07 Nov Being Motivated to Writing an Award Winning Novel While in the Air Force – by D.L. Jennings, Gift of the Shaper
An inspiring story of D.L. Jennings writing an award-winning fantasy novel while on deployment. He shares his story about his journey, his regrets, and why he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When I started writing as a way to pass the time on a deployment to Africa, I never imagined that what I wrote would one day find its way into print. But, after a few years, and with the unyielding support of friends, family, and an incredible publisher, I held in my hands the thing that I’m most proud of in this life. My wish for you as readers is that you would feel the depths of emotion and the satisfaction that went into every single page of Gift of the Shaper. I want you to grow to love the characters the way I do and to feel a sense of longing when their story ends. But — above all else — I want you to enjoy the experience. So, please, make yourself comfortable in your favorite chair, bed, park bench, or whatever, and step into a world of heroes, magic, and gods. Welcome to High glade.” – D.L. Jennings
You can find more information on his book on his website – https://www.dl-jennings.com/
You can purchase his award-winning book here – https://amzn.to/2qywrwj
Eric: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, this is Eric Y Chen of the Y Factor podcast. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. I am super excited for our guest today. I have Dave Jennings all the way from Ohio and I would love to have you introduce yourself and we’ll get the show started.
Dave: [00:00:18] Absolutely. So I’m DL Jennings my friends call me Dave, but I’m a little more well-known for my book gift of the shaper, which is an award-winning debut fantasy novel that just came out and in February of actually of February 2018. And I was in the military for 14 years. I was in the Air Force working under Special Operations Command AFSOTC is most people call most people know it as I found out during one of my deployments that basically I got this. I have a knack for writing and gift of the shaper was a product of my two [00:01:00] years of work mostly while on deployment and it turns out that that I got a little writing in me. So it was a very fun process for figuring out how to become a writer.
[00:01:13] Eric: [00:01:13] Yeah. No, it’s absolutely amazing and and part of the reason why I wanted you on the show is just because you know, I think somebody. They are people in this day and age like there’s always something really cool, , whether it’s to start their own business or start their own YouTube channel and or write a book I think before all of these media channels came out to become a YouTuber become a Instagram influencer, like writing a book I think maybe because of like Harry Potter, Isaac. Oh well, like I want to write a book and that was kind of the dream but a lot of that in itself requires a lot of hard work and dedication for something like that to go into it not knowing if it’s going to go well or dealing with potential criticism, but I wanted to bring you on just because [00:02:00] I think your story is absolutely amazing and funny enough, I discovered you just by a post on imager within one of my friends Facebook group. Shout out to Josh Vector for bringing you out or putting your content out into that Facebook group. So I discovered you read your story and I thought it was a very interesting story of how everything came to be on the you touched upon it a little bit writing this book, while serving and thank you so much for your service as well.
[00:02:30] Thanks for your support. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So I love to just kind of take a dive into when you even decided or figure it out that you were good at writing right? I mean part of that post now, I’m pretty sure I’ll post that imager on to the website as well. But pretty much the like idea of like the people who spend their free time playing video games like at the base ordering your guys free time versus like you know, what I am going to write. Can you tell [00:03:00] or share more about that?
[00:03:01] Dave: [00:03:01] Absolutely, man, and it was a journey to be sure. But yeah, like I was the first time that I started writing what would become gift of the shaper. I haven’t written anything before that was my first attempt at anything longer than like some angsty poetry that I posted to live journal in the late 90s. So it was definitely it was and it was a new experience, but basically how it came about was. I was like I mentioned I was working under AFSOTC which is under the U.S. SoCom Special Operations Command is anyone who’s played SOCOM Navy Seals, is going to tell you and we basically my career field in the Air Force One of I think the two most deployed career fields in the entire Air Force basically it meant we were deploying it a one-to-one ratio, which meant if you were gone for three months you were home for three months and then you went back out for that same amount of time.
