Writing is the strangest thing I’ve ever done. I have an odd history with it, as a young boy, its what I wanted to do… well that and be a Ghostbuster. I remember setting up my study desk an home with pencils and paper and writing long hand. I even remember my first attempt at a novel, and for a young man in his pre teens it still surprises me what I decided to write about.
My first attempt at writing was a murder mystery, but not like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. The pages now long gone, I still remember the detective and the murder scene. I recall how the murderer was eventually caught and how my secondary characters supported my great and amazing detective. In a lot of way it was my pre pubescent idea of a film noire detective. I even remember the scene I had written where the young attractive blond walks into the room of the run down detective agency. Perhaps I had seen this on TV, or perhaps I had pieced it together watching shows with my parents, I’ll never know.
What I do remember was shortly after that, my school decided to label me as “learning disabled”, or LD for short. They told me that I had no aptitude for the written word, and that my spelling and grammar was four years behind my classmates. While I agree with them that I could not spell then, and for sure still cant now, the written word is my passion. God gave me a desire for it, and the ability to understand it. I remember sneaking around reading John Grissom and Stephen King, I would sneak through the double doors into the high school to find out what the English lit class was reading. While kids where looking for bikini clad photos or naked women in National Geographic magazines- Edger Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, and Hemingway where my drug of choice.
This stigma destroyed my desire to write. If you walk into a room everyday and a person looks at you with pity because you have issues with figuring out difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’ your interest disappears. Not because of the lessons but because of the pity for how stupid you are. To be fair I still write things in the wrong places, put punctuation where it has no business being and butcher words. I adore the process of writing however, and reading is better then any TV or Movie anyone has ever produced.
When I start the writing process from an outline, I start with a vague idea of what I will write. Then I watch it unfold on the page. I’m shocked to see what happens and how my characters progress, how things that I outlined fall aside to the power of creation and the shocking moment when what I think should happen, just doesn’t.
Yes it’s s strange art form, and its a labor of love. I encourage each of you if you know a kid who likes to write, read his writing. Read it and help them get better, but whatever you do, don’t discourage them. Help, don’t pity or judge them. God put in their hearts a gift, and that gift can go dormant if its not feed, and it can easily die if its smothered.