One of the things that I have been asked multiple times on my (albeit short) journey as an author is “How did you become interested in writing” or “What inspired you to be a writer”. Now I’ve answered the question a few ways, always trying to keep the answer short and sweet for those who don’t want to hear my whole life story, but I think a good way to help me relate to everyone would be to share a larger bit of the story here. I hope that once you all read it you’ll be inspired to share your stories with me in the comments or through a message so I can know you all better as well.
I barely remember a time when reading and literature weren’t a huge part of my life. I’m actually not sure that was ever the case. I basically was born with a book in my hand. From the time I was old enough to string the letters together in my head and make words out of them I’ve read anything I could get my hands on. I can remember some of the books I had as a child (that I am extremely angry I lost somewhere in the haze that is “growing up”) and the fact that I always had people supporting me in my love of the written word. So much so that I was reading Stephen King’s “IT” in the third grade, reading on a college level before even nearing puberty. This is very easily something I thank my mother for. She encouraged me in my reading and bought me just about any book I wanted- granted, she wasn’t all that happy that I was a King addict at such a young age, I was a very insistent young man. I can easily say that, without her encouragement, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel God had a hand in my talent and skill, because I do. I do think that, had my mother not played her part and encouraged me to read, that my journey to being an author would have been much more difficult. But from the time I could read well I did it with a passion. This eventually lead me to writing down little short stories and trying to make up characters. I remember at one point that I actually attempted to not only write out a (slightly altered) version of one of my favorite movies but I tried to write a sequel to one of my favorite Stephen King stories. This, of course, was the true beginning of my writing career.
Before too long I was ecstatic to say that I had my first moderately original ideas (although now I would be hard pressed to remember all that much about them) and went into high school with a couple of extra notebooks in my backpack. My first lesson in maintaining my writing in a strong and durable form came when, after a few days of particularly grueling homework that kept me from writing, I pulled out my notebook to find that the pages had rubbed together so much they had literally worn my words into a greasy black mess. My first rookie mistake; I had tried to write a story with a pencil.
I quickly learned how big of a mistake that was and moved on to a pen. I wrote all of my material out by hand because at that time I didn’t really have a computer or a working knowledge of Microsoft Word that would allow me to do anything different. As life went on I kept reading, but eventually the story ideas that had begun fizzled into nothing. This would likely be due to a combination of things, the passing of my grandfather for one, that lead to a bit of a difficult time in my young adult life. I dealt with my issues in my own ways and this lead me down a new path as well, pushing me more in the arms of the books I loved and giving me ideas of travelling all over the world.
As for my writing, I remember the day that things changed for me. I was dealing with a dark day in my life when my brain was suddenly filled with the idea for a novel. I felt the plot run through my mind; the highs, the lows, the whys, the climax and the facts that would bring most of it together. I was somewhat astounded. Without much hesitation I grabbed a notebook from my room and began to write what I knew, outlining parts of the story I had seen and writing the prologue that seemed so vivid it was like I was living it. As I finished the last line in that portion of this new story idea, I realized without a single doubt that this was my purpose. This was what I wanted. I decided on that day that I wanted nothing more out of life than to be a professional author.
This was around the beginning of my junior year of high school, if memory serves. I worked on that novel and developed the story, only letting one or two people know anything about the piece itself, finding the ideas for other stories and novels flickering through my head at the slightest whim, some of them insisting that I drop everything and write them immediately. It was the following Summer that I got the idea for my most loved project (Maverip) and began going down that long road as well- but that is a story for another time.
My life was seriously changed on that day almost ten years ago, and I couldn’t be happier with that. I know now without a doubt that writing is exactly what I was made for. I fully believe that it is God’s purpose for me just as I believe that writing literally saved my life. I have since seen my work published nearly a dozen times in various journals and have even self published some of those works in the form of a short story and poetry collection that is available on Amazon.
The journey to where I am today has been a bit of a long one, and has certainly seen its bumps. I’ve asked myself many times over the years if I was just wasting my time, if my work was good enough, if anybody would ever care what I have to say. This is a bit discouraging at times, but for the most part it is said that every true author goes through that. Everyone, at some point, is going to feel the worry that something is wrong, that they are wasting their time. The difference in success and failure, however, is picking yourself up and going on no matter how hard it seems.
So that’s a part of my journey (I could write for days on my experiences and why I keep going, but I won’t subject you all to that just yet). I hope you all enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll share yours as well. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t give up, no matter how hard things get, folks. Until next time.