[00:03:56] We were gone a whole lot and I ended up [00:04:00] doing 11 deployments in total over my 14-year career. So In which speaks to you about liking lately how much I was gone because about three of those years were training. I wasn’t even eligible to deploy so basically, On my let’s see. I think it was about my seventh deployment or something like that. I was deployed to a remote part of East Africa and Point at that Base it was very small minimally manned and it had basically almost no internet connection. So you were stuck with the books that you traveled in with maybe a laptop. I didn’t bring a laptop with me then and I had my iPad with me and basically I decided at that point. You know, I got bored out of my mind playing Candy Crush for the thousandth time. So I was like, you know what I think there has to be a better use of my time, I sat down and I got to thinking what can I do that’s productive [00:05:00] and I grew up as a fan of JRR tolkien’s CS Lewis like I mean, you know The Chronicles of Narnia lord of the rings.
[00:05:06] That’s like those those shaped my early years and I was thinking to myself. All right. Well, you know, they say write what you know, I know fantasy I’ve been reading it since I was 9 or 10, so I thought all right. Maybe I’ll have a crack at this. At this writing thing. So I basically I took the Stephen King method which is just right, he’s a he’s a discovery writer and he tells his he basically recommends you got a story inside of you sit down and just start telling it so I did exactly that and basically I just used my spare time and deployments to start writing the story which became gift of the shaper.
[00:05:45] Eric: [00:05:45] So how long did it take you to even get your first draft? Up and running.
[00:05:51] Dave: [00:05:51] Man. Well, it’s funny because basically as a discovery writer I pretty much had a. Once I was done [00:06:00] writing the first draft once I finished the entire manuscript, that was basically that was like a two year process.
[00:06:08] It took me just two years to get the whole thing written on a piece on my iPad actually about 95% of the book. I think I wrote on my iPad so that two years consisted of going through I write by chapters, so I sit down and I’m like, all right, this particular character is going to do this thing and I have basically a beginning and an end of a chapter.
[00:06:32] So it sort of follows like an arc and as I’m going along in the book, I’m discovering the story. I’m like, okay. Well, maybe this thing can happen here. Maybe this twist will happen here. So basically I did it’s a very slow process. That’s getting all your thoughts into paper getting them organized and making sure everything fits together.
[00:06:54] But by the two-year period is basically I had written a first [00:07:00] draft and then I was free to go back and kind of edit that and you know and basically make tweaks as necessary.
[00:07:07] Eric: [00:07:07] Yeah, I mean, so. Basically two years and then like you mentioned earlier with with your constant deployment or your one-to-one ratio deployment you be sent home and then back out into the field at any point in time or did you have gap periods where you weren’t writing or did you find yourself to be very consistent during those two years?
[00:07:28]Dave: [00:07:28] I absolutely did and it’s funny because most of my writing was done while I was deployed and it was basically on. You know punctuating the periods of boredom and I was pretty much like man. I got nothing to do. My job takes the job that I was doing at the time takes place on a plane and it basically like you. You’ll take off and you’ll have your transition where you’re just flying to the place that you’re going to be working. And then that that [00:08:00] about 3 or the place where you’re working your called.
[00:08:02] Your orbit is usually about three or four hour period and then you go back home. No in East Africa where I was deployed to the transit to our orbit took about an hour hour-and-a-half easily. So that was that was a time when I was just either reading a book or doing my writing. So I again like trying to be as productive as possible. I would pull out my iPad and I just start writing but. I forgot the question.
[00:08:35] Eric: [00:08:35] Well, but and the times that you you went home or. Like what are you writing consistently as well or just only when you’re just at the Pinnacle of boredom where you drive had backup?
[00:08:46] Dave: [00:08:46] Yeah pretty much so I would write when I was at home, but not nearly as much as I would when I was deployed and especially really the reason for that was a lot of times when I was working at home. You know [00:09:00] when I was Stateside, I’d come back from working all day and I just. Have the mental energy to keep writing, you know, it was like it was it’s really hard writing for me. Like I said when I write in chapters, basically, sometimes it’ll take me like three or four hours to get a good chapter done because I sit down and I don’t just boom go through it once and then I’m done. I’ll go through it. I’ll write it. And then I go back to see what I’ve written and then I go through that again and then if I maybe it takes a second or third time. I’ll go back through it again. Basically, like I’ll do that as many times as necessary until I feel like I don’t need to change a word or tweak a sentence or add some information.
[00:09:47] I like my chapter. Be complete by the time I’m done with them which makes having a first draft of a book a lot easier, but it’s also very time-consuming. So [00:10:00] that was basically why I chose to write while deployed instead of at home.
