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By Daniel Vlasaty
Today is brought to you by Goose Island 312.
I wrote a book! And that is awesome. It’s called The Church of TV as God and it’s probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever done, aside from maybe marrying my wife … or deciding to grow a beard.
I love books and art and the idea of living an artist’s lifestyle, although I’m not actually sure I’m living such a lifestyle, at least not exclusively. I still have a soul-crushing day job, which makes me sad and angry. The only thing the day job is good for (besides a paycheck) is making me realize how much I hate it, which makes me want to write more and write better.
I love hearing about other writer’s routines – how they get in the mood for a story. How many words a day they force out of their brains, where they write, when they write, and if they write better facing the east or the west. All of it. There’s not as much routine or ritual to my writing. I just write when I write. I try to do it every day, of course, but some days maybe I’ll only get like 100 words down, while others I’ll get 5,000. None of them are technically failures, some are just more productive than others.
The writing of my book kind of came out of nowhere. Before I started working on it, I had only written short stories, and most of them I would label as flash fiction. So the idea of writing a book, even a short one like mine, a novella, whatever – it just seemed crazy and unattainable. But I wanted to challenge myself. I never thought I would actually do anything with it. I assumed it would be more of an exercise than anything else.
I wrote it in a marathon session, I’d heard of some authors (Carlton Mellick III, Cameron Peirce, Kevin Shamel, to name a few) writing books like this. So I wanted to try it. I gave myself a goal: 20,000 words in ten days. Not too crazy. 2,000 words a day was totally doable. I had no other plans than that. I just sat down on day one and wrote, and fucking wrote, and wrote.
I have an “office job” and the work I do is not very time-consuming, so I wrote there, all day, on the clock. Work is actually where I do all my writing. I get paid to write … kind of. I just close my office door, blast some fucking hardcore music, and write. I finished the first draft, just over 20,000 words, in three days. I wrote a book in three days! It was awesome and exhilarating, and then I fucked it all up.
That very day, the same day I finished the first draft of The Church of TV as God, I lost my fucking jump drive. I hadn’t saved it anywhere else. I lost my book. It was GONE.
I was devastated. I didn’t write another word for months. I told myself I’d never write again. I told myself that I was the biggest asshole to ever live. Seriously, who does that? Who loses their very own book? I felt like such a douche.
This was right around the time last year’s New Bizarro Author Series books were being announced. And I swore to myself that I’d re-write my fucking book, and submit it for this year, that I wouldn’t screw this up. I rewrote it in just under a week. Spent the next few weeks going through it again and again and again, like crazy. And here we are today, pretty much exactly one year later.
Seriously, back your shit up. Don’t be stupid, it takes like five seconds! I’ve gotten crazy about it. I save my work on my jump drive, I email it to myself, I save a copy on my work computer and also on my laptop, and I even print hard copies. It’s probably a bit much, overkill, but I never want to experience such a thing again. It was the worst.
Also, when I first lost my jump drive, my book, I did what anyone else would do: I posted about it on Facebook. And Bradley Sands yelled at me. And I never want to experience that again either.
Daniel Vlasaty lives in Chicago. He works at a methadone clinic and rides a bicycle, for both transportation and leisure. Not too long ago he was hit by a conversion van. The Church of TV as God is his first book.