The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
SPECIAL EDITION: TIME OR LIGHTNING?
Like all passions people have, writing is something most writers are drawn to, whether it’s something dramatic or something much more subtle, that comes over time.
For me, it was an honest and goodness bolt from the blue, an idea to put myself in a TV show by doing something that would become much more known that other people did with the introduction of the internet: fan fiction. If I can’t be on the TV show I loved so much, I could write a story where I could interact with these characters I pretended to hang out with on the page. And if any of you have read my past blog posts, you know the show was The A-Team. And you also know that was the moment, the A-HA moment in my life that started me on the path of the love of writing.
But when it comes to others, those that have just started their path or those that have been doing it professionally and all of those in between, the story of their beginning, their alpha story may be different. It might be like mine, that bolt from the blue… or it could have been something they just found themselves doing or it was something that was a slow, long road when they decided being a writer was for them. Regardless, any reason that they have is not incorrect. It’s what worked for them and if you are a writer or want to write (honestly, what are you waiting for?), any reason that you have to write, any beginning that put you on the road isn’t incorrect either. If writing is your thang and it’s something you love to do, then no matter how to come to this decision, it’s perfectly fine. It may not be a story of magic or dream induced decisions. Maybe it comes from walking a path with flowers and thorns, with paved sections and sections with deep mud, with love and pain. Some paths are shorters than others that make you come to the place that makes you want to write.
So, I’ve had that idea rolling around my head for the past few months. And I wanted to know what more advanced writers thought about it. Did they have a lightning bolt moment or was it something that came over time? After talking to my buddy and fellow writer, Carole Ann (whom I’ve mentioned before and interviewed for this blog post), I decided to use my social media skills and reach out to a few writers. As Carole Ann stated, ‘Writers love to talk about writing.’
So I asked. All of them are in different places in their pursuit. Some of them are about to publish and those with a truck full of books under their belt. Some of them I know personally who took pity on me and some of them that took pity from their lofty heights to help me out.
And from the few dozens of people I asked, I had eight wonderful people to write something exclusively for this blog post. All of these are more experienced at writing than I and I hold them in extreme regards.
So, without further ado…
“Oh man, that’s not a simple answer for me. I started writing in 5th grade because of a writing assignment and fell in love with the process. I’ve just kept it up ever since and learned along the way. No lightning bolt moment for me.” – Aaron Mahnke
(Creator of the hugely popular podcast Lore. He also wrote books based on Lore called The World of Lore: Volume One and Volume Two, The World of Lore Monstrous Creatures, The World of Lore: Dreadful Places, Plus the books Grave Suspicions and Hand of Andulain. He had no reason to give me this quote and I know he is SUPER busy but he did. I can’t thank him enough.)
“I always wrote poetry and would share it with my dad. If he liked it, he would tell me and talk about it for days. If he didn’t like it he would declare it, “interesting.” In truth, some of it was really bad. I was a preschool teacher for several years, but I wanted to write and like my dad, found and find it cathartic. After my father died, I began a book, “In His Absence,” but I had only barely begun navigating that whole minefield of grief and was nowhere ready. It took many more years, decades, to finally write my memoir– As I Knew Him: My Dad Rod Serling. I wrote it for three reasons. Again, to manage my grief; to know more about his public persona, and also to dispel the offensive assertions that my dad was a dark and tortured person.
Writing full time now, I have just finished a novel- a whole different animal.
Though I will never be the writer my father was, nor as prolific, it provides a special connection to him.” – Anne Serling
(Daughter of The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling, she wrote the book As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling along with publishing two short stories based on her father’s teleplays, One for the Angels and The Changing of the Guard, for the book The Twilight Zone, The Original Stories. She is currently writing a novel. Even though I wasn’t asking her face to face, I got really nervous to do so. Thankfully, she’s wonderful and accommodating. She even reached out to my daughter to wish her a happy birthday. )
“I wandered into it through my major when I was at MTSU: Mass Comm/Journalism with an emphasis in PR. I had writing classes and learned to love putting my thoughts on paper. I feel I can communicate better through writing than speaking – though I’ve had to get better at both with my career choice in PR. Blogging really got me writing on a consistent basis and allowed me to be more creative than with press releases and corporate writing.” – Trey Campbell
(Writer of the book 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life and 72 Days: A Devotional of Biblical Principles and Life Lessons for Spiritual Leadership, Growth, and Guidance. He should write a book about being a super nice guy because he is one.)
