Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest


Welcome to the Origins Blogfest! This is the fest where we all share the beginnings of how we became a writer. The idea comes from DL Hammons, who along with Katie, and Alex, are my co-hosts for the blogfest. For the list of all participants, just click on that first link.

So let's get to it.

I shared a bit about how I fell in love with reading on Friday at Project Mayhem. I think it's a natural progression to go from falling in love with books and reading to falling in love with writing. That's certainly how it worked for me. So after falling in love with Tolkien, and collecting everything I could that had anything to do with Middle Earth, it was easy for me to get hooked on Dungeons & Dragons.

My best friend in grade school was Irish Catholic, so he had seven older brothers, and one younger. They all played D&D together, so whenever I went over to their house, it was wizards and warriors and epic adventures. I think that's what first made me fall in love with writing. Not only was it making things up, and using your imagination, but there was such language! Gary Gygax may not have ever been a novelist, but he sure knew how to describe a monster, and he made up some very cool spells.

From there I progressed to reading all the fantasy I could get my hands on. A lot of it was tie-ins like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, but I also enjoyed original stuff like Pern, and Shannara, and so on. I think I tried to write my first novel when I was about 12. In sixth grade. It was on Wordperfect, on a monochrome screen, and I only made it a few chapters in.

Then my reading matured, and I got into spy thrillers by the likes of Le Carre, Ludlum, and Forysth. I started writing short stories, and even won some kind of contest for a short story I wrote that I can't even remember. From there I got into poetry, and trying to write song lyrics. All through high school I loved to write, and wrote all kinds of different things.

Then things changed, and life got in the way, and I didn't write a thing for over a decade. It wasn't until a few years ago that I decided to write a novel, but that's probably a story for another time.

124 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Earlier on, life got in the way for me too! It was called babies and I could barely do anything but stay awake never mind have the brain power to create and write!

Suzie F. said...

I can definitely relate to life getting in the way, too. I barely read or wrote for nearly 10 years. What's funny is that life often gets in the way now too, but the spark has been ignited and I fit in writing when I can.

Thanks for sharing your writing origins, Matt!

Miranda Hardy said...

I think a lot of people have taken time off because of other obligations. Glad you started up again.

Kyra Lennon said...

It's kind of reassuring to know that life got in the way for other people too. I always feel really lazy for not pursuing my dream harder than I did, but bills needed to be paid lol.

Melissa Bradley said...

I hear you on the life getting in the way part. Tolkien is amazing, isn't he? I got into writing through his friend Lewis and the world of Narnia.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

D&D did inspire the imagination!

Old Kitty said...

Hoorah for D&D and your catholic friend with his seven brothers. SEVEN.

Take care
x

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you loved fantasy. Me too. I loved Tolkien's books and was one of the first fantasies I read too. I would have liked D&D if I had time to play.

Thanks for sharing how you got into writing.

Juliana said...

I love fantasy too. D&D and I'm an ex World of Warcraft addict lol I try to keep away from the game so I can get some writing done ;)
Thanks for sharing!

SA Larsenッ said...

Life getting in the way can sometimes be the best thing to birth a true writer. :)

Christi Goddard said...

That sounds close to my origins as a writer. When I was a kid, I won an award for my writing and was taken to meet an author... whose name and face I can't even remember.

And oh, the memories. My D&D and AD&D books gather dust at the bottom of my bookshelf, but my kids drag them out from time to time to look at the pictures.

DL Hammons said...

I'm reading a lot of stories where writing gets pushed aside for the pursuit of the dollar and security, then rises from the ashes later in life. I'm the same way. Very interesting!

Thank you so much for co-hosting with Alex, Katie and me! It turned out so much bigger than I dreamed!! :)

J.L. Campbell said...

It's so common for writers to have a love of the written word. Seems like a natural progression from reading to making up stories.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Yep, life got in the way for me too, for a while. I didn't write for about three years - it was the most depressing time I've ever had. It's good you started again, though.

Tonja said...

What would the world be like without D&D? I wonder what that crowd would have done instead? Hang out at the game room at the mall maybe? Oh, wait, we did that too.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

D&D was probably the training ground for a lot of writers. *kicks self for not getting hooked into the game* :D

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful account how you got to write. I wrote mine yesterday as I am in the middle of packing, housework, and last minute things to do before setting out for the US. I fly Wednesday .
I hope I can get around to some of the others to read when I have the time.
Yvonne.

