Why I write

(and wish I could do it full-time)

It flows for me.

Besides this blog, which I’ve been shamefully neglectful of, at the hobbyist-style stage of novel writing, I’m pumping out the tales and not worried about deadlines. I rarely have “writer’s block.” Sometimes I don’t know where a story’s going when I start it, but doggone if it doesn’t start happening, and when it “pops,” it’s there.

Now, it’s not just sitting at the computer screen, and it happens. I get some of my best ideas (assuming you can call my ideas good in the first place) in the shower, falling asleep, waking up. When that happens, when the epiphany hits, I have to write it down. I can’t trust that it’s going to stick or come up again later, although sometimes that does happen. No, when the idea hits, write it down. (For ideas in the shower, this can get a little awkward.) But when that inspiration hits, that intriguing twist, the link that brings scenes together just right, that burst of surprise for an ending…

It’s an awesome feeling.

Affirmation

We all seek affirmation in our lives, do we not? Unless our ego is so inflated that all we need is our own affirmation, and that’s quite unhealthy and dangerous and you don’t need to interpret that in the current political climate. So when I tell a story that resonates and people tell me, “OMG! Couldn’t put it down!” it makes life worth living, or at least the writing worth writing. (And right now, we won’t talk about the “meh” or “boring!” or noticeably-silent reactions.)

And now we come to…

LACK OF COMPETITION

Sure, I know that maybe Stephen King and Dean Koontz might have a bet out there: “Who’s going to get a million sales first from this date?” That’s not what I’m talking about. (Although that’s a competition I’d like have a shot at.)

In my own day (mostly) job, I compete against, well, competitors. I want to work hard, I want to hone my skills, I want to stay on top of current professional trends, and I want to outperform my competitors so that when a potential consumer is saying, “This other jasper or Grandpa?” I want them to choose “Grandpa.”

Story-telling is not like that. Just speaking of the icons Steve and Dean, you don’t go to the bookstore or online shopping and choose one over the other. If you like their genre, if you like their style and content, you buy their stuff. Story sold, and case closed. Competition isn’t part of it.

I immodestly think (because people have told me) that my stories stack up to good-selling authors. Well, that’s grand. But I’m not in competition with them. I’m glad that there’s enough interest in story-telling out there to keep authors fed and Scotch-and-watered. Maybe that’ll be me someday. Maybe not. Hey, if you like my stories, you’ll buy them. If you like their stuff, you’ll buy their books. It’s not like you’re agonizing whether to buy Downy or the store label brand of fabric softener.

But mainly why I like writing…. .

It fulfills me in a way that a wage-earning job can’t, even if I liked my job, and I do.

When I’m closing in on the finale, and the imagery is where I want it, the threads have been tied up, the suspense points have been made, the characters fleshed out, the resolution achieved, and (I hope) the reader is wowed, there’s just no better feeling. Really, there isn’t.

It’s hard to explain. I’ve never hit a home run, I’ve never scored a touchdown in a real game, I haven’t bested others in any particular one-on-one duel that I remember outside of a chess board, and even then I’m running 50-50, but typing “The End” when you mean it is a feeling that must be akin to that revelry of victory (although I’m not going to spike my laptop on the turf, thank you). It’s inexpressible triumph, no matter how much work still remains after.

That work that remains after. A lot of writers feel that editing is their bane. I guess I’m still unaccountably enthralled with my efforts that I actually enjoy going back over my story, picking better vocabulary, cleaning up the grammar, fleshing out the descriptions, and making it more into something that I’d want to pick up off the shelf if I didn’t know me, and sometimes I feel that’s the case. Granted, I haven’t had the joy of a publisher’s editor sending back a manuscript that’s dripping in blood (aka red ink). I bet that’s a joy.

Anyway…

People will buy my titles, or not. Regardless, I’m going to keep writing. Whether it’s for money, or to keep my family and friends (including my very own Number One Fan) happy, or just because the story is begging to be told, it’s going to end up in print, electronically or otherwise. If it doesn’t sell, oh well. (If it does sell, refer back to the “Affirmation” paragraph). That’s how it goes. In the current vernacular, that’s how I roll.

So….

I released “Tomas” October 15, 2016. “Death Hangs in the Balance” was early for its release date by one day, December 14, 2016.  I’ve scheduled my next release: March 15, 2017. The title is “Hidden View.” It’s already written, but it’s got a couple more editing passes to go. It’s how this writer rolls.

— Grandpa

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