A Writer’s Life

07.19.10 | Comment?

I can’t say exactly how long I’ve wanted to be a writer. It was probably around the same age I stopped dreaming of traveling the globe catching wild animals for zoos. Though, to be fair, I think there was a period when I planned on doing both. I wrote my first book in junior high. Sixth grade, I think. It was highly inspired by the Hardy Boys and similar series, although the lead characters just happened to share the names of myself and my best friend. Unfortunately, that novella met with limited critical success– an “A” for creativity and an “F” for actually covering the material the essay was supposed to be about.

Sure I may have been discouraged, but after a while I picked up my ego, dusted it off, and resumed dreaming. I envisioned a new trilogy, and spent the following grade year writing it in my spiral-bound notebook. It topped out at around 110 hand-written pages, and was about a pair of young boys who gain supernatural powers. At the end of the first book the main protagonist’s girlfriend was killed in an explosion meant for him, and the second book–started but never finished–introduced a new pair of protagonists, girls who were also given supernatural powers. The final book in the trilogy was to be about the final showdown between good (the teens) and evil, and I think it involved rediscovering Atlantis.

I never finished that trilogy, but I did continue to write short stories through high school and–less frequently–college. Writers are driven. The stories that bubble and build inside of us have to find a way out. Writers are also dreamers. Sure, we write for ourselves, but we also write for the dream of success and admiration that we secretly (or not so secretly) think we deserve. We write with the dream that one day our lives will be something like this:

However, writers who do more than dream, the ones who read and research and network and learn the biz realize that the reality isn’t quite as glamorous. It’s… well, it’s more like this:

Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that exercise in ego destruction? Why, after getting a C- on my 6th grade novella, did I start plotting out an even greater story? What drives us to keep writing and trying in the face of all opposition, or even worse–apathy? I’m not sure what it is, but I know it’s there. I’ve come a long way from that first novella. Having a story in Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
was a great milestone for me, but it’s not the end. I’ve got stories to tell, and they want–they need–to be told.

Now I just have to keep off the Xbox 360 long enough to write them.

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