Beginnings are hard!
I’ve spent my whole life starting and stopping more projects, hobbies, etc. then I’d care to admit and two constants that I’ve always found are that beginnings are hard and quitting is easy. It’s been a nearly lifelong dream of mine to become a writer and publish novels and maybe even blog about…stuff? But for various reasons nothing ever panned out.
One of my greatest fears in this is that someday I’ll finally cross the threshold from legitimate writer to “That Guy,” the asshat that always brings up their writing with pride but mysteriously never has any writing to show. Even the crazy guy down the street sitting in his underwear and covered in chicken grease in his basement who writes a 2,000 page fantasy epic about toothbrush stealing flying badgers is a far greater writer than “That Guy.” This is because the crazy guy’s book is real and asshat’s is not.
So as I approach my 28th birthday next month I have a new goal in life: Don’t be an asshat. It’s a goal simple in its statement, but a never ending bitch in its execution. With this in mind I’ve decided to ride the line of possibly sounding like an asshat and state that yes, I am working on my first book, but I’m also starting this blog. This blog will not be about what I’m specifically writing about, but about the weekly experience of writing, thoughts on writing tips I’ve read over the years, and possibly other random crap that falls out of my legitimately strange mind.
I’m starting this week on the history of my personal journey of writing to this point and how I’ve become a stone’s throw from becoming an asshat. I will try to update weekly and at some point I will pick a day of the week and stick to it, but for now you’ll have to deal with me figuring things out as I go along. As well this will almost certainly be the longest blog post I do so don’t get to testy if future posts are a bit shorter. Also if you’re still reading this that means you either know me personally (Hi!), or you’ve most likely stumbled upon my blog bored out of your mind with nothing better to do. Either way it’s nice of you to stop by and enjoy the crazy. Thanks!
Like most people my age, I didn’t love books until I was first introduced to Harry Potter. I was in the 5th grade and had always loved dragons, wizards, and magic, but the idea of actually sitting down to read wasn’t going to happen. That was what T.V. was for. But as I sat in class as our teacher would take ten minutes or so a day to read about the adventures of young Harry the idea of reading for fun began to take hold. Who knew that books could be…well fun.
Fast forward then to the 6th grade and Mrs. Winker’s English class. I couldn’t begin to tell you if asked what I learned that year about English or what books we read. Of that entire class one specific thig did stand out in my memory and will be with me my whole life. We were given blank hardcover books and told to write a story into it and illustrate it. I can still remember the crisp whiteness of it like an untouched field of snow in the moonlight. I was to write my first book. I was almost overwhelmed with the possibility. What to write? It couldn’t be any story, not in something as beautiful as a blank hardcover book. Since I was little I’ve always loved stories. If you’ve ever met my family you know that it’s in my blood to tell stories all the time. I eventually wrote a story of a boy fighting an evil monster. Looking back the story was terrible and didn’t make a ton of sense, but it was mine and meant the world to me. When it was graded Mrs. Winker looked at my book and told me that I’d make a great writer someday. I’ve never forgotten her words.
From there it’s the same story I’m sure you’ve read about many times. I started small with short stories and poetry, but never attempted a novel. Lots and lots of reading, but no serious writing. Like many writer’s I’ve met over the years I was in love with the idea of writing a book, but it wasn’t something I felt capable of now. I always had this vision of a future me that would magically be a better writer than I am today. It took me a long time to realize that this is the self-generated lie that all asshats tell themselves.
I was sitting in a small classroom one winter in an old brick building on the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point campus. I was there with a handful of other students hanging on every word of a magnificently bearded man named Patrick Rothfuss. It’s here that I learned what a real writer was and that I need to put down the self-doubt and write. That was over five years ago. Now you may be asking yourself, “Batman (Yes I’m assuming that either Batman reads my blog or you call yourself Batman in your head. If this doesn’t apply to you I recommend becoming one or the other.), why is it that you had this experience but still don’t have a completed book to show for it?” That’s a great question Batman! Simple answer, beginnings are hard. Complex answer, fear.
So now we’ve hit the hart of it folks. Fear of failure is something that seems to drive just about everyone I’ve met in some way or another. It’s why quitting is easy. I’ve been afraid of writing something that’ll be terrible, but just as much I’ve been terrified that it’ll be good. But things have changed. Two years ago I had an idea for a book that just clawed at my mind. I couldn’t let it go and in my heart I knew that If I didn’t write it that I’d regret it for the rest of my life. It was the true turning point where I had to choose between talking about being a writer or actually being a writer. So I started being a writer.
Two years of on-again off-again work and I’m still not done with my first draft. I spent quite a bit of time building the fantasy world my book will take place in before I started, but I want to finish it. My goal is to complete the rough first draft by the end of this year. That was my goal last year, but this year I’ve changed the game. This year I have you. I’m hoping by sharing my thoughts on writing and keeping you updated where I’m at with things, that I can help keep myself on track and learn to be better.
So that’s where I am. I’m in it for real and for the long haul. If you want to keep reading about it please feel free to come back, otherwise go read a far better blog than what I’ll probably cobble together over here http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/ done by Patrick Rothfuss. You can also read both. Both is good.