Decisions, Decisions

I was curious. Did you know there are free online college level courses for writing? I searched it, there are dozens of links. Problem is, I’m not sure which one to take. Still, it’s sort of nice to have a choice. Online classes would give me the flexibility to do the work when I’m able, instead of having to show up in a classroom at a specific time. Makes me wonder if there are other types of classes I should be looking into, as well?

Success Through Adversity

If a person grows up with adversity, are they more likely to be successful as an adult?

Conversely, if a person has an easy childhood, are they more likely to fail as an adult?

I’ve been thinking about how some folks have horrible childhoods and grow up to not let anything stand in their way. Of course, I can also find examples of people who give up easily as adults, regardless of how their childhood was. I can also find examples of failed adults who had easy lives as children and successful adults who didn’t want for anything as a child.

So what exactly is it that drives a person to succeed as an adult? Is it just determination? Or maybe determination and luck?

Does growing up in poverty or abuse incline a person to be able to think outside the box more?

Does growing up happy mean you’re less likely to seek your own answers?

Does none of it matter and you will either succeed or fail depending on the opportunities presented to you and your willingness to take a risk?

How it all started

It’s embarrassing now, but back in 1976, there was a show call “The Hardy Boys Adventures” on TV. It starred Shawn Cassidy and Parker Stevenson. Yes, they were cute. Yes, my friends and I all had major crushes on them. Of course, we started writing fan fiction, back before it was called fan fiction. Back then, we would never have dreamed of publishing our stories because they were a direct rip-off of something already copyrighted. I still have that story.

Shows came, and went, some inspired other stories. Eventually, I started making up my own stuff. Usually under 10,000 words, nothing major. I met a bunch of artists when I made my first website (no longer there- the web company went under) We started forums and decided the best way to challenge ourselves was to try challenging each other to create works based on themes. Those forums are gone, now, as are most of the artists that were present. They didn’t die, they just sort of drifted away.

Then blogging became more popular. My circle of influences became larger. I love that the internet is a place where you can interact with people from anywhere in the world. It broadens the possibilities. So, now, I still write offline, but my online activities help to bring a wider experience than I would have had if the internet hadn’t become a part of my life. I hadn’t realized until a few days ago that I had been a closet writer for so long. It was just something there that I didn’t think about very much until  someone asked the question.

Caution: there may be names dropping from above

Somewhere around 1997, I realized there were actual readers who voted for awards like the Hugo and the Nebula. Until then, I’d always assumed it was high brow ivy league- read: absolutely dull because I didn’t know any better- English professors or publishers who decided these things. That was also a couple years after AOL really took off. I hadn’t been online since CompuServe was on mainframes at the school library, so the ease of access to authors had never occurred to me.

One night, my college roommate and I were talking on the phone and she invited me to join the WorldCon site. Then she said if I joined, I’d have to attend the convention and get the packet and decide which seminars I wanted to attend. She forgot to mention I should read the books up for vote that year, at that time, but she’d mentioned it early enough that I could almost make it through the stack before I needed to vote.

Oh my gosh, there were some wonderful authors on that list I’d never heard of! (no, if you want to know, go to the WorldCon site and look them up yourself! They’re still there, listed by year.) I’m still reading all of those authors today (some literally- like less than a foot away from my keyboard is one of them- the books, not the authors. They’re at home or at conventions, or something)

Where was I?… oh right, I remember.

So I learned about awards and authors and decided, just for laughs, I should see if I could find e-mail addresses for any of my favorites. They were there! I wrote to a few, received a few replies that started lovely conversations that I still cherish to this day.

But what had still not sunk in all the way- what took another 15 years to sink in- was that I might actually be able to be one of them. No, I don’t think I’m Campbell material, but maybe someday, if I work hard enough, I will write something one of my favorite authors would enjoy reading. Wouldn’t that be a lark? Someday, I want to open my e-mail and find a note that says, “What else have you written and how do I get a copy?”

 

Daily Prompt: Bookworm

Daily Prompt: Bookworm.

 

Right now, I’m reading an unpublished work of a friend of mine. When he publishes it, I will recommend it, but for now, I need to keep silent about particulars. It’s a “fast” read, his style is easy to follow, and the story s entertaining. Evidently, he has more than one book for this set of characters, so I’ll be interested to see what follows.

Gah, it’s hard to write about something you’re not supposed to write about yet!