Monday, February 2, 2009

Here we are...

I admit it: I am a professional technologist. I enjoy what I do. I hold a master's degree in business from USC. I've launched a successful technology start up. I've worked for a couple of world class companies. I love to lead my team towards extraordinary results.

...But certain things are coded in your DNA and try as I did, I could not take the desire to tell stories out of my blood. Story telling continues to pop up in my life. Let me explain.

In 1997 I was shopping around a concept for a video game. It was great fun. Got a great agent, was spreading the word, a publisher was very interested... but in the end I didn't get the right team in place fast enough to respond to the needs of the publisher. More importantly I discovered something in the process. I loved telling stories that were unexpected and funny. My concept paper and presentation was based on this fact and it worked. My first hint that maybe writing was in my blood.

Through this effort I was found by a director of documentaries who wanted to do a pilot for kids programming and he needed a segment writer for video games. I wrote a couple of pieces that he incorporated into the pilot.

A couple of years later I thought I would write a novel... why not? I gave up after about 5,000 words. It felt like I was creating a comic book character... no, not a good one. Two dimensional characters that were more cliché than interesting. Not ready for prime time...

When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I wanted some professional help with the nursery. Since I didn't want to pay for it, I decided to see if HGTV would be interested. I completed the application for the show "Design on a Dime." Within three days I got a call. Before I knew it the producer and the team were in our house discussing the project. I'll never forget it when the producer asked me "Are you a writer?". I paused not sure why she would say that. Then she said, "Your application was so funny that it caught our attention."

In 2004, I had the audacity to start writing a story about our two cats Ernie and Oscar. It was shortly after Oscar passed away that I got the inspiration to write a fictional story about them. We always felt that there was something magical and divine about this little furry guy that showed up at our door begging for food. 20,000 words into it and I hit the wall. I guess changing jobs (and careers) after 10 years with Hitachi had something to do with it. My focus was my new career.

Then, in November of 2008, something bit me again. It was very innocent. I was in the bathroom (it's true... I can't help it) reading a recent issue of Mac World. The article was about applications for authors. As soon as I was done (get used to this...) I started looking up the applications that were reviewed. Before I know it, I was reading my story about the cats.

I didn't like some of the chapters, but wasn't sure I was ready to make the commitment. So I opened up my old copied of Writer's Digest and listened to Stephen King's On Writing. Man, the bug was biting me and biting me hard. I went up to my wife and said, "I am going to start writing again." She looked at me and said, "Okay."

With that pep talk I downloaded Scrivner and started to populate my last draft into the tool. I set a goal of 600 per day. Don't give me lip about that. I have two kids (almost 3 and almost 5 1/2) that sleep late (10 PM) and wake up early (5:30 AM). I get to write from 10 PM to 11 PM where I almost throw up on the keyboard because I am so tired.

I am now at 52,000 words and I'm worried. I am done with draft one but all the doubts are coming to the party. Also, I shared my first three pages with my wife and got a lukewarm reception. I got some soul searching to do here and I've decided that the best therapy is writing it out.

Thanks for joining the ride…


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