[00:10:04] Eric: [00:10:04] Yeah. So were there any points in time that I whether it’s in the beginning of your journey or middle of the way through writing your book you’re like well, You wanted to quit you’re just like what am I doing, you know stopping points and just like this is like yeah, this is fun or you have writer’s block like any points in time of that happening?
[00:10:29] Dave: [00:10:29] Yeah, I’d say early on especially, very early on when I was like, you know, so the book is fifty six chapters now as it stands, And I’d say maybe five or ten chapters in I was kind of like what am I doing with this? Where am I going? I don’t have a chance of getting this published. Why am I doing this essentially and. I think the one thing that really sort of kept me going was a very I think [00:11:00] Stroke of Luck but at the same time, I think it was FDR who said luck is when preparation meets.
[00:11:06] I don’t know. I don’t remember the other end of the equation. But yeah, you know, I sent a couple of the chapters to my friend Nicole, who I knew was she’d worked in the publishing industry before I think she was an editor. And her time when she lived in London now Nicole’s name comes first in my acknowledgements for this very reason.
[00:11:28] She read the chapters that I wrote. She picked out some of the passages that she really enjoyed and she wrote me back in an email and she said Dave this is really good and she was like, I’m taking off my fan hat basically as like, I’m friends with you and I’m putting it aside and I’m being objective here. And she said if I was a fantasy agent, I would eat this up. I remember the word so clearly from her email because I was like, are you serious? This [00:12:00] is like what I’m writing is actually good and every time I thought about quitting I remembered her email and I actually had started it in my. In my email in my inbox so I could go back and look at it again and again and again because I knew that what I was writing was something good and something worthwhile.
[00:12:23]Eric: [00:12:23] Yeah, so Nicole basically ended up being your shining star and the motivation that you needed in order to keep the book going. Right absolutely. So in terms of I mean acknowledge or motivation I think a lot of people, even if even if people had that motivation to get started on something they’re also too afraid to even share what they’re working on and they keep it a secret. Like I need to get this to a certain point before I can even share it or that it’s going to be good enough for someone. I’m like, how did you [00:13:00] decide that? You know, like, oh, I do want to share this with a friend or who’s in that industry to give you that criticism where the critique.
[00:13:07] Dave: [00:13:07] Well, Nicole was the one person that I she was like a one of three people who I called My Brain Trust who basically even knew that I was writing this thing. The other one was my brother. He’s about two years younger than me, and he would be our dungeon master when we would play Dungeons and Dragons. So I knew that he had a mind for fantasy as well. And the third person was one of my friends a girl Mary who I went to DLI with I learned Korean. She learned Chinese and she was one of my really good really trusted friends who also was big into the fantasy genre.
[00:13:44] Those three people were really the only people that I shared it with at all until I was basically almost done. I made a Facebook post when I when I wrote The Words the end and typically, you know, I took a screenshot of the word count and [00:14:00] said I did it, I wrote a novel and all my friends were like what you did you what so because like nobody knew but to be able to really to share that with Nicole, I’m not sure what prompted me to do it. I think it was just because it was it was sort of like a spur-of-the-moment thing. It was like Hey, I know Nicole and I have we’ve exchanged emails about books and stuff like that before. So it was like, I had this idea in the back of my mind maybe send her some of the chapters and see what she thinks because I know she was working in editing or so I thought maybe hey why not give this a shot? So I did.
[00:14:41] Eric: [00:14:41] Amazing. So I mean do you do is this one of those things is I hear this a lot. Right? And this is including myself where you know, when you’re younger you always in the back of your head like, oh, I want to start a business or I’m going to own my own business or be an entrepreneur and for me I look back at my journey and my [00:15:00] upbringing as well where my dad he went from corporate and ran his own company as well for duration and yeah, that was the exposure that I had. It’s like wow, like my dad has business and I that’s what I want to do when I grew up anything, right? And is this is this something that was always in the back of your head like you want to write a book or this like happened literally, two three years ago, when you’re already over 25 30 years old and you’re just like yeah, this is what I’m going to do. It’s nothing that you really thought of back before.