“I didn’t always know how I would do it professionally, or if I’d be able to, but from the moment I could write, that’s what I did.” Nora McInerny
(Host and creator of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking. She is also the author of the books It’s Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too). She is working on the book Terrible, Thanks for Asking due out in 2019. By the way, I met her in person at a book sighing. She even knew who I was. She pointed to me while I was seven deep in line and said, ‘You’re Loyd Elmore Jr.’ It made my year. )
“My particular bolt of lightning struck when I was sitting at my desk in the 5th-grade classroom of Mrs. Sarah Haas. I had just turned in my first-ever short story for the Young Author contest for my school. I distinctly remember, with all the ruthless ambition of a Wall Street hedge fund manager, that I would scorch the earth of my competitors with my tale of my dog using GI Joe toys to rescue some rabbits down in our ditch. It was the first, and only time in my life that I had such a clear vision of my future. I knew then that I would be a novelist one day. It only took thirty-three years from that point to make it happen.” – Jeremy Finley
(WSMV investigative reporter/anchor and author of the upcoming book The Darkest Time Of Night due out June 26th, 2018. When I asked Jeremy write something for this, I thought I wouldn’t be able to get his attention. I watch him on the news. That dude is busy. But he couldn’t have been more gracious and accommodating. I just hope I’m never on the other side of his microphone. He can tear people apart. And I mean that in the best way.)
“I knew that I wanted to write before I was able to write, which sounds strange, but it was something that I knew in the same way that I knew my mom and dad, or that I knew that I was a girl.
The earliest specific moment that I recall that spark of knowing that I wanted to be a writer was when my mom was reading a bedtime story to me. Like most little kids trying to prolong the bedtime ritual and postpone the lights-out moment, I kept asking questions. I pointed to the byline on the book and asked, “What’s that?”
She explained that is the person who wrote the book. Yes. I want to be that person. I was probably about four years old. I think it was the story of Johnny Appleseed, which was my favorite.
I wrote strange, nonsensical notes and stories before I learned to properly spell or space my words. My mom saved some pages of my early pre-K writing which I believed at the time was brilliant compositions, but they were simply ill-formed letters in crayon.
When I was about five or six, my great aunt gave me a plastic red typewriter, which was wonderful for me to peck out letters and stories and poems, even though I did not have a grasp of spelling or grammar.
Throughout grade school and high school, my creative writing and even my research papers got high marks and great reviews from my teachers, and it was a relief to know that I was actually good at writing because I loved doing it so much.
When I got older, of course, I wanted to write the Great American Novel. I practiced writing but nothing that I wanted to publish until I got the inspiration for my series of children’s books.
Being a writer is not what I do. It’s what I am.
I hope that somewhere a parent is reading my book to a child who is prolonging bedtime. Maybe they will question the purpose of the byline and realize they want to grow up and write books.” – Carole Ann Hausman
(Writer of the children’s books, My Dream For You Is Happiness and My Dream For You is Wonder. Book number three, My Dream For You Is Kindness is on the way. A writer she is and always has been. I have learned a lot from her. And it should go without saying, one of the best people I have ever got the chance to call my friend. And that makes her one of my very few best friends.)
