Wednesday, 4 November 2009

First steps

My first steps into the world of writing were done even before I could write, when I would tell my stories to other people. However, as I was around five then, they weren’t all that good.

I tried to write the first story when I was around seven. I was having a nice summer holiday with my parents and – having learned about writing in the previous, first school year – I thought I was all set. Needless to say, though, I never finished my first story. Somewhere on page three or so the ideas left me. It’s one thing to have ideas for topics by the cartload, it’s a completely different thing to weave them into a story.

Around eleven I got a diary, but I never became a real writer of diaries (until my first blog, that is). I always thought I should only fill it with what happened during my days. After we came back from our vacation that year, my days weren’t that interesting. I mean, what was I supposed to write? I got up, I went to school, I came home, I did my homework, when I’m finished with this, I’ll go to bed? Had I realized then that a diary could (and should) also contain my thoughts, dreams and ideas (and the many things the teenager I was about to become could get quite angry about), I would have been a fabulous diary writer. I might also have spent quite less time grumbling under my breath in the years to come, because I could have written my anger down – as I do today.

Around thirteen I bought myself a simple blank book (with lines, though) and started writing my own stories. They are not very good, from today’s point of view, but they at least had a real finish.

My first computer didn’t come with any games, but it included a word-processing program (“Works,” then). I invested into a needle printer (deafening, whenever I was printing something) and started writing for real. I’ve worked with various word processors by now (and have currently stopped at MS Word) and they can keep up with my thinking – without me having to stop because my hand hurts from all the writing. (Funny thing: I took a typewriting course when I was in fifth grade and failed it with abysmal marks, now I’m writing with ten fingers blind and pretty fast.)

I wrote my first story with more than one hundred pages while I was already studying (started it on a small, blue book and finished it on some leaves taken from my notepad for university, because the book ran out of pages, just as the big showdown between the hero and the villain was coming up).

Sometime later I discovered the internet with loads of stories that were not published the normal way (like the “Black Widower” series). And I discovered that this way I, too, could publish my work. That was when I started also writing stories in English, having read English novels for years.

Blogging has by now provided another way for me to polish my writing and give shape to my thoughts. It’s not the same thing as writing a story – there’s a lot more polishing to do with a story for one thing.

(German keyboards suck, by the way, if you’re trying to write an English text. As the Y is used a lot less than the Z in German, the two letters are switched on the German keyboards. Every time I try to write a word with Y, I’m in danger of hitting the “windows” button instead.)

I’m over the first steps by now, but the first line of every story and the first word every evening when I start working on a story (whether it’s a new one or one of more than 100 pages already) still is a first step for me.

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