[00:15:32] Dave: [00:15:32] No, I had never considered it until I started writing the book. It was it wasn’t even something that I was planning on doing. I had planned to go 20 years and retire in the Air Force and it never even. Had a second thought about you know straying from that path when I was in and you know, like I said, I just kind of had this idea to start writing and I went on it and [00:16:00] it’s actually kind of I guess it’s a little funny I wouldn’t say ironic because I don’t think it’s actually ironic, but my dad is actually a writer too, but he writes business books.
[00:16:10] So he’s actually a best-selling author. He wrote a book called The Serving Leader and I got to I got the chance to work on a book with him called House on Fire, which is it’s coming up and it’s really cool because I got the opportunity to write some battles like some military battle scenes simply I helped develop a backstory for his main character and who was a medic in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I took my knowledge of Special Operations and you know how those things go down all the terminology the nomenclature. I threw that together I made a character and I sent him the draft of these, you know couple chapters and he was like, he was like Dave this is the best part of the book sort of felt [00:17:00] bad for outshining.
[00:17:01] But yeah, so. My dad is I don’t you know, he says that writing is genetic and he gets his talent from kids. And because he he does not have any. No I my dad’s a brilliant man but he does not have the capacity for writing fantasy or like dialogue he is a brilliant businessman and he you know, obviously he wrote a best-seller best-selling Business book, but he was just struggling to write a dialogue and I don’t know if that’s a product of because I grew up reading fantasy and he grew up reading Michael Lewis Boomerang or something like, just business books, Matt Malcolm Gladwell, whatever but yeah. I mean for me it was it was never a question of okay. I’m going to grow up and I’m going to be a writer or an author It had never crossed my mind until I [00:18:00] started writing this book.
[00:18:01] Eric: [00:18:01] Yeah, would you just say, I mean the three people that helped you along the Journey of the book. Like were they pretty positive when they heard or I’ll let say like your brother right growing up with him. When you told them about the book that he’s like, oh, yeah, right like it’s not gonna happen or was he pretty encouraging about it?
[00:18:20] Dave: [00:18:20] He was really encouraging and in fact, I emailed, I referred to them as the Brain Trust and I called them that regularly when I would have dressed them in emails. I was like, hey guys, I’m struggling with a plot Point here. What do you think about this? Can I can I have a suggestion here? Or what do you think about this character Arc or this particular,this way that the story is going to go and they were all really supportive of me. They were like I like this idea but I think this one would be better, which was a very important part of the feedback process and they were so I didn’t know about beta readers, which is something I went to [00:19:00] I learned about after I finish writing the book. But yeah after I wrote which was great wonderful, I could have used some beta readers during the process but they were essentially my you know, it was like the inklings was the group that Tolkien and CS Lewis were a part of in England and it was like their group of writers would sit around and share their stories and share ideas and talk and give feedback and the Brain Trust was basically my inklings which was incredibly useful to me because I would just be stuck and I was like, I don’t know where to go with this. I’m not sure what to do here. Do you guys have any ideas and sometimes they would help me to kind of untie that knot which is exactly what I needed.
[00:19:48] Eric: [00:19:48] Yeah, would you say that? I mean you did you ever find yourself like I don’t want to bother my friends about this or you liked by all means. I’m just going to keep throwing this at them in order to get [00:20:00] that feedback in order to keep pushing through or there. They were very open to it. I got you know for me like I whenever I’m working on business stuff. It’s like yeah, I have friends who offer their help or assistance right? It’s like, oh, I don’t feel like I need to bother them all too much, with it or you know challenges that I’m going through.
[00:20:19] Dave: [00:20:19] I think it was it would go both ways at times. There were a lot of times where I would say to myself. Alright, I’m not going to bother with them with this because it’s too trivial but there were other times where I was just like I need your help and I break down and I’d send it to them but you know writing ironically is a very solitary activity but it takes feedback from other people to do it.
[00:20:42] It’s like it takes a village to raise a child and it takes much more than that to write a good book. Anybody can write a book by themselves, but it takes more than one person to write a good book, which I hope I’ve done and it falls on people not just not just people like, you know, [00:21:00] my inner circle my three close friends, but people like editors and people like beta readers to to really make a good book.
[00:21:07] Eric: [00:21:07] Yeah, I mean winning an award already, you know says says it right. I mean that’s just the beginning. It’s very well. I mean, how would you define this whole Brain Trust concept? Is this something that you you kind of knew or? That that was a strategy or just naturally came through to know that you wanted to trust your close friends or like, how did you how did you even come up were calling it a Brain Trust? Where did this concept come from?
