For the next few weeks I’ll be part of, and hosting, people as members of Tasha Turner Coaching Virtual Blog Tour, promoting writers and writing. And you know me, I’m all about writing–right? Gotcha!
My first–well, second–guest blogger to grace the pages of Wide Awake is Scott Bury, a writer currently living in Ottawa, Canada. Today’s Subject: Why am I writing? Why did I decide to throw myself into this insanity?
Let’s see, shall we? Take it away, Scott:
Why did I become a writer?
I think I’ve always been a writer. I remember enjoying “composition” class in grade school. By junior high — sometimes called middle school — I was writing stories for my own enjoyment. I started several novels. One was about a cat, or more precisely, a whole society of cats, oppressed by an overlord tom. It was kind of like a feline “Godfather.”
In grade 7 and 8, I started school newspapers. Since I was the main driving force, and almost the only one doing any work, I was the de facto editor.
When I think about those old projects, I feel a combination of nostalgia and shame. What I can remember of the writing was awful. “The cat screamed ‘meow!'” What else would a cat scream? What besides a cat would scream “meow”?
As a teenager, I joined with artistically talented friends to design and plot our own comics. Some of them I still think were good ideas. But living out in the far fringes of civilization, long before the Internet, we really had no chance of getting our ideas published.
But you have the luxury of dreaming when you’re a teenager. I wrote a lot of stories, comics and the beginnings of I can’t tell you how many novels. I even sent a couple of stories in to magazines like Analog Science Fiction and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. Of course, they were rejected. When I look at them today, so many years later, I can see what those editors meant. They needed a lot of work. But again, I still think the underlying idea was good.
In the meantime, I produced a few issues of my own magazine while in high school. It carried stories, essays, poems and drawings by me and my friends. I learned about printing, how expensive it could be, and how hard it was to get people to deliver things on deadline (sorry, Raymond).
My experience on school newspapers and my parents’ admonishments pushed me into journalism school in university. And when I graduated, I had a vague notion of getting into advertising.
It’s amazing how quickly reality can puncture such vague dreams. After knocking on the doors of just about every advertising agency in Toronto and Montreal, I soon realized that Bewitched and innumerable movies through the 70s and 80s were not reliable representations of the advertising industry.
My writing ambitions became diverted into trade journalism when I got a job as an editor — as well as reporter, copy-editor and much else — at a magazine called Canadian Printer. From there, I had a series of jobs as an editor at other small, trade magazines. My fiction writing almost ceased.
I still had ideas for stories. Some I told to my family; some, I wrote down. But my output was maybe a story every few years.
Then came the series of economic shocks, starting in 2000. I became a college professor and moved cities. I wrote web pages and ad campaigns and newsletters for businesses and associations. I learned how to get more efficient at writing and developed my GRIP system for writing anything (Goal, Reader, Idea, Plan).
Now that my career has changed again, I have found the opportunity to write. And all those years, I find, has been a percolator for the ideas for novels and stories.
I’ll never have writer’s block. I have so many ideas for stories and novels, I doubt I’ll ever find the time to write them all down.
One lesson I’ve learned, or perhaps just realized recently: lots of people may have great ideas to begin novels, but the real trick is figuring out the end. And then getting there.
Now that I’ve finished and published one book, the next task is to write the next novel. I’ll get right on that.
Thanks to Tasha for setting up this blog tour. And thank you, Raymond, for hosting my guest post.
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.
The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.
Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.