I was asked by host, Beem Weeks, how I started writing. That is a loaded question. If you aren’t prepared for it then you may freeze. But I think I handled the question well. But it did get me thinking about how I really got here. No, I got here the usual way everyone else did. I mean as a writer – how did I get to this time and place?
Well, I covered some of the details in the interview but it’s much more complex for me than just a few minutes of discussion in an interview. Why am I writing? Why am I doing it now? There are any number of questions that can be asked and answered as part of the whole notion.
Ultimately, what a writer puts out for anyone to see is an extension of themselves. So life experiences become important. I’m not saying just go build up a bunch of memories from a bucket list so you can write good prose. No, it’s much more complex than that. It’s also the experiences that were unpleasant. The good and the bad, the highs and lows, are all aspects of character and plot that provide a writer with a wealth of important resources for fleshing out the elements of a novel.
My own story – thirty years of writing this one book covers a lot of events. I finished the original novel in 1995 and was offered a contract. The terms were vague so I backed away. I tried my hand at short stories and let the manuscript lie for a few years. I started a few re-writes all around career changes and the arrival of a child.
After some time, health issues affected me though I didn’t know how much. I struggled with hypothyroidism and faded into sleep apnea. I didn’t know how much it affected me until these and a few other things were treated effectively. Then I woke up to what was going on. It was like being Rip van Winkle. Oh, I knew things had changed but I never really put it together until that time. I saw the opportunity and started writing again.
Some people might say I should have moved on and that may be well an good. But I had a finished book and it was salable years ago so I wanted to cut my teeth on it. I looked at the manuscript and held me nose at a mess that had gone quite putrid in the intervening years. So, I re-wrote it and began the journey afresh with more insights while learning some new techniques as I went.
It’s been a winding road – sometimes through the middle of nowhere – to actually publishing this upcoming book. When I started, the internet wasn’t even a daily reality and now you can learn more about writing in a month just off blogs than what used to be available in a few books. E-books weren’t even a thought back in those days and Amazon didn’t even exist. A lot has changed in the intervening years and the world of publishing has changed at an accelerated rate over the last decade with all the changes in technology.
Right now is an exciting time. It’s a time of rapid change. It’s an interesting time. I’m glad I waited but I wish I had spent more time just writing along the way. I missed years of skill development and now I’m pushing daily to grow as a writer. However, these are amazing days to do so and I’m thankful for making it this far.
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