“It was more of a series of small lightning strikes. a creative writing class in high school, a screenwriting class in college… but then (the) real world and (a) real job took over. But years later, a meeting (with) the writers of “The Rock” for some reason, then something clicked. ‘You could really do this as a job.” I ended up writing two screenplays in about six months and knew then.” – Christopher Yost
(Christopher Yost is the writer of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Thor: The Dark World, Max Steel, Thor: Ragnarok, and the upcoming Silver and Black. And as for being a writer for TV, well, if it has something to do with Marvel and is animated, his name is probably attached. And that goes for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars Rebels. As for comic books, being too many to name here, just check out his https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Yost page. He might just have my dream job.)
“I knew I wanted to write for a living when I was a teenager. I took a drama class and a creative writing class, and both turned out to be my favorite classes throughout all of high school. I had always been an avid reader, going back to when I was very young and would devour every Encyclopedia Brown and Hardy Boys novel I could get my hands on, and I found the authors’ use of language fascinating. I started reading Stephen King’s novels, and it only increased my love of good writing. By the time I’d gotten into the works of William Shakespeare (particularly King Lear), Sophocles (Oedipus Rex was my favorite play assigned in high school), and Richard Adams (Watership Down was a religious experience for me the first time I read it), I was hooked.”
“I liked learning new words and adding them to my vocabulary, and I found that the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation came naturally to me, the way some people have an affinity for mathematics. What really cemented it, though, was that I loved reading Star Trek novels and wanted to someday write one of my own. That was more than thirty years ago and, well, I’ve never written a Star Trek novel. However, I have worked on a number of Star Trek projects, so I guess it sort of worked out anyway.”
“Back then, my family found it odd that I spent a lot of time alone reading, and my parents urged me not to get an English degree in college since they thought it would be useless, like a philosophy degree (their words, not mine). I was told “Saying you want to be a writer is like saying you want to play for the NFL. You need to find a more realistic goal. You should go into teaching, for example. They have summers off and good pensions.” So I became an English teacher… and I hated it. I was miserable. Thankfully, I’d taken some journalism classes in college, so I decided to try the road not taken. I landed my first editing job in (I believe) 1992, and I started writing on a freelance basis. I’ve been doing both ever since, and have never regretted leaving teaching behind. I had found the career I was meant to be in—and, really, that’s all any of us can ask of our careers, isn’t it?”
(Rich Handley is the author or co-author of Watching Time: The Watchmen Chronology, Timeline of the Planet of the Apes, Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology, and A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon. He has co-edited Titan Books’ Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone, as well as five Sequart essay anthologies about Planet of the Apes and Star Wars, and is currently co-editing Sequart’s Somewhere Beyond the Heavens: Exploring Battlestar Galactica. Rich has contributed essays to IDW’s five Star Trek and three Star Wars comic-strip reprint editions; BOOM! Studios’ four-volume Planet of the Apes Archive series; Sequart’s New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics and The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring the Blade Runner Universe; ATB Publishing’s Outside In series focused on Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and Eaglemoss’s Star Trek: The Graphic Novel Collection. He has penned short fiction for the Star Wars Expanded Universe, is a frequent writer for HeroCollector.com and BlastoffComics.com, and serves by day as the managing editor of RFID Journal and IoT Journal.)
So, there. If I can’t inspire you, fine. If these eight people can’t inspire you, then there is probably no way to inspire you.
Not all of us are going to have that bolt from the blue, that AH-HA moment. And sometimes that extra special moment may get ignored when it happens because you weren’t prepared or not looking for it. It might pass you by to only have it hit you again later on when you are ready. It doesn’t matter if it is a special moment or if it comes over time. The important thing is that when you finally find yourself in its spotlight, don’t shy away from it. Embrace it.
If you want to write, there is only one way to do it.
YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
You need to try and write every day. And read. Read a lot. And when you can’t do either, think about writing or reading. Let it engulf your soul.
Maybe if you haven’t seen your bolt from the blue, maybe you can make it happen through sheer will.
So, with that, I want to say thanks to Aaron, Anne, Trey, Nora, Jeremy, Carole Ann, Christopher, and Rich for coming to the assistance of this fledgling, wanna-a-be writer for help in this post.
And for you other writers (me included)… Realize your moment… and take it.
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
April 6th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.