Becoming a Writer

Everybody who becomes a writer has their own unique journey. For me, the seed was planted in grade school when I sat in front of a kid who wrote an ongoing story using a pencil and loose-leaf paper. He worked on it every day and I watched it grow. If I ever read it, I don’t remember, but it left me with the thought that you could create something out of nothing with simple materials, your imagination and the use of words.

As I grew into my teens, my words also grew and the notion that I could use them to fashion something new and interesting settled in the back of my mind as worth considering for a future endeavor. I experimented here and there in small but undisciplined fits and starts, but produced nothing memorable.

My college years exposed me to a vast array of literature in spite of my concentration in the hard sciences. From Alexander Pope to Emily Bronte to Dostoyevsky to W.B. Yeats to D.H. Lawrence to F. Scott Fitzgerald and others, I learned many styles of story-telling, though none affected me the way my first reading of The Lord of the Rings did. I was late to the party discovering Tolkien, but his combination of world-building, story-telling and use of language had a profound effect on me. I became invested in the LOTR characters and looked forward to my annual journey with them each time I re-read the trilogy.

My reading increased and broadened to mysteries and thrillers and more epic fantasy. I entered the worlds of Conan Doyle, Ludlum, Parker, Morrell, Diehl, Cussler, Zelazny, Donaldson, Eddings, Jordan, Feist, Brooks, Goodkind, Rawn, McCaffrey and many others.

But I wrote little in those years and with no real purpose or direction. My career took me far away from writing books. I became a software builder, evolving my skills and discipline as a programmer, analyst, designer and architect over the years. I wrote in many computer languages on many different platforms and hardware configurations. I started my own consulting business, which grew into a small technology company. When that company crashed and burned, I turned to writing as both an outlet and an escape. The core story in The Tahitian Tangle dates back to that period of my life.

I stopped writing and started a second technology company with my wife, this one far more successful than the first. We eventually sold the company to a much larger organization. After fulfilling our transitional obligations to the buyer, I considered the possibility that I might get serious about writing. Then the economy flatlined, investments tanked and I went back to building software as a hedge against future instability. That diversion from writing lasted around six years.

One morning, I just woke up and decided to continue the story in Tahiti that I’d begun years earlier. I’d always written in spurts, though I’d never been able to sustain those flares of interest in writing. But now the discipline that I’d learned in building many software systems over the years was transferred to my writing and I found that I was able to write in consistent increments with an overall plan and structure.

My writing journey is far from over, though the path to this point has been unpredictable and unexpected. I’m currently working on a full length novel called ‘The Hyperion Web,’ which is a sequel to The Tahitian Tangle. And after it’s done, I expect I’ll write more books in that series. Or perhaps I’ll try my hand at world-building through epic fantasy. The road forward is uncertain, but the ride promises to be an interesting one.


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