I know most writers say they’ve been writing since birth (or in Lindsey’s case, in utero). Sorry, I’m not one of them. I told myself stories, though. At night, as I’m drifting off to sleep, I tell myself a bedtime story. Always have.
Nowadays, I’m usually working on the current WIP, but when I was younger, my stories were more of the Mary Sue fanfic variety. But I never wrote any stories down.
Now, let’s digress to a little run-down of my resume. There was the whole ballet thing, which left me with scars from three foot operations, a bum knee, arthritis, and my eating disorder. There were several jobs in the food service industry that supported me through college. My first real job was for a non-profit organization, where (among other duties) I started doing event planning. Then we moved up to Huntsville, where I did conference and workshop planning for a group of scientists. Then came grad school (and more food service), and I started teaching.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, I started saying I was going to write a book. Those stories I’d been telling myself quit being of the fanfic variety and more of my own characters and plots. Although I told a few people I was going to write a book, I never sat down to do it. Time was an issue (as it is for most writers with day jobs or a thesis to write), but I didn’t have the drive. Looking back, I just don’t think I was ready.
After AC was born, the desire to write became strong. I’m not sure why. I stumbled around, wrote some bad stuff, and, in general, didn’t accomplish much. Then I heard about a writing workshop at one of the local colleges. I actually came back early from a trip to Scotland in order to attend. That’s where I heard about Heart of Dixie and RWA. That sparked something, and I started learning more about writing, but it was several more months until I bucked up and joined. Even then, it was a couple of more months before I got serious. Yes, the longest journey starts with the first step, but making that first step requires courage, faith, and determination. It took a while for all three to kick in for me and get my butt in a chair.
My biggest obstacle to overcome is probably myself. There’s the fear of failure, of course. There’s that nagging little inner voice that tells me I’m just not good enough. (I come from an artistic background— I know full well what it means to be “good” but not “good enough” and how big that gap can be.) I’m also a procrastinator and a piddler— I’ll put things off by piddling with other things. Unless I’m seriously motivated, I’ll find twenty-seven other things on my to-do list that need to be done. And, Problem Child attitude aside, I can get frustrated and hurt pretty easily. Last week’s rejection letter hit me pretty hard and left me wondering if I’d forever be stuck at “good” and never make the cut of “good enough.”
But I know I’m lucky. I have the Playfriends to support me and lead the cheers. They also nag like you wouldn’t believe. (And in this game, nagging is often needed.) The Darling Geek is 100% supportive of this dream— I don’t have to listen to “why don’t you get a real job?” or justify the time and money it takes to pursue publication. The Mavens believe in me, and sometimes that I-have-to-justify-their-faith-in-me feeling is what gets me to the keyboard. Once I made the jump from just telling myself I was going to write a book to a community that expects me to produce said book (and other books), the dynamic changed. It has become a time of put-up-or-shut-up, and that, more than anything, makes me block out that nagging inner voice, suck up the hesitation, and get to work. And I couldn’t be happier or proud of myself for making that commitment to myself and my (future) career.
(Yes, the desire to write (or to succeed at anything) has to come from inside first. But the courage to actually do it sometimes needs shoring up from outside sources. During our birthday this month, many of you have thanked us for being here. Let me just say for the record: We thank you for coming here and adding your voices to the support system. The books and prizes we give away are the only way we can show that appreciation. And it’s pretty small in comparison for what y’all give to us.)
So I’m moving past the frustration and hurt of my last rejection letter and getting back to the WIP. I made a new goal list yesterday as part of my birthday musings, and if I’m going to meet those goals this year, I’d better get cracking. Nothing like a deadline to overcome that obstacle of procrastination.
Hmmm, feels like I should be giving away pom-poms as my prize today, but I’m fresh out. A book and a 2007 planner for your goals will have to do.
(Angel 's winner from yesterday is Kathy. Congrats! Contact Angel for your prize!)