26 August 2012

Writing in My Modern Age

Between the ages of 12 (see the last post) and around 27 I wrote sporadically.  One year I would fill several notebooks (back then I couldn’t type a story, the keyboard was way too distracting) and other years I would do nothing but perhaps think about writing after I read a good book or saw a great movie. I believe these were the years in which I actually read epic fantasy.  Now days I start to twitch if I see a really long novel sitting on my dresser.  I really need to do something about that,.

So maybe I was ingesting more than giving back to the world.  We’ll go with that for now.

Then I met a good friend of mine that we will call Cola.  Because her initials were RC.  If you don’t understand, just forget I mentioned it.  Anyway, Cola and I did some traveling together (Russia and New Zealand) and she kept threatening to start a writing group.  I swear she toyed with the idea for at least a year before doing it.

We actually talked about this the other day, and can’t remember exactly when the group started.  Maybe eight or nine years ago.  I could dig through my journals and figure it out, but they’re all packed away at the bottom of my cedar chest, and I’m not up to the Tetris game that I would have to master in order to get everything back inside. 

For a couple of years we just did short stories every month off of an assignment that we would randomly come up with.  I wrote some good ones, and some bad ones.  We had a good time, and learned a few things about writing.

One of the girls in the group introduced me to Nanowrimo.  (I may have mentioned this before)  Before my very first Nanowrimo, I’d never finished anything longer than 30 or 40 pages, and most of them were old stories in notebooks.  So when this girl told me about 50,000 words in a month, I wasn’t sure I could do it.  As a matter of fact, I debated until two days before November started before I decided to go for it.  I had the characters in mind (Now THAT’S a funny story) and while I was at the doctor’s office (probably for my knee—darn thing) I jotted down a tag line for the novel.  That and a brain full of epic fantasy novels that I’d been reading over the past six or eight years was all I started with.

The moment I knew that someday I should be a writer came somewhere in that first week. I woke, sat up in bed, rubbed my face and immediately thought, “What will Paul and his playmates be doing today?”  It was like the story had settled into my blood and just kept pumping around inside of me, waiting to be let out.

Well, I wrote 50,000 words that year and every year since.  That first story spanned three years, and at the end of those three years I actually undertook editing it.  The poor thing will never see the light of day, but it stands as a marker in my writing career.  185,000 words of a somewhat coherent story that only mostly sucks…and I wrote it.

Since then I’ve written five or six other novels and I’ve done Nanowrimo every year.  And I have no plans to stop.  Apparently I like it, and who doesn’t want to do something you like?