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Answering the call
A howl down the canyon of time
I’m typing on my mechanical keyboard with the dense Oregon forest as my backdrop. It’s early morning, just after sunrise. I’ve spent some time writing, but mostly I’ve been thinking… Planning.
My tea isn’t hot anymore, but it’s still lukewarm. I take a sip.
I’ve almost pressed the “publish” button for this post half a dozen times in the past week.
I decided back in December 2020 to pursue a “focused hobby” in writing. The wheels have been in motion ever since. I hired a professional designer to create a logo and branding. I coded and deployed a website. I found an editor who encourages me and helps me grow.
The obvious, well-defined items have been checked off, and yet, it’s still unclear to me how to proceed. I’ve spent countless hours thinking about how I want to fit writing into my life.
I could attempt the traditional publishing route, but getting your first book published is a difficult barrier to break through. And even among writers who successfully get their books on shelves, 99% don’t sell enough to make a dependable living.
My worst fear is that my writing becomes entombed inside my computer because my work never gets published.
Right now, I know two things.
I want to write. And I want people to read what I write. Even if it’s only 100 people and I never make any money.
That’s what sparked the idea to publish stories one chapter at a time on my website. My ultimate goal is to someday publish print books, but there is something freeing about the ease of publishing my writing online, piece by piece, as soon as it’s finished.
I like this strategy to start with because it maximizes the time I spend writing.
I’ve always been an unintentional jack-of-all-trades. I have a thousand interests that I zigzag back and forth between, searching for something that sticks.
Writing is the only thing that’s ever stuck.
When I was a kid, my cousin and I stapled sheets of notebook paper together and wrote spin off stories to Pokemon, The Magic School Bus, and Charlie’s Angels.
In high school, I spent my weekends writing books I never finished or let anyone read. Ironically, I hated reading during this period of my life, but even then I was inspired to create stories.
In college, I used the precious free time I weaseled out of my demanding engineering curriculum to write while everyone else went to parties. Then I scheduled appointments at my college’s Writing Center where graduate students reviewed my work. This program was intended for undergraduates working on school assignments, but I brought chapters of random novels I was working on and loved getting live feedback as they read through.
Writing has always inspired me. It fills a void I can’t define. When I’m typing on my keyboard, it feels like I’m following a cosmic mission from the universe. It’s taken me 28 years, but I know now that writing is my calling.
So here it goes.
I’m going to hit “publish.”
And I look forward to the morning someday in the future when I’m looking out into nature, thinking nostalgically about this moment.
The moment I answered my calling.