I stood on the dock and cast my line for at least the three hundredth time. Hours had past since my last bite and I’d almost lost interest in catching anything. It wasn’t bad to clean my limit of small mouth bass, but to clean just one sounded like work. My mind drifted to the novel I’d been working on for several years but could never quite find the time to write.
As I reeled in the line for the last time, I worked the bait with a slight jig. I felt a tug on the line. It wasn’t the staccato twitch of a nibble, but the slow easy pull of thick weeds. That’s where the monsters are. I saw my “weed fish” slowly surface and creep toward me like a stalking sea dinosaur. Something in it glimmered as the high sun reflected off it. I removed the inanimate beast from my line and extracted a small lamp from its belly. I wiped it clean of sea slime to see if it had any worth, and out came a genie!
“I will grant you one wish!” he proclaimed.
Not one to be without speech or opinion, I answered without hesitation, “I have a book I’ve been working on for years. I wish I could write like the pros!”
“Your wish is my command.” Smoke poured from his hands until it engulfed the entire dock. A hurricane force wind blew me backward. When the smoke cleared I found myself sitting at the desk in my office.
“That’s it? I’m a pro now?” I dried my wet hands on my jeans then placed them on the keyboard of my laptop and began to type. “The sun scorched Ernest through his sweat drenched shirt.” I paused, surprised at how freely the line came to me, then placed my fingers back on the keys.
I glared at the genie. “What’s the problem? I thought you were powerful. Where are the words? Why are they not coming to me?” I stood in disgust and headed for the door but was stopped short by a tug on my leg. I looked down. My leg was shackled to the desk.
“What’s this about? Am I a prisoner in my own home?”
“You wished to write like a pro, and you will. However, there is no magic that can accomplish this. You are bound to this desk every day until you have written for two hours. Only then will your shackles be loosed. Any time you stop writing, the will the clock will stop until all of the required time has been spent writing. And so it will be until you are, as you say, a “pro.”
“Wow. It sounds more like a prison sentence.”
“It was your wish. The good news is that once you are a pro, you will write four to six hours a day with no shackles. If I were you, I’d start writing.”
And with that, he vanished.
I am writing a novel, which is more work than anything I have ever done before. This short story was written when I realized what it would take to be a successful author. I hope you enjoyed it, and know that anything worth doing takes work. There is no easy way, even when you love it.