My name is Damían Vargas, and I am a wannabe writer of fiction.
The parodic reference to the Alcoholics Anonymous group meeting introductory statement is intentional. I do not quite know what to expect from going public with my creative project. Perhaps it will become a staunch support forum for me on my journey, or maybe this web site and accompanying social media channels are the proverbial (digital) rods for my own back.
But here goes.
‘Five Long Days in Andalusia’ is the (current) title of, what I hope, will be my first novel and which will be the foundation upon which I can build a career as a fiction writer.
The initial ‘just dabbling’ of the first few months gave way to ever more frequent nightly-writing stints after long days at the office. My daily commute by car and on foot, which previously had been my opportunity to listen to Spotify playlists, became the window of opportunity I had to find and consume a multitude of podcasts on writing, publishing and digital marketing. What started as a creative time-filler became a life goal, a commitment and a passion.
I have made a commitment to myself, to not only construct a story (the easy part as I quickly realised), but also to master editing, to considerably improve my writing style, to expand my vocabulary, and most of all, the standard of my grammar.
On top of writing as regularly as I can – even 100 words is 100 words nearer to the goal – it became necessary to also dive into the murky underbelly of book publishing. I needed (and need still) to study the difference between being published and self-publishing. I need to accept that making money from writing fiction is extremely difficult in the digital era, and to appreciate that the successful author builds a personal brand over many years and works fiercely to promote themselves and their work.
This web site and blog, the companion social media channels and the newsletter that I will begin releasing are my public stake in the digital ground; I have announced myself to the world now, so while I may well fail, it cannot be from a lack of trying.
I have so much to learn but am I energised and excited by that challenge. I know that I will make mistakes (for I already have) and that things will not progress in the way that I currently anticipate, but it will be a personal journey of discovery; one that I hope that others will find to be of interest.
I have been working on the manuscript for over six months. It currently amounts to approximately 52,000 words and the story is, I feel, about 50% complete. I am under no illusion that I will relocate, replace or cull almost every one of those words before I can consider sharing the document with a professional editor. I learned very quickly that ‘writing’, in actuality, means ‘editing’ (and re-editing). My journey has begun though, and I will be sharing updates on my progress on this site and elsewhere.
I have over twenty-years of experience working in the digital-creative industry. Hence I know how difficult it is to fix schedules for a creative project. Nonetheless, a timeline – especially one made quite so public like this – imposes a need for self-discipline, for sacrifice and to the end goal.
My goal is to complete my manuscript, edited as best as I can, by Christmas 2017.
I am taking a risk; with my time as well as with my reputation. While we may commonly agree, when others tell us that failure often yields the most valuable of experience, we also know how undesirable it is to be associated with failure. Therein lies the dilemma of going public with any new creative endeavour, especially when one is commencing upon it as a self-declared newbie.
I am not doing this to generate income of any significance. I have a story to tell (several actually), and I want to do that story justice by producing a novel that is as best as I can make it. Any income that may materialise from this book project I shall take as a welcome indication that someone somewhere appreciated my time and effort. Like a musician wants people to listen to their music and a game developer wants people to play their games; I want people to read what I have created …and ideally to consider that their time was well-spent.
Whatever the outcome, this will be a journey of discovery for me personally, an opportunity to learn new skills and a means to engage with like-minded others; an experience, the details of which, I shall be sharing on this website and accompanying social media channels.
As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his poem All That is Gold Does Not Glitter; “Not all those who wander are lost” or, as many a father will tell his children; “We are not lost, we just don’t know where we are yet”.
I am not sure quite where I am yet, but I know where I want to be.
I hope that you will share my journey.