I’ve completed rough drafts on two novels now. I’m three-quarters through the first draft of a biography and have a good start on a short story and a novella. As a writer trying to get published, I’m pretty sure that I could be said to be doing it wrong.
Ultimately, being published is my goal. My priority, though, is to be a good (or at least better) writer. That’s the main reason that I’ve been working on so many diverse projects.
I think it’s now time to focus.
My passion, the “meaning” in my life, is the work I do through my martial art school, Kuk Sool Won of Muncie. Working with the Kuk Sool Won™ organization for the past ten years has been rewarding on many different levels. Being an instructor to the hundreds of people who have come through my doors in that time has been both humbling and satisfying.
Even though some of my other work has a better chance of succeeding financially, I’ve decided to focus on finishing the first novel in a group of books set in a fictional Kuk Sool Won™ school. The novels will follow a group of young people from early teens to adulthood as members of a traditional martial art school. My vision for the stories is that they will help me teach some of the lessons that I want to teach in my school, but I am limited by the realities of time constraints and the reach of my very local voice and influence.
I’ve spent my writing time for the past two weeks re-plotting the first story. I’m nearly done, but I want to tighten up a few of my ideas before I begin rewriting. I also want to plot out the entire series (one book for each rank white to black) so that I know where each book will focus and who the main characters will be.
I hope that these books will become popular enough that the whole World Kuk Sool Association will benefit. I already have plans to tithe a portion of the profits to Kuk Sa Nim and the association. Of course, I hope that other traditional martial art schools will benefit from increased enrollment and retention as well.
Since my school is nowhere near profitable enough to support my family (even though my wife works between 40 and 55 hours a week), I am forced to either look for a part-time job to pay the bills or find some other way to put food on the table. I’ve had a lot of them in the past. The problem is that my school and family come first, and even my latest employer, my brother, had a hard time dealing with that.
In the past, artists had wealthy patrons who would support them as they worked. Without worrying about money or starving to death, their creativity flowered, and they were more prolific. Now, I don’t know many wealthy people, but I do know that many people could afford a few dollars a month if they knew that the opportunity was there to help a project like this get completed.
So, to allow the Universe to work, I’ve started a Patreon campaign for the story. Patreon is a crowd-funding platform that enables people to support artists and the work that they do. I personally fund other writers and a web-comic creator whose work that I enjoy.
I have set up a wide range of rewards for people who would like to help. Everything from seeing your name in the “Special Thanks” section to being a character in the book! (Can you imagine if that opportunity was around when Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings? I would have been one of the unnamed wizards. Kendalf the Purple or something.)
When you have time, please take a moment to look at my Patreon campaign. I can’t tell you how much your support would be appreciated. And the long-term benefits from the books might be huge. I hope so. The optimist in me sees these books influencing young people. I hope they come to our schools willing to work hard. They wouldn’t expect to be a martial art god from the movies. But they would become better men and women, compassionate, respectful adults, and eventually raise children with the values of honesty, hard work, and love for their fellow humans for which traditional martial artists are known.