A Writer Writes

Hello and welcome to this, the first post on my shiny new blog. Isn’t it pretty? I decorated it myself you know!

Please, sit down and make yourself comfortable. Cup of tea? No? Don’t mind if I have one do you?

*makes a nice brew*

Okay then, let me begin. I’ve been trying to think of some clever, witty, and intelligent way of beginning this blog. It needs to be something instantly gripping and make you, the reader, carry on reading. Hmm seems I may have failed in that respect almost completely.

Still, if you have made it as far as this paragraph then I have some hope you might actually make it to the end of the post… and if you haven’t… nah we don’t want to be thinking about that!

So, you may be asking yourself, who is this person who thinks their words are worth reading in the first place? Well if I didn’t think that I had at least something worth saying I would be in trouble right from the start off as this whole blog is to be based around the persona of me, D.E.Howard “the writer”.

That claim in itself is a tricky one. What actually makes someone a writer? At what point can you assign that title to yourself?

If someone has written a hundred books (I haven’t) but has never let another living soul inside their pages does that make a writer? If someone blogs on a daily basis (I don’t – not yet anyway) insightful and thought provoking posts is that person a writer? If you have written a book and self published it (at last something I have done) are you then a writer?

Publishing a book (either self published or not) does not guarantee that your words have been read, not even making sales can guarantee that, for how many unread books must fill bookshelves the world round, let alone the poor neglected downloaded ebook sitting unopened on many a kindle or other ebook reader?

So what is a writer? Does it have to say so on your passport? Do you have to make your living from the written word to be able to class yourself as a writer?

I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to this question, I’m not even sure there is an answer but I at least have my own opinion which is this.

If you feel like a writer, if you write and love to write, if writing is something that’s in your heart and feeds your soul then whatever your “day job” might be, whatever you do to pay the bills is just incidental. A means to an end, a way to subsidise the truth of what you are. A writer.

My love of writing started just over 10 years ago. Oh sure I did a little writing during my school days and from what I remember I rather enjoyed it but 10 years ago I read a little story that, for reasons only known to my subconscious, sparked something in me that has since never been quenched.

The story I read was a little fan fiction based on the sitcom Black Books. (You’ve never seen it? What are you doing wasting your time here… go and watch it immediately it’s amazing!)

After that first introduction to fan fiction a story of my own began to develop. But I was no writer, I had no belief that I could translate the words in my mind into a worthwhile piece of writing, and so I didn’t. Not for a very long time.

The story, however, would not be silenced. It turned over and over in my mind day after day, refining itself with each new revolution. Characters and dialogue playing out each scene until I knew them in minute detail.

In the end I could fight it no longer. The story had to be written, for the sake of my sanity if nothing else. So, with some trepidation, I put pen to paper, well fingers to keyboard but you get the idea, and my first story was born.

I know some writers look down on fan fiction, and yes fair enough there is some trash out there, but then you could say the same about some traditionally published books, like everything else such things are down to personal interpretation and preference.

Personally I think fan fiction writing was a great way to hone my craft. It frees the writer from the problems of having to create a world and characters, there was no need to sell the origins of your stories because your audience already love the characters and the show from where they came, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your fictions in the first place. Instead of building the world from scratch the writer can concentrate on story telling, learning how to tell your tales in a way that the reader will believe and, just as importantly, care about.

I have since written many fanfics throughout several different fandoms and I would like to think that my writing has grown over the years. As with all things practice, if not makes perfect, makes things greatly improved.

Fanfic writing also taught me two things about myself in respect to my writing. Being plagued by a story until I gave in and wrote it would be a constant occurrence, my mind filled with the tales waiting to be told, only to be purged once they had been written.

Secondly I discovered that I was somewhat of an approval addict. With every positive comment on what I had written spurred me on to want to write more, something which is rather more lacking when you go down the route of self publishing. So few readers it seems understand the importance of leaving reviews while to the writer each one is like a warm hug of approval.

So next time you read a book, be it paperback or electronic, spare a thought for the poor writer who would love a quick pat on the back and acknowledgement that their efforts were not in vain and that, in fact, you enjoyed the story that had been a close part of their lives for who knows how long.

There we are then. That’s my first blog post finished and well done you for reading all the way to the end. Whether we know each other or not I appreciate you spending the time reading my words and hope you’ll come back next time I have something to say. I plan to base this blog around writing both the process of and the creation of, with hopefully a few short stories scattered throughout as I go along.

Now, where did I put my tea…