20 September 2009

Why Writing?

Recently an old friend mentioned that he didn't know that I was interested in writing. His comment got me to thinking about why I write and how I got started.

I'm not one of those folks that knew from the time they could form a letter that they wanted to be a writer. Sure, I had written for the junior high school newspaper, even published in the Bear Essential Newspaper for Kids. And in high school I wrote essays and papers that received top marks. But I'd never really considered a career as a writer. At that time, I wanted to be a professional musician, until I realized that I would struggle to attain the level of fame to live a certain lifestyle.

I considered other well-paying professions, like being a doctor (too much school) or a lawyer (too many of them). Next on the my list was engineer, schooling wouldn't be too long, not many of them, and lots of fields from which to chose. So on I went, pursuing a Materials Science & Engineering career - finishing was a graduate degree. Only to get a job at Intel doing very little engineering but managing portions of the supply chain, then overseeing quality and reliability of server systems.

All my jobs required writing -  research papers, patent evaluations, a thesis, status reports, change management, customer communications, corrective actions, best known methods. After a technical career that lasted eleven years, you could say that I was proficient at writing those types of documents. Of course, none of them fictional and all written more than eight years ago before I left the corporate world to stay home with my family.

Some time ago I realized I needed something challenging and stimulating to do. Not that keeping up with my family and all the management issues that it requires isn't challenging. It just wasn't stimulating. I toyed with other ideas for a while. It was listening to D. Gabaldon's podcasts and reading R. Lippi's blog that got me thinking about writing and it wasn't until last year that I got serious about writing during NaNoWriMo.

It was something I could do something for myself but would let me be home with the kids and could be squeezed into my life without much issue. So I worked from a book, Writing Fiction, that helped remind me how to write. After all it had been eight years since writing something technical and near eighteen years since writing anything creative. During nap times, during weekends that didn't have much going on, I went to my writing corner and worked on writing exercises.

What I didn't expect was that writing is fun, addictive even. Starting with a "what if ...,"  seeing where it goes, imagining what is going to happen next, working to make it believeable all exciting and fulfilling. And since I can't read the last page of the story since it isn't written (my normal MO when reading books), I have to keep writing to see how it ends. And now that I'm taking this writing course, I'm getting tools to work with and figure out my style of writing, which makes writing all the more engaging.

It helps that my husband and kids are encouraging, accepting without argument when I go to my office to write. Although, I suspect they would rather I go write than I get riled if I don't get my writing time in.

So, that's a long winded bit about my interest in writing. Will I become a published author? That's certainly a possibility I'm working towards. I'll think of that step after I've got something worth selling. Until then, I'll enjoy the challenge of sneaking in writing time and developing something new.

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