Matthew Alan grew up in Canton, Ohio. After graduating from Kenyon College, and earning a masters degree from Western Illinois, he began a career in teaching and coaching. Matthew currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
What inspires you to write?
Thanks again for taking the time to read something I’ve written, and for all of the amazing support on this new venture. I know it doesn’t make sense to everyone, this writing “thing” that seems so odd and outside of Coach Matt world, but I’ve been writing for years, so it’s only the sharing thing that’s new form my end. And regardless of ever doing it full time or making it “big”, I love it. Have a fundamental desire to write that I haven’t felt since I joined the swim team at McKinley Senior High school my sophomore year.
I know many of you won’t get it, just like many of my non-swimmer friends don’t get swimming (who am I kidding, I don’t have non-swimmer friends), but I just want to thank you again and explain a little more fully why I love to write. It’s a question I get asked more often now, so I woke up early this morning and decided to get this down on paper to explain it more clearly.
That’s the first thing, the constant desire to actually write something down. Like swimming and sex, not to mention family, religion and friends (among many other things and not in that order), I think about it all of the time. I’ll get an idea and have jot it on paper or in my notepad – at 2am, or noon when I’m swimming, whenever something poignant or funny, that I want to share comes into my head, I write it out. When I think “this is important, this is something people need to be reminded about, what I need to be reminded about.” Whether it be a gentle nudge to be more open-minded (which we all need), or to love ourselves a little more, I get ideas that represent these concepts and want to, almost have to share them. I think books are important for that, I know how a great story affects me, and the educator and coach in me wants to do the same things on a grander scale for other people as well.
That’s the second piece – it gets something across, a piece of me. Something I value and think that is important. An idea that reminds me, and hopefully others, what life should be about, and that struggling through it is okay. Anyone that really knows me, understands why struggle is such a focus in my writing. But I think, just like in coaching, writing allows you to share ideas that maybe people have forgotten, that maybe they have never even thought about. Because to be honest, life is hard, and it is full of struggles, and it’s also amazing and full of cycles where we rebound into something even better than before. Sharing that understanding, that goal. That’s why I write.
I hope you don’t mind, And I appreciate the indulgence. I know that’s what it is, trust me. When after fourteen hours of coaching, all I can think about is getting a few pages written, a few ideas outlined, I know this is part of who I am. That it’s what I really want to share. Not just the outside, but what I’ve learned and what I continue to learn in my life.
Thanks for being patient, and for those of you willing to give my books a chance to sink in.
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually use an outline with character sketches, personalities…etc and let the story grow from there. I also try to make sure the characters stay consistent as well as have the ability to grow in the story (basically not writing them into a corner that they can’t get out of).
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I talk out loud sometimes…other times I let them talk to me. lol
What advice would you give other writers?
Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Publish. Keep at it. Don’t get discouraged. Remember why you’re doing it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-published after years of writing and working on making something I was proud to share. Then one day I just decided to do it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s going to take work for authors to find book deals, but independent publishing is a great thing (with the volume of self-published works, it does make the market more and more difficult to get your book noticed at times). Still worth the process though!
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
fiction, coming of age, science fiction, family saga
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print