February 13, 2012
This post is part of the Origins Blogfest, which you can read about here as well as see links to other writers who are participating in the blogfest. Basically, we are all writing our origins stories, or more specifically about how we were got started as writers.
Without any further delay, here is my origins story:
It may sound crazy, but I personally feel that I was born to be a storyteller, which has naturally developed into writing. At about the ripe age of three I came up with two very astounding ideas. First off, I decided Star Wars Episode IV needed a rewrite, and I proceeded to tell my mother all about how I would restructure the plot to make it more exciting. Apparently my rewrite (which I have a vague recollection of) actually flowed quite well. I do remember it started off with an epic lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, and then went into flashback mode.
The second astounding idea I had was a group of robots who could turn into vehicles, and vice versa. The other kids in the neighborhood knew about my imaginary cars/robots, so when the Transformers hit the local stores several months later, everyone was in an uproar about how similar my ideas were to an actual product.
When I was in grade school, I was initially bored with reading and was labeled "stupid" by my first grade teacher (she literally did call me stupid a number of times). The reading she gave us was not a challenge, but then I discovered Doctor Seuss and started reading voraciously, even though my oh-so-smart teacher said the books were well beyond my reading ability. Not too long after that, I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Those books cemented my personal resolve to become a writer.
I wrote stories and drew accompanying pictures for them constantly (including during class when I was bored). A few of those stories I turned into my teachers, including my own version of a Choose Your Own Adventure story the teacher read to my class. When I saw how much joy my story gave my classmates, I was hooked on writing even more.
Sadly, I think between then and my adult years I was scared to put my writings out in front of a large audience. I continued to write all the time, but I showed those stories to precious few. Actually, one of those stories I finally decided to publish on Amazon's Kindle Store, a short tale called Wounded Fox, which you can download here if you're curious what my teenage storytelling abilities were like. I also started but did not finish writing two different books, one of which I have worked on since and hope to release in the next few years.
One good thing I did in high school was take a creative writing class. My teacher was a published writer (and so was not a bitter writer, which I will be talking about in tomorrow's post). She taught me about the book Writer's Market and how to believe in myself, even if nobody else did. My teacher also really liked my writing and tried to get me to submit it to contests or even publishers (although I lacked the confidence to do so).
During college I listened to the bad advice of people close to me, who said I should abandon trying to put my stories in front of a large audience, since it would be too disruptive to my studies. Had I stared publishing my stories in some way while doing my undergrad, I am sure my writing career would be much further along right now. I did still write for myself, but I did not write that much because of the advice I had received and heeded. College did open my mind up to many bodies of knowledge I was not aware of before, including folklore studies and cultural texts that I have drawn off of for my stories. In several of my classes I studied the paranormal in ways and at depths I had never even imagined before.
Since college, I have struggled with my desires to be a writer (which started in grade school) and the world telling me that such desires were immature. After working several jobs that did not really satisfy me on multiple levels, I finally took the plunge and decided to start writing to actually make money at the insistent prodding of my extremely supportive wife. She saw in me the potential that I have, and still pushes me to do more because she sees even more potential in me. For my wife I am eternally grateful, because she has been one person who will always be honest with me about my writing (instead of just telling me all my ideas are great) but has also been constant in her positive support.
It has been an interesting adventure being a full-time writer but I would not trade it for anything Interestingly, though, along the way to my becoming a professional writer I have had quite a few relationships strained. I could go on and on about why these different relationships did not survive the jealousy or other emotions surrounding my becoming a professional writer, but that would constitute several different blog posts.