Imagination has been the single most important aspect of my writing. That might seem like a bold statement to some of you. Certainly, there is more to writing than imagination for there are many other traits you must possess to be a successful writer. Discipline, technique, skill, understanding of language and grammar—all of these are needed to further a career in writing. For me, imagination is the fire that fuels all of these things.
My mom was never shy about telling people about my overactive imagination (she’s a regular around this blog, so she just might tell you all about it). She worked a good half hour away from home, and since my daycare was close to her work, she had the pleasure of listening to my stories every day during the commute. In these early years, she was the outlet for my imagination, and because of her encouragement, she taught me to be a storyteller.
As I got older and my daycare moved closer to home, my primary outlet for my imagination (my mom) became scarce. My mom would still listen to my stories, but she was no longer my captive audience, and so everyday life had a tendency to cause interruptions. I think this was when I really started to live in my own world. Even though my imaginary friends had disappeared, I found imaginary worlds to take their place.
I would find excuses to lag behind the other kids when we walked to school, letting my imaginary worlds envelope me. I often spent recess playing by myself or with the few friends I had that could play along in my worlds. Hell, I played baseball with the YMCA in second grade and I couldn’t focus on the game because I was too caught up with my imagination (they stuck me far out in left field). I spent most of my childhood caught up in my imaginary worlds, and life just moved around me. People or places would interact or infuse themselves into my imagination or they wouldn’t.
In the fourth grade, I finally found a new outlet for my imagination from my teacher, Mary Jean McDonald. Supportive and encouraging of creativity, Mrs. McDonald taught me how to find outlets for my imagination. She read stories to us like “Where the Red Fern Grows” that taught me how much impact character development can have. She taught me how to write descriptively, to put my imagination into words. In the end, she inspired me, and I turned her lessons into a love for reading and writing. At last, I had a new outlet for imagination. The beast no longer needed a cage in my own head!
By the time I got into Junior High (Middle School for the rest of the world), I’d done so much reading and experimental writing that I felt confident finally writing down my stories and starting in on my writing career. I wanted to tell my stories to the world, and so I began doing just that. Imagination continued to be the driving force though. My walks to and from school would often find me absorbed in my worlds so I could write them all down as soon as I got home. My first “book” was born from the process, and though it was a pretty major dud, I didn’t give up. I let my imagination take me to another world, one that would eventually become home to Darr Reintol and Spirit Summoner.
In the past few years, I’m sad to say that my imagination has dwindled some. Between work and editing and parenting, I haven’t found a good place to submerge myself in my worlds. But make no mistake, those worlds are still with me. I might be a little stagnant, but my imagination is still brimming with ideas, lurking in the back of mind and seeking to escape in a brilliant explosion of metaphors and dialogue.
As I child, I wanted only to tell my stories to the world. I still want that, but my need to put my imagination out into the world led me to learn to write. I studied writing, literature, and philosophy. I met other authors and writers, and I submerged myself in the world of publishing in an attempt to understand it. All of these skills were fueled by my imagination…the single most important aspect of my writing.
The printer is down, and as head of tech-support here at the house, I’m on the case. We recently changes our Wi-Fi password, so of course, everything Wi-Fi needs an adjustment. The biggest pain so far (without question) is the GD printer. I can’t simply change the network settings. I have to uninstall the printer, download new software and drivers, and reinstall with the new password. So annoying.
But after sitting her for the last 45 minutes trouble-shooting (and now waiting for the installation to complete), I realized I have some free time. One thing I’ve been neglecting badly these last few weeks has been this blog and my website in general. This last round of edits kicked my ass, and I’m a little off my game, so here are some things I want to accomplish here in the coming weeks:
Blog post for “The Father”
I haven’t been busy only with editing. My day job has been loaded with a ton of new responsibilities that have pushed me stress levels to the max. The bright side to all the increased workloads has been Mondays. Not the usual, right? But Mondays are my day with Jacobi, so for one day a week, I would forget about the stress and just spend the day with my son. Even though I had some small work-related things on my mind, it was good to have a distraction. And that kid is a distraction I would like to write more about soon.
Blog post for “The Author”
With my freshly revised manuscript off to the editor one more, I have a bunch of new tips to share with my fellow writers (and those aspiring to be). Looking back, I’ve made some serious tumbles in my writing career, and I’m glad to finally have some help figuring them all out. POV, filter words, showing VS telling—these are all topics I’ve talked about before, but I feel their impact more with each revision. I owe Shawn a ton of thanks, and there really is something to be said about professional editing. Even though I spent years “perfecting” my novel, I can see now why I had trouble getting it off the ground. I’m glad someone finally saw the magic behind the story and decided to take a chance.
Blog post for “The Geek”
I’ve got a couple of things I want to blog about here. First, something I’ve been attempting to get back into lately has been comic books. I was a huge collector back when I was finishing up high school, but I only lasted a few years before I decided to spend my money on other things. Comics were way to further my imagination, and for a long time, I built and expanded my comic book series. Almost a full ten years later, I’m trying to pick up my love for comics again by ordering a subscription to one of my favorites from back in the day, The Uncanny X-Men. First couple issues have come in, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts.
I also want to talk a little about video games. After a long night of editing, I usually wouldn’t go straight to bed even though I should’ve. Some nights, I would take an hour and play some video games just to relax, which got me thinking about the role video games have played in my life. I really want to explore the idea in further detail, so I’m just throwing it out there.
Whether that was my last phase of editing or not, I still will have to take a look at the manuscript once it’s back from the proofers. That might take a while. But I have two more books in this series that I have to get back to work on polishing. Now that I’ve learned so many new tricks, I think the process might be much more rewarding.
I also have a social network to build. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit…all these networks that I’m trying to build an audience with have been left on the back burner for almost two months now. Time to get back to it.
Keep me honest people!