The rest of the film was a blur (bowling alleys, milkshakes). I was restless, and fidgeting in my seat. As soon as the credits started to roll, I took off for home and quickly filled several pages in my notebook, which until then had gone basically unused.
Four months later, I graduated and moved a little east and a lot north. In Edmonton, I got an entry-level office job that I always overdressed for. Later I got a different office job, but kept wearing ties. I knew I’d never have hours at a time to write—so I picked a date, way off in the future, as my arbitrary deadline to finish a first draft. Then I did the math backwards: to get there I’d have to write 119 words (about half a page) every day. This seemed manageable. I drew up calendars, and wrote down my daily word counts with a red pen. It was a way to self-motivate. Two zeroes in a row would drive me insane. There were never three.
I wrote mostly during lunch hours at my desk. Some weekends. I was also getting regular work for an alt-weekly in town, and building my chops as an arts journalist. Somewhere along the way I started this blog, where I’ve had the good fortune to meet some of you reading this.
I finished that first draft in June 2010, four months ahead of schedule.
More drafts followed. More cuts. (And some additions, because why not.) Then, when I finally declared the book finished, there was the painful 18 months I spent trying to find it a home—to find people who saw in it the same things that I did.
Well, the deal just went through. The Dilettantes, my first novel, is going to be published by Freehand Books in fall 2013.
This won’t be the last you hear about it, I can promise you.