[00:21:32] Dave: [00:21:32] Yeah. It was definitely it evolved very naturally and I think it was because and I I chose them based on certain qualities that they had, Can mention my brother was very attuned to Fantasy, he in my opinion. He’s the better Storyteller out of the two of us. And I texted him tonight. I was like, hey, man, it’s not too late to start on that book of yours. If you it was funny because I found some of his I just moved into [00:22:00] my new place in South Florida and I was going through some of my boxes and I found two notebooks of his that had they were like Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and it was about 10 or 15 pages full of just backstory like he made I mean he went full Vulcan and created like in Elvish language just you know for this like hour long campaign. He probably spent like a day and a half making this thing and I was flipping through this and this must have been like. 15 maybe 20 years ago probably and I was like man, this is good.
[00:22:36] He had like a religion built out like he had languages he had all this stuff and I was like, ahh, Matt you need to write a book man. This is a little ridiculous. So I picked him. based on that and then you know, like I said, Nicole being writer was able to give really valuable input to me [00:23:00] and some of the stuff like I’d sent her chapters, and she’d she would send she would email me back with Snippets of you know, Some lines from it some dialogue or something and she would analyze it like like an English major and she would be like, wow, I love these contrasting themes here and I was like, yeah.
[00:23:17] Yeah, I definitely meant to do that. I totally contrasted those themes right? I was like, oh man, she’s so much smarter than I am. Like I she’s figuring this stuff out that I didn’t even mean to do, hopefully that means I’m a good writer, but we’ll see
[00:23:33] Eric: [00:23:33] What I mean, were you always a strong writer just like say through High School University or like
[00:23:39] Dave: [00:23:39] I think so, I was Finding it’s funny. Like I said going through the boxes of stuff. I actually had I found some ninth grade, maybe eight or ninth grade paper that I’d written and it was a. An assignment on an Ursula [00:24:00] Le Guin it was something like those who walk away from Oma loss.
[00:24:04] I think was the name of the book or the short story and it was basically about some dystopia. And it was my two-page essay about the book and the teacher had written on it. She was like do you mind if I reprint this and show this to view your classes and I found that the other week and I was like, wow, I was reading it. I was like I wrote this that’s pretty good. So, I’d written stuff for English and I’d had teachers tell me stick with this writing thing, but it never ever resonated with me. I is in one ear and out the other literally I was like, yeah, okay writing got it. I’m gonna join the Air Force, so it was it was never my intention to become a writer, but I think historically if I were to look back and If I had a voice over like a Daniel Stern voice over like in The Wonder Years, I would be calling myself an idiot because I’m like listen to what they’re [00:25:00] telling you be a writer.
[00:25:02] Eric: [00:25:02] Yeah, like the signs are all there and people are like this. I mean, it’s like are you happy with how the timeline has turned out?
[00:25:14] Dave: [00:25:14] Honestly, I think that is my one of my top regrets now is not having done this earlier a lot of people but at the same time actually I. I actually looked back at I had it like a collection of short stories that I’d started in my 20s. I dug up on my laptop that I somehow completely had forgotten about and in fact, I’m just remembering it now as I’m talking about it and I kind of looked at on that and I was like this it’s good writing technical like the mechanics of it are good, but everything else is just really bad about it.
[00:25:55] So it wasn’t it wasn’t as mature as I think my [00:26:00] writing is so on the one hand. It’s like, I could have gone the Christopher Paolini route who wrote. Eragon when he was 16, you know, it was like I could have maybe done that but I’m pretty sure it would have been garbage, like because I don’t have the life experiences that I have now, I wouldn’t have written the same book. That’s for sure because gift of the shaper involves a lot of combat and a lot of battle scenes that I drew on my own knowledge of how combat works and the mindset of a warrior going into battle because we’re going our deployment because I live those things. So for me, it was very natural and very easy to do.
[00:26:39] So to answer your question. I think I could go back and change things. I think I would I’d tell myself to listen, I’d maybe right a little more. I wouldn’t necessarily say I need to write a fan in a novel when I’m in my 20s. But if I had if I had a time machine I would go [00:27:00] back and tell tell my 22 year old self to maybe pay attention to it to writing a little bit more.
