I follow about 35 different blog sites through google reader. Most of those sites are writing/publishing related. Reading them has been a thrilling and educational experience. It reminds me of when I was first starting to get into computers. In 1989/1990 I was an insurance agent for Prudential. They made me buy a laptop. Back then a laptop took over your whole lap! And it was so heavy, you couldn’t stand to actually have it on your lap. Zenith 286 Supersport. 1MB RAM Memory. 10MB hard drive. DOS version 3.x. I had a couple of insurance apps on it, and Word Perfect 5.1. I taught myself how to use Word Perfect. Making me buy that computer was the biggest mistake Prudential ever made. I became more interested in the computer than I was in selling insurance. It took me a couple of years to break into the industry, but by 1993 I was into my second job as a computer tech.
Now that I have spent over 16 years in the Information Technology field, I have thought many times about the question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Occasionally I will come across a new technology at work which will inspire me, or light the fire of discovery and adventure again, but it is far more rare than it used to be.
What inspires me now (besides reading great books) is my writing. I am sad it took me so long to get back into it. You see, when I was in high school, I had an inkling that I had the potential to be pretty good at it. While taking Creative Writing, I entered a writing contest at the local Community College during an all day “Writer’s Fair”. It was one of those on-the-spot writing exercises where you get 1.5 hours, a subject, and a pencil with some paper. I had to write a short story around the subject and turn it in completed within the time allotted. I took second place in the contest.
After the high school class, it took me almost 20 years to write again. Sure, there was an exception or two. I wrote a couple of poems, and wrote some very long letters to some friends, but nothing more. I hadn’t touched fiction at all.
Now that I have started to write again, I realize I didn’t know what I was missing. Well, maybe I did but wouldn’t admit it. I am hard-headed. 20 years is a long, long time to self-diagnose and figure out I needed to get back into the creative process. But actually writing is just the start of the treatment. Learning about the publishing industry, talking to published authors, getting involved in a writer’s group, going to book signings, planning for a writer’s conference, preparing to submit a manuscript to a publisher — all of these things have been a delight to participate in. I can’t seem to learn about it fast enough. If only there were more hours in the day. The entire experience has been incredibly therapeutic.
Do I want to give up my geekiness and the opportunity to learn, progress, and achieve in Info Tech? No. Not now at least. It pays the bills. It is still interesting to me. But I have found this: writing makes me happy. It helps me to find some balance in my life. Whether anybody on this planet actually cares to read what I put onto paper, I suppose it doesn’t matter. The process of doing so is good for me. I get to create.
Ah, the arts! The Sculptor, The Artist, The Musician, The Author, The Teacher, The Singer, The Actor, The Orator: These have the potential to be some of the happiest people on the planet, do they not?
If they are doing it for the joy of creating, I think they are truly happy. And in my opinion, those whom I have met are some of the coolest people in the world.
My advice to you is this: If you have ever wanted to write a book, DO IT. Who really cares if the thing is publishable? You will still be thrilled to accomplish the feat. And someday, maybe your family will be too.