Monday, March 12, 2012

30 Day Writing Challenge - Day 12

Today's challenge was simply entitled - Your passion - and so I resisted the urge to develop a short story and, instead, decided to just write honestly about the thing in life I'm most passionate about...

My Passion

There are many things I am passionate about but, it probably says something (and I'm not entirely sure that it's necessarily something positive), that I can lay claim to having held onto the same primary passion for more than thirty years. You see, regardless of the huge changes wrought on me and all my experiences, my passion for writing remains undimmed...

I can't pinpoint the moment when my interest in writing first began; to my mind, I have always loved to write. As soon as I could read stories, I wanted to reformulate them and use them as inspiration to come up with my own variants. I've still got some old school exercise books from when I was about six years old. While most of my friends were writing about what they did the weekend before, I was instead intertwining the reality of my weekend with fantasy and telling stories about spacecraft and robots - spinning in elements from Star Wars and Doctor Who with the panache that only a six year old can muster.

It wasn't something I outgrew. As I grew older, I'd frequently be found at the old typewriter, bashing away at it as I produced reams and reams of stories with a bottle of Tipp-Ex always at hand (this was, after all, an era before the luxury of the delete button). My only desire at this age was to be a writer; it was what I loved, what I believed I was good at. To comprehend doing anything else was simply madness.

Then life got a bit more serious and, somehow...almost accidentally...I ended up in the games industry as a game designer. Life changed. I bought a house, got a mortgage. The hours mounted up and up and up. By the end of my first project I was working over 100 hours per week for a period of three months. There was no spare time, let alone time to try and write. And so, over the next decade, I poured my creativity into games and my writing in games and found myself with little time to do anything else aside from the occasional dabble with the odd short story or two (one of which won a national competition in 2001). But, at the back of my mind, I knew that games weren't fully sating me, that they couldn't scratch the itch that was my desire to write.

When I moved into teaching, I promised myself I would be able to find more time, would dedicate more energy and resources to some of the partially written novels I had built up over the years but, strangely enough - despite it being my passion - I found that it was a struggle to eke out openings in my schedule. There was plenty of work involved in teaching and, it turned out, it was a minor passion in its own right - I refused to accept anything except the best from what I did (my students may disagree!) and this new career ate up more and more of spare time.

So, I decided that the only way to ensure that I found the time to dedicate to my passion was to set up this 30 Day Writing Challenge. It would, I figured, have two purposes. On one hand, it would be a public challenge - one that pride alone would surely prevent me from failing - but the real idea behind it was that these 30 days would enable me to get back into a routine of writing with real consistency. Every day, come rain or shine. I would refuse to be a slave to my schedule, would refuse to write only when inspiration struck - I was going to sit down every single day and pound the keyboard until I'd dragged inspiration up from wherever it had been hiding. And, by the end of those 30 days, I figured, that routine would carry me beyond this challenge and onto the novel that currently sits unfinished on a flash drive, waiting for me to continue it.

This 30 day challenge is as much about improving my discipline as it is a chance to shake off the rust of recent writing inactivity. And the more I write, the more I remember why I love doing this. No matter how tired I am, no matter how difficult it is to get the words from my head to the page, there is nothing that gives me such elation as when I write something that I'm truly pleased with. So I'll deal with whatever it says about me and admit that writing is, and always will be, my passion...

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