In high school, I wanted nothing more than to be a guitar god or an airbrush artist. I bought a guitar, purchasing Guitar Magazine every month and learning songs as they struck me. Okay, in reality, I never got past the intros. Figuring out the rest of any song was always out of my reach. Not to mention my inability to play in time. In my early twenties, I swindled my way into a Badger airbrush just like I used in high school art class. I fumbled my way into a few pieces of artwork–a term I use loosely. In creating any sort of visual art, whether a painting or drawing, I suffer from easy discouragement. If it doesn’t look like how I think it should–possibly it will linger and fade from artistic urgency.
In my early twenties, I decided I wanted to draw comics, a fascination which lasted a few years. I drew a few interesting characters, however, that too would not last. The one page I drew for a story idea featured a protagonist tough guy who stood a little taller than a Lamborghini Countach. Scale was a thing, apparently. Now days writing the stories holds more interest to me than trying to use my dumb hands to manhandle lines and shapes into some coherent visual story.
I went to school for web design after discovering how easy it was to build a website. After taking way too long going at it (around ten years), way too many classes (hundreds of credits worth), and a few bouts of indecision (two changes in my major), I graduated from Washington State University in 2011 with around twelve thousand dollars in student loans (not horrible, but still more than I had wanted), a 3.2–ish grade point, and a Bachelors degree. Of which I have hardly ever used and a paper I never display. Although I won’t throw it away, for whatever reason, I still keep it. As I was nearing the end of school, things changed for web design. With the increasing prevalence of phones and tablets, larger screens were being used less. I started hating to make websites. You create it once and then recreate the same site for different hardware and then make it yet again for more hardware, and so on. This was way too many repetitions of the same thing for my taste. Not to mention the deluge of browsers, each with a special need for attention. Somewhere along the line, I found creating websites had lost much of the initial appeal, even before the freelancing world, and people who had little money dedicated to a website but still want digital wonders.
Somewhere before graduation and disillusionment with websites, I had been listening to On Writing by Stephen King for the third or fourth time before I kicked myself in the butt. No more “I’ll start writing when I complete this video game” or “I really want to be a writer, but I’ll start tomorrow.” I made myself start right after I got home from work. I didn’t know what I was doing. With a vague idea of what I wanted to write–some story about a guy whose girlfriend commits suicide–but not how to get there beyond the obvious. Park my ass and tap the keys.
Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, damn the torpedoes–full steam ahead.
Well, not full steam, but I was writing.
Here I am–still writing. I shy away from the “wannabe writer” title as it seems a little too pessimistic, a little defeatist to me. I am a writer! With the state of today’s world, I can become a published writer. Not from one of the publishing houses, mind you, but self-publishing has become a viable professional outlet. So I spend time before work and during lunch putting down words with the goal of at least five hundred when I am writing, with a varying level of success.
I never finished that first story. I intend to return to it one day if for no other reason than to have a nostalgic (or cringing) peak at how I started.
And look at me–I am a writer, dammit!