Is it possible to have a breakthrough on a Monday such as this? When the day starts well before the sun crests the horizon, there is plenty of time to face the challenges cluttering your life. By the time my coffee brewed from the Keurig and I began my morning commute, there were already challenges tumbling around in my sleep addled brain. Too bad the coffee doesn’t even kick in until I am 30 minutes into the drive. Nevertheless, there is an idea bouncing around in my head that has been plaguing me for weeks now… writing. Where do I start?
I’ve been a journalist, a photojournalist, an editor, a webmaster, and even an international media liaison, but none of those jobs were on my behalf. They were all for someone else; more specifically, for the Air Force. It was easy enough to pick a story idea, especially if it was a newsworthy event. On the other hand, now I am trying to do this for myself. I don’t want to write about the Air Force’s Core values, or about the next multi-billion dollar fighter jet debacle. (F-35 anyone?) I want to write about what is near and dear to my heart… if only I could find the inspiration to get the ball rolling. If only I could break through the constant chatter online to reach new readers.
I recently read On Writing by one of the most prolific writers of the modern age, Stephen King. Sure, he is mostly known for his horror stories, like The Shining and Carrie. But did you know he also wrote The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption? Those were all major Hollywood blockbusters, but they were King’s novels before they hit the big screen. He has written literally thousands of stories, even penning some of them under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, which still garnered critical acclaim.
His book, On Writing was actually a pseudo-autobiographical story detailing his life, and his approach to writing. It turns out that even though he has an extraordinary talent for spinning intricately woven tales of horror, suspense, and intrigue, his inspirations and methodology are quite straightforward. It can all be boiled down to this: sit down, and write. Obviously, his book expounds on that quite a bit, but at his core, he approaches writing as his job, a day-in, day-out, this-is-what-I-do-for-a-living job. He just does the work.
I found it quite fascinating, and now I hope to have a breakthrough by applying that method in my own way. Stephen King isn’t a blogger, but I think his approach could work quite well here too. Just write. Just sit down and do the work. So here we are, you the ever constant reader, and I, the intrepid blogger, on a journey to new and exciting destinations. None of which have been handed out by the Air Force, but rather chosen by me; sometimes on a whim, and at other times by the daily prompt. Perhaps we are on the precipice of new horizons. I certainly hope so.
Personally, there are many writers that I am extremely fond of. In addition to King, there are writers such as Ted Dekker, Dean Koontz, Dick Francis, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and many other novelists. It fascinates me how they can ensnare the mind with vivid imagery that exists only in written words. They have the ability to draw me in, to shut out the real world, if only for a moment in time. I am also a big fan of Dave Barry, the columnist for the Miami Herald. While he may not be as prolific as King or Koontz, his humor and sharp wit means he ranks as one of the most widespread columnists in the country, if not the world.
I have been reading Barry’s columns for more than 20 years now, and I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that he has been a big influence. It’s the twist he puts in his writing that intrigues me. In many of his recent columns on the Summer Olympics, he explains how the most athletic event he was able to see was the cab driving to the venues. And forget about Michael Phelps, Barry was impressed with the stamina of the security guards posted outside of each venue! It may seem like a triviality, but that is what makes it work so well. You never saw it coming.
For myself, I don’t have the comedic timing of Mr. Barry or the legions of fans devoted to Mr. King, but I have to start somewhere, right? So, I have started here on WordPress, and that is sort of a breakthrough on its own, is it not? Perhaps my little poem will go viral, probably not, but that’s okay. I would rather deeply touch one life than be glanced at by a million. So if you, dear reader, are inspired to start writing for yourself, congratulations! We have both made our own breakthroughs!
Who knows what the future has yet to unfold?
Or where life may take us,
When we are wrinkled and old?
One thing I know is definitely sure,
The spark for this writing
Is unblemished and pure.
It wasn’t hatched by some general
Behind an oak desk.
It came from my mind,
And to me, that’s the best.