Rod Martinez

As a child, my grandmother read the Sunday funnies to me. Her reading soothed me. I think she saw something that it took others a while to catch later on. She would give me drawing pads and lots of pencils and I would draw to my heart’s content. I didn’t realize it back then, but she was feeding my creativity.

Sitting on her old wooden floor with a drawing pad and a bunch of pencils was heaven.

Later going to school I found that I really, REALLY loved reading. It was an urge I couldn’t quench. I was a regular at the library.

But when did writing start? I was drawing comic books since I could remember. It got to the point that my teachers tired of watching me doodle in class. Though I was a good student, I couldn’t stop drawing Marvel and DC characters, then eventually creations of my own. I’d invent adventure storylines and put my super-heroes in the action. Finally my High School English teacher got fed up and asked me to write a short story – and give comics a rest. I listened.

That was my senior year, I graduated, left, never wrote again. Soon the urge to write resurfaced. It was part my love for reading and a bigger part my love for all things creative. By then I was also a musician and writing songs. We creative folk have an inborn bug that bites hard and it turns into a drug. That is the best way I can describe it.

So in adulthood I was writing short stories, but wasn’t truly addicted yet. Finally at the prompting of my son to write a middle-grade epic about him and his friends, the floodgates burst. “The Juniors” was my take on a story about four middle-school friends, kinda like the Goonies but based in my home town Tampa. I submitted the manuscript; it got the attention of a publisher.

That did it. I became a full blown write-aholic. I literally could not (and still can’t) stop. If I go a day without writing, I get moody, crabby – upset. Sounds like a smoker off cigs, right? My mind wanders and I can’t concentrate. I’m constantly thinking about the last chapter I was on, or the comment that the main character said that burned into my brain or the new story idea I got from watching a couple argue at Wal-Mart. The yearning to put letters and words together became the total focus of my existence, truly it is an addiction.

I don’t sit and create outlines, they just happen as I write. That’s the point where imagination and the dictation of the characters control everything. It’s that mesmerizing moment when I am no more and the flow of the muse drives the story keeping me glued, wanting – dying to know what’s going to happen next.

Why do I write? Because I want to, because I have to, because I need to.

 


 

When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.

  1. Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
  2. Submit via Submittable.
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