Why I couldn't write at 18, but hope I can now.

Common wisdom dictates that you start out having to be taught everything, learn until you think you know everything, then realize you don't know anything.

Most people make this same progression in their lives, and certainly I am no different.

I was an uncommonly inquisitive child, an arrogant adolescent (some would state that I haven't fully left this stage behind me yet), and have come to realize that answers are best sought than known.

The journey of life is, at least in my eyes, about learning. A person that stops learning is intellectually like a shark that stops swimming.

I don't believe it's the answers that we find in life that are important, it's the trials we must endure to learn them. There are no shortcuts.

Try telling a teenager something, then watch. They will undoubtedly do what they think is right, disregarding your advice and make the same mistake that you tried to save them from.

Of course, you did the same when you were their age as well, so it's with a hint of hypocrisy when you chastize them for not listening. (If you happen to be one of those kids that always took advice and never made stupid mistakes, I pity you for the adult you must have become).

The point being that we humans make mistakes, and through the years and pain discover things about ourselves that are much like riding a bike in that they can't be explained with words or Powerpoint presentations, they must be mastered through trial and error.

Writing is a lot like that to me. I have always enjoyed writing, but never had a lot to say. My stories have evolved as I have grown, and disputably, matured.

When I was in grade school, they contained graphic depictions of action sequences, reflections of the horror movies I loved, and the minimal amount of plot necessary to tie it all together.

When I was in High School, they became more expressive, exploring the emotional angst-filled situations that I had only begun to wade through. My characters had all the answers, because I thought I did.

And now? I write about what interests me, knowing I have very few of the answers. I write everything from horror to Drama to Science Fiction, my favorite. I has come to realize that having all of the answers is boring. No one wants to read a story where it is understood that the hero will never take a scratch.

As a child I dreamt a lot more than I do as an adult. I don't know if it's a chemical change in my brain or because I push a lot of subconscious thoughts and concerns that I might dream about onto paper with my writing.

I do know that whatever I am experiencing in my life affects what comes out on the screen in front of me. Initially I hid from it, only writing when I was in the right frame of mind to produce the story that I had carefully scripted in my mind, but lately I've been using it to my advantage.

I listen to music themed to what emotions I am trying to capture in my characters as I write specific scenes. If I have a bad day, I skip ahead and write a scene that is designed to show anger or frustration.

Every day I get another piece of the package I need to become the writer I hope to be. I still have a lot to learn, and I probably always will.

But the journey will be enjoyable, of that I'm certain.