Earlier today, while I was checking my email for something or other, I absent-mindedly clicked on the second most used link (first most being email) in my favourites … then felt a combination of emotions run through me as I read (for the umpteenth time) the simple vBulletin message that now serves as a placeholder for a place that has been a central point of my online ‘life’ for longer than anything, or anywhere, else: PTC (PrimeTime Central).
PTC was a community for e-fedders which, basically, is a hobby that combines writing with roleplaying, specifically centred around the life/career of a professional wrestler (if that isn’t enough information for you then simply Google it as, I am sure, you will find plenty of information). If you don’t take into account the work I did for education, specifically GCSE and A level English, then the writing that I did in the e-fedding world was my first (and most prolific) foray into ‘creative writing’. I shudder to think how many words I have written in the course of my ‘career’ in that hobby but, considering I started in 1997 – and regularly wrote thousands of words a week during that period – I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t enough words, floating around, to fill a novel or three.
Now, as those words COULD have been used towards the actual writing of a novel (or three) some of you may be thinking that I must surely regret the time ‘wasted’ in the pursuit of said hobby. PFAW, I say, and balderdash to boot – you see NO words are ever wasted and each and every one of them that was written went towards developing me as a writer. That hobby taught me how to take a concept or plot and turn it into a story; that hobby taught me that even if you are competing with others (as every writer who hopes to be published is) the only real competition is yourself … I have ‘lost’ enough battles where the lure of TV or cinema (or just a lie-in or early night) has won out over a few more words, for example; and by following, and reading, other people who have more talent in their little fingers than I have in my whole body I pushed myself to improve.
Somewhere along the line of roleplaying a character I realised that what I was actually doing was telling the story of a person’s life, a person’s hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations – and the complexities that go along with them. I realised that I was writing what would be, anywhere else, simply called stories.
… and when I realised that I was doing it I realised that I COULD do it. So now I am writing the stories that fill my head and – sometimes, just sometimes – other people are paying me to read them. How bizarre is that?!
So, PTC and all you brave souls who sailed in her, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me and help shape me into what I am today.