corporate gig and a reclaimed social life have meant that I’ve struggled to prioritise my writing.
First world problems, right?
Not quite. Although, I do need a kick up the arse, ‘Bishop Brennan style‘ to get back on track. Half-completed projects clutter up my laptop -ideas that need a little sprinkle of water to grow strong enough to break through the top layer of soil.
Although there’s nothing quite like a deadline to instill some much needed discipline.
To that end, I’ll be releasing a new short story entitled Crystal Clear on June 30th.
My third novel – Raising Lazarus – will be released on my birthday – September 10th.
Time to get busy.