Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tip O'Day #380 - Start Now!

Guest blogger Jeff Mazza on “The Story of a Non-Writer.”

Often we start out on a path that we think is where our destiny lies. A long time ago when I was in college, I began a class in expository writing as part of my Mass Communication major. The professor ridiculed my first attempt at creative writing as he read my essay aloud to the class. I dropped it from my schedule after about three days. I knew that any chance for a career in the media was over. I never finished the course and moved on to other things, namely starting a family.

Many years later a church member passed away and I was inspired to write a brief eulogy for him. Although the circumstances were unfortunate, I received positive feedback although it was not in my mind to begin a writing career. Later, I had the sad opportunity to write two more eulogies. This was not encouraging me to become a writer at all. Friends told me how great I was. The fact that someone had to die to spark my creativity did not exactly bolster my enthusiasm.

Skip ahead to the recent past, about three years ago. It seems that I was always starting a story or essay of some sort. All I had to my name was a few barely started attempts. Then a friend suggested blogging. This did get me motivated but my efforts were intermittent at best.

Eventually I began another short story and became determined to see it through. I made fun of my own attempt to write, just like that professor back in college. I called the story “Diary of a Non-Writer” as a mockery of my hopes to be a successful author. I knew that no one would want to publish it, so I didn’t even try. With so many ways to self-publish, I placed it on Amazon and sold most of the dozen or so copies to myself and a few friends. Despite my lack of fame and fortune, it was phenomenally satisfying to see my name on a web site plus a copy of the book sitting on my shelf.

Not long ago my wife of 29 years passed away. This reignited my desire to write. It was both a way of mourning and healing for me. Now I write two or three times a week and have received almost eleven thousand views.

My advice to those of you thinking about writing is this: start now even if you have nothing to say. Eventually that small spark might just ignite into a flame.


  1. Wow - thanks so much Dixon and Jeff! I have just started writing a similar post not 10 minutes ago! I will continue it to provide my lens into writing also (will not let the 'you got there first!' phenomena stop me!) and if you do not mind, I would like to reference this post in my blog entry. Please let me know if that is ok.

    1. That would be fine, Blake. Hope all is well with you - have a great week!