Jennee said...

Great story. It's amazing that when we do take breaks from writing, we still get ideas (and if they're really good we can hold on to them for years!)

Talli Roland said...

I think life gets in the way for many people - I know it did for me. Glad you found your way to writing again.

Claire Hennessy said...

Life is kinda annoying, isn't it LOL But better late than never, that's what I say, and at least you don't need to be young and fit to write!

Kelly Polark said...

I love that reading amazing books lead to the urge to write amazing books!
And yes, life has a way of getting in the way. :) But makes for more fodder for stories!

Mina Burrows said...

Love it! I was always intrigued by Dungeons & Dragons, but didn't get it to it like my brother did. Thanks for sharing! :)

April Plummer said...

That's probably our biggest problem - life. Especially if we have a day job too. Eeek! Thanks for the new follow - I'm following you too!

farawayeyes said...

Life the biggest problem and the greatest inspiration. When it's in the way - use it.

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Ahiers said...

it makes me wonder how many kids, like gradeschool, middleschool aged kids actually try to write a story or a book. I bet it's more than we realize

A Beer for the Shower said...

I started with fantasy novels too, and while I tried to write a bit of fantasy, everything kept coming back to humor. I have a humorous fantasy novel tucked away that might get published some day when I have a name for myself. A little easter egg of my collection, you might say.

Also, I haven't played in at least 10-15 years, but give me some dice and I could probably still roll up a D&D character. Nerdily enough (if that's not a phrase, I don't care, it seems fitting) I kinda miss that game.

Jess said...

That's so cool! It's always neat to see how other people started writing :)

Scarlett said...

It is funny how *we writers* often see Life, as getting in the way. As if this passion we carry around in us 24/7 would have us never leaving our computer's side... well, yeah.

These days I can think of little else than writing! It is still a struggle to please my kids, husband, and everyone else on the list. But, I write! I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to take that passion more seriously.

You're awesome, Matthew! So happy you're co-hosting the Fest. Thank you! And so glad you finally listened to your calling!

L.G.Smith said...

I can't believe how many writers started out with D&D. I guess it's a natural leap from that to writing, since it's all about word building.

Thanks for hosting the blogfest!

Stuart Nager said...

Life happens...we have to decide how it will derail us or move us forward. Thanks for the share, and co-hosting.

JeffO said...

Thanks for co-hosting, and thanks for sharing. I think a lot of us found writing early on and then took a break. I don't know why I stopped, but I'm glad I started again.

Ishta Mercurio said...

It's amazing how such a love of reading can mature into a desire to write something. I have that same feeling, both about books and about movies. I hope I can make both those things one day.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Life got in the way for me too . . . I wrote, and then didn't write, and then I wrote, then didn't, off an on for nearly twenty years. It's only been in the last five that I've been steadily determined.
Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for this blogfest!

Nicki Elson said...

It's cool the desire to write resurfaced. You know, one of my regrets in this life is that I never gave D&D a chance back in the day.

Margo Berendsen said...

I've noticed a lot of people gave up on writing and then got back into it after 6-10 years. (me, too). Well, I never really gave up - I just got too distracted with life there for a while! I love discovering another fantasy fan - those magic words, Middle Earth, D & D, Pern, Shanara!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I find it very refreshing to know I'm not the only one who lost sight of writing for a while. Great story - thanks for sharing and hosting!

Marta Szemik said...

Tolkien is my favorite author. LOTR - can't say enough about how much I love it! So glad to hear I'm not the only one for whom life gets in the way:)

Julie said...

It's interesting how life got in the way for so many of us. Great story, thanks for sharing, and for co-hosting this fest.

M.J. Fifield said...

Sometimes I have to wonder how it is I ever ended up writing fantasy because I've never read a lot of the big fantasy names or played D&D or done a lot of the things I've read about other writers doing.

Great blogfest. Thanks for co-hosting.

Sarah Pearson said...

So many people have cited D&D as an inspiration. I'm really sorry I missed out on that, but my younger brother was hooked on it, so I couldn't possibly get involved :-)

Brinda said...

