That's a pretty nice picture of my beautiful wife and our chihuahuas. It was taken on a trip up to Port Angeles, Washington in 2008. Aside from being a picture of a couple happy newlyweds snowbound in the suburbs of Portland, it marks an important moment in my life.
It was right about there, at the age of 34 that I decided I was going to be a writer. That's a pretty lofty goal to suddenly pull out of the air and focus all of my energies on. To be honest, I had the notion that I should be a writer at a much, much younger age, but I wouldn't have called it a goal. December of 2008 was when I first opened my mouth and started letting people know that I wanted to be a writer.
During this trip, I started to play around with the idea of writing some short stories and submitting them for publication. It seemed like the best place for me to begin. I was confident enough in my abilities to write a few thousand words. Once I returned from this trip, that's exactly what I began to do.
Short stories were a great starting point for me. In an evening in front of my computer, I was able to put down some words and could call it a story. I could think up a situation and was able to resolve it while the rest of America was caught up in prime time.
Most of those early stories were based off of the classic premise, "What if?". None were very long. I don't think any of them would have any real character development. They were a lot of fun to write and every single one of them was rejected for publication. However, they were able to give me some confidence in my abilities.
I kept this up for a few months and managed to compile a file folder full of stories no one wanted to read. And then one day in the Fall of 2009, a lighting bolt hit me.
I was driving home from work one afternoon, listening to the Jason Ellis Show on Sirius radio. There was a news story he and his cohost were discussing about autonomous robots in the military. I knew that I had a premise for a novel.
I came home and put everything else aside. No more short stories for me. I was going to put together a novel. That was beginning of a five year struggle that ended in 2014 with me putting my files away and deciding that I needed to quit on that book for now.
The name of that unfinished book is Full Autonomy. It will one day see the light of day, but not now. For our purposes, it will serve as the failure I share with all of you. Hopefully, someone out there will learn from my mistakes and won't derail their own creative attempts.