Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why did I become an author

Over the last few weeks I have had many visitors to my site (I have just put a counter on to get an idea of the number of visitors). Some have given advice on what they would like to see on my site and others have asked questions about my journey to where I am today (sitting at my PC but I get the feeling that is not what they were asking). I thought I would start answering some of those questions via my blog. Its a new experience for me but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

So what was my journey to becoming a writer and why did I make that decision? The obvious answer is that I love to write but don’t we all? I have been writing since the moment I knew how and have had mixed success with it over the years. School teachers loved my writing or hated it depending on whether they wanted the truth or my version of it. Technical journals were pleased with my work because researched the subject to the enth degree (I don’t do that with fiction as I like to make things up, although some fact is useful of course) and newspapers liked my sports columns because I wasn’t afraid to use humour. I knew no other way.

Add to that the fact I am a storyteller by nature and I guess it was always my destiny. (A bit corny perhaps?) My parents tell me of my story telling ability as a young boy, even before I knew how to write so it comes natural to me. I should point out here that stories told by young boys are not lies but merely stories (some of the time at least). I must confess to being proud of some of the stories I told as a boy, even if they were a bit of a stretch. There is nothing wrong with imagination.

My mum spoke at the launch of Room 22 and told the hundred or so people gathered there (oh alright, it was more like sixty but I was paying for the grog so it seemed like a hundred) and she said that for me anything was possible. She recalled a day when I was three or four and a man came to the door . I answered the door, he said his name was Joe and could he speak to my father. I had an Uncle Joe and so I ran inside and yelled to Dad, Uncle Joe is here and he has a new car and a new face. Nothing is impossible. For those of you who have read Room 22 you will know what I am talking about, and if you don’t you will by the time the sequels has you by the throat.Cana book take you by the throat? Anything is possible.

Perhaps I have digressed.

So, I was not writing for a career because I had a family, little mouths to feed and mortgages the banks wanted to see paid back so I had a day job as well. Life as an author/writer can be tough and I had other skills people were prepared to pay good money for. If you want to know what they were just ask and I’ll write another blog (or make something up)!

Like many people I got caught up in doing everything except the one thing I loved and it was all due to money. Its funny that I would worry about that coming from a poorish background but I guess in life you sometimes find yourself dragged down a path before you realise its happening. I remember thinking as a young teenager that if I could earn enough money to allow myself to buy a hot dog whenever I wanted I would be a happy man. How times change, now I don’t even like hot dogs. But I digress again.

So what brought me to my current career as a writer/author/poet and anything else driven by the written word?

I woke up one morning and realised that working in the field I was in was turning me grey and making me old. There was only one thing I could do, and that was the one thing I loved. Writing.

If doing this for a career means I no longer have enough money to buy a hotdog whenever I fell like it then so be it. I am an author and a good one, so I am persuing my dream. Perhaps the thing that took me there in the end was not my love of writing, as that has been with me since I was school age, nor was it my love of stroy telling as that has been with me from birth, but just maybe it was my dislike for what I was doing instead of writing that brought me here. Life has a funny way of getting you where you should be (a point that has been explored in my latest manuscript that you might get to see in years to come).

This has not answered the question entirely but I will write again tomorrow and talk about the path my writing has taken over the years, where I started, how I learned and where I want to go.

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