A few weeks ago I was contacted by Sang Pak, author of Wait Until Twilight, to see if I would review his book on Alvah’s Books. Wait Until Twilight is Sang’s first book, and I’m always interested to learn about how other writer’s approach writing. After a few email exchanges, Sang agreed to be a guest blogger. Below is what he wrote about his process:
I had just quit NYU grad school. I was living with my brother in Southern California and I was just walking around all day. My brother wanted me to start a business project. I was looking into it but I spent just as much time just walking around the neighborhood. Walking and sitting in a park. I’d sit there and watch as the adjacent girls primary school let out at 3. The girls didn’t use backpacks. They carried their books and trapper keepers in small suitcases they pulled along behind them. I envied the carefree aura they exuded. At the time, I felt like I was standing in the middle of two worlds at that time. What those two worlds I wasn’t even entirely sure of. One world seemed to consist of possibilities and hope, the other a senseless deadening of the spirit.
It was then that I started writing. I knew I had a chance if I could just complete it. My problem would be constantly rewriting to the point where I’d never finish a first draft. So I made myself not reread anything I wrote. Kind of like Orpheus…if he turned back as he arose from Hades, he’d lose Eurydice. If I looked back on what I wrote, I’d lose the novel and I didn’t plan on blowing it like old Orpheus did. And I didn’t. There were times when I’d forgotten what I had written before but it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t look back. I’d just keep moving forward. By the end of the first draft, it was a very disjointed, at times random and undecipherable novel. But it didn’t matter. It’s through the editing that the novel is formed. The first draft is getting the material down.
After many revisions I had my first novel. It then took five years and three more novels before I got published. I basically reached a point where I knew I couldn’t go back. I’d taken the leap of faith and there was nothing else but to publish or perish. I’m sure others have different paths but mine was straight forward and alone. I stayed with my parents, my brother, friends as I continued writing and submitting and getting rejected. What happens is I became a better writer each time so as long as I kept going ahead, my chances of getting published continued increasing with each novel, with each revision. It ultimately was just a matter of time, at least how that’s how I felt. Fortunately it turned out to be true. If you feel it in your bones and blood, keep writing and keep submitting. You have nothing to lose.