Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop

This is a new departure for me, my first contribution to the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop.

I’ve looked at what others did last month and tried to do the same here. If you’re reading this, I guess it must have worked.

First, the ISWG preamble

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

January 8 question – What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?

Here’s my contribution.

Why did I become a writer? This is what I tell everyone who asks.

I was never a writer.

I was a reader, right from the day that the squiggles on the page made sense. I was a devourer of the words of others. I grew up and became a captive audience, a traveller in ships of metal, crossing the oceans with goods for trade. It was just me and the sea and a library of other people’s books.

You joined the ship with a book, you left it behind. Part of you travelled on just as part of others accompanied you. There were as many different books as there are seafarers, but they all had a tale to tell. And with time on my hands, I read every one that I could.

I was never a writer, I wrote short, stilted letters home. I saw the wonders of the deep and could only say that it was sunny. I never put into words the things I saw, the majesty of soaring, sunlit clouds, a green flash at sunset, the countless stars or the frolicking dolphins. I smelt sandalwood on the breeze, explored distant lands and kept it to myself.

Yet…, somewhere, a part of me must have been paying attention, filing it all away.

Then one day, I tired of it all, I hung up my sextant and left it all behind. I swapped my rolling deck for a stationary desk.

I had a life, I did other things, I was still a reader, maybe not so much, family life saw to that. But when I could, I’d escape into another world, a world created in someone else mind. And without letters to write home, I wrote reports instead, factual accounts of what I had done, official prose. I found them hard to write. Because I was never a writer.

Then, one day, I had a dream, I was in it, but it was set in a different place. I was moving cargo around again, I had just exchanged my ship on the water for a ship in space. The cargo was the same and a lot of the routine was similar. In my dream, I was Dave Travise, a loner with only the regrets of his past to keep him company.

I had the dream again and again.

In the end, I wrote my dream down, it took me a long while. As I wrote I remembered more of it and the account grew. I hoped that once I’d exhausted my memory, the dream would vanish and leave me alone; after all, I was never a writer.

It worked. When I’d finished, the dream stopped, as if the very act of committing it to paper had satisfied it somehow.

I got on with my life, grew old and retired.

Then, I had another dream. This one was different. I wasn’t in it. Instead, I saw a farm on another planet. I knew that I was looking at a microwave generator, whatever one of those might be, then I saw the girl. She was running for her life. I awoke feeling like I had been an invisible observer to a real event. I wrote that down too, even though I was never a writer.

Then it dawned on me, the two stories could be connected, could be part of a bigger tale. More than that, they could be added to. If only I was a writer, I could do that.

It was like opening a floodgate. I stopped having the dreams when I was asleep. Instead, I had them when I was awake, they would sneak into my head when I was doing other things. I watched a film in my head, I could slow it down and rewind it, but I could never fast forward. I typed what I saw, never looking at the words filling the screen.

Reading the pages back, when the film stopped, was a revelation.

I had created people and places, situations and…, a story. And I had done it without knowing where it would lead. Yet it all made sense. It might have needed a little tidying up, but it had a beginning, a middle and an ending. Dave Travise had come alive, he was as real as anyone in anything I had ever read. And the more I wrote, the more there was to write.

Dave Travise was joined by a host of other people, who must have been waiting in some corner of my mind.

There was Horis, from the Ministry of Coal. There was the ill-fated Myra. There was the reluctant and accident-prone amateur detective, Andorra Pett. And many others. They all had tales to tell, they jostled for time and attention, filling my mind with their exploits and keeping my keyboard clattering. I never knew what they would get up to next, never saw anything further than what was on the screen when I stopped typing and looked up. Through my fingers, they explored the galaxy, fought crime and righted wrongs. In short, they lived, they loved and all too sadly, occasionally they died. Their passing always left me with sorrow, although it hadn’t been my doing. They had decided when they had done what they needed, when it was time for them to go. They had been created in my mind, borne by my fingers, they had life and a purpose, suddenly they weren’t.

The number of novels and short stories grew, I got an editor and started to publish them myself. I lacked the confidence to ask the opinion of the experts. It was my hobby, I was never a writer.

Then the fun started. “What happens next?” asked a reader, “What happened before?” asked another, “What does this mean?” wondered a third.  It surprised me that people wanted to know, that I had made them interested enough to want more. At first, I thought that it meant that I hadn’t given them enough, then I understood that I hadn’t given them too much. To explain and answer their questions, I asked the characters and via my fingers, they told me.

And they keep on telling me.

I was a writer.

I hope you enjoyed that.

I’d love to get your comments, please leave them below. While you’re here, why not take a look around? There are some freebies and lots more content, about me, my writing and everything else that I do. You can join my newsletter for a free novella and more news by clicking this link.

Check below to find the other blogs on the hop.


26 Responses

  1. Heather

    Welcome to the IWSG!!
    Make sure you visit the FB page often and the website has a ton of information for writers at all levels!
    We’re so glad you found us!

    I love your ‘beginnings’ story. I hope your ‘hobby’ keeps you writing!

    Best wishes!

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you. There is a lot of content to explore. my hobby certainly keeps me busy, I hope it also entertains a few people as well.

  2. joylene

    Wow, Richard, I think your destiny was bound and determined you’d follow along. Congratulations on letting it unfold.

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks, it seems to me as if I had little choice in the matter, there must be a reason.

  3. Jemi Fraser

    What a fun journey to becoming a writer! Glad you listened to those dreams and let them pour onto the pages!
    Welcome to the IWSG – it’s an amazing group.

    • Richard Dee

      I guess it was all meant to be. Thanks for the welcome, great to be here.

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you, I’m looking forward to being a part of it all.

  4. Mandy

    Beautiful explanation! It is obvious you are a writer. And it is obvious it is something you enjoy! Thank you for sharing your story/stories!

  5. Ellen Jacobson

    Welcome to the IWSG! I enjoyed reading about your writing journey, especially the part about how your story dreams started happening when you were awake instead of asleep.

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you. That was the moment when it all changed and I realised it was important to write it all down

  6. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Welcome to the IWSG! You’re in the right place.
    That a series of dreams would finally lead to a story, one that would prompt you to put it together, is awesome.

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you, it’s funny how it all came together, as if it were meant to be.

  7. J.H. Moncrieff

    Welcome to the IWSG, Richard! Sounds like you’ve had quite the interesting life.

    This is a wonderful, supportive community. You’re guaranteed to make some great new writing friends if you stick with it.

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you, I have to take a good look around and see what the other bloggers have said.

  8. Nick Wilford

    I liked the story of how writing snuck up on you. I think that happens to a lot of us. And I think calling yourself a writer is definitely a big step, but you’ve earned it for sure. Welcome to the IWSG!

    • Richard Dee

      I figured that if it was out there and people were buying it, I was a writer. Even though it was never my intention.

  9. Sonia Dogra

    I loved it! Loved your journey and what a fun and wonderful narrative. Welcome aboard and I will look forward to reading more from you! Have a great writing year!

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you, I’m enjoying the journey; who knows where this year will take me?

Comments are closed.