My Road To Fiction

I am a writer.

I can say that with bold confidence, even though my first novel has yet to be released (it's currently scheduled for a late spring launch). I was a writer long before I ever began working on this, my first-ever, novel. You see, when I say I am a writer, I mean that writing is an intrinsic part of who I am, as much as my eyes, nose and goatee are an intrinsic part of my face. (My wife has never seen me without my goatee, and I intend to keep it that way!) I enjoy stringing words together, so that they form interesting (or at least complete) sentences, and compiling those sentences into engaging, somewhat coherent, thoughts.

Writing is one of those simple things in life, that brings me great joy. It's not quite on par with strolling hand-in-hand with my wife along the beach, or having dinner with my daughter and her family, or watching my grandkids do...well, almost anything, but it's close. When the writing clicks, it's very close.

I particularly enjoy taking a difficult or complicated subject and using my linguistic skills to explain it in a way that is clear and easy to understand for everyone, particularly the layman, who may not be trained in that particular subject.

It's good that I enjoy that type of writing, since it is a significant part of what I do in my regular job—you know, the one that makes it possible for me to do...well pretty much everything else in my life. I work in Communications, and as such I write (or have written) all kinds of documents, from press releases and annual reports to CEO speeches and news stories for employee intranets. I've also written a couple if magazine articles, and been compensated for them, but that's more of an on-the-side, thing.

Over the past several years, just for fun, I've been working on honing my fiction writing skills. It's more than just for fun, really. It's the kind of writing I've always wanted to do. It's the kind of writing I've always felt like I was meant to do. It's also the kind of writing that comes the least naturally to me. I don't know why, but the non-fiction, business and journalistic styles of writing have always seemed to come the easiest, and yet, as much as I enjoy writing in those styles, I've never shaken the feeling that I NEED to be writing fiction of some sort, preferably science fiction. Perhaps because that's what I most enjoy reading. Perhaps that's also why the journey of writing my current novel has been such an enjoyable experience for me. Even though it's my first full-length novel, and learning the "how-to" parts of it have sometimes been embarrassingly difficult, it's been (and continues to be) an amazing learning experience. Writing fiction is so different from the other writing I do in my daily work—different, not just in terms of content (which is obvious), but also in the process. In writing for work, for example, I edit along the way. The projects are short, as are the deadlines, and the drafts have to be pretty tight the first time around. The last thing I want to do is send my CEO a draft of a letter to review, that is written on his behalf, and that's a complete mess. So "first drafts" are really as close to final as I can get before I ever send them up for review.

My fiction stories, on the other hand, have a much different process (please see my previous "How I Write" series of blogs). To actually write a complete novel, I had to learn a new way to write. I had to learn to write straight through, without editing along the way. Continually editing, as I do with my "business" writing, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to writing, and completing, a fiction story.

So now, as I go through the final stages of editing and preparation for publishing, I eagerly anticipate the prize that awaits me. Once my novel is released to the world, I'll be able to add the title of "fiction writer," to my resume, a prize I'll hold dearer than most can imagine.