Thursday, May 22, 2014

Well this is a bit... meta.

Writer's block sucks. How do I know? Because I have it right now. That's a bad thing for someone who has committed to write a new blog entry every day about his mid-life career change. It's even worse when the field I most want to find work in is writing.

So I just decided, just a moment ago, that if I couldn't think of anything of real substance, I'd just start writing. It's a valid technique, and it often breaks a writer's block.

I've wanted to write for a long time now. The first creative thing I wrote was in 5th or 6th grade, I think. Our school had some visiting author/poet/puppeteer/something couple in for a few days, and on the first day, we talked about creative writing. I wanted to impress them, so I wrote a story. It was horrible. The plot was, "Can the hero disarm the bomb before it blows up the cruise ship?" I thought I was being so clever, because the last word of the story was "Boom!" How tragic, the boat sinks, everyone dies.

The next creative story I remember writing, I actually presented to my teacher as fact. We were supposed to write an essay about a vivid memory. Well, I made mine up. I spun a yarn about walking through the woods with my dad and my grandfather, while Grandpa's dog ran around us in the snow. We were looking for the perfect Christmas tree, which, of course, we found. I got an A, and a "Well written!" from the teacher. I was so proud of it, I rushed to show it to my grandfather. He read it, smirked at me, and said, "You little prevaricator." I remember that specific phrase because we'd just had the word "prevaricate" as a spelling word.

Then came high school, and most of my writing was boring research papers. I did have a couple of nice articles in the school paper, but not much more than that. And after I joined the Air Force, of course, it was reports and translations and transcriptions and analyses. All told, 20 years of technical writing, formatted writing, free-form writing, performance reporting. Not much call for fiction or creativity there -- well, sometimes, in the performance reports... I kid!

After the internet became a thing, I started a blog. No, not this one, another one. I wasn't very assiduous in keeping it active, but I wrote some stuff over there that I'm still quite proud of.

I guess I've kept writing this because I found something to write about after all. It's something I've mentioned here before, if a bit obliquely, and it's this: I know I'm no expert here, so who am I to keep writing this blog? Who said I should do this?

I found the answer a little while ago, in a blog post written by game designer Will Hindmarch. He was writing as a guest on Wil Wheaton's blog, and while he was using the occasion to publicize his game and story creation website, he answered my question quite succinctly.

To paraphrase: Who says I should do this? I do. I'm writing this because I want to. I hope I find an audience, and I even hope that someone in that audience can help me on my path to employment, but the real reason I'm writing this is because the page was blank, and I needed to fill it.

Here's the link to Will Hindmarch's post on Wil Wheaton's blog.

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