Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stumbling Along

By Mark W. Danielson

Last week, Beth wrote about authors’ humble beginnings. My story is I stumbled into writing. In fact, I’m probably the most unlikely author in our blog group because my initial passions were painting, flying, and downhill skiing. As a student, I read only what was required, and having had zero interest in English or journalism, the fact that I’m even writing is nothing short of a miracle. But what made me an author is somewhere along the way I discovered that I possessed an essential writing trait – a willingness to share my thoughts on paper. And so began my love affair with the written word.

College was easy, so long as my assignments involved essays. Even so, I never imagined that one day I’d be writing novels. Sure, I cranked out some articles for the college paper, and later, some non-fiction articles for magazines, but I never thought much of it. I suppose that seeing them published encouraged me to write more, but it wasn’t until the United States Navy forced me to become computer literate that I truly became interested. Had they not sent me to computer school, I’d probably still be using my typewriter. There is no way that I’d draft a novel in hard-copy, but I salute those who have.

The Personal Computer definitely piqued my interest in writing. Suddenly, my thoughts appeared on screen as fast as I could think. Even better, my flying fingers impressed my superior officers with how hard I was working. Thankfully, they never looked over my shoulder to see I was writing novels on company time. (Oh, please – like I’m the first author to do that! For the record, I conducted plenty of Navy business, too.)

The great thing about writing is there are no age requirements, and it requires minimal mobility. So long as you can prop your head up and reach a keyboard, you can write. While it’s true that some people are born to write, it’s great that people like me can stumble into it later in life. And with all this texting and blogging, it’s a wonder there aren’t more young authors. By adding a few more keystrokes, they could be writing short stories. Building on them would make them novels.

Some of our best writing comes from subconscious thoughts. They key is writing them down before they’re lost. Allowing your thoughts to flow, just as you do in conversation or texting, will make you a creative writer. All it takes is perseverance and a lot of editing. Good luck, and have fun with it.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Enjoying the time we spend at writing is what it's all about. Few of us will ever earn more than $15,000 a year at our craft, but the enjoyment it brings us--and hopefully our readers--makes all the hours spent at the computer, typewriter and notepad more than worthwhile.

Jean Henry Mead said...

P.S. I love the photo. LOL

Beth Terrell said...

Mark, when my husband bought me my first computer, I couldn't imagine not writing longhand in a series of spiral notebooks. It didn't take me long to fall in love with the ease of editing and the crisp look of the words on the screen. Like you, I'm not sure I would have been able to complete a novel without it.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Jean, I couldn't pass up this photo of "The Thinker". It reminds me of some of the times I've been so caught up in thought that I'm in my own zone.

Beth, I can't imagine going on a trip without my computer. I write every day, but not always on fiction. There's nothing easier than taking a few mintutes to jot something down on a computer. Not so with long hand -- my fingers trip all over the place. Heck, I can't even read my own signature!