Hi. My name is Kyle. I’m 26 years old and I am a writer.
Am I published? No, I should be so lucky. In fact, if I were to be asked what I do for a living my honest answer would be “I work in Life Insurance”. But if I’ve learned anything in life so far, it’s that aspirations are the most important thing a person can hope to have. I’ve also learned that positive and assertive thinking can go a long way. It is for this reason that I’m not going to call myself a ‘customer service representative’ on this blog, but instead I will declare myself as the man I want to be: A writer.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember (quite literally) and yet I’ve never finished a polished manuscript ready to send off to an agent or publisher. When I was four years old I used to write stories on our Commodore 64 computer (bearing in mind this would have been back in 1991) for my parents to read. I went on to write (badly) illustrated stories in primary school, and then took my passion further when, at 16, I endeavored to write my first novel: Sorcerer Chronicles.
The novel was a disaster, I can assure you. It was a badly written story that somehow managed to be predictable and full of plot holes at the same time, with cliche characters that overused words like “guys” and “cool”. Back in those days – from my youth until I was about 20 years old – I wrote only for my own pleasure and with absolutely no thought or desire to become a writer. Back then it was just an exercise in self-expression. A way for me to get my never ending and overactive imagination down on paper.
At some point, I decided that it was what I wanted to do with my life. I say “at some point” like it was a vague and ambiguous time when, in fact, I can tell you that it was in the year 2006 when I was enjoying my first year of University. I discovered at that time that the course I was studying – Video Games Design, to be precise – was not meant for me. The entire reason I had taken on the course in the first place is because I thought it would be an easy way for me to make my stories a reality. The thought of attempting to become a published author had never even occurred to me.
One of the reasons that writing a novel didn’t seem like the right thing for me at the time was, quite simply, because I didn’t read. I had meandered through the Harry Potter series and picked up some occasional teenage-fiction throughout my childhood, but reading was never enough of a passion for me. As I grew up stories like His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown caught my attention, but still not enough to ignite a passion for reading.
During this time I had decided that I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to turn my passion into my career, and I was going to stop at nothing to get it. I was attempting to write, but I soon discovered that I was getting nowhere. My writing style – the prose, the characters, the dialogue and description – all seemed stuck in a place where it simply wasn’t advancing or getting any better. The big change and the big spark came one evening when I was speaking to my parents at their house when I still lived there.
Both of my parents are big readers – they enjoy a good fiction. Both of them had read a variety of different novels by different writers in their younger years and they had a lot to recommend to me. My Mum, an avid reader of crime novels (among others), recommended James Patterson (of whom I had read one or two novels before) and Patricia Cornwell – both for accessible and enjoyable reading that would get me into it as a regular hobby. My Dad, who enjoys things that are more fantasy-based, recommended Mirrors by Graham Masterton (which I finally read earlier this year) and novels by writers like Peter Straub. One author my parents could both agree on for easy reading and entertaining stories, however, was Stephen King.
That night I latched on to the idea of King as a writer, reading all sorts about his life and finding out about his more famous novels (Carrie, Misery, The Shining etc.) and in my search through the vaults of Wikipedia stumbled upon tales of his magnum opus, The Dark Tower. I purchased the first entry in the series, The Gunslinger, that night via amazon.co.uk and the rest, as they say, is history.
To cut a long story short: I read the entire Dark Tower series in about two years (when I was a much slower reader), finishing just in time for the release of the eighth novel The Wind Through The Keyhole. Since then I have endeavored to read, at the very least, a novel every month (a goal that I succeeded in last year and am on the way to reaching this year too). Since then I cannot describe to you how much my own writing has evolved and improved. This is mostly thanks to Stephen King, whose writing style I have studied and admired, eventually coming to read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which is undeniably the best tool I’ve ever used to improve on my writing.
So now I come to this blog. The reason for this is because, after what feels like years of toil, I am nearing the completion of my first ever manuscript. A story that, at the moment, is tentatively titled ‘Haunt‘ and, after working and reworking over it for months, I think may actually end up being good enough to be published and paid for by readers like myself. I’m still a ways off, but this is the beginning of my journey towards getting published.
My writing idol, Stephen King, had his first novel Carrie published when he was 26 years old. I intend on being ambitious and saying that I want to achieve the same goal. This blog may end up highlighting an inevitable failure (which, at this point, I will only barely acknowledge as a possibility), but it may also pave the way for a normal customer service representative from Devon in England to become what he wants to be. It may follow me on the journey I want to have. The journey to becoming a writer.