This blog post is going to be slightly different to my normal posts. I wanted to reflect a bit on how my life has changed since I commenced writing almost ten years ago, and in particular, since I started seriously pursuing it.
I have been a lifelong reader, particularly in the fantasy and sci-fi genre, and always wanted to write a book. There were several stunted attempts when I was younger, however I never followed through or took it too seriously. The catalyst for me to start writing was in 2014 when I had to go back to my hometown for my grandmother’s funeral. She was someone that always encouraged me to read and constantly told me growing up that people who read are always smart and successful. With the prospect of several weeks at home for this unpleasant event and very little else to occupy my time or mind, I went out, bought a tablet and started on my first fantasy series.
Although I won't pretend that I have always been the most consistent with my writing, this triggered a sincere desire to finish what I started and write the series I had always imagined. As I wrote, it became easier and more enjoyable, and I reveled in creating my own worlds. This has since evolved into a number of series on which I am working, including my newly published Fermi Paradox series. There is still many more to come in the future, but I will not speak to them here.
How writing has changed my life
Writing quickly became a second escape for me, along with reading. The ability to forget the real world for a time and explore the depths of other people’s lives and other worlds, or even this world in alternate futures. This has helped me remain grounded throughout difficult times. In particular, it has helped me through multiple deployments during my time in the military. The ability to sit behind my desk while I was a world away from my life and lose myself completely to another world of my own creation definitely helped get me through.
It has also given my life professional purpose since deciding to publish. I am sure many people have felt stagnate within their careers, like they are just going through the motions with little joy or hope. This was definitely the case for me after my last deployment. I had lost purpose. Writing, and publishing, my stories has given me back that purpose and passion. Seeing my stories come to life, seeing other people read and respond to what I have written has been one of the most professionally fulfilling things I have done. It brought back to me the almost childish notion of having a dream. It has made me realise the importance of dreams, and putting aside your fear of failure to go after them wholeheartedly. I may never reach the full potential of my dream (and honestly, I don't really want to, because then I may not have something to chase anymore), but the fulfilment of knowing I am chasing it is a powerful thing. For the other writers who are reading this, regardless of how far down the path you are, I hope this resonates with you and encourages you to enjoy the path you are on. Very few people have the courage to chase their dreams, and you are one of them.
Aside from the fulfilment aspect and mental health benefits, it has also had immense practical benefit in my life. By constantly tapping away at my keyboard, I have taught myself how to touch type at a very fast rate. Not only this, the constant practice and development of my writing abilities have helped me enormously within my professional career (outside of my writing career that is). The ability to write quickly has made me significantly more efficient, meaning I spend less time on the work that does not fulfil me, but pays the bills, and more time doing what I love; getting my stories into the hands of readers.
For anyone reading this who has always thought about writing, whether it is a fiction story, non-fiction, a blog, poems, or anything else, all I can say is do it. Don't worry about the people who may think it is silly or a waste of time, it never is, and the benefits to you are immeasurable. Those people don't matter. Chase your dream and enjoy the trip.