[00:27:06] Eric: [00:27:06] Yeah, maybe it would have sped up the process. I think so therefore with the riding. Yeah. Absolutely amazing. I mean for those well, I what would you say? I’m sure now you’re probably getting some comments and feedback from friends and family that your like, oh like I want to write a book
[00:27:27]Dave: [00:27:27] Honestly I say do it. I never I always tell people to pursue it if it’s a dream of yours if it’s a passion because that’s something I actually just told my friend the other day he like tag me in a post and he’s trying to work through writing a book and he was like, I really respect you for what you’ve done and I Look to you for inspiration and I wrote him back and I basically said, do this if it’s a passion of yours because that’s what’s going to drive you for the two three [00:28:00] four or five years when you’re not getting anything from it, I told him I don’t do this for fame and not I don’t do it for the money or the recognition. I do it for my love of writing which is it’s a passion of mine now and the passion is absolutely, what keeps me going because like, I’m still I took time off from my job to do interviews and stuff like that because writing doesn’t pay the bills for me yet. And that’s something that I’m going to have to face that as a reality. It’s like. this is something writing might be my hobby for maybe the rest of my life.
[00:28:37] But it’s the passion that keeps me going and keeps me driving going after that goal to eventually become a full-time writer where I can support myself by that. I was joking tell people that I have to work to support my writing habit. So to keep that up as long as I can.
[00:28:53] Eric: [00:28:53] Yeah, yeah absolutely amazing. I mean like that entire yes [00:29:00] dialogue right there and itself right? I ever since I launched my entrepreneurship Journey a lot of friends same thing. They tell me like I respect what you do. I want to do that someday and they’re still in their corporate jobs, right? I mean it’s definitely safe. And you know, I tell him like yeah, I like if you really want it that bad and it’s something that you want to pursue you can definitely do it now. You can balance it. You know with your full-time job and just do it on the side no matter how long it takes right? I mean you I’m sure you set off on this journey to not even we probably weren’t even going for an award or anything right? It’s just ok. I’m just doing this for my own pleasure. I only need your free time and like you said for the passion and then I’ll just get it out there and essentially see what happens. Right? And it just that passion itself is already emulating through your book and it’s already carrying right and you mentioned to me you published it last year essentially right? I think just now you’re getting recognition [00:30:00]
[00:30:00] Dave: [00:30:00] Yep. Yep, right. Absolutely. It’s a slow process.
[00:30:03] Eric: [00:30:03] It’s a very slow process and I can only imagine seeing books on Amazon that gets a lot of that reviews. It’s like how many people have to read these books and the time it takes to read a book, for your casual reader then to decide like to go interview like half the time it takes so it’s not like they’re buying some Trotsky from Amazon and then just being I will be right there and then right and it’s just like that process is just going to take a long long time.
[00:30:28] How many books are going to go out there? So I mean definitely kudos to you on being able to truck through two years of riding and getting the whole process done and just simply putting out there. I mean, how did it feel for you to even take that picture post it on Facebook with the whole the end and or even getting the book published and how is that? How is that?
[00:30:49] Dave: [00:30:49] Oh, it’s absolutely phenomenal. And the cool thing is I actually got to do it again because I just finished this book in the series about two weeks ago, [00:31:00] which was awesome because I gave myself a deadline and the reason being was January 28th I started my new job. So I left the Air Force in November and I had about a three months window of basically I was like, all right I’m going to try this writing thing out. I had about 70 percent of my second book written and I was like. If I buckled down I can finish this thing and it was crazy because I mean it was literally like under the wire I gave myself, you know until the 28th to finish it when I started my new job and it was like finished it the Saturday that Saturday it was like I had a little glass of whiskey, you know, I prefer the Hemingway method of writing another glass of whiskey with me and I was I got to type those words the end and it felt so satisfying I gotta do it all over again and this was again another book that I’d written like almost entirely [00:32:00] during deployments and stuff like that, but I got to throttle it back a little and and now how I can write not under duress and not in a combat zone and hopefully it turns out pretty well, but I got the same feeling from the second book, you know, the passion was still there and I would sit down and I would write. When I would finish a chapter, I would get that same sense of overwhelming joy and accomplishment every time I would put the finishing touches on one of the chapters and it was like that’s something that I know I’m going to have forever which is amazing. So,you asked me earlier if I wish I’d found it, if I wish I had started writing earlier and that makes me say yes, I do because that passion is something that I hope to experience for the rest of my life.
