There’s a popular phrase that I occasionally see pop up in TV shows and movies from time to time. It always happens after a mischievous but charming character decides on a course of action that leads to disastrous results. When asked what he was thinking, the irascible fellow mugs for the camera and says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
That’s how I occasionally feel about my writing career. I wouldn’t describe the results as being a disaster, but when I’m stuck on a chapter or struggling with a character, I often wonder what on earth I was thinking when I decided to be a writer. And the answer is that it really did seem like a good idea at the time.
Back when I was a kid, I always enjoyed writing short stories and doing reports for school. I even drafted what could only be loosely described as a novella in my high school years, but I never envisioned myself as a fiction writer as an adult. Then, when I was working at a software company early in my technical writing career, I met a fellow tech writer who loved writing horror novels in his spare time. I mentioned that I’d written some fiction in the past, and he immediately started encouraging me try my hand at it again.
At first, I brushed off his suggestions as pure fantasy, but the seed had been planted. The more he talked about his writing projects, the more I felt the urge to create some of my own.
So I decided to give fiction writing another try. What did I have to lose? Once I got over the initial hump of putting words down on paper, I found that I really kind of liked it. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and trying to figure out what kind of plot is going to carry me through an entire book. I like creating conversations between imaginary characters.
It’s definitely not all puppy dogs and rainbows. Some days, I stare in frozen terror at the blank computer screen as I try to create one simple sentence. Overall, however, writing is a joy, something I would miss in my life if I quit. In the end, that is why I write.