To Write or Not to Write?

Now, there’s  a thought for you. I started writing in my teens, and for the most part, during those few years, it was a staple of my daily ritual. I would get up in the morning, have a quick protein drink (Yes, I started drinking those at early age, too), head off to school, and sit through a few duldrum classes (I can’t remember to this day what they were). I would start to get excited when it came time for my study hall period. That’s when I pulled out the pen and paper and began to create my stories. Each selection would be unique and range in genre from sci-fi to thrillers. If I wasn’t saving the galaxy or taking down criminals, the day wasn’t complete.

But somewhere between the age of seventeen and thirty-seven (uh oh…I’m dating myself now), my daily journey with right-brain activities became less and less, and then, for the most part, nonexistent. Well, to this day, I believe a large part of me was lost. Several times during those years, I would sometimes get the nerve to sit at the pc and start typing a story…only never finishing it.

After a work related injury, I vowed to re-ignite my hunger for writing. I set small goals for myself and, without much difficulty, surpassed them. Soon, I had finished my first novel, and to be honest, the publication of it wasn’t my only agenda. The reality was this: the ability to create was never lost, just sidetracked.  After such a layoff, I knew writing was a part of me, and that would never disappear.  For me, to write, is a option…I don’t have.

4 Responses to “To Write or Not to Write?”

  1. Ed Hamell Says:

    Hello Jeffrey,

    I started to write when I was about seven or eight. I grew up in the midwestern U.S. ; born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska. I remember taking a trip to visit my father’s family in Philadelphia. My Aunt June had a boxer named Clipper. I fell in love with that dog and promised to write a story about him for my aunt. That was the beginning for me.
    I graduated from high school in 1968 and enrolled in college at the University of Nebrasa at Omaha. The Vietnam war was at ot’s peak , as was the controversy surrounding it. I dropped out of school, enlisted in the military and found myself in Vietnam within a year. I spent one tour in country and returned from overseas in 1971. I was stationed in California and met my wife of thirty eight years here about six months after my return.
    A lot of water has passed under the proverbial bridge since then. Two daughters and three grandchildren later I find myself unemployed for the first and longest time in my life.
    For the first few months of unemployment I spent eight hours a day at the computer sending endlessly revised resumes into the ethernet; most never to be seen or heard from again. One morning I awoke and looked in the mirror and realized the fifty nine year old man looking back at me was no longer the young and employable man I had once been. Every battle of my life was etched on that face. I wondered what I was going to do to support my wife and family, but more importantly, I wondered what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
    I had continued to write for all of my adult life. I had started novel after novel only to be distracted by the necessity of raising a family. Manuscripts were put away, half finished, later to be destroyed during moves around the country.
    I started writing by hand, then when the first word processors came out I was one of the first to buy one,. Then came PCs. I liked the idea of being able to store my works on the computer and began to write again in earnest after about a ten year hiatus.
    The words do not come as easily as in my youth. I had always thought that the reason I couldn’t finish my stories was that I had to become more “seasoned”; filled with the experiences of life.
    I have resumed my writing now and even though I often have to refer to vocabulary lists and White and Strunk , I think I have refound my passion. It’s kind of like meeting your high school sweetheart after forty years and rediscovering the joy of first love.
    I have spent most of my life learning the craft. My house is like a library. I have read every book on writing ever written . My wife has learned that my only addiction is reading and writing and she has been my greatest supporter,
    I constantly research the internet, looking for ideas and filling in gaps in my knowledge. When I run across sites like yours I become reinvigorated and inspired.
    I may not be Hemmingway or Steinbeck or even Lawrence Bloch or Clive Cussler, but, I think I have something to offer.
    The intention of this entire essay was to tell you thanks for being open and sharing your experience. I feel a common bond with you as a writer.
    In my professional life I have found that the way to learn any job and be successful is to find a mentor, an example, and learn all you can from that example.
    The problem with this theory is that human nature seems to dictate that if someone is trying to learn from someone the student becomes a threat to the maestro….I have always willing taught my “students” everything I know and encouraged them to new heights….
    Thanks again for offering a forum for two way conversateion.ll
    I hope to continue to learn from you through this format….Ed Hamell

  2. Kelley Walker Says:

    I have to agree with Ed. It is inspiring to read how you develop your ideas, your past history and the way you are so willing to share stories that you care so deeply about. You are a great mentor for any aspiring writer to observe. I look forward to see many new works from you. Thank you for everything. Good luck with all your future projects.

  3. Karen Roderick Says:

    Your post couldn’t be more apt Jeffrey, like you, I’ve been writing since I was a young girl (11, I’m now 35). During those years I’ve written on and off, but in my early 30’s I suddenly started writing quite seriously whilst I was on maternity leave – I haven’t stopped. My 2nd novel is due out later this year and I already have a 3rd and a 4th because I just can’t stop. Yes, it’s a compulsion, and I’m sure you feel like I do, sometimes it’s a blessing and a curse, but I feel damned lucky to have it. Good luck. Keep writing.

  4. Ha – I started writing only a little more than 10 years ago and quite by accident fell into the right side of my brain, body and soul. Now, it’s about all I think about.

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