What’s your favorite?

I’m always stumped when someone asks me what my favorite book is.  Choosing your favorite book is akin to choosing between your best friend and your sister to be your maid of honor. So, I usually divvy my favorites into the different stages of my life.

Elementary School – Any V.C. Andrews Series (especially the Casteel Series) – I was entirely too young to read about the subject matter in these books but my mother was so excited that her “baby” had such a large appetite for reading that she didn’t think to check if it was appropriate or not.  I loved the soap opera-esque nature of the books and I couldn’t put the books down until I finished them.  It got so bad that I would sneak and read the books in class until of course I got caught by my teacher.  Her books hold a special place in my heart because they were the first adult literature that I read.

Middle School – Anne of Green Gables –  Outside of my parents, certain characters in literary history were my role models and Anne was at the top of the list.  Her defiant nature and  strong will left an indelible impression on me. It was empowering to see a female character go after what she wanted no matter the consequences.  I read the book and saw the movie many times over the years and I still enjoy both to this day.

High School – The Color Purple – I saw the movie first but in all fairness, I was in kindergarten when it was published. This movie was on repeat in my household because my mother LOVED this film. I was curious how the book lined up with the movie and read it one summer vacation.  Alice Walker is a beautiful storyteller and her writing takes you right alongside with Celie as she endures and eventually escapes from a horrible existence with Albert.

College – I’ll admit I didn’t do too much leisure reading in College because the last thing I wanted to do was read a book during my free time. But I read Bridget Jones’ Diary and never laughed out loud so much while reading a book.  However, Bridget Jones’ Diary took me down a long road of reading Chick Lit(which isn’t bad) and it took me about 10 years to climb out of that abyss.

Post College till now – Honestly, I haven’t read much during the past 15 years. I tried to focus more on reading screenplays because I wanted to learn the ins and outs of writing scripts.  Every time I sat down to read a novel, I would think about my own unfinished great literary work and put said book down.

And my favorite is….Any book with strong female characters. I think we have an internal need to identify with others and that definitely plays a role when I choose a book to read~~

 

Time

Time….It’s the one thing in life that doesn’t wait for us.  There’s a never ending race to accomplish our chores/activities/goals based around how much time we have or don’t have.

I’m amazed at how much time I used to squander away.  Before I became a mother of two children under the age of five, I had so much time but I hardly spent any of it writing.  Every morning, I lazily woke up, took a shower, got dressed, and went to work.   Over the past 15 years, my “work” has morphed from a temp agency drone to a customer service representative to an executive assistant and finally to an ESL teacher.

When I got home from work, I only wanted to decompress and prepare for the next day.  On the weekends, I was out and about in whatever city I lived in hanging out with friends/family/lovers.  Rinse and repeat these actions and voila, 15 years has passed since I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

In the back of my mind, I was a “writer” who couldn’t follow my real passion because I had to pay the bills and I didn’t have enough time  to do it all.  It’s easy to push a dream to the far away land of your subconscious. You tell yourself that not many people make it in this artistic field.  You’d be lucky to sell a thousand copies of your book or sell one screenplay at best.

You convince yourself that it’s easier for people who want to have more tangible careers because they can go to university and actually get a job upon graduation in teaching, medicine or the law.  But an artist doesn’t have the same odds.  Upon graduation, we start a fake job and try to do our real job on the side.  And some of us really do make it. The ones who persevere and do both jobs at the same time waiting for the moment when preparation meets opportunity.  But the rest us, we tell ourselves that we’re simply shooting for the stars because it’s a lot harder to face the reality that we’re not using our time wisely to do the impossible.

I should say that I did write a little during the past fifteen years but not nearly as much as I could have.  I completed two screenplays and started about a dozen others.  I probably started about five different novels but never made it past the first chapter.

Then, something tragic happened in 2011.  My mother lost her battle to diabetes at the age of 62.  When she died, I finally realized that I was almost out of time.  Sure, I was only 33 at the time, but at the rate of my productivity, I would probably complete one more screenplay and start five more different novels by the time I’m 59.  I decided it was now or never.   I started writing regularly even though I ironically had less time with a shiny newborn by my side.  Between working and taking care of my children, I wrote another screenplay and a novella in three years.  I’m not saying that’s an amazing amount of work, but for me, I felt like I climbed Mount Everest.

So, here I sit, thinking about how to prioritize my crazy schedule to increase productivity because time doesn’t stop for anyone~~

 

 

Hello world!

My name is Shane Waters and I’m a novelist, freelance writer and aspiring screenwriter.   I started this blog to create a space for me to talk about anything related to writing in the form of books/film/TV.  It’s also a place for me to write about what my hopes/fears look like as a writer trying to make a living solely from writing avenues.  It’s gonna be a wild and crazy ride, so buckle your seat belts and enjoy!