I think D&D may have spawned an entire generation of writers!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

The important thing is that you came back to the writing after being away for a spell. Great origin!

Adrienne said...

I was never into D&D, but my younger brother was, and my sons are now. It really does inspire the imagination. Thanks for hosting this blogfest!

Jen Chandler said...

I'm noticing a trend in these posts: life got in the way. It's so easy to let something go for the sake of other things. Yes, life is most important, but so is our inner life! I'm glad you're back to writing!

I started writing seriously thanks to games my friend and I would create. We invented fantasy worlds and created complex systems of government. Of course, I didn't realize all this was a precursor to writing until much later!

Thanks for co-hosting such a fun blogfest!

Jen

Jessica Bell said...

I think this happens to a lot of people, the passion, then the big break in between when life takes a turn ... seems to be a pattern!

Caitlin said...

I really love reading where everyone's inspiration came from! Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons seem to be a pretty big hit. But I'm really glad that you took the time to start writing again! And while life might have gotten in the way, you've got a whole slew of new experiences to incorporate into your writing.

Dawn Ius said...

Great post. My writing life has gone through many starts and stops over the years :-)

Sean McLachlan said...

Gygax actually did write some novels. I never read them because everyone said they were mediocre. He was a great game designer, though, and made a huge impact on our culture. Loved the Dragonlance books. The 80s were a golden age of the fantasy paperbacks.

Jay Noel said...

Interesting how many of us quit (or just stopped) at some point, only to return to our first love - writing.

I could never write poetry or song lyrics. It's such a complete different set of skills than writing a novel. My poetry (when I did try) sucked.

Pearson Report said...

Funny how life interferes with our passions! I'm glad you found your way back to writing and are pursuing your passion again.

Thanks for co-hosting this blogfest - it's interesting reading what inspires a person to write.

Cheers, Jenny @ Pearson Report
Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Siv Maria said...

So many have gone from reading and playing in imaginary worlds to writing about them. Glad that you did not get trapped in the real world too long and that you found your way back again through paper and pen.

D.G. Hudson said...

We read along similar lines, Matt, except gaming never appealed to me.

I read Pern, and other dragon novels which seemed the antithesis to something like Herbert's DUNE, and I also read every sword & magic fantasy book I could find.

But, I prefer to write about science fiction. Perhaps there will be a new golden age for sci-fi. Let's hope.

Pk Hrezo said...

We have similar tastes in literature. The Hobbit was such a huge inspiration. And even tho life gets in the way, a novel can be written any time... that's the beauty of it!

Steven said...

It's good that you found your way back to writing after all that time! I think for those of us that have writing in our blood, we just can't run away from our destiny.

Julie Dao said...

Hi Matthew, nice to meet you! Thanks for hosting this blogfest with Don, Alex, and Katie. This is a great story and definitely one that many writers relate to. It's great to see that many of us got started due to a love of books! I'm a big LOTR fan (mostly of the movies - I finished reading the trilogy years ago but ashamed to say it was tough going. I'll have to give it another try).

Barbara Watson said...

What a great blogfest. I love hearing writer's stories. Hmmmm, I think I'll have to share mine on my blog sometime. Or maybe I should hook into this blogfest. Is it too late?

mish said...

It's really fascinating to read all the different origin pieces... each story is unique...
I'm part of the "late-bloomer" writing category...
Nice to meet you!

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for sharing your story and hosting this blogfest. It's interesting to see how people got started. It's amazing to see where a love of reading can lead you.

LTM said...

oh, man. I can totally see how D&D would get you started writing. It's so imaginative. And SEVEN brothers? omg. Their house musta been a WRECK! :D LOL~ <3

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Great fest going on here! Enjoyed reading your story. I was a big ZORK fan myself, back when you just typed in "Go North," with no cool pictures...

Gina said...

Life does have a tendency to get in the way, doesn't it? I'll have droughts where I don't read or write anything because of it. And then I binge on every book I can find! Thanks for hosting, this was fun :)

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

I never though about it before, but I suppose the main advantage of having friends with tons of siblings would be epic D&D games.

It was interesting to get to know you a little better, thanks for sharing.

Bish Denham said...

