I first learned to type in 1982 on an Atari 800 computer using a program called master type. It was my brother Peter who brought it to my attention. He was four years older than me and his fingers were flying away at the machine. I was astonished at the speed and skill of my brother. His intelligence was phenomenal, and he was the one did so many inspirational things around me. It wasn’t just the program or the machine that taught me how to type -it was my brother.
Over the years he showed me how to write in a screenplay format as he lived in California and was a screenwriter for hire. By osmosis, Peter and I began our journey as writers who wrote movies that would never get made. Except, I did make one and it nearly killed me.
My brother was always so tremendously proud of me for making my first feature at eighteen. I didn’t realize it would take me twenty years to finish and break me. But across those twenty years, I wrote twenty features, none of those have seen any traction.
I was a person that wrote, but not a writer. That is what became clear over the last year. An assignment by professor John King where I hit the wall on a short story I just could not be proud of pushed me to the point where I flat-out didn’t want to even do a revision. But it was John that said, in summary, that the reason I needed to, even though I didn’t want to, was clearly because “we’re writers”. That’s when there was the reality of the needs of discipline and new ways to approach content creation beyond just works we love to write.
Through the last year, as I did my studies and started the “world-building” of my novel and facing incredible challenges that were crushing me, I maintained the thin line of my faith and my expression through written words. I did, after a year, truly know that I’d become a writer.
I am grateful for the last year with my peers and professors. I truly have hit the mark of evolution in going beyond writing just for self. After all, we write because we must.