My journey into the world of stories commenced with countless hours immersed in my Lego’stm as a child. Heroes and villains covered a sacred corner of my little bedroom, tangled in an endless weave of plots and agendas. Oddly enough, the first time I considered a career in fiction writing, was during my fifth grade math class.
In an attempt to focus the easily bored minds of his students, the teacher called upon the ever alluring dollar sign. Over the course of the class we estimated the total profit of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps Series, including the proceeds from his paperback, movie and television deals. I remember looking on with fascination as I watched the dollars mount, thinking, if the life of a writer was so full of wealth, I could easily content myself with such a profession. Of course, the teacher failed the mention the more realistic paycheck of the average writer, but that would of undermined his attempt to captivate us with an ever growing dollar sign.
As one might expect, my first attempts to enter the publishing world were not met with the success my math teacher hinted at. With some work, I managed to publish two short stories in the local college anthology, a small and unpaid publication, but progress nevertheless. Thankfully, my fiction writing instructor saw my potential and granted me a small chance to shine.
I was asked to interview various victors in a local contest and compile my notes into touching memoirs for the award ceremony. Since the contest was a local event, through the community college, I thought the job little more than a means to an end. When they said ‘award ceremony’, I pictured a conference room down the hall, with paper cups full of apple juice, coffee and homemade cookies.
Imagine my surprise, when I followed the address to the awards banquet, only to realize it lay in the Hilton hotel! I stared in awe at chandeliers the size of my car. I sat next to CEO’s, Presidents of various colleges and a whole new class of people I’d never thought I could rub elbows with. A representative from the governor’s office was even in attendance. As the award’s ceremony progressed, myself and another writer were called up and publically thanked for our efforts. To this day I remember that awards banquet as a highlight in my writing career, a hint of the great treasures such a profession could deliver.
Soon after, my writing took a two year delay when I put my life on pause to serve a two year mission for my church, devoting my full attention to the lives and problems of the people of Argentina. I call this a ‘delay’, but in truth, my service re-paid me in rich rewards as I immersed myself in another language and culture. To this day, experiences and treasured moments from those two years crop up and into my writing, helping me wrap my mind around the impossibly wide scope of our human existence.
I suppose I’ve digressed from the main point of this paper, but without a full understanding of my origins, their contrast with my destination would simply fall to a hollow echo. My college years were an endless circle of attempted majors and sampled minors, all the while circling back to my true passion in the written word. I met other aspiring writers with different styles and obstacles, preventing them from achieving their own writing dreams.
Perhaps chief among them, a lack of the dedication required to sit down each day and practice their craft. In truth, I used to be sorely afflicted with that same malady. In time I learned self-discipline, and soon the sight of the blank page filled me with the wonder of the possibilities, instead of the dull block of stifled imagination. Overcoming this obstacle was a key element in my writing journey. The means to this victory, culminated in the subject of this very paper.
In middle-school, I thought fiction writing was a means to wealth and for a few years, I wrote with the intent of making money. In my early college years, I thought writing would open social doors, and I wrote with the hope of expanding my circle of influence. But with life’s many challenges and distractions, I found that these motivations weren’t enough to combat the blank screen of writer’s block. Nor did they fuel me with sufficient dedication to write, every day.
For that final page of self-discovery, I turned to the tutelage of a veteran writer with hundreds of titles under his proverbial belt. By a discovery I considered tantamount to divine providence, I found a weekly luncheon, where a dozen published authors gathered to share their ideas and discuss changes in the publishing world. There, among those accomplished minds, I found my true motivation for writing. I unlocked a mindset to cast aside the doubts and fears associated with my craft.
I write for the quiet moments of inspiration, when my characters surprise me. I write in order to find and savor the chapter when the story completely abandons my planned outcome, my characters take hold of the plot and I find myself the passenger in a great tale, not its architect. In those moments, I feel like I’m watching a child peek into a new world for the first time. A story never before seen by any reader alive, not even myself.
The desire to find moments such as those, are the reason I set myself in front of my keyboard each morning. I long to see what surprises, twists and calamities my stories wait to toss my way, as I argue with my characters over their choices, only to throw up my hands in relent and let those special people do their part. Those are the moments I write for, in a constant search for pure creation, which keeps me true to my art, my dreams and my heart.