Crazy Uncle Simon
Years ago, when Simon was finishing high school, he knew exactly what he wanted to study when he moved on to college: Meteorology. His top two choices, I believe, were St. Louis and Oklahoma, but he wanted to do more than just study weather; he wanted to experience weather. So, he opted for Oklahoma, even though St. Louis showed more interest in him.
|Early years of chasing for Simon.|
After Simon got out to Norman, Oklahoma (in 1999), he didn't waste any time hooking up with some other freshman meteorologists who were also interested in chasing storms (check out their website here). For a few years, they chased when they were able. Eventually, they realized they could make a little money by licensing video and photographs from their chases. By 2003, I was able to watch Simon's storm chasing videos on the Weather Channel while staying in the hospital when Jonah was born.
A few years later, Simon appeared on his first reality storm chasing show. Now, he's finished filming the third season of Storm Riders, which is a hit show on the Weather Channel. No longer a hobby, his day job is to chase storms.
|Image from the new season of Storm Riders that begins this August.|
Simon didn't start off trying to make a living off storm chasing. He just loved chasing and followed his passion with abandon. When writers ask if writing is worth pursuing, I think of my brother Simon. Writing is definitely worth pursuing, but--unless you're going into professional or technical writing--you should be doing it because you're passionate about writing.
Everyone wants to live off their writing, and it is possible, but if profit is the only motivating factor in writing a novel, then most writers are going to walk away disappointed.
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Learn more about writing and weather with these resources:
- Twister. Simon now swears he hates this movie, but he used to love it.
- Twister. This isn't a movie; it's a board game.
- Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson
- Writing the Life Poetic, by Sage Cohen
- 2012 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition, edited by Robert Lee Brewer (Get it before all your friends!)