My Journey Into Writing
I’ve had an interest in writing and storytelling for as long as I can remember. From a very young age I could quickly come up with a story, weaving plot, characters, symbolism, and locations into compelling fantasies that would captivate listeners and leave them wanting more. Sometimes, according to parents and teachers, my storytelling could get slightly out of hand, but it was amazing none the less.
The decision to write a novel didn’t come until I was almost finished with college. I only needed a few classes to finish off my college career so I had a light semester and decided to use some of my free time to begin writing. I wrote my first novel, around 75,000 words, and realized how hard it truly is to keep everything smooth and flowing in that big of a format.
After college, when I began my career as a farmer, I began writing in the off seasons. Instead of using the novel format, I was writing everything in screenplay format. The style was easier and it gave me very good practice in creating a longer arching story with more in depth characters. I viewed the screenplays as a form of first draft where I could see the entire story, watch the characters grow and develop, play with themes, and incorporate plot devises and symbolism.
Some of the first screenplays that I wrote I knew would be for practice only, but it was fun and a very good learning experience. As I developed my writing skills I began to read more books on writing and how to write. I was trying to discover all the information that I could about writing.
After leaving the farm, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I wanted writing to be a part of it. I was always hoping that the next story I wrote, the next idea I came up with would be the one that launched my writing career. Although my writing was good, and I was getting a lot writing time in, I wasn’t there yet; I wasn’t to the point where I had something good enough to show the world. When I started writing screenplays I was writing shorter, seventy five to ninety page works. After a few years of writing I had written a nine part epic, with each part being almost one hundred and twenty pages. I was confident that I had some stories that were ready to be shopped around.
I started to investigate the process of how to sell a screenplay. I quickly realized that with no industry background, no formal writing training, and no track record it would be a monumental task to complete. It was at that time when someone asked me about that first novel I’d written. I hadn’t thought about that novel in some time, but pulled it out and read it over. I realized just how many mistakes I’d made throughout it, but I also realized that I’d laid the groundwork for something special. I looked over the body of work that I’d done on screenplays, took one I felt was fully developed and strong, and began the process of novelization.
Once that novel was finished, I had come up with a couple of very interesting ideas for other stories. I began to create new screenplays when the unthinkable happened, a hard drive crash. Like most people, I didn’t panic but went to my backup drives and started to reset everything, but there was one problem, my novel had never been backed up. That was the moment when I thought about quitting writing. I had poured months of work, countless hours of labor, and a lot of energy into that novel. I had saved it every day and when it was finished I know that I burned it to a CD. I’ve searched everywhere but have never found that novel.
It’s strange how things work because right around that time I received a job offer that I thought would make a wonderful career. I was excited to jump on this opportunity and started working for a company in my hometown area. It didn’t take long to realize that this career was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I started writing again, using every free moment that I had to write as much as I could. It took about two and a half years, but I got two novels to the point that I was ready to share them with the world. Just like the hero’s journey, I left my home, had trials and tribulations, found success and failure, and made my way home, stronger, wiser, and ready to face the world. It was only when I was writing every day that my writing became good enough to develop and now I hope that with my novels I’m able to write every day, whether it’s for work or just for fun.
To see my works and to keep up with the comings and goings of the writing world, head over to my website, www.leifericksonwriting.com While there, you can read my blogs, see what new stories I’m working on, and of course, buy my books. Thank you.