On January 30, 2010 I wrote this:
“KnippKnopp is going to become my Weight Watchers for writing, my Gold’s Gym for building up the creative muscle. Idealistic? Absolutely, but maybe, just maybe, the act of putting hand to keyboard for something other than functional design documents and interface specs (yes, doing this IS as awful as it sounds), will kick-start me and start to get those writing muscles warmed up and moving.”
I must have been having fun this past half-decade, because it really doesn’t feel like I’ve been writing this blog for five years. It seems like just yesterday that I took those first tentative steps on this mid-life crisis induced writers’ journey; And it’s impossible not to ask, did the blog do its job? Did it really “get those writing muscles warmed up?” Find out after the break.
Well, in the past five years I’ve written about 75 blog posts, both here and for the good folks at Biff Bam Pop. I’ve rewritten a handful of stories I originally wrote in high school and college, written five or six new piece of short fiction, started two novels, and added about 10,000 words in my ongoing attempt to turn Jonesing into a novel. All together, I’ve cobbled together over 100,000 words (or about 400 pages). This means I’ve written more in the last five years than I did in the previous twenty, so Hell Yeah, you can say KnippKnopp has definitely done its job.
It’s neat to think how much things have changed in those five years. When I made that first post, my girls were all still children. Now two are grown-ups, my youngest is on the cusp of adulthood, and there’s a grandbaby toddling around (never saw that one coming!). When I started this blog, I had never heard of Facebook and Twitter was something birds did. I had yet to discover the fantastic folks at the South Jersey Writers’ Group, and had no idea that the longest continuously running Writers’ Conference in America met every June right across the Delaware River.
And I’ve been able to do so much in these five years. I joined the South Jersey Writers’ Group and have shared in their success as they grew from a group of 20 to over a hundred talented people. I not only attended my first Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, but have been honored to join the board and spend every year helping to get another one on the books.
And I’ve met so many incredible people on this road. Steampunk Granny Marie Gilbert, who fits more life into a single day than most of us can squeeze in a lifetime. Amy Hollinger, Krista Magrowski, and Janice Wilson – who started the SJWG and have done so much to help it grow. And Glenn Walker – my brother in geekitude – who has been my North Star on this crazy journey.
And the other writers I’ve met! Jonathan Maberry who is one thousand times more gracious and accommodating then any New York Times best selling author should ever be (I’m sure he either has a clone or a time turner to do as much as he has in the past five years!). Kelly Simmons, whose praise in that first conference is a good part of the reason I’m still doing this. And, of course, Dennis Tafoya, a poet in a crime writer’s body, who let me interview him over Skype for almost two hours and gave me enough material for two posts. Those are just three of dozens like Greg Frost, Kathryn Craft, Janice Gable Bashman, and Jon McGoran who have shared their experiences and shown me over these past five years what it means to be in a writing community.
And jeez, I can’t forget the extended community. I’ve been lucky enough to interview Ken Wood and the folks at Shock Totem, who are single-handidly responsible for a good 20% of my writing production. Anthony Rivera, who runs Grey Matter Press – and how fun has it been to watch those guys grow over the past five years? Maybe the one I treasure the most is Rocky Wood, who lost his battle to ALS in December. Rocky’s work with the Horror Writers’ Association and other organizations has been invaluable and his passing leaves a huge hole in the writing world.
So I wonder what the next five years will bring. They’ve definitely started on a bright note, as the little magazine that could, Philly Flash Inferno has published my short piece Mr. Belial. I’ll be doing the Game of Thrones recap thing over at Biff Bam Pop, and I’ll keep hacking away at Jonesing. The novel is in there, I know it, and when it finally finds its way, I think it’s going to be a real good ‘un.
And as for KnippKnopp? Well I’ll keep plugging, hopefully every week. I’d like to introduce more horror elements, and I think I’m going to keep that list format as a regular feature. I’ll continue to share my steps (and missteps) as I continue marching forward on this writers’ journey. And as I said five years ago, I sure hope you’ll join me.