Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Kid at the Typewriter
First of all, over the past several months I've found myself spending more time analyzing stats, reading blogs, sifting through articles, and reading endless commentaries on the state of publishing. Although this has some value, increasingly I was spending more time comparing my situation to others and spending less time actually writing. I found lots of great information, but over time I also began to lose focus as to why I ever started writing in the first place.
So, a few weeks ago I unplugged from the internet for a couple of days and re-focused on writing new material. I rediscovered the real reason I began writing when I was a kid.
I remembered days and nights of sitting in front of my parents' old manual Royal typewriter, putting in sheet after sheet, and watching stories come to life on the page one by one. I remembered the thrill of finishing off a "novel", usually set in outer space, and then binding the book with hand heavy card stock and glue. I then handed the book out to friends or relatives.
After each book was finished I would almost immediately start in on another. Although I listened to feedback from others, I steadily improved my abilities not because I wanted to pursue some prize or adoration, but because I enjoyed the process. In short, I found writing to be fun.
I've gone back to that now and a funny thing has happened. I suddenly have an abundance of ideas again. To illustrate the point, this past weekend I watched the documentary Transcendant Man. It is an eye-opening film and although it focuses on one inventor, it highlights some of the ongoing trends in technology, genetics, artificial intelligence, and other scientific areas. These trends may indeed be converging at a particular point.
One of the side effects of my return to writing for fun and watching this film is that a day or two later, suddenly a dozen short story ideas sprang to life in my notebook. This is good news, since I was getting a little concerned that the dozen or so stories I had already written down for Corridors would leave the collection rather small in size. Although this has sidetracked me a bit from the planning of Race the Sky, it has opened up a lot of new possibilities for future short stories and novels in the science fiction realm. Fun possibilities.
In perspective, I've become that kid at the typewriter again. So I'll continue to upload stories via e-book and paperback but not because I'm looking for fantastic sales. I'll continue to plot adventures in time, space, technology, and even the wilderness not because I want to I want to tackle multiple genres at once. I'll continue to tinker with story structures and points-of-view not because I want to prove something to an editor or critic somewhere.
I'll continue because it's fun.