The Turning Point

I’ve danced around the topic a few times on this site, careful to not talk about the actual experience or give any details about it, but, at this point, I don’t see a reason to hide that I work at Borders. I’m still not going to talk about working there or any of the people I work with because that’s not what this article is about. However, my being employed by Borders Inc. is incredibly relevant to this post.

You’re probably wondering why if you don’t follow the news at all. The answer: Borders is liquidating, and in a week or a month or sometime soon, I’ll be out of a job.

So, immediately, the question becomes, “What am I going to do?” And just as immediately, answers spring up. Some friends have been awesome enough to offer me recommendations at their jobs–places and positions that are completely what I’ve always wanted to move on to. Another opportunity–a tutoring job–would be very easy to get even though it would make me miserable. And, always, there’s the worst choice–natural progression: get a job at Barnes & Noble and lean back into the same spot I was just in.

But, even with the position I really wanted, I knew that I couldn’t. It wasn’t that my resume wasn’t good enough or I wouldn’t do well at any of these jobs.

It was because I knew I had to take the opportunity to really change my life.

I won’t be able to not look for some kind of part-time work, but in the hiatus, I decided I have to stop, collect myself, and finish War of Exiles.

I’m more than vaguely aware that this is a bad idea. I’m aware that it’s going to be very lonely and stressful and incredibly difficult. But I’m also aware that if I don’t take this chance to really finish my first novel and the several short stories I’ve already started on, I may never get any of it done. Or maybe I will, in 2015. Or 2018. Or 2024.

But it’s my dream. It’s always been my dream, ever since I played Final Fantasy III (it was III back then, not VI) and was amazed by the world and the drama between the characters. And I don’t want to put my dream on the back burner; I already have for years and years when I promised myself I wouldn’t. In my eyes, this is the only choice–it’s what I just have to do.

So what’s on the agenda?

  1. Work on the outline for Exiles and short stories everyday. The terrifying goal until I find my speed–a finished chapter outline every week, a finished short in the first month.
  2. For as long as I have an unlimited Metrocard, go to places from my past. I know this sounds weird, but I need to get my drama from somewhere. I’ll blog about some of those places here, killing two birds with one stone. I’ll also blog with updates on my progress, but I’m probably going to want to write about some of these places, and why not here?
  3. If I can, shoot at various locations. May as well work on my photography a bit while I’m at it.
  4. Work with Chaos Mechanica and other partners on a new website. For when I really, really need that instant gratification.
  5. Read fantasy novels when I really, really need a break. There’s nothing like rounding out my knowledge of my genre and keeping my head in the game while enjoying myself at the same time.
  6. Casually work on RED and other art projects when I have time.

And I believe that’s it.

I remember my goal on my 28th birthday–don’t turn 29 without getting something published.  If I hadn’t decided to completely rewrite my first novel, I possibly would’ve been on the way to achieving that goal. But now, I realize that with a few months left, I have to scrap that goal. Because I have a new one now, and it’s not a maybe or a try.

Finish the final draft of your book and get it published six months after you lose your job.

Just typing it terrifies me.

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. One of my short stories, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here:

6 thoughts on “The Turning Point”

  1. Great post. I felt it from the heart, because it speaks directly to my aspirations and hopes. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how all of my heroes and all of the advice i’ve read or picked up lately say to make your goals come true but sacrificing and working hard.

    I used to bill myself as “the Risktaker” in college, but ironically, and sadly, i’ve realized i haven’t taken any risks at all. I’ve always done the cautious, safe thing, and while that can be good, it’s also restricting.

    I’ll be taking this road a long with you, in some form or fashion: let’s make this happen. I said this year that I had a feeling Borders would finally die and that it was time to make moves. Well, here we are. Time to make moves.

    1. It’s good to know I’ll have a partner in this mess.

      So you know, I will ride your ass about your writing. I can’t expect you to get a book done in 6 months, but we’re both putting short stories out there.

  2. My problem is not being consistent and single minded with a goal. I love to juggle different projects or do none at all and weep. This year I have been pushing myself to stay focus, but I still juggle.

    1. I have the same problem, dude; I wrote a post about it a while back, in fact. In the end though, I don’t think I learned a good way to get around it. I was all, “It sucks that I’m always trying to do a million things at once… Aaaaanyway…”

      I think I naturally put some stuff on the back burner though, or made them lower priority, which I think is the best any of us can do when it comes to being creative; if only for a month or two, try listening only to music that makes you think of your one, most important project. Try to think of it instead of any other project. Make macaroni art of it and it only. That’s honestly the only thing that’s really come close to working.

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