Who doesn’t love a feel-good post? We all have days when we question whether we can make it as a writer. We all doubt ourselves, our stories, and even the strength of our readership. Today, I have Darren Kirby to share his story and why, at the end of the day, he decided to tune out all the what ifs and focus on the writing. Check it out below!
Do you remember when you were young, you had that job that just really sounded cool? It was one that you played the staring role in when you played with your toys, dolls, or with friends. Maybe it was a firefighter, a doctor, or any number of different jobs, but it was the one you most wanted to be. Often times, this would change as we grew older, but sometimes it didn’t. These jobs held a special place in our hearts and seemed almost magical. Once we hit our teen years, we shifted to a more “real” understanding of jobs and we hoped that we would find one that didn’t make us cringe every day we went to work.
Still, even as adults, we sometimes find ourselves thinking—perhaps dreaming—of what an ideal job would be like. Wouldn’t it be grand, we tell ourselves, if we could just do X? That would be the life. But, we probably wouldn’t be very good at it. Or it would be too hard to get the qualifications that we’d need. Or any one of a hundred excuses that would prevent us from following that dream. We stop being the kid who acted out that dream job. It happened to me, too.
I’ve loved reading since I was a kid. That hasn’t changed now that I’m an adult. But the part that always stopped me short of becoming a writer was the fear that I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have those special powers to draw people into the story and believe that they were the evil wizard trying to destroy the king’s castle. I couldn’t get people to believe that they were in a crippled space transport with an engine about to blow and an alien ready to eat them alive. I just didn’t have the magical power needed to show a girl’s lifeless body being slowly lowered into the grave, as her father watched on, anger filling him to the point he nearly went mad.
Or did I?
It was several years ago (okay, more like nearly a decade ago) during what would be our final author event at our coffeehouse—just before we had to close—that a chance conversation happened. A writer had come to meet the author, and nearing the end of the event she asked about a writers group and what to do about finding one. Well, said the author, if you can’t find one, why not start one. I jokingly said that if she wanted to start one, I’d join as I would be having a little bit of time on my hands, what with the business closing and me looking for a job. And so we did, and that started me down a path that still lights me up.
Now, there was a lot of things in the middle of my life there that I glossed over, but the main point is this: don’t wait to follow your dream. This is especially true if the job you currently have is turning you into a zombie and you dread each day that you go to work. Life is too short to take the straight and narrow path! There’s too much cool stuff out there to feel that life is drudgery!
What happened with me? Well, I began to write. And then I began to share them. I shared them with my wife first, but I also shared them with that writers group that I helped start. Fortunately, we were all learning at the same time and growing in our skills too. After a while, I started writing longer pieces and I learned more about myself as a writer. I found where I was weaker and where I was stronger, and that the learning, just like in life, never ends. After a few years, I put out my first novel, Coordinates For Murder. Then I started putting out some of my short stories, like Frequency, A Push Too Far, and The Ritual. I also dabbled in non-fiction, putting out a full book and some smaller sort of pieces that tied into the book. Recently, I released a short story collection, Sometimes They Scream, and I’m now working on several projects, including a sequel to my first novel.
Many of you reading this want to be a writer, or perhaps already are. If you haven’t started, I strongly urge you to get going! Start writing what you know and grow from there. Don’t plan on publishing anything at this point, you just want to get things moving, progressing. Later, you’ll come to the decision about putting out a story and how to do it. My personal decision was to self-publish and I don’t regret it for a minute. If you’ve started writing already, keep going! Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it, because they are wrong. Often you’ll find people who tell you that because secretly they want to do it, and it’s easier to tear you down and have you quit than it is for them to actually try it themselves. Ridiculous, I know, but that’s the way human nature works.
Write because you love it. Write because it satisfies a part of you that nothing else can. Write because it moves you, makes you think, puts a sly grin on your face. Write because no one has put out a story quite like you can put out. Write because you have to, you don’t know why, but you have to. And when you’re done, smile to yourself, because you did it. You made your dream a reality. And not many people can say that.
Darren Kirby writes novels and short stories. His home on the Interwebs can be found at www.darrenkirby.com. He has more story ideas than he will probably ever get to, but it’s a challenge that he’s up for!