All my life I have secretly wanted to be an author. So much so that I asked my fifth-grade teacher how old you had to be to have a book published. Shortly after learning that there was no age limit, I set out to write an epic adventure. Unfortunately that did not turn out too well since I was easily distracted as a kid. Since then, I have written on and off, but never fully committed.
Upon my high school graduation, I had convinced myself that I wanted to be a neurosurgeon, so I set out to become the world’s premier go-to-guy for brain stuff. Thankfully, I figured out in college that the surgeon’s life was not a life for me. Naturally, I switched to a cooler field – computer science, because who doesn’t want to program video games for a living, right? I actually did graduate with a CS degree and quickly found an awesome job doing business programming (which is much easier than video game programming and pays a whole lot more).
However, the author in me was not satisfied with writing code all day. Don’t get me wrong, writing code is fun, but nothing is more fun than entertaining people and simultaneously improving their minds. I would crank out the code in the daylight hours and sometimes write some stuff at night if I did not feel like playing video games. I sat in this loop for the first year and a half after getting my first real programming job.
I still felt like I was going nowhere with all the creativity practically exploding inside my head. I think it was the daunting task of actually figuring out how to get my work out there. I read several articles on how to get stuff published and it all baffled me. I assumed that good authors just wrote down their magically awesome words and then instantly received critical acclaim from fans all around the world. Imagine my absolute surprise when I learned that authors have to work hard to climb up the ladder.
Then one day, I revisited the blog of one of my favorite authors from my high school days, Michael Stackpole (author of most of the Star Wars: X-Wing series). He was talking about the wonders of digital, self-publishing. He said that you can just write some crap down, publish it digitally, and be adored by fans from around the world without any need to go through a fancy publisher. This was music to my ears. I was blown away by the fact that like the current music industry, independent authors could have grassroots movements.
Reading that blog two months ago changed my world. I began to seriously pursue my dream of being an author. I knew that pursuing dreams required sacrifice, so I changed my schedule around and quit playing so many video games to allow myself more time to write. As of this past Saturday, I have completed the rough draft of my first serial sci-fi story. All of my prior life has converged into this cluster of 11,000 words.
Soon this will be released for the public to consume and you will all taste what has been brewing inside my mind for my entire life. I feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile now and it feels great. If any of you out there are needing to pursue your dreams, I highly encourage it. It really is the best feeling in the world, outside of helping people (real people, not your guildmates in WOW).
My new motto: make the sacrifice and make something of yourself.