I've never been a really consistent writer. Like you, life got in the way. But between the pauses, at times of aloneness, in times of quiet peace, I have always, always come back to it. I come back to the blank page with pencil in hand and write.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Life has its way of getting in the way. Your story's interesting and I'm really enjoying this blogfest. Thank you for co-hosting.
xoRobyn

cleemckenzie said...

Life. What the heck is it doing mucking up the writer's progress? Happens, I guess. Glad you're back on track.

nutschell said...

Hi Matthew! I'm dropping by from the Origins blogfest. I love how you got interested in fantasy thanks to D &D. I've always wanted to play, but just never managed to buy the game!

Your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

AD&D didn't really factor in making me a writer, but it definitely had a huge role in making me a reader.

The Golden Eagle said...

A lot of writers do seem to be influenced by what they read.

Thanks for hosting! :)

Nancy Thompson said...

Cool origin story! Explains why I crush on you as a writer. I'm so envious of you writers who learned to love writing at an early age. I love that part about your Irish Catholic friend who had 8 brothers. As an Irish Catholic myself, that made me laugh! Thanks for sharing your story. I love getting to know you better, as well.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Glad you were able to get back into writing! Thanks for co-hosting this amazing blogfest Matt! Julie

Jennifer Hillier said...

Ah, Dungeons & Dragons! That would definitely light the imagination on fire.

Great origins story. Enjoying this blogfest.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Life may get in the way, but it's only temporary - we always come back to what we love.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I agree- reading is definitely the gateway! And it's so funny how many of us go back to our 'first love' ie- first genre:)

RachelMaryBean said...

I've seen Tolkien mentioned a lot today! He was an amazing inspiration for so many.
Thanks for sharing, Matt!

Claire Hennessy said...

Amazing how each of us get inspired to write. Reading other great writers has to be a must though. Loved this blogfest, thanks for co-hosting.

Marsha Sigman said...

Who the hell wasn't inspired by D&D????

I was always meant to write and to be a writer. I just forgot for a while.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Matt, I loved fantasy things like Middle earth.

Ah, life always gets in the way, but isn't it amazing how we come back to things we love?

I'm glad you did. :-)

Love the picture of you and the dog. What a sweetie--the dog, lolol!

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Matt,

Thanks for the follow and for co-hosting a sweet hop :)

Right back at ye with the follow and I look forward to reading more of your work :)

Bryan Russell said...

I think if your name is Gary Gygax you pretty much have to spend your life inventing monsters. Foreordained.

Ashley Nixon said...

I love Tolkien...everything I do now is based off of what he wrote and created!

Melissa Sugar said...

Great story. I grew up with five brothers who all played D&D. My parents were convinced they were worshipping the devil so they had to secretly play.

Lynda R Young said...

Ha, I read similar books to you as well. I also got into D&D but quite late in life. Hehehe.

ali cross said...

Ha! I dreamed up my first novel idea while playing D&D too! I did write that novel--my first one. It's huge and cumbersome and totally lame, but it got me started!

Thanks for sharing your story Matt!

maine character said...

Someday you're going to teach me how to play D&D.

Monti said...

Thanks for sharing your story and for co-hosting the blogfest!

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Sarah said...

I've read so many stories today about how life gets in the way--but also how people get back to writing when they're ready and able. I'm glad you were able to do that, too, Matt. Thanks for hosting this blogfest!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Thanks for co-hosting this fest. It seems we all have a lot in common.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

You started with Tolkien. I started with the Ugly Duckling. As long as you DO start to read, does it matter where/ :0)

Andrew Leon said...

Sounds kind of like mine except I didn't spend a lot of time writing for fun. Not after 4th grade, anyway.

Liza said...

So many of us drifted away from what we love as a result of that life thing getting in the way. Glad you returned to it.

Clarissa Draper said...

It's interesting how reading and writing often go together. I got that from your post. Thanks for hosting.

M Pax said...

Yup, life does get in the way. Glad we all found our way back.

Jeremy Bates said...

i never played D&D but played graphics-less video games in which you had to type everything... does that count? lol

Rick Daley said...

I didn't play many formal games of D&D, but my cousin and I used to tape together sheets of graph paper and map out vast castles, dungeons, and worlds. Then we'd make up our own battles where we got extremely rich and never died. Having total creative control can be fun. It's good to be the king!

