Put up or shut up; or how I stopped being an apsiring writer

In my early teens I spend all my free time in the local library scouring the shelves for science fiction books. I read everyone I could find and when the library separated the sci fi books into one section I thought life couldn’t get any better. Oh, how I love to escape into different worlds and to see how people faced the challenges of space exploration on the one hand and the demise of civilization on earth on the other hand.

I also thought up my own sci fi stories. I would write, some day. I spent a lot of time dreaming about the characters and the situations they faced. I’d tell anyone who would listen my plots. Most of them, I think, just brushed me off as a wishful dreamer with a vivid imagination. After college and grad school and the started of my family I’d tell my children stories from this reservoir of plots. Other than three handmade children’s stories and one short sci fi story I wrote in the late 1980’s I never ventured to actually put anything in writing.

Along came September 2006. My oldest daughter said that she had participated in a writing contest the prior November and had written a novel. She encouraged me to check into National Novel Writing Month and write one of the stories I’d talked about. I didn’t take her seriously. I though who would be crazy enough to attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in, of all months, November! Toward the end of October my wife asked if I’d checked out the writing month. (I suspect now she’d gotten a little impatient with my talking about writing.)

Then it dawned on me. Maybe my wife and daughter had conspired against me. Kindly and politely they had told me to put up or shut up about my wanting to write.

So, I took the plunge, went to the website and wrote 75,000 words on a novel.

That is how this aspiring writer became a writer who—of all things—writes!

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