I started writing as an act of vengeance upon the red number 2 pencils that teachers used to drub my head in the late 60’s. My first major unpublished work was a trip diary of a family vacation spent driving from Wisconsin to California and back with Dad, Mom, sister and a Starcraft tent trailer. The book was bound in brown paper bag. The paper was angularly folded typing paper penetrated near its middle by staples.

I became a bass player in my pre-teens. “Sunshine of your love” & “Smoke on the water” anyone? Nuff about that. I played and smoked, read, but didn’t write.

When I got older and more mature, I moved on to writing insult poetry. You know “‘s so smelly, he doesn’t wash his hair, he smells like your nose is in the shit of a grizzly bear.” Awesome stuff. Me and a friend wrote these anti-love poems back and forth targeting each other, and sometimes targeting one of our non-poetic friends. I was soooo into Edgar Allen Poe at this point of my ’development’.

From there I headed back to music with my immense experience in writing over a hundred insult poems. This translated into a “Alice Cooper & Grand Funk meets an illiterate Neil Peart” style of lyric writing. My poor lead singer. Nuff said. I smoked, drank, and wrote.

Between 18 and 20 I took 3 semesters of Creative Writing at Fresno City College. This is where I learned to love language. Seriously. My teacher, DeWayne Rail was a stereotypical loveable grumpy writing teacher. It was a fantastic experience. I owe my love of language, and knowledge of great poets to Mr. Rail. My writing is still influenced by time in that class. (I was referred to anonymously as a “primitive punctuator”). Favorite authors from that time period: Theodore Roethke, James Dickey, Peter Wild & Ted Kooser.

Then I got married. I wrote a wedding prayer which was read at our wedding. I wrote a couple poems for my wife over the years, and started/stopped writing a few times over a 20 year period.

About 10 years ago I thought I would get serious about writing again. Mostly a cheap pen as my cheap psychiatrist/psychologist/medication/meditation. I started out writing description heavy awful poetry at a 24 hour diner in downtown Seattle a couple times a week. My writing improved a bit. I was at least enjoying myself. I wrote volumes of poetry and lyrics on flights to and from the east coast – business.

In the spring of 2012 I took a course from Berkleeonline called “Finding Your Voice”. Our most excellent teacher, Caroline Harvey, made this class a life changer for me. Now I am trying prose.

I am in a great writing group, and am taking whatever writing capabilities I possess and channeling them into prose. We’ll see how this goes.

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54 comments
  1. As also a fellow writer, I find your site interesting. I hope to visit from time to time. Good luck in your writing adventure.

  2. Ahmed said:

    This is very inspiring, I encourage you to keep going and write more. I wish I can take courses in writing and be able to write as I have it in mind, maybe that comes with practice, let’s see. Happy New Year 🙂 write on!

  3. Thank you for visiting my blog and wish you good luck with your writing.
    Madi

  4. treyzguy said:

    I’m glad I finally made it to your blog Ty. We have kinda traveled the same roads in the writing sense, and your experiences have given me an idea about taking the same class/classes you spoke of.
    I know my blog is awesome and that I have incredible talent, but I can still be taught! LOL!!
    Seriously though, I will follow thee and learn from thee, thou that hast traveled the likewise path.

    -Trey

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks! Your blog does look awesome. Best wishes to you.

  5. jjtoner said:

    Following you. Your life story sounds just like mine (not!) JJ

  6. What a terrific writer’s blog! As a fellow traveler, it’s gratifying to see your steady, committed approach in action, and I really appreciate how you share what you learn as you learn it.

    I’m also a musician — a bedroom guitarist — so your posts on music are a great bonus.

    Keep it up!

  7. Heartfelt thanks for liking the posts you read at Free Little Words. I look forward to reading more about your writing journey as I embark on mine. I can already see we have some blogger friends in common.

  8. snowslipper said:

    Tyroper thanks for following my blog! It’s great to make your acquaintance. Best wishes to you!

  9. Just stopped by to say thank you for following my blog, and I have to say that I have gotten a kick out or several things you’ve posted. I’m looking forward to coming back soon and reading more. As an author myself, as well as a journalism and creative writing teacher, I loved what you shared about your two classes. I’ve taken a break from teaching creative writing the past two years, but I’m starting a new class this summer. I hope several of my students feel the way you did when they are finished with this one.

  10. Hi, there 🙂 Thank you for liking my poem and reading my blog! Please come back for more 🙂 Have a great day!

  11. Thank you for supporting me and reblogging my post.
    I hope you enter my contest and more prizes to come.

  12. I wish you the best of luck as you embark on this venture!

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m excited to read more about your journey. Good luck!

    • tyroper said:

      Thank you. Best wishes to you as well!

  14. Hi, Ty. I’ve been tagged with the Next Big Thing Blog Hop, a self-interview style post where you answer 10 questions about your latest book.

    I thought it would be an opportunity for you to share some details with the readers of your blog about your WIP. Absolutely no pressure to participate, but it might be fun.