Caledonia Lass said...

D & D rules! Just sayin'. ;) And yeah, life does get in the way of writing more often than I care to admit. The rest of the time it is World of Warcraft. lol! Great post!

Angela M. said...

It seems that most writers took a little time before following their dream. I think game-playing can be just as influential as book-reading. In fact, many writers for video games get their start by writing novels :)

Abby Minard said...

That's wonderful you always loved to write- life seemed to get in the way for a lot of us but I'm glad we're all back into doing what we love!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm pretty sure we've chatted about D&D before. I definitely designed my share of dungeons and wrote my DM guides in high school, too!

Tracy Jo said...

I am so glad you were able to get back to your passion. It is sad when we can't pursue our loves. Looking forward to the next chapter of your story! Thank you for co-hosting this blogfest! It has been a great day.

Allison said...

haha, I typed out my first novel at about the same age in Wordperfect too. I am liking your inspired authors. I'm also a huge fan of Tolkien and Brooks.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Trisha said...

I used to read only fantasy as well - SHANNARA is one of my all-time fave series. Yes, I've 'matured' since then too and expanded my horizons a lot. But I still love to revisit my old faves.

Rusty Webb said...

You're right, loving to read easily turns into a love of writing. Glad you jumped back in after a decade away.

Christine Rains said...

Great story! D&D invoked a lot of inspiration in me too. I still manage to get time to write these days, but I haven't been able to play D&D in a while. Hard to find time with a little one and a husband who wants to play just as much as I do!

Kristin Rae said...

You attempted a novel at age 12?! That's fantastic.

Botanist said...

I used to love D&D too, but I was way too interested in world-building to pay any attention to storytelling :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Interesting to hear how other writer's maturation process. Haven;t read Forsythe in years. I'm inspired by a number of posts today to expand my reading horizons and re-read some of the classics from years gone by.

Jeremy Bates said...

You're so cool! I don't suppose Ive learn something like this before.

Michael G-G said...

Wordperfect! Monochrome screens! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Angela Brown said...

Life is a stickler for getting in the way. So it makes the love of writing that much more intricately deep. It's something etched into your very being and wells up during whatever chance it's given.

K.T. Hanna said...

Life actually tries to get in the way I think. I'm glad you've pushed it aside now.

Thank you for arranging this blog hop :D

Anglers Rest said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, & for co-hosting. I am still reading other posts- I'm a bit slow! Great post.

Rek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rek said...

Glad to meet you...I stopped by earlier, in fact following you for a while...but your query posts, writer followers and numbers have always intimidated me from commenting lest I sound foolish. It took over six months to openly comment on Alex's blog.
Enjoyed your origins story...a novel at 12, that's totally cool!

Emily R. King said...

It's great to hear that you always had a love of writing. It's funny how it's not so important what we write, but that we do.
(New follower)

Cherie Reich said...

It's interesting how roleplaying and the like can inspire a need to write. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Holy cow. You're much too smart for me. I don't even know half those authors! *cowers* But yay for a love of reading to morph into writing.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I <3 dragons too, as you know.

This 'life getting in the way' thing looks like a theme in this blogfest. I vote for a 'life get out of the way' writer's weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

Outside of Middle Earth, I'd say Pern is my favourite 'world' - then Shannara too. Although I always loved the worlds of star trek too... :)

alexia said...

Ha, this is pretty similiar to mine! Heck yeah Tolkien, Dragonlance, Pern and Shannara! And I started writing my first novel at 12, too. I didn't finish mine either :)

Tara Tyler said...

sweet. great creative beginnings
and thanks for the fest!

Kristen Pelfrey said...

It is a source of happiness to me that you found D&D and a merry crew early on. The world with Tolkien is a better place.
And I am so glad you are writing now, and making giant contributions to the lives of others.

Mama J said...

I think life getting in the way can help you mature both as a person and a writer.

Thanks for sharing

Jackie Jordan said...

J.R.R. Tolkien was exciting for me, as well - although a bit too advanced for me as a teenager. I didn't appreciate the tales until my 30's. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Deniz Bevan said...

It always comes down to Tolkien, and that'a great thing! Love the languages, too.
Thanks for a great blogfest!