Alarm rings. “Wait. There’s a five o’clock in the morning?”
The year is 2008 and I’m writing my words before my five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter wake up and demand chocolate chip waffles with maple syrup before school. By seven, I’m dropping them off at their classrooms on the way to mine, where I’ll spend the next ten hours teaching.
After school I’m preparing snacks for my daughter and taking my son to hockey practice. By the time the kids go down for the night at eight, my wife and I barely have enough time to figure out the weekend’s play dates before both of us fall asleep on the couch. Alarm rings. Yes, there is a five o’clock in the morning. Again.
I’m trapped in “Groundhog Day,” never feeling like I have enough time to work on my books.
It took me years to develop a system for writing in the margins of my day, to keep my sanity.
When I was 12, I wanted to be the lead singer of Def Leppard. I don’t remember ever saying I wanted to be a writer. Born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I inherited a strong work ethic from my working class, blue collar, Irish Catholic parents. I believe the ghosts of the Homestead steel mills forged within me an iron will and raw grit.
I spent my teenage years playing music, drinking beer, and eventually attending class at the University of Pittsburgh. I did what I thought they expected of me, becoming a teacher and a family man until I had that same thought you’ve had: “I can’t find the story I want to read.” In 2008, at age 37, I decided to write a novel. That single decision changed my life.
In 2012, Amazon sent me my first royalty check for a whopping $19.26. Now, I make a living as a creative, writing what I enjoy without worrying about Amazon Ad hacks and Facebook algorithms. You don’t have to write on the hamster wheel of the rapid release model.
5am. Yes, I still rise before five (in the morning). But things are different now. I can’t wait to leap out of bed, often throwing the covers away before the alarm rings.
Don’t know where to start?
Don’t even know what you don’t know?
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