When I was twelve years old I started writing my first journal. I have kept on writing almost every day ever since. Nowadays I maintain both a professional and personal journal as well as Writing Logs to chronicle ideas when they come in regard to any particular story or book I am writing.
All through high school I wrote compulsively in order to stave off loneliness and the utter feeling of being totally isolated. We lived in the countryside and I had no close friends except my younger brother. He wasn’t much of a reader but he was my best friend.
Writing was what I did to collect my thoughts, try to figure myself out, where I was going, and how I was going to get there. For example, the first thing I wrote when I was twelve years old was “My Life Plan”. I literally outlined what I hoped my life would be and what I would have to do to live the life I wanted to live. Believe it or not, I have stuck to that Life Plan pretty much for almost fifty years.
I had outlined short term goals as well as long term goals. And I have achieved nearly every goal I set out for myself. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t take some wrong turns or get muddled at times along the way, but for the most part, I stuck to the course I had set for myself.
Today I find myself still writing compulsively every day. Emails, tweets, this blog, journals, stories, books, website, etc. Thankfully I’m a fast typist and the actual mechanics of writing takes no time at all. I simply start writing (typing) and then save whatever happens to come out of my brain and into the computer.
Writing every day helps me not be afraid to string words together and let them go where they will. It’s an exercise, of course. The one great thing for writers is that the Internet often allows reader to respond and react to the writing, the words.
Most writers write in total and complete solitude. It’s the only way to really live with your words and immerse yourself into the story. Gertrude Stein wrote “An audience is nice but should not be necessary.” She’s right, of course. I really do write for myself pretty much. But, obviously, as a professional writer it is important to let others read the writing at times. How else would I be able to make a living as a writer?
My mother’s dream for me was to get a job as a waiter in a fancy restaurant and earn big tips. I could never quite get her to understand that I wanted to be a writer, not a waiter. One letter in a word makes all the difference in a person’s life. Especially a writer’s. My dream for myself was NOT to be a waiter. I don’t like waiting on people. But I do like writing.
I’m not certain whether anyone reads this blog or not. I don’t even read the entries after I write them, I must admit. For me this blog is more or less a public diary. I’m taking the chance to let others see how my mind works as a writer, where my thoughts come from, and how the writing takes shape and becomes a story or a book.
It’s not an exciting process, I’ll admit. But it’s the honest, true-to-life process as to how I live and work as a writer.