Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: My First Piece of Writing as an Aspiring Writer

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where on the first Wednesday of every month we vent our anxieties to the world. This month's topic is our first piece of writing, which wasn't all that anxiety ridden for me.

I'm not sure how to answer this topic. My first published work came when I was still an archaeologist and had no intention of becoming the full-time writer I am today. On the other hand, when I decided to make a career change way back in 2001, I started writing for a newspaper in Tucson and now I can't remember what my first article was. I suppose I could look that up, but life's too short and I have writing to do!

So I'm going with my first published work from the mid 90s, when I dove headfirst into the second wave of the zine boom. A zine, for those who came into writing after the start of the Internet age, was a self-published or communally published small magazine. Mine was called Ichthyoelectroanalgesia, which as everyone knows means using an electric fish as a pain killer. You can read more about that wonderful word on my old blog.

My zine was entirely done by myself, using clip art for illustrations. I included travel articles and articles about archaeology, and even answered reader's questions. While it only lasted four issues, Ichthyoelectroanalgesia had a distribution of well over 100, a respectable figure for a zine although some of the more successful broke 1000. It had a cover price of $2 if I remember correctly, but few of the issues were paid for since the point of zines was to trade with other zinesters.

While I intended it as a hobby, the pure fun of writing and publishing got its hooks in me, and within a few years I decided to become a writer.


Stephen Tremp said...

I started with short stories then my desire grew to write full length books. It's a passion I'll need to do for the rest of my life. And of course I use electric fish as a pain killer!

Stephen Tremp
IWSG Co-Host August 2016

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And now you write fiction as well.
Ichthyoelectroanalgesia. I learned a new word today!

Leandra Wallace said...

Writing can really sink its hooks into you, can't it? =) And you're right, I totally knew what that meant...;)

Rhonda Gilmour said...

I'm sorry I missed the era of the zines; I was living overseas in the '90s. Then again, our local literary magazines might be the children (grandchildren?) of that trend.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.