Growing Up or Why I Became a Writer

“Why do I need to grow up?” asked my nephew, in one of those rare moments when youth values age.

“Why do you ask?” I replied.

“Because adults are always telling me I need to grow up,” he answered earnestly.

Feeling his inquisitive eyes staring at me, I knew a simple answer would not suffice, especially since I’ve struggled with the same question for over fifty years.

I’ve tried to grow up, built boats and houses played architect,, took my shot at saving the world as a social worker, never quite made enough money as an entrepreneur, collected a surprising array of failed relationships but did manage to win a gold medal in speed diapering. I’ve learned I’m an inept ballroom dancer, that I like to eat good cooking but don’t have the patience to create it,that the wonders of Nature are an infinite source of inspiration, that death happens, and that the true riches of my life are the friends I’ve made and worked to keep along the way.

Although I treasure time with my family and friends, I’m quite introspective and often introverted. To borrow a line from Steve McQueen, “I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.: I must admit that after all the other “adult” careers I’ve tried, writing seems to suit me best. Writing is also a better fit for a blind guy than being a fly fishing guide. I’m not good at it yet, but I believe that by working at telling stories with solutions, sharing ideas that build a better world, I’ll perhaps make a positive difference with the life I’m blessed to live.

Writing is also wonderful as it gives me an acceptable adult excuse not to grow up. What else could I do where I can hang out in my imagination all day and people will just nod almost approvingly, and mutter, “don’t mind him, he’s a writer.”

“Tio!”

The voice snapped my attention back to the young boy waiting for the definitive answer to why he should grow up. There was a long pause.

“Growing up is not all it’s made out to be,” I finally replied, “I suggest you take as long as possible before getting seriously involved with adulthood.”

“I like it!” he said laughing and walked away.

My wife tells me I should be careful of what I say to children, they might believe me. She also pushes us to get out and enjoy life, to travel, go adventuring, and drink more wine with friends.

My wife is very smart and fun to live with, My kind of adult.

Be curious!

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You might also enjoy: Why I Write Poetry, The Story

Writing Well

What does it take to write well? I’m certainly not the person to spout forth on this. Yes, it is my goal to write well, to be a wonderful storyteller, to captivate with words, yet I don’t feel even close to that summit.

But climbing towards this lofty goal, I’ve found some guides who’ve made the way easier. These are writers whose commitment to excellence inspires me to better myself. I study them. I listen to their words, their language, their stories. And, in the midst of such explorations, I question who I am, what is my unique voice, how can I take these lessons and build my own authentic way of writing?

Here are some of the writers who inspire me to writing excellence:

Robert McKee, “Story: Substance, Style and Structure” McKee is the dean of Hollywood screenwriting gurus. His book, “Story,” is the Bible for screen writers. Why do I put this book at the top of my list? Because I believe that writing is storytelling, the essence of communication through the ages. Hollywood has spent a century perfecting the art of storytelling and McKee is the master teacher of storytelling through the medium of screenwriting.

Hemingway’s Top Five Tips on Writing Well.” A short yet complete article from Copy Blogger on the principles that guided Hemingway in his writing process.

William Zinsser, “On Writing Well.” The essence of good writing, simple and complete, always an inspiration and practical reminder of the path I must take to achieve writing excellence.

The Hero’s Two Journeys,” a seminar with Michael Haig and Christopher Voegler, two of Hollywood’s most sought after screenwriting consultants. Their seminar explores the roots of symbolic storytelling and lays out specific structure necessary to develop compelling plots.

Carl Iglesias, “The Six Essential Habits of Highly Successful Screen Writers.” An article in which Iglesias lays out the basics of screen writing, a.k.a. storytelling, success.

Stephen King, “On Writing.” Part memoir, part master class on creative writing, this is King’s story of the perils and principles of great writing and he has the credentials to stand behind his words.

Tio Stib, “A Blind Writer’s Guide to Excellent Audio Books.”
My book reviews of great books I’ve listened to, including a wide variety of genres and a list of Pulitzer Prize winners. My believe is that if I want to be the best I must study the best. That’s it for now. Any suggestions on other places to explore for writing excellence are welcome.

Best wishes for your writing success!

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