Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Century Mark

I have a thing about milestones. I like round numbers. Anniversaries of 10s and 5s are important to me. It may have something to do with my day job. In journalism we like to mark anniversaries like that with stories or photos.

So, when I realized the other day that I was approaching 100 posts on this thing that I started as a whim I figured I needed to do something to recognize that. I toyed with the idea of just letting it pass. Make a post about something insignificant and just move on. But, no, that's not me.

I thought about it the last two days and decided I'd explain a bit more about that little blurb in the "About Me" section to your right.

I am a newly married man in my middle 30s trying to get serious about the one thing I have wanted to do my entire life -- writing.

My entire life, huh? Well, no, not literally. But it's true that for a very long time this is what I have wanted to do. It was junior high -- seventh grade if I am not mistaken -- that I wrote my first story. If you had to categorize it it would have been fantasy. Trying to remember exactly what it was about and I can't. I know that it had something to do with a kingdom and a queen. She was under attack and had some sort of contest to see who could build the best weapon to be used in defense of the kingdom. I don't remember anything more about the story other than the title: The Man Who Made the Weapon.

How bad and unimaginative is that? Unfortunately I don't know that I am any better at titles now.

I don't remember any other stories from my very young days. I know I wrote a few others. I do remember a few phrases from those stories. "The convenience store was in the middle of nowhere, its plate glass windows like the eyes of a lonely dog waiting for its owner to return." And "His obituary read like the end of a bad romance novel." My dad particularly liked that last one.

When my brother was in sixth grade he had the same teacher I had a few years earlier. He took my little file of compositions to her. She read them and commented on them. She said she liked them and that I should keep doing it. So I did.

Off and on in high school I wrote some. I don't remember completing anything but do remember writing a few stories, on a typewriter of course, about a spy who lived above a diner in London. He liked dry toast and fried egg sandwiches. Obviously a different time since I don't know anyone now who would order a breakfast that includes four pieces of bread. This guy also liked his coffee hot and black if I am remembering correctly.

In college all of my writing efforts went toward the student newspaper. I wrote there for two years and loved every minute of it. I was getting to be creative and seeing my words in print. What could be better?

Once I graduated I took the first job I could and that was in copy editing. I was grateful to get to work in the same city I went to college, but I wasn't getting to write like Iused to unless you counted a weekly rodeo column. Instead I was editing other's writing and designing newspaper pages. I still loved what I did (and continue to do to this day, although I am getting to write more), but the writing side of me was starving. That's when I started writing fiction again. It wasn't something I was doing regularly, but I was doing it again.

I started a story about two guys who were in college vying for the love of the same woman. Parts of it I liked. Parts of it were awful. And the story was taking way too long to tell with the same things happening over and over again. But I was getting my fiction legs back under me and it felt good. There are some parts of that story that I still really like. Maybe not the writing, but a few of the ideas are solid.

It's been sporadic at times, but I haven't stopped writing since then. I joined online groups to try and keep myself writing regularly. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. But I have a renewed commitment that I have been able to keep up for at least the last few months, and honestly I don't see it stopping any time soon. Like I have said in previous posts, the ideas are coming easier and it's not such a struggle to find the words. I know that success now is no guarantee of success in the future, but writing is more fun than it ever has been.

So there it is. That's my writing story, from junior high until now. And that's my hundredth post. Maybe not momumental, but hopefully interesting.

I'll see you in another hundred and hopefully the updated story will include a completed novel and a few short story sales.


  1. Congratulations on reaching your milestone. You have inspired me to work towards making my passions a reality (however far fetched to some they may seem) and that's making at least part of me happy. I like reading your posts and while I don't comment every time I do enjoy them. Keep up the good work Jarrett and keep your chin up when you're facing the challenges and obstacles that invariably will come your way. Keep the passion alive. :)

  2. Hey, Jarrett, I certainly hope mid-thirties aint too late, because I'm... well... not in my mid-thirtes any more! I think for a writer, a little life under the belt is no bad thing. You have to have something to say, before it's worth saying it. Keep up the good work!