Why I Decided to Become a Writer
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
As writers, we all have that one moment when our fate was decided for us. We knew that we wanted to live our lives with a little God Complex and create characters with real feelings and thoughts, and have them live in a world where a conflict would arise and test their will to attain their goals. We were so innocent and ambitious that we didn’t care about what the literary journey had in store for us. That included rejection after rejection, writer’s block, or looking up at the TV and seeing your game changing idea coming to a theater or bookstore near you. The normal things that come with being a writer.
But alas, we write because it’s our passion. We do it because it has become our identity and we can’t see ourselves doing anything else. We all have that moment when we knew, but this is why I decided to become a writer.
I always had an idea that I was going to do something that involved story telling. I looked at movies differently and asked questions that a kid wasn’t supposed to ask like: why is the camera facing that way? Why do all movies have some type of trouble at a certain point? When it came to books, I always wanted to know how words on a page could make my heart race so much. And how the author was able to take me to a different world even though I was sitting in my little bedroom. R.L. Stine was my favorite author as a child.
I made all types of scary stories in my black and white composition book and told them to different kids in my class. When I saw their reactions whether it be shock, disbelief, or joy I knew I wanted to do that for the world. To provoke a reaction.
A writer is born!
Fast forward to my college years, I was attending the Art Institute of Atlanta for Media Arts and Animation. Still in the realm of storytelling, but I had picked up drawing on the way to that point. Chuck Jones and Tex Avery were two big influences in my life at the time and I had this crazy dream that once I graduated, I was going to reintroduce the world to my favorite cartoon of all time… Tom and Jerry. Again, so young and ambitious.
Little did I know that one of my core classes I took my sophomore year was going to change my life forever. It was called Screenwriting for Animators. I wrote my first script as a class assignment. It was only 30 pages and I got a B+ on the final draft, but that was my true moment. The moment I knew I wanted to be a writer.
One year later.
I bought a laptop and wrote my first full length feature screenplay. And let me be the first to tell you that it was awful—God awful. The script was my deformed little baby and I was Pamela Voorhees. But I had fun writing and it made me feel like I had some type of purpose with my life. What made the script so bad was the technical aspect of the project. It was supposed to be a full length feature but it was only 54 pages. The characters were hardly developed. It had grammar and spelling errors from front to back. And overall the structure of the script was a stick house at best.
Everything you would expect a novice writer to do, I checked it off and called it a screenplay. So what did I do after that? I immediately wrote another “full length” screenplay that was whopping 58 pages this time. I sent both of them out to world looking for representation and maybe even a sell. Both screenplays were ripped to pieces and my ego was crushed. I wanted to quit, but I didn’t.
As time went on, I started getting better at my craft. I invested in myself by reading books, watching webinars, paying for professional feedback, reading successful screenplays; anything to gain knowledge. I was still on the search for representation, but the creative juices were flowing and I was knocking out an average of 2 screenplays a year including rewrites of earlier screenplays in between.
The passion was at its peak and writing was looking like my first love, but frustration started to set in. I was getting denied by agents and managers alike. I couldn’t get pass the second round of any screenwriting competition. And every time I made progress with a project getting greenlit, it ALWAYS fell through. I was starting to wonder if this was really for me. Then remembered a video I watched by John Truby on why most people fail at screenwriting.
He said, “Most people fail at screenwriting because it’s the most difficult craft in the world…. It takes a lifetime commitment to master it.” That’s what we, as writers, are up against. And that’s the mountain (I like to call Literary Journey) we have to climb. So with that in mind, I decided to take control of my future. Not wait on someone else’s approval to tell me that I’m good enough in their eyes to do what I love. Which brings me to The Color of Love.
The Color of love is my first SELF-published novel that I put out late last year. I felt like I had been delivered from the creative gods and free to do whatever I wanted. Writing a novel is quite different from writing a screenplay, but also less restricting specifically speaking on structure.
With all the stress that came with being the writer and publisher, there was no greater joy than seeing my work available to readers and their reactions through reviews. Whether good, bad or indifferent, that reaction gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I was officially doing what I loved and loving what I did. This is just the beginning. I have more books to write and more screenplays to put together. I plan on doing this until my last breath.
So what was your “moment” when you knew? Do you have any stories you would like to share about your literary journey or are you just beginning? Write in the comments below on why you decided to become a writer and don’t forget to subscribe below!
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.