The first Hank The Cowdog story came about differently than you would think.
In fact, I think many books, businesses, marriages, and life adventures start out different than we assume they will.
A doctor starts dabbling in real estate and soon finds 80% of her income comes from her side business.
You strike up a conversion at church and end up meeting your wife.
An actor takes a role as an afterthought and it births a franchise series that comes to define his career.
Who would have thought John Erickson would set out toward his life’s work after penning a satire piece for $65?
When I do programs in schools, I usually leave some time for kids to ask questions. They are curious about where my Hank the Cowdog stories came from, and almost without fail, they will ask the question in the same manner: “What inspired you to write the Hank stories?” It amuses me that they think of writing in terms of inspiration. I wrote my first Hank story as an article for The Cattleman magazine and my “inspiration” was money, sixty-five bucks, that I needed to support a wife and two small children. A plumber doesn’t wait for inspiration to lay a water line. A surgeon doesn’t have to be inspired to remove an appendix, and a professional writer doesn’t sit around waiting for the muse to whisper in his ear. He has to make his own inspiration, and that happens when he follows a pattern of disciplined work.
-John Erickson, Story Craft (Amazon)