That time I almost Quit

On a cold December morning in 2017, I met with a group of friends (that I still meet with, though this morning it will be on Zoom) and we discussed our dreams.  Not the kind that you have when you’ve spun through a deep cycle of sleep and are close to waking up, but the ones that spur you on to make it through this life.  The dreams that push you to be better than you are, while at the same time help you be the person you were created to become.

I told the group of men that my dream was to write a novel.  That desire had been lodged within me at least since I turned 26 and had experienced one of the craziest drama filled events my life would bring me through, and I started to write about it.  But I never finished that manuscript.  My friend Steve, though, challenged me to start and to finish a novel, and each week for the next several months, he reminded me by questions why I needed to keep going.

So I started the journey.  In late December of that year, I began what is now chapter 33 of “Flat Earth”.  But I didn’t know how to write a novel.  So by June of 2018, another manuscript of about 10,000 words laid quietly in the halls of my desktop files known as “Documents”.

Then in late 2018, I found myself in the unfortunate predicament of stepping down from a job I loved after 20 years.  So I talked extensively to Dan, another friend of mine who is a writer and has published several books.  Dan taught me the art of outlining, how to do an outline, and how not to be subservient to an outline while you’re working through the creative process.  Finally, I was on my way to finishing my novel.

But one other thing happened that helped me during that time.

My wife and I didn’t know what we were going to do after I left my job.  All cards were on the table.  One dream my wife always had though was to live for an extended period of time with our family of six in a hispanic country.  We talked of Puerto Rico or Panama or maybe even Valencia, Spain, the place where Carie studied for several months while she was in college.

We decided to travel to Valencia, Spain, where we lived for a month in March of 2019.  I can’t tell you how amazing this place is, and even now, a part of me longs to be there at times.  Now you might say, “Well Marty, you had the opportunity to go to Spain, of course you finished your book there.  While that might be true of someone just out of college traveling Europe using a backpack and daddy’s credit card, that is most definitely not true of a father of four kids 6 and under.  My wife and I spent the days from 8 – 8 walking and riding a bus around the incredible city of Valencia, where we found ourselves knee deep in culture, beaches, history, and a Christmas like celebration (they also do Christmas) that month known as Las Fallas.

So I spent the hours of 9pm – 2am or, on some occasions 3:30am – 8am writing and working from 10,000 – 65,000 words of this novel, and when we arrived home, I finished the other 30,000 words over the course of the next three months.

Over the last 6-8 months, I’ve edited, fine-tuned, and rearranged “Flat Earth” into what it currently and I hope you enjoy it, but even if you don’t, I was able to do something I absolutely loved and dreamed about for what almost half of my life.  Tomorrow my novel will be released, and I’ll have the satisfaction and the discomfort of having people read, enjoy, critique, or absolutely hate what I’ve written, but that’s totally okay with me.  My dream is complete.  Now on to the next one!

Would you do me two favors if you are reading this:

A) Would you read the first chapter of “Flat Earth” if you haven’t done so?  You can find it here.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on that today or whenever you are reading this.

B) Would you share this post on social media with someone or with people who you know might be quitting on a dream?

Thanks so much for reading my journey, and I hope you enjoy “Flat Earth”.  It releases at Midnight tonight.

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