I was in fifth grade when I began writing. This was about the same time that my sister gave me my first Xanth novel and I fell in love with fantasy novels in general. Almost immediately I took up writing my own. Each book I devoured spawned thousands of stories and images that swam in my head and begged to be told. I loved writing so much that every teacher I had encouraged me to develop my talent. I had some of my writings put into contests and I even have a book that I printed and hand bound still on the shelves (at least it should be) at my middle school library.
I continued to write all through high school. Teachers would let me write my book as a substitute of doing writing assignments. I even wrote on into college where I found a friend and fellow aspiring author and we decided to merge our efforts and write something together.
At one point in my childhood, it was my dream to become the next C.S. Lewis.
But I don’t seem to write anymore. What happened to me?
I guess part of it was frustration that I never finished any of my stories. They continually evolved and I was never happy with what I wrote. At one point I ended up trying to learn to draw in order to find a different medium onto which I would put the images in my head. I never practiced drawing enough to really go anywhere with that. Of course, that again added to my frustration.
Then along came D&D and I found something to be my creative outlet. I would craft detailed world after world that my players would never see and stories they’d never finish. But at least I was creating.
With our latest D&D campaign, I promised my players I would write a story to introduce a mentor character they all would know. After a couple of weeks of procrastination and aborted attempts at starting the story, I managed to sit down and pound out about 1700 words to inform my group of their mentor’s life. It was met with positive remarks. Maybe my wife was right after all. When I first met Christina I showed her some of my old stuff I wrote. She dutifully (at least in my mind) told me I was a great writer and should write more. However I knew better, she was just saying this because she was biased. This attitude was unfair to her and to myself. Why must I always shatter my own ego?
I write all this to say that I want to write more fiction. I want to create worlds and stories for everyone, not just to amuse myself and show a small part to my players. I still want to be the next C.S. Lewis.
Next month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m very tempted to join in. However 50,000 is an intimidating amount of words. I’ll try not to procrastinate too much, but I think I’m eventually going to cave and join up.
The only problem is that the images that once swirled in my head have quietened down quite a bit. I feel like everything I come up with is a rip off or derivative of something I’ve already read.
Wish me luck. Oh, and if you’re a fellow wordsmith, (hah!) share with me your tips on how you come up with new ideas for stories.