By Brandon J. Greer
It is an incredibly rare thing to find yourself doing what you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe it hasn’t been what you have always wanted to do, but for as long as you can remember.
Things changed for me over the years, but one thing remained constant. I wanted to do something where what I was doing would be noticed. It started in elementary school when I wanted to be an artist. I would carry around a backpack my grandpa gave me filled with paper and colored pencils. This desire followed me to junior high and into life after high school. However, high school brought another passion. Acting. My sophomore year brought about drama classes and theater. I loved being on the stage in front of an audience.
That dream slowly started to fade. For a few years after that I floated. I did what I needed to do to survive, but I was passionless. I spent much of my time traveling to Alaska. It was my first summer working in Denali National Park and I finally discovered writing. It was simple at first. Funny little poems and silly flash fiction pieces, but I enjoyed it. More importantly, people wanted to read what I was writing.
I wrote for a number of years in secret, never letting more than a few people read my work, but I had dreams. I wanted to write a novel that would change the world. I wanted to create a story that everyone would love. There was only one problem. I didn’t know how to write a novel. I wasn’t good at writing anything longer than ten pages. I’d tried before, but I failed. The one day something clicked. An idea swan through my head. It was piggybacking on an idea for a short story I had had.
In my earlier writing days, I wanted to write silly fairy-tales, which I still do. I had the notion that I would create what I call Children’s books for adults. Picture books with a more adult humor to them. One of these stories was going to focus on the giant’s side of things in Jack and the Beanstock. I was going to name him Charles. He was just a normal child, but his parents had angered a local witch. In her rage, she cursed the boy to grow at an unnatural rate. If you know the story, there was a giant, so things didn’t go so well for Charles.
As I was writing, different ideas danced through my head. Ideas that would change my short story into something much, much more. The beginnings of a novel. At that time, I still didn’t have the patience for writing something that long, so I put it on the back burner. However, even on the back burner, it was almost eighty pages long. It was the longest thing I had ever written.
Sad story. That sat in my drawer for years. Untouched, unloved, and unfinished. Yes, I would pull it out every now and then and leaf through the pages, but I ran into another problem. I was reading a lot, so I knew how books should read, and my story didn’t read anything like them. It was a travesty. I shoved the story deeper into the drawer and forgot about it.
Time went on and another idea came into my head. By this time, I had read more books in a few years than I had in the rest of my life. I knew, deep down, what a novel should be. The new idea was a mystery to me. I had a character, a basic plot, and a starting point, so I sat down at my computer and began.
It took me a couple years, but I had it almost finished. The bad news? I stopped. I needed some time away from it, but I wasn’t in a good habit of writing every day. The good news is, is that I pulled out my first story again. And do you know what? I didn’t hate it any more. I saw some potential. So, I dusted it off, read it through, took what I liked, tossed what I didn’t, and started over.
The change was dramatic. I decided that with an almost completed novel under my belt and a better outline, I would try my hand at Nanowrimo. (National Novel Writing Month)
The goal for Nanowrimo is to write fifty thousand words. For those of you not familiar with word count, that is not a small number. That is half of a three hundred and fifty-page novel. It’s not chump change.
Well, I set into a rhythm and began. It was hard work. I had to dedicate a lot of time and energy to it, but I completed the goal, and then some. I ended up finishing the novel in January of this year. But, I didn’t quite get there. I went back to my other novel and finished that. Currently, I am working on my third novel with ideas for at least fourteen more.
It was a battle. It was brutal. But I had made up my mind, and it is still made up. I love writing. I love to create stories, but I love it more when I know people are enjoying them.
If you are interested in knowing more, I have information on facebook, goodreads, and Amazon. My name is Brandon J Greer and I am living my dream.