First Words

Ever since I was little I wanted to be a writer. I used to spend countless hours volunteering at my local bookshop, Shelby Books. I’d read and reread so many Isaac Asimov, Greg Bear, David Brin, and countless other science fiction novels. I think that’s what made me start writing my first blog years ago, I wanted to write. To put into words all of my thoughts, ideas, and feelings but I never had the confidence nor the skills to do so. I say that because I was convinced by my teachers (and others) that I couldn’t write.

From my high school English teacher to college placement tests I was convinced I was behind in English. While this may have been true in one more form it didn’t lessen my creativity or desire to write, it just delayed the proverbial casting of the ideas and thoughts onto paper.

So instead of following a dream to write I took to programming instead. The mathematic (my second love) logic of programming gave me an alternate outlet to be creative. Programming has been a lot of fun and a very rewarding career but I’ll be honest, it’s not writing.

Programming has a logical flow and set of constraints that must be followed, without exception. There is no creative liberty, no blurring of the lines … there’s only rules. You can get creative putting patterns together and creating complex systems that seem to be “creative” but they’re nothing more than large and complex state machines or automata executing the patterns you’ve predefined.

Stories however, that’s a different thing entirely. Each story you write can be entirely different with new characters and ideas. It can take the reader on entirely different emotional journeys. As you define each part of the plot or character you color the readers vision of them. You can’t precisely control those feelings but you can certainly develop them.

In programming it’s as simple as chaining if/the/else statements to control flow. In writing you can’t say, if reader likes this then feel this and interpret this exactly like this. Imagine writing a novel about an experience you had or a character had in Italy. Now imagine how someone who’s never left their home town reading this story vs someone native to Italy. They’re going to have completely different impressions of the novel (especially if you get any facts wrong). That’s not how programming works, you’re either syntacticly correct or you’re not. You’ve either defined your programs logic flow correctly to solve the problem or you haven’t. Once compiled and running there isn’t anything left to interpretation that will change the flow (bugs aside).

So one has to wonder how someone who grew up in logical thought and programming is going to transition into writing. Your guess is as good as mine but that’s sorta the point of this writing I’m doing now. My goal is to write 750 words shorts as often as possible. To just write, to practice the craft of converting my thoughts into words. Break down gaps, learn how to develop characters, and sometimes I imagine just dump random thoughts or frustrations that are blocking me onto virtual paper. I’ll never write about my work, I’ve always kept that separation of personal from professional throughout me career.

So to get the other guidelines out of the way. I’m far from grammatically correct but if you want to give me constructive criticisms I’d be happy to take them. I’m hoping to get better as I write more. I’ll be researching and studying along the way. I don’t want to read like a choppy baboon and I’d prefer to master the craft rather than butcher it. This was one of the things that my teachers never helped with. I changed schools right in the middle of learning sentence structure. The school I left was starting to learn these things and the one I entered was finishing it up. From there it was all down hill and lots of feelings of being behind in English. So bear with me and please help me along the way if you’re up for it.

Think of this as an exercise in creative writing and author voyeurism. You may enjoy watching me fail, flounder, or who knows, you may be watching the beginnings of something interesting and worth reading … something completely unexpected and intriguing. Neither of us knows which path(s) we’ll traverse, which stars we’ll investigate, or what past skeletons we’ll explore in the name of creative exploration.

Word Count: 786

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