Middle aged, fat and ugly; but within beats the (now plaque encrusted)heart of a of a valiant and handsome young man. Sadly, these days he is only to be found in my books. Writing is a good way to give yourself youth and immortality - or at least the illusion of these things.
Once Upon a Time...
Once upon a time I was a reader. It started when I was very small, and my mother would read Doctor Seuss and other such things to me. At that young age, this was the most fun you could have while laying down. My father, like most fathers, was somewhat less intimate, and did not read us to sleep; but he liked to lay around on Sunday mornings and read the comics with us. I soon realized that reading was a powerful gift that I must secure for myself, and so I did, becoming an accomplished reader long before entering school. I soon owned many books on interesting subjects, like the outdoors, science, nature, and animals. This was wonderful, and for many years, I was happy.
Eventually I became dissatisfied. Books are magic; but I wanted to make some magic of my own.
I soon realized that writing was a powerful gift that I must secure for myself, and so I did. I started out writing for my college paper, after becoming photo editor. Like addiction to any intoxicant, my writing started innocently enough. It began with photo captions, and pretty soon I was writing stories and features. I was hooked. When I transferred to another college, I began writing for their paper as well. Friends asked me to look over their writing or help with papers and cover letters. This was wonderful, and for many years, I was happy.
And so I wrote for pleasure, and to chronicle trips, discoveries, or important events. Yet my writing did not touch anyone or gain any kind of exposure. It seemed pointless, even though I enjoyed it. I was dissatisfied and my writing seemed an affliction. So for many years, my writing affliction went into remission.
I soon realized that writing for work and for the public was a powerful gift that I must secure for myself, and so I did. In the late 1990’s I put up a web site. This was a home for writings about my hobbies, travels, interests and opinions; but it soon grew to encompass any number of things. It exposed my writing to the public, and then I got a job as an IT person, for a major producer of medical equipment. Working IT and being assigned to many projects, I was expected to write user guides, training manuals, cheat sheets and support documentation. I ended up actually doing the bulk of this work, because I enjoyed it and was good at it. This was wonderful, and for many years, I was happy.
Yet again I became dissatisfied. I still loved to write and to read; but I began to realize that much of what I read was no better than what I could write myself, and often what I could write was better. I soon realized that writing for a living, and becoming a published author was a powerful gift that I must secure for myself, and so I try - and continue to try.
You do not need a degree or any kind of credentials to be a writer, unless you are writing on technical subjects or looking for a staff or editorial position. This is just as well; I mean you wouldn’t want a gardener writing about how to do brain surgery, or a plumber authoring a guide to animal husbandry. It isn’t so much that it is not possible for a person to have multiple fields of expertise; but if someone is being set up as an expert in a technical field, you want to see some credentials.
Yet we can’t all be Einstein.
Fortunately, we don’t all need to be Einstein. Not everyone writes about nuclear physics, or needs to know about the subject in order to write. Everyone knows something, feels something, or sees something, or some combination of things that no one else does. Einstein never rode a motorcycle through the Rocky Mountains in October and nearly died traversing twisty mountain roads, when it snowed, rained, and was foggy all at the same time. Einstein never sailed across the lake on a small boat and got caught in a storm with 70 MPH winds and 90MPH gusts with 30 foot waves. Now there are some uncharitable types that might suggest I have experienced these things, and Einstein has not, because Einstein is much smarter than I am.
I can only agree.
If everyone was a genius, and nobody ever made a mistake or did anything stupid, imagine how dull the world would be, and how little there would be to write about. Fortunately for writers, there is little chance of such an enlightened condition occurring.
So you see lack of intelligence is no barrier to a writer, and may even be a help.
Sadly, lack of effort is a real barrier, the most difficult barrier. It is closely connected with lack of belief in yourself and your abilities. People who want to make a living as a writer because they figure it is a great way to make a living without working are doomed to disappointment. My advice to such people is not to quit their day job. Actually, that’s pretty good advice for anyone considering being a writer. I still have my day job. A day job, as any good writer (and a number of bad ones) will tell you, is material. You can’t write about technical subjects on which you are not an expert, and you cannot write about life if you don't have one.
There is a certain similarity to the biographies for most writers. Most writers keep busy, and have varied interests. We are insatiable readers, and are curious about everything. We are an unsettled lot. We continually search for meaning, fulfillment, and our place in the world, until we decide to create our ideal worlds ourselves. Then one day we develop the conceit and audacity to presume to write for publication. It's all downhill from there.
Writing is a presumptive act of creation from a mind and an ego. If that seems to be an arrogant statement, you are correct. I just hope it is arrogant enough. Writers, like any artists, must believe in themselves or all is lost. Without the conceit needed in order to presume creative abilities, there is no creation.
I am a writer,
photographer, traveler, sailor, amateur astronomer, firearms
enthusiast, ham radio operator (KC9SNB) occasional furniture
builder, motorcyclist, computer nut, former bartender, former truck
driver, former electronics tech, current IT professional and eternal
I have been writing seriously and professionally for the last five years or so, and have been contributing my writing skills to my full time job for over a decade. I wrote for college papers and club newsletters when I was in school. I have enjoyed creative writing all my life – so far.
When I am not trying to keep the world functioning, by working on computers, I am creating worlds of my own, or expanding and commenting on the world we all share. I am presently seeking an agent or publisher to handle my work, and have completed several fiction and non-fiction titles.
My primary non-fiction interests are travel, history, and Americana. I also love science, and am particularly fascinated by nuclear science; but do not consider myself qualified to be a science writer, except as a layman. As a fiction writer, I create science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, and thrillers.