I was born in New Jersey in 1973. Don’t hold it against me; I didn’t stay there too long. We moved around quite a lot as I grew up – I realized at age twenty that I’d lived in twenty two places. Most of my memories are of Vermont though, which has remained my home for about thirty years, even when I’ve briefly hung my hat elsewhere. It’s where I live today.
My mother used to write when I was little, so I can probably blame everything on her… I used to fall asleep listening to her playing some film soundtrack and tack-tack-tacking away at one of her novels. Mom was published in some fan journals, but although she wrote at least two novels when I was a kid, she never published either of them, or wrote any of the host of other stories she used to tell us on long car rides. She was a single mother of four, and I think it wore her down after a while; she’s living a great life still with a lot in it, but never really got back to writing.
I started writing at age seven, with an entry to an elementary school writing competition that I typed on my mother’s old manual typewriter. My short story talked about an Earth flooded by a warming sun, the ice caps melted, people living on high ground and floating cities, and it’s right then that an alien race decides to make first contact…! Hey, global warming stories are a dime a dozen these days, but this was 1980 – we were still more worried about nuclear winter, back then.
So I won second place with my little first grade story, and Mom gave me her manual typewriter not too long afterward.
I wrote a lot, in off and on patches, over the years that followed. I made a couple of attempts at novels but never finished one when I was younger. I wrote the obligatory poetry in high school that was thankfully NOT published! And spun out a good fantasy short story in college that was. I also worked on a nonfiction book with a friend, which was published. I got to work as an editor for a while, first on an e-zine and then on a print news/trade journal. Wrote a few pieces that saw publication here and there, on the web and off.
Then I spent a bunch of time in the military, and writing mostly fell by the wayside. I still wrote a few bits, here and there. Mostly some short fiction around MMORPG time-sinks that I used to keep my mind busy. It wasn’t until I got out, met my wife, and watched our twin girls born that I started drifting back toward a grounded place that I could create from.
There’s a saying about the “teacher coming when the student is ready”. Sometimes, it’s just “an opportunity knocks when your hand is ready to turn the doorknob”. My wife ran into this odd thing called “NaNoWriMo” (National Novel Writing Month) in the autumn of 2008. Every November, over a hundred thousand people get together online to try to write 50k word novels. In a month. It sounded crazy. It sounded fun. I was in nursing school full time, had toddler twin daughters, and a newborn baby boy. I wasn’t working, courtesy of the G.I. Bill. So of course I had time to write a novel. Right?
I’d never finished one before, although I’d started a few. I finished one that year. And…it wasn’t bad. I shelved it as life got busy again. But I wrote a second one in November 2009. That one wasn’t bad either. So I started poking at the first one, looking at how to revise it into something workable, and realized I really didn’t know how to revise a novel. Started studying the art some, in my copious spare time.
Fast forward to autumn 2010.
Here I sit, on the cusp of writing another NaNoWriMo novel. It will be my third completed novel. I’ve learned about revision, and I’m revising the old works to prep them for publication. I’ve studied the market, and the way ebooks are changing it, and plan to jump in there to make things happen. There just comes a time when you have to take what you’ve learned, do your best, and go with it. At some point, you just need to commit, or let life’s chances slip by. So this next year should see me moving into high gear, building a writing career for myself. Polishing skills. Revising books. Writing new stories. And sharing a lot of it with you, on this blog.
Welcome to the journey.