[00:32:48] Eric: [00:32:48] Yeah, how do you keep yourself accountable for you to say yes, I’m going to work on this chapter instead of getting distracted or being home or hanging out with friends or watching a movie [00:33:00] or is it that like that’s that same pleasure feeling you get from or Euphoria from hanging out with a friend like you get that writing book now that that is what you prefer to do in your free time.
[00:33:12] Dave: [00:33:12] I definitely have to force myself to sit down and write and actually I wrote a blog post about this exact topic because it’s something that today’s world. It’s so easy to get distracted. Like I’ve got Netflix on both of my TV’s, I got one in my living room and one of my bedroom, which is like just terrible for me for trying to be productive.
[00:33:39] But for me, I actually get here’s one of the reasons that I wrote a lot when I was deployed I get most of my best writing done here in the states when I’m on an airplane too for one simple reason airplane mode on my iPhone. I shut that off and I have I am shut off from the outside world. I get no [00:34:00] outside distractions because there is always something that you can find to grab your attention.
[00:34:06] There’s Netflix. There’s Reddit there’s imager there’s a million reasons. why you can’t write this novel right now, but I have to be very deliberate about it. It’s like all right. I’m going to set aside three or four hours right now, and I’m going to write this chapter and that’s really the only way that I can get things done as if I’m like alright, let’s do this. I’ve set aside some time. I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write tonight. So. Some of it helps like I have introvert tendencies. So it’s like if it’s a Friday or a Saturday night, I don’t necessarily feel like going out to the bar so that sort of helps but it’s like it’s very difficult to juggle a healthy social life as well as you someone who has a full-time job and is also a writer so it’s like, you have to make some sacrifices here and there.
[00:34:58]Eric: [00:34:58] I’m just like you were saying [00:35:00] it’s definitely tough tough for you. And in the sense that like, people can carve that out those hours out but then still be distracted with their phones right. No, I need to leave it on just in case I get a you know emergency phone call. But you know, I was just thinking about it when you said that it’s like, you know back in the days like when you’re in school or. College it’s like you go to the library and you just you get no distractions, right? Just because you’re studying and studying but I think I don’t know. Maybe maybe people are they do this nowadays? I know I don’t and but I’ve never been a very diligent student. So, you know to go to a library again right within their city and to get work done right and have a place that they’re not going to be you know, distracted and carve that out.
[00:35:42] So I’m just thinking about do people even go to libraries nowadays. You know anymore or even find a place to have some quiet time. And so when you bring up the the airplane thing because I wish to read more and it’s something that I’m doing now with my accountability group where I promised myself and this might not seem [00:36:00] like a lot to you but it is for me to read 60 Pages a week.
[00:36:04] Awesome. I found that the only time I can really read is if I’m on an airplane, right just because there are so many distractions when I’m in the office or just being at home because I have Netflix or something. It’s just easier to relax right but it’s like oh once I’m on an airplane, there’s nothing else for me to do besides read or sleep exactly.
[00:36:25] Sometimes you can’t sleep. So yeah, I mean that’s that in itself is like, what I love to discover by talking to people such as yourself entrepreneurs author. It’s like, really get yourself there.
[00:36:38] Yeah, I mean it’s we’re pretty much close to time anyways, but I wanted to see if you had anything that you wanted to, something else you want to share with the audience as well. You know, whether its Journey anything, anything any tips people who want to write a book.
[00:36:56] Dave: [00:36:56] Oh, man. Yeah, I definitely I have a thing or two to [00:37:00] say I can speak intelligently on people who want to finish a book or finish any really like long and involved process and it’s basically like you don’t want to keep your eye on the prize. You want to you want to find what drives you and focus on that, for me it was internal and it was definitely like, okay, I’m doing this because I feel like I’m writing something that’s good.
[00:37:25] And you know, I feel like this is something that people will appreciate so that was really what kept me going, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something internal you could definitely focus on an external goal something that is an external motivator. I mean some people do stuff for money and that’s fine.
