Alexito's World

A world of coding 💻, by Alejandro Martinez

My New and Old hobby

When I was younger, I loved fantasy so much that I always wanted to make a world of my own. When I was around fourteen, I started doing it. Yes, I started writing a novel. I still have it in my hard drive. It’s very cheesy, but I find in there the dreams of a younger me. And the interesting thing is that those dreams never died off.

When I decided to pursue a career on software development is not just because of the technical aspect of it, but also because I was a very creative person. If have never written code you may not relate it to creative thinking, but it is. Think about it this way: you are literally creating something, whatever you want, from nothing. That’s what made me go to university to study computer science. The freedom and limitless creative possibilities of it.

Those old word documents of mine got lost between a plethora of other hobbies and life. But one of the major reasons for my younger self to stop writing was that was not a good writer. We wrote and shared our text with a group of close friends, yes we had a writing group even without knowing that was a thing, and their prose was much better than mine. So I knew that pursuing a professional career in writing was out of my reach.

And that was the big mistake.

No. I’m still convinced I don’t have enough skill to be a good writer. You won’t see my novel in a bookshelf. I was correct in that. The mistake was about thinking writing had to be a professional career. Nobody had ever told me that writing could be just a hobby. And that’s something that is very rotten in our society. We all played on some sports team. As a hobby, nobody was pursuing being a pro realistically. It was just fun and healthy. I even did drawing and painting classes. As a hobby. But writing? When you think about writing you immediately think about those authors that have been blessed with enough skill to be in a bookshelf.

So I didn’t write for many years.

I, and my friends, made a similar mistake with D&D. We heard it was too hard, and since we didn’t have examples, we just accepted it was too difficult for us. So we never played. But then in my late twenties I discovered FATE, Critical Role and the D&D renaissance. Suddenly role-playing seemed something we could enjoy doing, but now with a friend on each corner of the world not that easy. Too late.

But that didn’t stop me of organizing some sessions when we were together. And we had fun. Or at least I had. I went from never playing to being the dungeon master, skipping the player position completely. And I loved it! For the first time in years, I could externalise somehow the world that my mind has been creating for twenty years.

And finally, early this year, I started being curious again. It all started by being hooked up with fantasy again. When I decided to read The Wheel Of Time I started hearing more and more about Mr. Sanderson and his part in finishing the series. I’ve heard about him before and I still have on my list getting into his world. But his charisma made me follow him, even reading nothing from him yet.

Then is when I discovered he had a complex inter-winded world of fantasy, the Cosmere. Something very exciting because an inter-connected fantasy world is something that excites me a lot. And then I found out he does university classes about writing fantasy and sci-fi and, more importantly, they are available online. So one night, alone, during the pandemic, I decided to take a look.

And it changed my perception on writing.

Are you saying that I can write just for fun? Without having to suffer because not fulfilling expectations? SAY WHAAAT?

So I opened Scrivener. Recovered the old documents of my novels, pulled the world-building from my D&D sessions and started writing.

Even at that point I was not convinced that I could write a novel, I’m still not sure to be honest. So I just started with the mission of keeping memories. As I said before, I’ve been building this fantasy world with dozens of stories in my head for many years. Of course not everything is good material, but my brain has been an imagination machine for a long time. But I’m a human that is getting old, and those memories from fantastic worlds, creatures and battles will fade away at some point. So my task was just to write a list of what my imaginary characters have gone trough. Keep a list of the major story lines, how they connect and the peculiarities of my world.

But you can guess what happened.

That sparked a wave of inspiration in me again. With everything that has been happening this year, and spending so much time alone enclosed at home with my girl int he other side of the world the fantasy realm was a more comfortable place to be. So I took the present story that my brain was developing and started writing it down.

Of course things have to change a bit when you put them on paper, but overall I’m excited about it. My plan is to finish it before my next birthday. I don’t want to leave other parts of my leave behind, but I think I will dedicate a bunch of time to this.

We’ll see how it goes. There is no pressure. Is just for fun.

It’s my new old hobby.