Monday, August 11, 2014

Making of a Writer

Writer's, when I was a kid, were Gods. 

I would never have presumed. To be a writer? What an amazing thing that would be. To create, people, scenes, stories, universes.

Hey, while you're here and just for fun, here's a new and free short story of mine that's quite relative to the madnes and war going on all around us in the world: To End All War, I called it, on Wattpad. It's quite short, If you like that, here is another by another very new writer, Nikolas Hayes, titled, Drinking Starlight. Both quite powerful little pieces. Now, moving right along....

I wanted to read very young. I always had to wait for adults to finish reading the newspaper comics to me every Sunday. It got old after a while, all that waiting; always coming second, bored to death lying there on the floor watching everyone reading their newspaper, except me. So I pushed for them to teach me and my Grandmother took on the task. Reading came fairly easy to me and I could quickly, relatively speaking, read above my level. 

My Grandmother told me back then that she always read a hard book between every book she read for pleasure. She said every other book should be one that was difficult to understand and not to worry if you don't understand even half of it. Eventually, she said, you will if you kept it up. She also said to always pick a new word (or concept) out of the hard book each day and look it up. Assuming that is, that you read daily. The point being, out of each reading sessions, find something new to learn about.

So, I spent a lot of years back in the beginning of my lifelong reading career, scratching my head when reading every other book. It was frustrating at times wondering why I was reading what I didn't understand, but it was the reading version of doing push-ups to increase your physical strength.

It was a suggestion that paid off in spades. Eventually, writing came easy to me, too.

I wrote my first sci fi story when I was fifteen, then nothing until my twenties, just bits and pieces. My HS English teacher tried to get me to join the school newspaper staff, but I was afraid to. My loss, that. Then in college my first English Composition teacher begged me to become a writer. I'm not kidding. He said I had to, it was just overflowing out of me, all the ideas and sparks of things. I owe him a lot. he was the one to tell me to stop worrying about mechanics and perfectionism and just, Write!

So, I started to think it might be possible. Some, day. 

Then in my Senior year I took fiction 101 toward a creative writing minor. The other students seemed to be in awe of my stories. They really liked them. But to be fair, there was a lot of romance writing going on in there and I figured I simply had to be a refreshing change from that, right?. But then we also had the Editor and the Asst. Editor of our University magazine, Jeopardy, in that class and both of them were quite taken with my writings. The Asst Editor told me during one of his critiques of one of my stories that he knew he shouldn't like my stories, as they weren't his cup of tea, but he couldn't help himself. Besides his best attempt, he couldn't help but like my stories. High praise, indeed!

I tried for years after graduating to get something going, to sel my writings, but it was hard to get anywhere with it, and it's a frustrating endeavor to begin with, for anyone. I still had much to learn. Finally, I did sell a story. But again, it was years to get anywhere further. Still, I kept writing, putting them away, wishing I could get something going. 

Then the 1990s, I became a tech writer. Then a senior tech writer. Years later I realized I had actually once been a professional writer, merely by definition. That was nice. But it wasn't fiction writing. It was however, a good launching ground for learning various important elements of writing good fiction. Endurance, finishing what you start, accuracy, attention to detail, turning out a quality product that pleased and on time. And many times, to a harsh judge of what writing they were paying for. And I got paid for my written words. 

It was really in the advent of the internet becoming what it has, for me to finally get a real hold on something of substance. I finally started connecting with the right people. Fun, cool, interesting people Then I really started working hard at it and now, I'm feeling much better about it. Still, it is a long, hard road. My life to date has seemingly been a nearly never ending series of rejections, frustratingly close calls and finally, though in comparison to the whole of my efforts, an ever growing number of scant few, positive responses.

There is always hope, as long as there is hope kept alive by action.

The making of a writer comes about many ways. In the end the actuality of being a writer is in being one who writes, who gets people to read their writings, and one who gets positive feedback. 

So I keep working hard at it. Maybe one of these days I'll get to a situation where I feel like I actually have made it somewhere. Or maybe one always feels there is another hill to crest.

In the meantime, I'm just trying my best to enjoy the ride.

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