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How on Earth Did I Get Myself into this Mess?
2006, Q3 (March 12, 2007)
By Julio J. Vazquez, Carolina Chapter Technical Publications Competitions Chair

Julio Vazquez
Julio Vazquez

There have been many times when someone asks me, "How did you become a writer?" Most times, I don't answer the question and just turn the conversation to something else. I suppose it comes from not wanting to talk too much about myself, but I figure that it's about time that I finally write down how I started down the path of mangling the English language.

Like most writers, I would say that my interest in writing came from reading. It fascinated me that there were so many well-written stories that could take you to different times and places. My love of reading spanned various different authors and genres. Reading alone didn't was not the motivator that had me put pen to paper.

To get to the first time I wrote a piece, you would naturally have to look at a freshman high school English class. My very first short story was an assignment given by that teacher to write a story about "The Girl in the Black Raincoat." While I remember the basic outline of the story, I could not tell you the specific storyline; suffice it to say that the teacher enjoyed the story enough to embarrass me by having me read the story in front of the class. Afterwards, he told me that I should be a writer. I laughed at that suggestion, but it stayed with me over the years.

Fast forward to a day a twenty-some year old programmer is trying to complete an assignment. Yes, that programmer was me. I read through a manual and am frustrated because, even though I'm a fairly reasonable person, I can't understand what the manual I'm reading is trying to tell him. Finally, frustrated, I take a guess and get the task accomplished. "I can write this stuff better," I says to my officemate. At that point, the next step in my career is to get into the technical publications area and start writing.

A few years pass and the technical writer decides to go back into support programming so that he can move to the Raleigh-Durham area. By now, I'm hooked on the writing bug so during the offhours I start writing fiction. However, I'm unhappy as a programmer, and it turns out that fate had a different path for me. I get notice that I'm going to get laid off from my current position, and unless I find a job within the company, I'm gone. Luck was with me and, at the eleventh hour, I get hired by a technical writing group.

I've tried other things, insurancesales, office work, but I've realized that writing is a significant part of who I am. No matter where I go, I'm going to have to be a writer.

Julio can be reached at julio_v27612 at yahoo dot com. End of article.

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