I was asked this question last week. Getting my haircut, nice and trimmed up for Christmas, and my upcoming 60th birthday, the young hairstylist asked me what I did. “I now write books,” I said.
She was mildly impressed, and asked me what I wrote, and what genre. Turns out the young lady was as Sci-Fi fan. Then she asked me the one question I may have asked myself, “do you ever wish you’d started earlier?” She probably got that from the long locks of grey hair falling to the floor that I was not just fresh out of school.
And here is the answer I came up with, I was too involved with so many other things in my life to write. Sure I thought of it many times, driving down the highway when I was in sales, or on long flights on business trips. So many things got in the way, so much noise in my head.
I was offered, by my lovely wife, the opportunity to just write at the age of 35. Yes, I could explore the world of free-lance writing, write a novel, even go to Journalism school that had accepted me. And get this – she would support me. How many people get this opportunity! Not too many I assure you. I tried for three long months, and so many things got in the way: writers block, writers angst, and basically writers avoidance.
Now, 25 years later, what is different? I have finished a Novella that is soon to be published, have another Novel ready for final proof reading, and working on a third novel that I am half way through the first draft. I know what is different. The noise in my head, it’s calmer up there. I’m no longer worried about the deadlines of my business, or investments, or meetings.
It is now just me, meeting with a keyboard, creating characters, and one scene after another. Could I have started earlier, maybe, If I were someone else. Perhaps John Grisham, he started his writing after his daily work as a Lawyer. Stephen King worked in a closet in his laundry room in his double wide trailer, while he worked as a teacher.
And me, well I had to wait until I was ready. I am sure every writer has their own timeline, the day that the stars aligned, and they could work with the characters in their heads. I have been a very late bloomer. Something that I deal with. But, my time to write is now, what I write now in the present is all I care about. The past is gone. I can not look back, and can not even look ahead. I can only look down at my page, as one word after another appears before me, and be very glad that I started now.
I wish all of you, who started early or late, or started and stopped, and started again, I wish you all good writing, and if you have a story of your journey to write, then I would love to hear it.
Good Writing and good journey,