Why do you write?

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.


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Author: spottedgeckgo

Writer. Making my living on my pen, and working to turn a raw chunk of land into a future homestead.

4 thoughts

  1. Ha, your attempts in college to set the world right struck a note with me. Pretty sure I did the same thing, alas, to no avail. Seems the world has better things to do than listen to a college student. 🙂

    My road to writing didn’t grow, as yours did. I’m certain I was born writing. I was so fascinated by words and stories that I taught myself to read when I was three and started scrawling words together in sentences a year later. My first book I wrote at age 8 about my teddy bear and the Christmas tree. It was written on scraps printer paper that had been cut down into squares. I stapled them together, wrote my story, and illustrated it with crayons.

    In school I was always the kid the teachers asked to write special things. I had three haikus printed in an anthology when I was 9 and won the coveted spot as editor of our school paper the same year. Lol, I even beat out 6th graders.

    I wrote a play when I was 12 about the Oregon Trail. It was horrid and full of drama. And then I dove into poetry writing and short stories. I was the kid everyone wanted on their team in English class … only I quickly learned I didn’t want to be on anyone’s team because I would end up having to do all the writing while everyone else had fun.

    At the age of 5, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always the same: a doctor and a writer. So I went to college and became an architect. Yeah, I know … not a doctor or a writer. But it was something better than either of those because being an architect combines so many professions into one – artist, scientist, sociologist, historian, philosopher … One of my professors and I shared a love of all things books and writing and spent many hours discussing them. Another one of my professors noticed I could write and gave me my first publishing opportunity to write on a book about Pre-Columbian architecture.

    It wasn’t until my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 7 that I plunged back into writing. I’d like to say I did it because that was my passion … but in reality I did it to escape from the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a special needs child. In a way, it was my poison of choice. For moments each day I could slip away into another world and immerse myself mind, soul, and body in something other than reality.

    I wrote a triology about a young girl orphaned by the Civil War who finds a new home with an unlikely saloon owner in a Montana town on the frontier. The story still satisfies me but the writing on it was horrid. It’s in the works for revision.

    Then one day I whipped off a poem on Facebook and one of my “friends” mentioned she was organizing a novel writing workshop with a famous author in conjunction with the university. I jumped at the chance to see if what I had written was publishable. Surprisingly, I had all all the right elements in the right order but my style needed work. The class turned out to be a very negative experience overall. While I met some other authors who remain friends, the instructor was not a nice man in any respect. He picked out a few students he liked and belittled everyone else. His notes were derivative and patronizing.

    Lucky me I’ve lived through enough abuse it just makes me mad and I fight back. Which I did by entering a state writing competition with help from no one. I had no critiques, no beta readers, no advice, no nothing. I entered 11 categories and placed in 4. The novel that the instructor of the class told me was no good placed 2nd in it’s category for suspense novels behind the novel that won the overall best of contest award.

    All that might have made me feel great and want to stick it in his face, but in reality it made me realize if the stuff I submitted did that well (because I wasn’t certain it was all crap), the truth of fiction writing was that it was totally subjective on what the judges (or audience) liked. I assumed it was a fluke.

    So I did it again the next year. New writing, new novels. No help. No readers. No critiques. Just me. I had to see if I could repeat the outcome. I only entered 6 categories this time, concentrating on novel writing and short stories. I not only matched the previous year, I surpassed it with flying colors. I won 1st place in both YA novel and suspense novel and a 2nd place in horror short story with an offer for publication. Both novels landed me full manuscript requests from agents unsolicited.

    I was floored and pleased and … I’m still pretty sure it’s all just a big happy accident. I didn’t win overall best but was told by the committee that I came in second (which isn’t announced) and that their original voting was a draw and they had to bring in outside voters.

    And now that I’ve told you way more than you ever wanted to know … you know why I became a writer. 🙂

    1. Great feedback. Sounds like its been quite a ride, and just the kind of feedback I was looking for 😀 I hope your future endeavors continue to be powerful and motivating experiences 🙂

  2. I was the kid who was always writing stories in school. Back then English lessons were more or less free writing and that suited me fine. I was also the kid who was at the front of the class reading stories to the other kids before the home bell went.

    I tortured my poor teacher with cliched pony stories, complete with illustrations, on a daily basis. An old school report stated that I would do well to find a more inspiring branch of literature!

    My teens saw me heavily into world building, a lot in my head, and I remember penning a story about a farm that needed saving 😉

    The early days of the internet led me heavily into fanfic, as everyone else seemed to be. I won a lot of awards voted for by readers and this led to a couple of inclusions in a print horror anthology.

    I drifted into poetry for a while and then back to short stories and novellas. The Making of Gabriel Davenport is actually my first full length novel. Nothing like leaving it late to do the thing that inspires me the most!

    Enjoyed reading your writing history, Martin 🙂

    1. Thanks for giving your story, Beverly. I was always in the back of the class drawing pictures at story time. I remember doing this montage in grade school while listening to “James and the Giant Peach.” It was quite an image. It’s so great hearing how you went from ponies to darker themes 😉

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