Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

How not to become a writer . . .(pt.1)

with one comment

This is going to be a long post, so I thought I’d break it up and write about this topic over several posts.

When I first decided to become a writer it wasn’t because I wanted to help people, or thought I had anything important to say; no “Great American Novel” lurking in the furthest recesses of my admittedly limited imagination.  I just thought it was a really cool way of earning a living.  I was twenty-two, recently discharged from the Navy and casting about for some means of making a buck.  Writing seemed an ideal choice.  Of course, I had no background in writing and no training other than a couple of English Lit. courses in high school.  But I read a lot while in the Navy (mostly “trashy” novels and pulp spy thrillers) and thought, naively, I could write as well as the guys whose work I was reading.  After all, I thought,  “How hard can it be?” 

It turns out it takes almost as much skill to write “trash” as it does to produce “quality” fiction.  Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.  Back then what I knew about writing was, come up with an idea, write it down, send it to a publisher and wait for the money to start rolling in.  Doesn’t work that way. (Duh!)

It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed help.  I decided to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and enroll in the local community college.  I could get both help for my writing and an education that would allow me to get a decent job if this “writing thing” didn’t work out.  (By the way, don’t ever embark on a writing career with the idea that, at some point, “it may not work out!”)

Time passed and my life began to take on a routine of sorts.  I was still writing more or less regularly, but the demands of married life (I had gotten married shortly after college) began to intrude on the writing.  I took whatever work I could find; drove a cab, worked in a pizza shop, tended bar part-time in order to leave time for my writing which, after three years, was beginning to show results; meager results, but results nonetheless.  I managed to have a couple of op-ed pieces published in the local paper (no money, but published clips to show editors); a piece on Hemingway was published in a literary magazine (contributor’s copies).  All I needed was one good break.  Then everything changed. . . .(to be continued)

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Written by stevewthomas

February 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm

One Response

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  1. I can’t wait to read what happens next.

    indytony

    February 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm


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