I am a wanna-be professional writer who just happens to currently be a professional Systems Analyst / SAP Developer. It seems that if you want to write, you must write daily for several years. This of course assumes you are not a savant. I’m no savant.
I haven’t pursued writing before because I floundered in my English classes until my sophomore year in high school when I discovered fantasy novels. I am a slow reader, but for the next few years I devoured novels as quickly as I could. As a consequence of my new found love of reading, my English skills increased. I did not get to where I should have been if I had discovered reading at a younger age, but I was fine with my lot. I played around with writing in high school and considered writing when going into college, but was told I would never make it by someone I really respected. It hurt, and worse I believed him for about twenty-five years.
So what’s changed? Well recently I was turned on to a website called Write About Dragons. The website outlines one BYU student’s journey to become a professional writer. The real appeal to me was that he recorded each of his classes taught by alumnus and novelist Brandon Sanderson. I am a fan of Sanderson’s. He writes the kind of fantasy I love and plays Magic: The Gathering. What’s not to love? In watching the videos it became apparent that writing isn’t about getting all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Writing is about story telling. I fucking love storytelling! Oh and bonus, Sanderson’s a horrible speller. Simply horrible. I love the man even more now not because he sucks at the same thing I suck at, but because if HE can succeed and be horrible at the the major thing I am horrible at, then all of a sudden my world opens up to new possibilities.
I have however let my skills at storytelling diminish. Since I was an early teen I’ve played and DM’d Dungeons and Dragons. I love creating and playing characters as well as creating adventures and putting the players in as many variations of conflict that I could imagine. It wasn’t until I was in my early-twenties that I started to realize that as the DM I didn’t have to be in control, I just needed to entertain. That is when my skills began to flourish. Later my skills floundered as I begun to think I lost the spark.
I thought that I had peaked and worse would never improve again. At least I did until I learned something else listening to the BYU class videos. Writing and storytelling are skills. Skills are acquired and honed. I’ve always known that skills can also atrophy if left unused, but I thought writing and storytelling were talents. In idiotic belief that I had lost it, for whatever reason, I had allowed my skills to atrophy.
Thanks for reading. If you know me, please help me stay honest. I am looking for some good patient folks to be alpha-readers, people who are willing to read my drek and tell me what they think of how the characters/plot/story/etc is unfolding. Eventually when I feel like I’ve gotten at least a little better, I’m considering attending some writing workshops and joining a local writer’s group for more direct feedback by people trying to do the same thing that I am trying to do.
Again thanks and sorry for the future pain I shall inflict on your reading comprehension.
© 2014, Joseph K Little. All rights reserved.