Updated: Jan 1
I had given up on writing.
I was done.
Despite great feedback on some submitted books, they were rejected, and so in late 2014 I went to work in mid-level management for Office Depot. After 10 years of writing for a living, regular paychecks and benefits were not things I was used to, and I embraced this new normal.
In 2018, out of the blue, another writing opportunity came along. Would I be interested in writing a novelization of the screenplay for Samson, a soon-to-be-released film?
Samson. One of the Bible's original heroes, and also one of its biggest idiots.
Of course, I was interested.
I had 5 weeks to write the novel. I dropped down to 10 hours a week at Office Depot, thanks to a very flexible boss named Jesse, and read through hundreds of pages of research on that time period in Hebrew history.
Here's how it worked: I went to my Office Depot job from 6 to 8 a.m. each morning, then came home and took care of my wife, who had fallen ill with some debilitating virus. Once she was settled, I wrote and wrote and wrote, usually till 10 or 11 p.m.
I loved writing the story of Samson. I put his scenes in first person, present tense, wanting him to come alive for me and for readers. I had a blast with this story, given total freedom to write, since I didn't even see the movie or final screenplay until after I was done with the novel. It is still one of my best pieces of work, full of action, adventure, and romance.
Carolyn, thank God, got better by the time I was done with the book.
I was thrilled with Samson, even if the cover looked like a sappy romance. I knew it was a well-researched, very readable story. I also had fun creating the map in the front of the book, for my own writing purposes and for the aid of readers.
The movie bombed. As a result, the book didn't get picked up by many bookstores. And I went back to work fulltime for another year and a half at Office Depot.
But I will always love this 18th book of mine. It is truly one of my best.
Sometimes the only way around is through, and for me, going through the career, health, and financial hardships all led to my current status as a fulltime author of 22 books, with nearly a million copies in print.
Flaubert called it "long patience," and yes, that is what it takes to reach your goals.
Even so-called overnight successes pay the price somewhere. Nobody reaches the finish line without a lot of sweat and tears.
It will hurt. It will seem hopeless.
But you will rise up like an eagle and renew your strength. Your time is not over yet. I know mine's not.