As writers, we all want to write the next Great American Novel. But why? What made you realize that you wanted to be a writer? I can only answer for myself. I’m a life-long reader, even though I haven’t been as much of a reader lately as in the past.
When I was in the military, my ship spent enough time at sea that boredom was a constant battle among the crew. Television was only interesting for the first few days, then we were fed re-runs until we reached the next port. If we were lucky, we got new movies and shows. If not, well, we were out of luck until next time.
Because I was an Electronics Technician, I was assigned to a department full of nerds, some of whom had discovered Dungeons & Dragons. When we were deployed, a group of us found ourselves in the antenna shop spread out on the deck and repair benches with a pen, paper, and sourcebooks. I have long since lost the notes to those games. I somehow managed to hang onto the original printout of a story I wrote loosely based on our adventures during one such deployment.
I don’t remember the specific novels I was reading at the time (probably fantasy). But something about the books made me think that I could do that, too. So, I sat down at my “new” computer* and began typing. By the time I got distracted (SQUIRREL!), I had written the beginning of a novel, so I thought. That was decades ago, and I still think about those characters and that story. At one point about ten years ago, I sat down and worked on it. I moved the story along enough that I have something to work with, I think. I don’t remember exactly where I was going with it, but I have had new ideas infiltrate the original concepts. Someday, I’ll sit down and complete the story of Meegan Redoak, my half-elven ranger.
In the years since that first delve into writing, I have penned countless opinion pieces (while at university) and short stories. I find that writing helps me process my thoughts and feelings in a way reading did in the past. This blog is one way to focus on writing, so this keeps me on track, it also acts as a vehicle to improve my skills.
I also find that some of the stories and vignettes I’ve penned over the years are not as “stand-alone” as I initially thought. Some scenes are gravitating toward one project or another. It’s an exciting process as my mind begins weaving tales together.
As I move further away from the logical world of technical writing, I find that my creativity is coming alive in a way I haven’t felt since junior high school. When I was in high school, I discovered science and became enamored with the scope of things to learn. Everything fascinated me about science-y stuff. I loved learning how things worked. When I took the pre-enlistment tests, I was directed into electronics, and I was good at it.
Then I discovered the technical writing aspects and knew where I needed to put my energy. The joy of writing kept me going even after business hours. I could let the world inside my imagination loose. Over time, I got more satisfaction out of my creative writing than my technical writing. When my company was done with my expertise, I gladly transitioned into something more based on creativity than science. It was the change I didn’t know I needed.
That’s how I arrived at becoming a writer. What brings you to writing?
[*An Apple IIe clone that I picked up in Korea while deployed. It had two 5-¼” floppy drives, one for the operating system, the other to hold the data.]