Trials And Tribulations Of An Up-start Writer

After retiring in December of 2001, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I was not sure what I wanted to do with that time. Most of the hobbies and activities I had enjoyed as a young man were the extreme sports of my day. At sixty-two I was no longer physically able to pursue these kinds of pastimes.
One thing in my favor was my years at sea with the U. S. Coast Guard. This provided me the opportunity to travel widely and experience many adventures. I thought that perhaps I could write about some of these adventures. After all, part of being a sailor was having the ability to tell a good sea story. I had often been told that I should write a book. I thought, why not?
I was always a pretty good writer, but there is regular writing and then there is creative writing. I could write a business letter, a directive, an evaluation on a subordinate or a report on almost anything, but could I write a book? I had all of these wonderful experiences running around in my head and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Due to this lack of knowledge, I made a number of false starts.
First, I decided that I would write a memoir about some periods of my service time and I started that. While working on the memoir, I bumped into an old rescue mission I was involved in and thought, that it would make a good story. I set the memoir aside and wrote a twenty thousand word story on the rescue. At the time I didn’t even know what to call it. I learned later that a twenty thousand word story was way too long to be called a short story and it was too short to be a book, which takes about seventy thousand words. Based on the length of my story I guess it would have to be called a novella?
Okay, I’ve written this thing, now what? I had no idea. One day while I was poking around surfing the net, I found a website that was run by a, now deceased, retired Coast Guard officer. The site was his life’s work following retirement and it was dedicated to preserving Coast Guard history as written by those who had lived it. This gentleman thought that my story was good enough to reside at his site and he posted it there. As a result, I received some additional positive feedback from others who read it. I thought at the time, maybe I do have a knack for this writing stuff after all, and I continued on with my memoir.
It did not take me long to stray again. One day I was thinking about my teen years, growing up in Sacramento, California in the fifties and once again I set the memoir aside. I started writing a coming of age, teenage angst, piece about me and my best friend Chad and our adventures in the mid to late fifties. Before long I found myself with several things started in my computer and nothing finished. This is when I started looking for help.
The community college here in Las Vegas had been sending me adult education course catalogs for years and I remembered that I had recently received one. I found the catalog and looked in it under writing and saw that four different writing courses were being offered. The title of the first course intrigued me, “If you can talk you can write” I signed up for the course. I completed that course and took two more. I wasn’t far into that first class when I decided that I was going to set my other stuff aside and write a fiction novel. If you would like to hear the rest of the story you will have to visit my website.

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