It seems this question doesn’t get nearly enough attention among the million other questions that writers get asked. I’ll tell you my story, you tell me yours.
Questions I sometimes get:
“Is that novel of yours done yet?” “You said you finished the draft months ago, when do I get to read it?” “Is the main character you?” And a thousand other questions, but nowhere in the mix is why I write, or in my case, why I try.
Thinking back on it:
It surprises even me to look back into my past and find the source of my writing. I was always scribbling things down, making paper comics in crayon and little games as a child. I tried to get down my thoughts on paper for any topic that interested me. In college I even tried and failed several times to write a philosophical blockbuster that would shock the world and shatter currently held paradigms about life, the universe, and everything in it.
Surprisingly, through all of that, I never saw myself as a writer. I suppose I was too busy playing scientist. The thought of writing fiction seemed beyond me, even though I had fun is writing classes during my high school years. I think somewhere buried in my mind was the notion that only literary people become novelists.
The road to fiction:
In the later part of my college years, I was clerking a gas station and started a web comic to make light of a situation I found lacking. I saw an audience in anyone who worked retail (which is a large audience) to make fun of the problems faced on a daily basis.
After that job, I continued to make the comic, and eventually started another, this one about a race of aliens. The main characters designed and built robots, which never functioned quite as expected. It was during a media transition with this one that I got the bright idea to scratch out an outline for something new, a graphic novel.
The Sword of Valhalla consumed most of my free time for months, studying Scandinavian history and digging through Norse mythology. I sketched up a page on, and had a pile of sketches, notes, and books to draw influence from. I realized very quickly that the project was taking on a life of its own.
TSOV was far too large a project for me to undertake, and my drawing equipment couldn’t move easily with me from rig to rig. On the edge of being scrapped for want of time, I needed another way to get this story done, and considered bringing in an illustrator.
From comics to novels:
It was on that fateful trip to a new rig when I got the crazy idea to start noveling. Someone left a book in my bunk and I started reading it. The title isn’t important. I hated it. I thought it was the most poorly written work I’d ever come across, and the idea hit me that if this mash of words was good enough for publication, then I might have a shot. I spent the next months researching a new hobby, and drafting TSOV as a novel.
I wish I could remember the name of the website that I visited daily. It had some type of inspirational quote or writing tidbit for a predetermined number of days. So I would read one each day, then go about getting words on paper. When I burned out, I researched novel stuff. How to publish, what the process was. I learned a lot, and sixty days after starting my first draft, it was done, printed, and being painted with red ink. I still had a long way to go.
I’ll skip the boring parts:
Three years later, I’d given up on TSOV and wrote it off as a learning process. I learned a lot, but the process overwhelmed me the first time around. Some time this year, I got a call from my brother that invigorated my need to create and brought me back to life. CORP is nearing it’s final edits, the second book is drafted, and the third is planned for draft during NaNoWriMo this year.
I’m taking my time, as there’s no need to rush. One thing I learned in the last three years is that if you have a good story, it will still be a good story in a year or two. This isn’t a race. I’m trying to make CORP the best that it can be before I even start hunting for an agent again (and I have a few in mind already).
That’s my story. A little insight into my world. I hope you enjoyed it.
How did you get started?
So, how did you get started in the world of authoring? Was it something you wanted to do since birth, or did you fall into it like me? Maybe your story is somewhere between. Leave a comment and tell us about it 🙂 If you have a blog post about your journey, feel free to link it in your comment.