When I was in the 7th Grade I had an English Teacher who gave me a brown paper bag filled with old issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. I read all the stories, comics, reviews, and commentaries. Many of the stories were so bad I was inspired to write stories of my own. Many were so good that I couldn’t even image writing stories of my own. I wrote dozens of short stories while I was in school and I finished my first rough draft of a novel when I was in the 12th Grade. It was a fantasy novel filled with wizards and castles and great battles. It was also pretty awful. As were the bulk of my short stories. This didn’t keep me from sending them out. By the time I gave up on being a writer I had a drawer filled with rejections, I was even beginning to get a few with notes from the Editor on them. I didn’t know this was a good thing and just saw them as more rejections.
Over the years I wrote more short stories, but I stopped mailing them out. The glory days where a writer can make a living selling short stories are long gone and I didn’t have any longer works to promote even if I did get a few stories published.
Flash forward about twenty years.
I discovered Blogging. Here was a chance to keep my hand in writing and share a few of my views of the world. My first blog was the standard online dairy type filled with life stories and occasional Op-Ed type pieces complaining about this and that. I had dreams of being the next ProBlogger or Boing Boing, but I just couldn’t crank out ten posts a day the way those guys do. So I started a few other blogs and talked about taking portraits and how I liked to ride my bicycle and posted the images I have taken on my travels. None of them were huge successes and this blog, which gets around 100 hits a day, is the one that I tend to spend the most time updating. It was once thought that a writer would find his voice after about a million words or so. Of course, that was before blogging, and countless people like myself have a million words under our belts and not a voice to show for it.
My chosen profession is that of portrait photographer. (If you’d like me to take your portrait, feel free to contact me.) This is the time of year that most of the companies I work for don’t have much going on. So I have a bit of time on my hands. I also have a few ideas that I would like to put in novel form.
Today I finished a rough draft for one of those novels-a bit over 100,000 words. I smile as I type those words and my head has felt light for the past hour or so. It has been a good thirty years since I typed THE END on a rough draft, about twenty since I last even seriously attempted a novel. Oh I have given NANOWRIMO a shot a couple of times, but November is always the busy season for portrait photographers and I never had the time to put in.
Now I will be reading a few books on revising and polishing and the like. I will likely get to work on something new tomorrow and let the first novel rest for a week or so. I’ve started reading Norman Mailer’s The Spooky Art, might as well try to learn from the best. I read Stephen King’s On Writing some time ago and might look at it again. I’m at a point where I just need to sit back and enjoy the moment.
The real work of writing is in the re-writing, but I don’t have to think about that just yet.