Monday, July 11, 2011

Not For Publication—Until Now

One question I get asked a lot is how and when I decided I wanted to write.

As a student in a writing class, we were told to write a story that might be selected to appear in print in a special publication, either by the school or the district, I don't remember which. At the top of my story, I wrote "Not For Publication." The instructor gave me an A, but wanted to know why she couldn't submit it.

I didn't have an answer for her.

I don't remember the story I wrote then, but I do know this. If I'm moved by something, I write. If I'm angered by something, I write. But those are words for me. They're private. They're "Not For Publication."

I was involved in what was (in those days) a very hip journalism class. We were the cool kids who knew how to make things happen via our school newspaper. Journalism was okay, but I found it restrictive—that truth thing, I think. And almost everything I wrote for the newspaper was flat. Without magic. It may have been interesting, even controversial. But to me, because there were no private bits of me tossed in the mix, it was all finally forgettable.

People who loved me encouraged me to chose something more predictable in terms of income and stability. If writing had happened to be on my list, it quickly disappeared. I created a passable success in Corporate America and enjoyed, for the most part, both income and stability.

Decades passed, and I found myself caring for a family member requiring additional attention while he rehabbed from a stroke. He'd been with us for almost two years when it suddenly hit me . . . I may have been home all day, but I was not focused on the post-stroke exercises all day.


Today, I try to put just enough of me into every scene I write to bump up the magic. I'm old enough to know that whatever private thoughts or secrets I have, they're not unshared by others. It makes publication okay. Probably.

So, what about you? How did you get serious about this business?

CR: The Apostle by Brad Thor.

It's all better with friends.

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