Not quite there

I’ve been writing for myself since I was young, but aside from this blog which I do as a hobby, I’ve completed one novel (though honestly it needs more editing) which I submitted to the Wilbur and Niso Smith adventure writing prize (shortlist in link) and I’ve submitted one other piece to Asimov magazine. I neither got shortlisted for the award of had my submission accepted.

No big deal, I honestly didn’t expect either to be a screaming or immediate success.

What has somewhat surprised me is my lack of pessimism about this. If I had tried and failed 10 years ago then I probably would have packed it in altogether and focused on my current career fully and completely…or at least other things.

That’s not how I’m feeling though. I want to put more energy in. I want to refine and improve my writing and put more ideas down on the page.

Maybe I’ll never make it something I can subsist off of, though I can hopefully get something published and I can definitely enjoy myself while doing it. I’m not convinced the pure aim of life, of writing is to simply enjoy what you’re doing. It does feel like a good starting point though, if the business of survival is in order.

So, here’s to my writing hobby. Long may it continue.

Why I write

Once, I thought, I could be an artist. Maybe a cartoonist, as that seemed to be the most appealing type of artist to be. You could tell a story with any type of art for sure, but a cartoonist told a story that felt in motion. As a fall back, perhaps some other sort of artist, I thought, that perhaps didn’t need the prowess of the more traditional forms of art. Of course, what I didn’t realise then was that any form of art required a certain prowess or at least openness of thought. Being an artist wouldn’t be for me. Certainly not in the way I had thought when an encouraging art teacher had noted similarities between the style of my random brush strokes and some well known abstract pieces. They were just being kind and then getting onto the next child. There’s no doubt that my teenage mind also took it way too seriously.

Cartoons were different. My uncle was a successful cartoonist, I could make a passable copy of some of my favourite characters from Dragonball graphic novels and I could loosely string together words for a few panels. Alas, I struggled to invent my own characters in my own style and in any event, I really struggled to get past the torso when drawing, and even then only in the head on perspective. I still sketched out panels with stick figures, though it never expanded properly past any of that. So, Cartoons out. What next then?

It was either concurrently or just after that I was trying my hand at modding old Gameboy ROMs using Hex editors and the like. I did not get far. Somehow I linked up with a person who was in the midst of translating a Japanese game into English and modifying bits slightly. It was some RPG that I can’t remember the name of. I claimed that I could translate Japanese to English and he got me on board his project to do so. Now, to be clear, I still don’t even speak Japanese. Back then, my brother was studying it a school and I thought I could make use of his textbooks to translate. Oh dear was I wrong. That was a very short lived portion of my artistic and creative life.

From then, I grew a bit older, moved on to university and then work. Throughout all of the time I had liked to tell stories. So that was it. I’m not sure my writing necessarily qualifies as art, but it is my creative outlet.