It's Been A While

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So, I recently started writing again. Just a little bit, here and there. Blogging, mostly... Badly written, mostly... But writing nonetheless.

I used to call myself a writer; haven't for a while but maybe it's about time I did again. Writers write, and I am writing. Actually, you can see the stuff I used to write right here on Ink. Up until recently this site was titled Screenplays instead, because it is home to my old screenplays - most of them written in university, between 2008 and 2011. It was after that I decided I was going to pursue a career in writing. Or at least, that is when I started in earnest to do so. I looked at how to maybe break into screenwriting, a little about how to maybe get published... but so much of it came down to networking. So much of it came down to who you know. Publishers typically don't pick up work not submitted by an agent, and agents typically push work by established authors or written in established voices. The path to screenwriting, meanwhile, is... er... submit, submit, submit and submit to maybe get a radio play produced? Alternatively, you can self-produce a stage play... Alternatively, you can know someone or get really lucky in film or TV. It's a lot of work or a luck or both, and payment might be an even longer way off. Creative writing is not a super sustainable career; not unless you're really well established. And that raises a question of... how does one become established?

In any case, I wasn't going to be able to have a sustainable career in writing in the short to medium term. I needed something else. But I wondered if maybe that something else might also help me to establish some writing credentials. That's why I - ten years ago - pivoted into software development. Initially I was working on a social platform of my own design which allowed users to pick and share quotes from written works online. It was a browser plugin that parsed web documents like articles and blogs, and made each sentence individually selectable, and it was a website that collected those article fragments, those quotes in a database and shared them publicly with others. The idea was that this would highlight good writing, and make sharing the meaning of a document easier. I mean, we still have that problem on social media to this day. The way that articles are shared, people will see an image a headline and maybe snappy tag line; all they see is the hook, which isn't necessarily the same as the meaning of the document - they see the part that's designed to maximise engagement, not the part that accurately conveys meaning and intention. My project, Quotable, was a means to share quotes from such documents, which I thought (still do) would enable better communication about what we read online. The project didn't get funded, but it was impressive enough to score me a lot of work as a programmer despite having no background in computer science. I soon after stopped having time for writing, and have a ten year career in programming instead.

So it's been a while. And yet... I still want to be a writer. I have stories in me. Or not stories, but worlds I'd like to craft and story concepts I'd like to explore. There's also a lot, outside of fiction, that I'd like to write about: philosophy, happiness and wellbeing, my programming, science, film theory and perhaps more. I've started some of this already. And the adage is true, y'know? Use it or lose it. I'm so out of practise at this point, it is taking me some time to re-familiarise myself with the writing process. I still have work to do. But importantly, I don't want to stop. I want to keep doing this, and I want to start writing fiction again.

This blog, now titled Ink, is the beginning of my efforts to reintroduce myself to writing fiction. I intend to write and publish a little here, likely not as polished as could be... but I'm hoping I can get a little community feedback to help me there. And I want to write here about writing. Like... I've done so much already; I've written some TV reviews, some philosophical criticism, a little something that was semi-autobiographical. I'm figuring out what I enjoy writing and I what I feel most drawn to. I'm taking a break from TV reviews in fact, because they just didn't do it for me, or maybe I'm bad at them; they were very much just short rehashes of the events of each episode I'd watched.

I also intend to use this space to talk about research and development - the writing process. There's one piece of fiction in particular that I want to write but that I still haven't necessarily found the story in; it's more of a broad premise right now, with a lot of opportunity for storytelling, and lacking a major through line. It needs some discussion. But... all of that to come.

In the meantime, hi, hello, I'm Thom and I'm getting back into writing. You can find some words of mine on TV and pop culture over on my Popcorn blog, on wellbeing and philosophy at Happy, on programming at Undefined... and there's plenty more to come. Here's to the process!