The Journey Begins From Software Engineer to Novelist

She had heard it before.

I could have been a novelist. I love writing. I wish I had time to write a novel.

Through over a decade of marriage, this was a recurring theme. Writing had been his dream. His passion. When he was younger and had more time, he had written endlessly. There was a closet full of his work, some of it going back to elementary school. There were countless short stories, some poetry, and more than a handful of half-written novels.

Occasionally, he would find the time to add to the mountain of failed attempts. Perhaps on vacation, or when work designing software was particularly light. Generally, though, he had abandoned it. His chosen career path was mentally exhausting and there was no room in his life for the frivolity of a dream that would never come to pass.

Until one day, he said this very familiar thing to her and she did not react with her usual support or sympathy. No. This time, she simply said “So do it.”

She is my wife. And I am he. I have recently begun a new journey in my life. I have stepped away from my career to dedicate my time to finally writing that novel. Not forever. The years of working have allowed the luxury of amassing enough resources to be able to do that. It’s a leap of faith. One with a parachute, perhaps, but a leap of faith nonetheless.

The initial goal is to write a novel in 6 months. Can one write a novel in 6 months? I’m in the process of finding out. Afterward will come editing, and the laborious process of finding a publisher, but it all starts here. With this journey. With the time to truly discover what it feels like to be a writer as my sole professional focus.

It’s been one month since I started this journey, and I’ve made some progress. I have a routine. I have a plot. I have some characters. As of the time of this writing, I have 25,000 words. It sounds like a lot. My goal is somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000.

But each new chapter brings new revelations about my story. About my characters. About the craft. Rewrites are necessary. Chapters must be inserted. I plan my story in one direction, and one of my characters wrestles it in a different direction. It’s exhilarating to bring something to life — even if only in written form — that can take on its own personality and desires. I have new friends, new enemies, and new adventures to explore thanks to them.

I don’t know what this blog will become, but in my research I read that an aspiring author would do well to start working on their “platform” as early as possible. It’s a vague and loaded term, but basically it just means — I should start building a fanbase. Doing that when I have no book seems impossibly daunting, but I shall try anyway.

I will regale you with tales of this journey. I will tease you with aspects of the novel. I will introduce you to my characters, and the world in which they live. In the end, there will be a novel. One that will be published one way or another eventually. And maybe. Just maybe. You will stick with me for this whole crazy journey.


  1. Michelle Olshovsky

    I can’t wait to read your first published novel. What an awesome journey on never giving up on your passion and talent.

  2. Jorel

    So totally stoked to see what you come up with!!!

  3. Patti Flanary

    Proud of you as you go for your dreams. Can’t wait to read the outcome.

  4. Twila Burlew

    Whoo hooo… I’m excited for you and this journey!! I can’t wait to pickup your novel and read it. Yes I will read for You!

  5. J. Paul Barnett (Post author)

    Wow, Twila. I’m honored! 🙂

  6. Jessica Weeks

    Can’t wait to read it Josh, hope to get a signed copy!

  7. Rebecca toney

    So awesome!!!!!! I’m proud of you

  8. Ella Mae Brandt

    So proud of this bold step you are taking in following your dream.

  9. Kelton Rhodes

    Fan base. plus one????

  10. Denise

    I always enjoyed reading your stories; can’t wait to see this one, too!

  11. Michele Toman

    I’ve known you are a great writer almost since you first picked up a pen as a preschooler. I’m so happy the rest of the world is about to be able to enjoy your gift!

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  13. M Brooke Barker

    Awesome!! Go after it. I love reading and I’m excited at the prospect of getting to not only read the work of a friend but that its YOU! Yay!!

  14. Judy May

    Josh, I am excited for you and can’t wait to read your first novel.

  15. Shaun Little

    Sign me up

  16. Denise

    I can’t wait to see what this journey brings! So glad you are following your dream.

  17. Matt

    Josh, everyone from your company (from which you took the hiatus) is excited to see you explore your dreams and make them a reality. We are all very proud of you in the work you’ve done with us, and we know you will produce great novels. You are awesome for real. – The Team.


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