    For the questions and my answers you can check out my post: http://petedenton.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-part-2/

    • tyroper said:

      I just realized I never thanked you for tagging me. Sorry about that. I appreciated the opportunity and posted yesterday.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Thanks again

      • No problem. I saw your post. Good luck with the book 🙂

    • tyroper said:

      Thank you! I enjoy our conversations as well. It will be fun to reminisce after you’ve got a few more books published, and I have my first behind me. 🙂

      • slepsnor said:

        It’ll definitely be fun to reminisce and I’m looking forward to reading your first book when you’re done. I wonder how many authors think back to the days they were trying to write their first book or figuring out how to get published. It must seem like a faded dream at some point. 🙂

  15. I always find it interesting to see what journeys we’re all on to find our writing in the place we want it to be. Good luck with your novel. I look forward to reading about your journey. 🙂

  16. Hi, thanks for popping by my blog. It seems we’ve got similar aspirations, so I’ll chance a follow and look forward to seeing you grow as a writer. My biggest problem is the actual writing task itself; it all sounds good in my head, but then something happens between my fingers and the screen 🙂

    • tyroper said:

      It sounds like inner critic problems. We all have one. It’s that voice in our head that causes us to stop writing because we are convinced our words are terrible. The strategy I use is to name my inner critic, with an ignoble name, then tell it to go to timeout. I’ve learned to write without editing. Many times the good stuff flows after a few less stellar sentences. Sounds like you think your muse is mute? i think your inner critic is stifling your muse. Best wishes to you.

  17. Hi! Nice to see someone who came back to writing as a ‘mature’ writer. I’m not much of a poet, although I do love a well turned phrase. I should probably study some poetry at some point–it might add some sophistication to my work.

    • tyroper said:

      I love reading and writing poetry. I’ve learned to read aloud and savor the words while feeling their rhythm in my mouth.

  18. Hi Ty,

    Thank you for connecting. In addition to being an editor, I’m a poet, like you. And I totally owe my love for writing/editing to all of those great, grumpy writing instructors. One of my favorite teachers in college used to say, dryly, “Using an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” (I think that is a quote from Fitzgerald.)

    I look forward to reading your blog!

    Best,
    Barbara

    • tyroper said:

      Thank you. I am looking forward to reading through your weekly steps posts.

  19. Yes, writers write. Maybe you could go down the line of publishing your own work once you’ve received critiques/peer review, which is a good way to go, in my opinion. I run my own writing past some trusted and honest reviewers before taking it to the next stage. Others always see things the writer doesn’t.

    My own next project is already well underway. I’m working on a collection of micro fiction, which sounds easy but isn’t! Like my first collection, this new one is a good three years in the making, but it’s coming to the final stages now. It will be short but crafted. I hope to offer it for free, or very low in price to start with. I have the idea of two more volumes of such work (which won’t take three years to create now that I’m into the flow of such ways of working). I have longer works planned but formless right now. They’ll come.

    My process? Write (and be aware that some pieces won’t make a final cut); look for themes and threads through the whole; tweak these pieces out; look for a running order; edit all the while; fill in the gaps, as necessary; offer out to peer review as I go; some fine tuning (like Bonsai!); craft into the object of beauty; think on other writing all the while; produce and promote; write all the while . . .

    As I say, projects tend to overlap.

  20. As one project finishes, so another begins. Or projects overlap. Or maybe a project is never really ‘finished’ (a battered old quote comes to mind, something along the lines of how a book is never really finished, just abandoned!)

    What are you going to do with your project when it’s all edited?

    You look forward to editing? A rare breed, perhaps.

    • tyroper said:

      I agree. I’ve got an idea for a second book germinating in the back of my mind. I know I’ll have to transplant it before it gets root bound, but I think I have 3-4 months.

      The current project is all about taking the next step. This second step of actually capturing dialogue and scenes as all variations off the same motif has been instructive. I read somewhere if you want to be a writer, then ‘write’. That quote got me out of the endless rehearsals of how-to books.

      Once I am done with the 100,000th word I will rest. The step after that will be editing, and specifically getting the first three chapters into a good first draft form so I can ask my writing group to read/critique. I haven’t decided what to do once I have their critiques. Hmm.

      Are you working on a next in the series novel, or a whole new project? What process do you follow?

  21. Hi there, Ty. Thanks for liking my book project. Good to see that word is getting out there. 🙂 I trust you’re in good spirits with your own writing?

    • tyroper said:

      Yeah, it is encouraging to see others finish their projects. And, yes, definitely in good spirits. Looking forward to editing. I’ve done loads of rewriting over the years, but that was for lyrics and poetry. This will be different.

  22. Lila said:

    i love the line “there’s no peace where hunger lives,” for different reasons.
    Best of luck to you this year with your writing!

    Thanks for following and liking my blog, I appreciate it.

    Lila

    • tyroper said:

      All the best to you in 2013 as well! Thanks for following.

  23. It sounds like you and I are in similar places. My first novel is finished, and I think the agony of rewrite is tailing off. I’m on to #2, and I’m using my blog to talk about the process and ask questions.

    • tyroper said:

      That’s cool that people like yourself are willing to share your novel writing experiences. I started this blog as my “accountability partner”. I’ve been surprised at the response. Best wishes.

  24. Thanks for for stopping by my blog. I’ve found that the old saying, “The only way to be a writer is to write,” is so very true. For me the big challenge is just pounding out that first draft and leaving the revisions for later. Otherwise I just get bogged down.

    Good luck on your writing!

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks, Stephen!
      I also am writing content first and not judging / revising.
      Trying to stay sense-bound.
      Best wishes to you as well.

  25. Yes, there will be down days, of course. I try to write through them, although that is sometimes easier said than done.

  26. Hi. Thanks for coming by my site. Just wanted to leave a comment here for you, one writer to another, one reader to another: keep going, keep writing. 🙂

    • tyroper said:

      Thank you for the encouragement. Right now, i’m up. However, I figure there will be down days, too.

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