Jun. 2022 | About

Reflecting on My Writing Life

Writing has always been a big part of my life, but it took almost giving up on my writing dreams to realize just how significant of a role it had in my life. In this post, I look back at the moments writing helped me get through the troublesome times and, ultimately, helped me get back on track.

Hello. My name is Lucas Horn and I’ve been writing for most of my life. I know, many writers make that bold claim, but it wasn’t until I started working on this post that I realized how significant writing has been to my life.

I’ll begin by saying I’m gay and have been since birth. Growing up gay during a time when it was unacceptable (especially to my family) was difficult to cope with. It became even more challenging when I was forced to attend a religious high school. I felt like an outcast of my own life holding onto a deep secret that I couldn’t tell anyone. So, with no one to turn to I purchased a cheap leather journal and began writing in it every day. In my journal I spoke bluntly about my feelings, divulged my deep inner thoughts and, over time, learned how to grapple with what I believed was a life-altering dilemma (it wasn’t). Journaling made me realize who I was and how much I enjoyed writing, not to mention the feel of putting pen to paper.

Journaling made me realize who I was and how much I enjoyed writing, not to mention the feel of putting pen to paper.

In high school I made the best of my bad situation and turned my love of personal writing into something more by penning articles for the school paper. Having my words appear in black and white alongside my name for all to read helped me overcome the fears typically associated with high school, and I graduated feeling empowered to further my writing.

When I attended college, I took creative writing courses. There, I wrote short stories that were passed around the class and critiqued. It was my first time getting feedback on something I created, and it was scary (in a good way). I continued providing articles for the school paper, but this time it was under the direction of a visiting professor who was an actual journalist for a well-known newspaper. She helped me master the art of “just the facts” and, as a result, they placed most of my articles on the front page.

After several years of working in the “real world”, I went to graduate school. Since most of my courses were at night, I felt a disconnect from the actual school. I approached the editor of the school paper (a business professor) with my idea to create a weekly column dedicated to helping students find work after graduation. As blogs were becoming more popular (and the paper was trying to go digital) I offered to turn my column into bi-weekly posts as well. He loved it and I maintained the column every week for two years.

Meanwhile, as a result of taking on various roles in my early working days, I found a passion for graphic design. I enjoyed creating something from nothing and, despite not having the background, wanted to learn how to do it. Through trial and error (many errors) I eventually got the hang of it, and taught myself how to use most of the popular design programs and concepts. At seventeen I found myself with clients looking for an alternative to high priced marketing companies, and so I started my own freelance design business. As the business grew, I added more services, including ghost writing where I contributed blogs, ebooks and other writing work under other people’s names.

A Hobby Turns Into Something More

It wasn’t until 2016 when I began writing for myself and started working on my debut novel (for real). Before then it was just a mass of scribbled notes in a Moleskine notebook that I carried around for years. I always dreamed of writing a novel, but determined I needed to find the ideal time in my life to do it. I truly believed I would find some magical moment when everything was perfect in my life so I could happily sneak away and compose my novel. That moment never came (nor does it exist) so I forced myself to make a change.

When I made writing my full-time job, I foolishly thought it was going to be easy. I had already been used to sitting in front of a computer for several hours with no human interaction, so that was fine. Creating and sticking to daily/weekly/monthly goals came natural to me, as did personal organization. Most important, I believed in my story and had a notebook full of (what I thought was) great notes. It all seemed possible.

As someone who specialized in marketing, I followed the advice I give all of my clients. I claimed my domain name and social media profiles, and branded them with the word “writer”. Then, I took on a part-time job as an overnight doorman for a luxury condominium building in New York City’s lower west-side. I figured working the graveyard shift would provide me with hours of distraction-less quiet that I needed to write… It didn’t. Turned out, tenants in a luxury condo complex are needy at all hours, and the location next to the HighLine provided too much activity to focus on writing, so I quit.

I spent the next few years searching for ideal writing spots, and shared them on social media. I created blog posts about my writing process, infographics to help fellow writers out, videos to accompany the blogs and updated my website more times than I could count. It was all under the guise that I was “writing”, when what I was really doing was procrastinating.

The only way to achieve writing success is to write. Click to Tweet

It took a long time for me to realize that the only way to achieve writing success, is to write. So, I put my ass in the chair, and forced myself to write a first draft. When I was done with that, I wrote the second and the third. After seven rewrites, one where I “blew up the book” and nearly started over, I finally had my novel complete in 2020, just in time for a world-wide shutdown.

Pandemic aside, I was discouraged. So much time had gone by and the deadline I set for my new writing endeavor had passed years ago. In addition, my attempts to query the novel only resulted in rejections, a badge for many writers but it hit me hard. My life was also in disarray, resulting in a move. With everything stacked against me, I shelved the novel and my writing career.

In January 2022, I dusted my novel off and reassessed my goals. After a brief re-read, I made a few changes and a big decision… to publish the novel myself. Since then, I’ve been quietly working behind the scenes to get my novel (and whatever remained of my platform) ready to release my debut novel in the Fall. I did not know how much work it would be, but I’m confident this is the right path for my novel.
Looking back, writing has always been a profound part of my life, and I can’t give up on it (even if I tried).


Lucas Horn

Lucas Horn is a creative designer who is attracted to men and True Crime, a trifecta which profoundly influenced his debut novel, The Midnight Blaze. When he isn't designing or writing, Lucas likes to travel and search for unique writing locations.

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