Welcome to Writing from Behind the Curve. This blog is written to encourage, persuade, cajole, or reason you into the world of the written word—your written word! My premise is a simple one: Within many of you awaits a story to be told—whether as a fiction short story or as a novel. It’s something you’ve thought about for years, even decades. But as with so many things, life has gotten in the way. Perhaps you’ve had a full and demanding career, or you’ve been the chief orchestrator of your family’s growth—maybe both! With time having passed, maybe you’ve decided that it’s too late for you to tell your story, that no one will want to read what you have to say. Or you may think that first-time writers are mostly young and educated to be writers. But that’s where Writing fromBehind the Curve comes in. You see, this blog, while hopefully informative for people at any age, is written specifically for you who accomplished other things in the first half of your life, but still retain that latent flicker to tell a story that has been bouncing around in that noggin of yours for the past ten, twenty, or even forty years. If you think this blog’s premise is but a fantasy at this late date, please read on.
Today’s forms of advanced communications, as we know, are no more than a smartphone text or computer email away. It is this digital world that brings with it a stunning development for anyone who wishes to write—the “digital cloud.” This means that anything you write can be stored for reading, not just in your lifetime but for the next hundred, five-hundred, or thousand years! Whatever you write today becomes part of your personal legacy. Do you want your short story or novel to be read by family and friends, perhaps others, long into the future? With today’s technology, this is actually possible.
It is with this background in mind that this blog is determined to accomplish one thing: to rekindle your desire—no matter how dormant—to write. Let me also say that I write this blog from the viewpoint of the lay writer; I am not pretending to be a professionally trained writer. Accordingly, this blog is not written for the well-trained, well-educated journalist or author. What I am able to share with you, one lay person to another, however, is my personal journey from non-writer to writer, and to share the experiences gained and knowledge learned during that journey.
About now, you may be thinking that I am someone who is about to take you through a technical class on writing. No, that’s not it; that couldn’t be further from the goal here. Let me give you an example of where I am going with this. When I was regularly visiting in-residence patients at a healthcare center in Durango, Colorado, I met Hildy, a wheelchair bound woman in her late seventies. I immediately recognized her love for reading; her small half room was stacked with books in every nook and cranny. She had a wonderful vocabulary, no doubt the extension of her voracious appetite for the written word. I had just completed the rewriting of a novel and, at her request, I agreed to share it with her. A couple of weeks later, we sat together to talk through the novel’s storyline: its protagonist, its other characters, its main plot and subplots, on so on. It was then that I asked this bright woman if she had ever written anything. No, but she had often thought that she would like to. So with a small amount of encouragement from me, she began, for the first time in her life, to write a few short stories.
During my visits to Hildy over the next couple of months, she would read me her stories; they were charming, touching, clever, and well written. One morning while I was shaving, the phone rang; it was Hildy. “I’m sorry to call so early, Dick, but I just had to tell my mentor. I have just been informed that I’ve won two first place ribbons and one honorable mention for the three stories I submitted to the county fair.”
The point in telling you of this special lady, gone now, is to argue for a renaissance in the way we think about writing. Statistically, some eighty percent of adults, when polled, have indicated that they wanted to write a book at some point in their lifetimes, but that only two percent actually do. I believe there are good, corrective answers to the disparity in these numbers, and that there is a way to finally write that long lost story. It just takes a different frame of reference, as I will discuss in the next blog.
I was in my mid forties, after a lengthy career in business, before I put word one to paper, so please don’t think that your age, if advanced, is in any way a hindrance. I believe Hildy proved that. This blog is written to encourage all of us, especially those with decades of life behind them, who may have long ago given up on putting pen to paper, or should I say fingers to keyboard.
Join me in this endeavor, this attempt to create something that will finally fulfill your latent desire to write that short story or novel. Writing anything has always been an intellectual challenge for most people, but what a wonderful and worthy challenge it can be. Dementia related disorders are the concern of many today, so what a fabulous way to stimulate the mind with something important and far above the trivial. Always remember, if you have something to say—only you can say it. The end product will be your end product and no one else’s—-something to be proud of.
This is the first episode in a semi-monthly blog. Above all, I hope it to be interactive, with much correspondence not only between you and me, but an exchange of information and experiences among all of our participants. Tell me what you think about joining in. I sincerely hope that you do. It’s not too late; it never was. Please retweet this blog! Thanks.