It Really Does Come Back to The Writing, Part Two

If it really does come back to the writing, how come it took me so long to realize it?

There I was, mid-20s, working and carousing in Brazil. In the midst of manipulating numbers as a financial analyst, I was also manipulating words on the side. It never occured to me that I might be onto something with the side activity.

Interestingly, it took two particular numbers to veer me away from finance altogether. While in Brazil, I was deluded enough to think that international business might be just the ticket, so I took the business school entrance exam (GMAT). I studied the quantitive portions like a fiend — practice problems upon practice problems until the math leaked out my ears. I glanced over the qualitative sections.

After all that studying, I only managed an 89th percentile for the math sections. Yet, without trying, a 99th percentile for the language sections.

Hellloooooooo, wake-up call. I ask you, how come I hadn’t taken stock of my proclivities before then? Seemed so obvious when I stared at the GMAT results.

Upon returning to the States, I promptly signed up for my first fiction workshop at U.C. Berkeley Extension and applied to and got into NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute. Six months later, I was living in lower Manhatten, the West Village to be exact. Three months after that, I landed a cool job at Warner Books (heaven after finance; books at every turn!) and registered for my second fiction workshop, at NYU.

And that was that, though I didn’t call myself a writer until years later. By then, I’d returned to the West Coast and switched to technical writing as my day-job. When my dot-com employer folded, I decided to live on the dole for awhile.

Here was my challenge: Could I sit down each day (ye old bum glue) and complete a novel before the money ran out? Did I have the right temperament for the work? The willpower? The imagination? A true desire?

Behold, I did. With that, I started calling myself a writer.