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I had an interesting experience when I started writing. Anyone who's stopped by the Why page knows a little bit about what finally made me sit down and write. Looking back now, I realize there was always this nascent desire to create something like the wonderful worlds I'd been reading about.

That really became evident as I remembered my first idea for an actual series. It's never gone beyond some fairly detailed back story, but I've got a couple dozen pages of handwritten notes kicking around somewhere that I put together back in 1998 or so.

That's all probably a story left for another time, but the interesting thing was that I did them all by hand, in pencil because that was what I was comfortable with. When the time came to sit down and start the first actual novel, I found that I couldn't use a computer do the little prep work that I actually carried out.

Instead I was once again using hard copy to get started. The interesting part came in that as I got used to using the computer for my writing, things go easier. Now I can outline equally well in soft or hard copy, and actually prefer to do it on the computer because then I can change things with greater ease.

A while back my wrists started bothering me and I looked into voice recognition software as a way of being able to continue to write without putting quite so much wear and tear on them. I ultimately gave the idea up because found that I couldn't get ideas to flow when it I had to verbalize them instead just being able to type them out.

I'd sit there and feel self-conscious and rather than having them just kind of fall onto the screen as I'd become used to having them do, a blank monitor continued to look up at me.

It wasn't until later that I realized the similarity between the two situations. I expect that given enough time and practice I'd have found that I was able to write by verbalizing my thoughts instead of just typing them.

I expect that most things are that way. What starts out hard becomes easier as we practice assuming we're willing to put the time and effort into perfecting that skill. As writers I think this is especially applicable to us. The days where a writer relied on the publishing house to take care of all the publicity for their book seem to have vanished.

It seems now that authors are required to become adept at an increasingly large array of non-writing skills if they want to be successful. I think as a group we tend towards more introversion and the idea of putting ourselves out there to the extent we'll probably have to if we want to make a go of it can be pretty intimidating.

Luckily by and large dealing with large groups of people is just like any other skill. It can be acquired and made our own if we're willing to make the requisite sacrifice.

Copyright 2009 by Dean Murray

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