Today is “Free-For-All Friday,” the day in which I like to feature guest bloggers as well as book reviews and other fun things. Today’s F4AF is brought to us by Ian Townsend.
Writing fiction is a tough gig. You have to convert the crazy made up things in your head into understandable context and plots. For some people, it comes very easy. Some people have to work pretty hard at it. The biggest factor is having the will to put in the work.
I love writing.
There has always been a bit freedom in the art of word craft for me. While the practice of writing has not always been an easy thing for me, it has always been rewarding. It was a long road from my first attempts at writing fiction to now, but the path has been an interesting one.
When I was young, I read voraciously. As I filled my head with the brilliant visions and tales built by the words of others, my imagination began weaving its own stories. Immersing myself in fictional worlds and adventures had always been a mental liberation for me. The words came alive in my imagination, and the stories played like movies in my head. I could sense the emotions, hear the voices and sounds, and feel the actions. I felt like I knew exactly what the writer had felt when they wrote the words.
Eventually, I wanted to try and turn my imagination in to words as well. Writing would let me express myself in a way that speech and movement never could. Some people have a talent for music, athletics, oration, or so many other fields (my wife, for example, has an amazing talent with music.) My heart always drew me to written words. I was never big on poetry or lyrical phrase, but the eloquence and beauty of well-crafted literature drew me like a magnet. The early going was difficult. It was like trying to catch fireflies with no net. I would struggle to transition the bright, vivid images in to words that could do them justice. I often fought with myself and ended up with disappointing results. This only occurred when I was trying to write from my own mind. If I was writing a paper for school, I was able to do so easily and efficiently. It wasn’t until college that I found the key that unlocked the floodgates for my imagination.
In college, I wrote infrequently, and I generally didn’t do anything that wasn’t school related. I started out as a Criminal Justice major, but switched to Education after a year. I was playing two sports, going to class, and didn’t have much time to work on my own writing. When the Education program dropped its Secondary program, I was left searching for another major. My English teacher at the time practically brow beat me in to joining the Journalism program, and it was a life changing decision.
Journalism allowed me to enlist my imagination while writing something that mattered. I grew as a writer, and my ability to change the ideas in my head in to words was honed. For two years, I worked as a journalist for the school and a local paper, and I loved it greatly. It gave me the freedom to explore my own ideas and to express them in a way that painted them in the light that I saw them in my mind.
As much as I enjoyed being a journalist, I decided to join the Navy, and my writing went on a general hiatus for a while. My writing came and went for seven years, and ideas would come and go without me investing much effort in them. I would always regret not tacking those ideas down and exploring them. I was always so busy with work that I allowed my writing to atrophy.
In the past year, I realized that I needed to start writing again. I felt that something was missing from my life, and watching my wife pursue her dreams of music made me take stock of my own aspirations. I made the decision to begin working towards my vision of writing fiction for publication. The choice has become a blessing. I have a sense of direction in my life, and a goal to strive for. My military career won’t last forever, and the only thing I can see myself doing afterwards is writing. The knowledge I have gained in the past year has given me a lot of confidence to put my work out there for the world to see.
I couldn’t have made the strides I have without the support of my mentors and peers. The writing community is vast, but the people are accepting and caring. If you are willing to learn and put in the work, you can find a spot in the world of writing. It doesn’t matter what your story is, or where the tale comes from. If you put your heart and soul in to building, nurturing, and perfecting it, you can make it a narrative to be proud of. My journey was long and winding, but I found the calling that had been right for me since I was young. If you feel the same, then go after it. Trust me, it is absolutely worth it.
Ian is currently serving in the US Navy. He is the proud husband of a rock star viola player, the harried father of a 3 year old hurricane daughter, and is hard at work on his first novel, a fantasy tale. His personal blog, The Town’s End Tribune, helps keep his writing claws sharpened when he is not writing fiction. Born and raised in Texas, he has traveled far and wide, but is currently mired in the swamps of New Orleans, LA. You can stay connected with Ian by following him on Facebook at The Town’s End Tribune.