I suppose I could have just as easily entitled this post Things to avoid if you want to become a writer, but I didn’t think it was as catchy. This post is going to illustrate that anything can come out of anybody at anytime, anywhere. In my case, it was the writer in me—the Hulk to my Bruce Banner—that had lain dormant, undisturbed, inside me for most of my life, until finally forcing its way out when given the opportunity.
CHAPTER 1 – I Hate Reading
There’s no way to sugar coat this one, so I’ll just come right out and say it: I hate reading. Always have, always will. I did make an exception in college when I was introduced to author David Morrell, and again at the beginning of the 21st century when my wife finally got me to read Harry Potter, but that’s pretty much it, folks.
I realize that I am a walking conundrum—a flesh and blood paradox. I’m a writer who finds reading terribly boring and a waste of time.
I guess I was never able to connect with books for one reason or another. I never felt like they were written for me, if that makes any sense. It has to be a special book to keep my attention for any length of time. Maybe that’s why I wanted to become a writer; I wanted to write stories for people like me.
Despite my pet peeve, I never once let it interfere with my want and need to write, regardless of what the so-called pundits kept telling me. To me, writing and reading are mutually exclusive.
I’ve always been of the belief that in order to be an accomplished writer, one, you need to have a decent grasp of the English language, and two, you need to understand what makes a great story and how to formulate it.
I happily found out that reading books wasn’t the only way to learn the latter.
CHAPTER 2 – I Love Movies
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I write the way I write because of movies. Not from reading, but from watching an awful lot of movies. Movies, to me, are beautiful things. In a two hour span, the good ones are captivating, emotional, moving, and often poignant.
I can’t find that in books, but that’s just me (Actually that’s not true. I did experience much of that in The Road by Cormac McCarthy). And if my writing isn’t displaying any signs of the above, then I start over with a fresh take.
I challenge all writers in search of those inspiring stories to hit the cinemas during the fall and winter season when the Oscar buzz abounds. I guarantee you’ll be inspired at least once.
CHAPTER 3 – I Change Dirty Diapers
It took two decades for me to unearth my passion for writing, and it was all thanks to dirty diapers.
After four years of marriage, three kids, and a job that wasn’t cutting it anymore, my wife and I decided that I would become a stay-home dad so she could go back to work to support our growing family.
At first, I was scared by the notion that my kids would be relying on me 24/7. But I thrived. I developed mad skills. My diaper changing ability became stuff of legend. Anytime, anywhere, any amount of sh…tuff. I suddenly became the dad that all other dads hated. I was “that guy” that made it look so easy.
And then the epiphany.
When you’re on your own all day with only your small children and your thoughts, it’s amazing what can happen. I remember that day very well. I was changing a particularly nasty diaper in the basement when I suddenly had a vision. It was the rough outline for a story, derived from a powerful memory from my childhood, that had begun to push its way to the forefront of my right brain.
I couldn’t ignore its call. I was helpless to it, and scared to pursue it. But I didn’t let what “expertise” I lacked deter me from using what talents I already possessed, so in a controlled panic, I began to type.
CHAPTER 4 – Are only girls supposed to read?
It was 2007, and I had found my passion, but I was getting discouraged. The nature of my story ideas suggested that my target audience would be tweens, but all the YA books that I’d seen stocked in your everyday brick and mortars seemed to have covers depicting either really attractive male vampires, or teen couples kissing, or some rebel school girl with an attitude. All the cool looking, adventure laden covers belonged in the children’s section—the Harry Potters, the Percy Jacksons, etc.
Chick-lit was really hitting its stride and I knew that boys were being left behind when it came to choosing compelling YA titles. I also recognized that I could not have been the only boy who hadn’t liked reading as a teen. Boys are different from girls, if you hadn’t noticed. There are too many video games to be played—too many movies to be watched. So I set out to write a book that all tweens would love—YM (young men) especially.
That’s how the JASON D. saga came to be, and thus my writing career was born.
So, let’s recap my advice to all would-be/ aspiring authors: don’t read; spend your free time watching movies, and keep yourself within changing distance of as many smelly diapers as possible. Before you know it, you’ll have that novel written!
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