There’s a Writer Inside Me

By Jan Gayle

A year and a half ago I had never even dreamt of writing a fictional story let alone a full length novel. After over twenty years in the military, the only writing I did was brief concise factual reports–boring. Then one day an old friend of mine told me he had written a short story, and would I read it for him. I said sure; I always love a good story, and he’s one of the best story tellers I know. I wanted to see what he had written. As I started reading it, I thought, I could do this. I told him a little about an idea I had. It was nowhere near a real plot. He told me to write it down, and send it to him. I declined at first, then one day I just started typing about a couple of characters I had in my head–I loved it. I’ve discovered some of my best friends are my characters.I desperately wanted to see what would happen to them. In just over a month, I had 60,000 words and a real plot. I had no idea I would enjoy writing. Now, fourteen months later, about ten DIY books on writing, a creative writing course at the community college, three complete manuscripts and a monthly writer’s group meeting, and I think I’m actually getting better at a skill I had no idea I had.

The technical aspect is pretty straightforward, and I feel like I have a good handle on it. It’s the creative part I struggle with. I get a partial idea, and I start thinking I might have something, but then I can’t come up with a complete plot. I go to my muse, my amazing wife, just like I did with the first story. So far she has come through for me every time. We spend a few hours discussing my characters and my lame idea. Over the course of a few Friday-night-date dinners, we’ve figured out a pretty good plot. I haven’t been able to plan out a story start to finish in an outline with well-developed characters. I have to start writing about the people in my head. If I don’t just start nothing ever happens. After reading all the books on writing a novel, the one thing I know for sure is that there is no single right way to write a story. You just have to do it your way. There’s still so much to learn and so many ways to improve. I know I’ll get better as time goes on and as I get closer to my 10,000 hours (“The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell). As long as I love writing as much as I do right now, I’ll keep doing it. I’m a long way from a master piece, but I’m shooting for that and with Jules by my side, maybe one day I’ll get there. In the meantime, the only way to get better is to write, write, write.

5 Responses to “There’s a Writer Inside Me”

  1. 1 T Little March 10, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Jan, thank you for your blog. My writing style is similar. I have an idea and characters but after a while the story would just stall without talking it over with my wife. So glad we have them around.


  2. 2 dave pederson March 10, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Very interesting! Keep writing!


  3. 3 francimcmahon March 10, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Jan, it is a whole new world, isn’t it? Being able to enter it as a choice, visit and revisit our characters, is a gift. Welcome to the writer’s alternate world(s).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 4 S.A. March 10, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Thank you for sharing! It’s refreshing to hear that you hit upon writing later in life and didn’t always feel the urge to do so; how wonderful that you’re finding and developing the skill now. It seems so many authors have always had a desire to write and have story ideas just pouring out of them… I like that you collaborate with your wife in a plot-development team effort; makes the process less solitary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 5 Devlyn March 11, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    Jan, thanks for writing. I’m glad you have your wife to run ideas past and to plot. As a reader, I look forward to the fruits of your labour.


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