Up, and Down, and Up Again

Hope by Dave Huish //

Up, and Down, and Up Again by Timothy McDowell //

This will be a fairly personal tale, of my love of stories, and how I’ve progressed in my feelings towards writing. Imagination is my thing. It's what I do. I compose, write, shoot. I'm not claiming to be terribly fantastic at these things, always room to grow, etc. What I am claiming is that I come up with stories. I imagine plots, and characters, and sounds that accomplish set goals in their worlds and environments. I'll day-dream for a few moments, and have come up with a rich background for the busker on the corner. I believe it's safe to say that my problem isn't imagining, so much, but rather the producing. Let's start fresh.

It took me a minute to learn how to read, I was a bit of a late starter. But once I grasped the concept, I took off like a rocket. I read whatever I could get my grubby, little hands on. From magazines in the doctor's office to Artemis Fowl, my elementary years were filled with literature. It was around third grade that I began to write, and my writing was almost entirely derivative. I'm sure that can be expected to some extent from a third grader, I mean, professional authors still struggle with derivativity. I had a hard time discovering my own 'voice'. I loved writing nonetheless, and I wrote almost as much as I read.

In middle school, I started to receive my first real papers. In hindsight they were pathetic and small, but I disdained them entirely. I loathed any sort of forced writing, even if it was creative in nature. If I was told to do it, I didn't want to do it. I would say that was just the beginnings of teenage rebellion, but I've never really rebelled in any other facets of my life. Just writing. Towards the end of middle school, I wrote much less than before. A short story or two a month was all I would write. I'm not quite sure why I started to dislike writing so much... maybe it was just the added association with work? I've always been fairly lazy, to be honest, and maybe that was it. It's hard to pin-point a single cause. However, in my high school days to current, college-freshman days, things only got worse.

In high school I wrote very little, almost none. There was always something else I'd rather be doing: hanging with friends, playing video games, writing music. Stories still totally captured my interest, however, they manifested in new ways: game design, composing music, verbal story-telling even, to an extent. These things have led me to my currently planned major, which is a good thing. I can't help but mourn a bit for the times when I wrote regularly, though. It's such a good practice to be in, even if just to get the creative juices flowing in that way. Recently, as in the summer before I started college up to now, I have begun to write slightly more.

I've written, I think, one short story in the last two and a half months, and I ended up trashing it after I finished it. It wasn't up to par with what I used to write. I'm going to work on this, though. I am making it a goal of mine to write more, because, honestly, it's only a good thing. I realized this as I began to move into the college era of my life. I felt inspired for a brief moment, wrote a paragraph, and put it down. Later that day, I found myself considering the things around me for their roles they could potentially play in a story. I was almost instantaneously utilizing a greater vocabulary to describe these things. There was simply a marked improvement in my thought processes. Writing, especially fiction, is becoming something I enjoy again, mostly because I can recognize these 'up-sides' in my life from practicing it.

There are almost no downsides to writing fiction of various forms. Sci-fi, fantasy, modern day, these settings all hold interest to me. They can all be filled with swashbuckling ne'er-do-wells, slimy officials, heroic animals-become-people... whatever I wish. Whatever is my fancy on that given day. And this is what appeals to me the most about fiction writing, versus just about any other form of narrative. The simple fact that nothing is holding me back, except myself. There is no new understandings that need to be formed of the medium or tools (game design), or deep skill just to demonstrate your story (Music, at times). You just pick up a pencil, grab a keyboard, dip your quill in some ink, and you write. And that's what I'm going to do.