All the Things I’ll Never Be: a guest post by Jay Wilburn

I was a pretty good teacher. The parents and students were happy with me. There’s something tough about teaching though. It is tough in ways that are difficult to describe to someone outside the profession. Even when someone is teaching in a good school with good leadership and good kids, it is still a tough job. When you don’t have one or any of those good things, it is even harder. As my health began to decline and doctors discussed life expectancy with me, I started doing the math. The likelihood of me making it to retirement was slim. I had resigned myself to teaching until I died. It was a heavy conclusion even in my good years. I was never going to be a grandfather with financial security enjoying his golden years.

Circumstances changed for my family and decisions had to be made. I took a leap of faith and quit my job to become a full time writer. I stayed home with my kids and worked to build up my writing career. I got a few breaks, but they’ll tell you that you are never going to be a best seller. They tell you that you can’t make a living writing. Money got tight and I almost gave up.

I started ghost writing and doing freelance work to supplement the slow, unsteady money from my own fiction. We got by. We fell behind in rent and I almost gave up again. I stuck it out, we caught up, and the money got steady enough that I was paying rent on time again. We finally got insurance again. We live on a slim budget. Being a full time writer, I may never have the comfortable life that other career paths might provide, but I write for a living and that is something.

I started rereading all of Stephen King’s novels in order. I want to learn a thing or two about writing from one of my heroes in the craft. It is slow going as I get bogged down in a steep writing schedule. I may be gone before I finish. I may never figure out the answers either. As I reread King, I come to realize that I will never become him in either scope or skill. He is on a different level than me and his writing covers other planes I don’t reach.

I’m slowly getting a feel for my own voice. I know how I tell a story and the notes I strike well while doing it. I’m starting to get an understanding of where the meat is on my steak, so I’m not trying to carve into the bone so much slicing as if I have a different cut of meat from what I really have. Being the best “me” I can be means letting go of a number of other ideas that I might never achieve. Chasing some of those ghosts might keep from being what I’m meant to be or capable of being in an attempt to focus on what I’ll never be. Unless I’m making a career of chasing ghosts which might just be it.

I have reason to believe that the Dead Song series I am beginning may be the voice and definition in my writing that I have been seeking for a while. Time will tell as time tends to do.

Click the images to check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn:

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

The Sound May Suffer - Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of The Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at

2 Responses to “All the Things I’ll Never Be: a guest post by Jay Wilburn”

  1. […] Thank you Chris Larsen for giving me a spot to share these thoughts. Read More … […]

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