[00:37:43] But as long as it’s what keeps you going as long as you can focus on that motivator definitely do that, for me the entire process of getting and getting a publisher was was incredibly draining because I had to open myself up [00:38:00] to to criticism, I had to I’m in beta readers before and it was I wanted to make sure that I was telling the best story that I could so I had to give my book out to my draft manuscript basically to about fifty to a hundred people who were trusted friends and who could give me good feedback and it was emotionally draining. It was absolutely like there were moments where I thought I was a failure because I was like this whole thing needs to be rewritten. I’ve got this whole chapter that’s that I could just scrap and it needs to and its intrinsic to the story. So I have to keep it and it’s just like there were days when I would come home and I would tell myself that I would do some editing and I just couldn’t get off the couch because it was so emotionally draining and difficult for me, but eventually I just had to get over it because I knew that it was something that I needed to do. So I think being in the Air Force really helped me to [00:39:00] kind of you know what perseverance and everything. I told myself that learning Korean was one of the hardest things that I’ll ever do and if I could do that then I could do anything and that mentality has basically kept me going.
[00:39:15] Eric: [00:39:15] Yeah, it wasn’t even being in the Air Force is the hardest thing you’re going to do is learning a aren’t ya learning a language was definitely the hardest. Yeah. Basically you’re doing a compare and contrast like I’ve been this hard thing. Doing something else just going to make it that much easier. Did you end up ever set like a timeline for you to finish the first book or it’s just more of like I’m just going to go through until I feel like it’s done.
[00:39:43] Dave: [00:39:43] It was definitely there. I didn’t set a timeline and maybe a more organized and more disciplined person would have but I knew this was something that I had to that was going to take a long time and sometimes I wouldn’t write until I was ready. And in this [00:40:00] in writing this book, actually I did set timelines for myself and I set goals and I’d be like, all right I need to write this chapter today. So I’m setting aside this time today to write this chapter. Let’s see how it goes. And there was a week like basically coming up to starting my new job at the end of January where I wrote things like, four or five chapters in a matter of seven days, which was absolutely unheard of for me the first book, I mean, it’s 56 chapters I mentioned it spread out over two years so you can imagine, that’s one chapter every two weeks basically, so to have to have knocked out those seven Shadows five chapters in that week period it was like. I hope they I hope they turned out okay, because I’m not sure if like giving myself a deadline was necessarily good for the quality of the writing, but I think I’m pretty happy with it. But basically to answer your question. No not for the first book. I [00:41:00] just wrote when I felt like I was ready so.
[00:41:05] Eric: [00:41:05] Amazing absolute phenomenal journey, I mean just having that just to get started and just to keep going and then ending up getting you know, you’re good for three your brain trust to help keep you motivated. I mean that’s it’s amazing. I mean, these are all things that I’m trying to apply, with the business side right with for me right now. I’m in accountability group because entrepreneurship. Can be just as lonely as you being a sole author you can launch a business by yourself you want but without a team or without people that help support you can only get so far right or create a okay business so that these are all things that I imagine, as you’re sharing your story that I incorporate into try to incorporate into my life as well. So I want to thank you so much for sharing that.
[00:41:52] Dave: [00:41:52] Absolutely thanks for the opportunity too it’s my pleasure.
[00:41:56] Eric: [00:41:56] Yeah, so definitely for everybody out there [00:42:00] Dave’s you want to share your website and will ya now that posted on on the Y Factor podcast.com as well for you guys to look up and his book as well. What is the website?
[00:42:13] Dave: [00:42:13] It’s a DL – Jennings.com. So it’s basically my pen name DL Jennings with a dash in between there because somebody was sitting on DL Jennings.com, and I don’t feel like. We’re going over the cash that they were asking for it. So I know corporate greed
[00:42:31] Eric: [00:42:31] What are they even using it for?
[00:42:33] Dave: [00:42:33] Yeah who does that? I know there’s another DL Jennings out there. That’s like really Guy. Come on.
[00:42:38] Eric: [00:42:38] Well, awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me. I hope everyone here listening in had an awesome time listening to today’s story as well.
[00:42:50] And thank you guys so much for listening to the end and like I mentioned everything else that we mentioned here will be posted on the website. So you guys can check that out and we’ll see you or [00:43:00] talk to you guys next time.