Learning to tell a story, without a beginning, middle or end.
My name is Brian McDonnell and I have decided to take a risk. Just to be clear this is not in my nature and, to be honest, it is terrifying.
I have always had a deep love of the written word and the art of storytelling. What I have failed to do, up to now, is to pursue it with more than flickering flights of fancy and the occasional scribbled page.
I am making a decision to change that and here is the why.
Early last year I sat in the reception of a Doctor’s office, waiting to ask him for help. I had finally come to the realisation that I couldn’t fight depression and anxiety alone, that it was time to get a professional on my side. The decision to seek help was a timely catalyst that pushed me to challenge what my life was, and how I should want to live it. It forced me to sit and re-evaluate how I spent that most precious of commodities, time itself. I came to realise that I had slipped too far from my personal passions. All the things that made me lose track of time, that made me feel alive, had been marginalised and shunted down the list of priorities. For my own mental health, and for the sake of living a life I could enjoy, that had to change.
We all remember as kids having dreams of what we wanted to be. I had high hopes of being an Astronaut, a Fighter Pilot, a Doctor. I loved the idea of the adventures they had, the characters I had seen or read about who had lived those careers. It didn’t matter that none of the were real, fictional and larger than life, I just gravitated towards the stories and worlds they inhabited. Sure I was disappointed when my first amusement park ride put paid to any ideas I had about actually being an Astronaut, or Fighter Pilot. I rode this spinning top of a ride, which undulated gleefully at the precise moment my stomach found its equilibrium, threatening to tip it all the way up and out of me every 10 seconds. It was all I could do not to upchuck in front of the girl I had crushed on all that summer. I handled it like a boss and managed to stagger into a nearby toilet, going from green to grey in 8 short seconds. I learned quickly that these imagined roles, and their potential adventures, were more beguiling than the actual reality of them, especially coupled with a sensitive stomach. I loved the stories, the adventures, the dreaming, the heroes and heroines, the villains and their plots. The medium didn’t matter as much as the story being told. Films, books, comics, cartoons, games – they all inspired and enthralled in equal measure. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten how much that love of story telling lit a flame in me. I needed to spend more time with that passion.
So how am I proposing to make the change? By…. writing. I know, exceptional lateral thinking on my part. I almost took a break after writing that line, the achievement in coming up with that doozy was epic!
However I digress, ever so slightly. Here is how:
- I am trying my hand at writing a book. I am around 14,000 words into a 100,000 first draft target – more about that later.
- I am writing this blog as a process of learning and to progress my writing.
The blog is for both the reader and the aspiring scribblers i.e. those who are looking to find their way in writing as a beginner. I will be posting on:
- The experiences I have along the way, the successes and failures, highs and lows.
- I love to research and learn new things. I tend to attack new knowledge tenaciously. I am one of many, many who want to write and to find an audience, so anything I can glean will be happily shared.
- Articles on software I am using, apps and handy plugins to assist the process; and
- Books or articles I source online that prove helpful.
For the reader:
- My experiences whether it be personally or professionally;
- Topics from my research that may be of use to others regardless of interests;
- References and reviews of storytelling through films, books, comics, cartoons and games; and
- Some storytelling scribbled on these virtual pages.
I say scribbled because I think everything should be earned; calling myself a scribbler, rather than a writer, seems more fitting… for now.
Hopefully it will entertain, excite, educate and provide some laughter for anyone who takes the time to visit.
Thank you for taking the time today, I genuinely appreciate it. Hopefully you linger a little longer and a scribble may catch your eye. I close out with one of my favourite quotes which seems very apt for this endeavour:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt, 1910.