*title taken from a chapter in Jennifer Probst’s Write Naked.
I am not the traditional writer, you see. I didn’t start writing as a kid and keep myself hauled up in my room reading and writing all day and nights, choosing to swap high school parties for nights in the house by myself. I didn’t write for my high school paper or study English and Creative writing in college. My degree is in Psychology and my Master’s is in Business Administration, two subject matters not really found on the resumes of some of today’s most popular authors. I have worked in a variety of positions, none of them related to writing fiction, and have spent most of my adult life raising little ones. I don’t have a background that screams “Future New York Times Bestseller.”
I started writing at about 12 or 13. My genre of choice was fan fiction because that’s what I was really into: pop culture and reading. I wrote about the things that inspired me which at that time was *NSYNC. And I can almost bet that my writing was super bad, but I gained a small following of people who demanded stories about them with their favorite member of the musical group. I continued writing until I was well into high school. It became difficult then. I was writing academic papers and trying to figure out my future. I had lost my motivation, my muse to write for fun. Then, I went to college and focused on studying hard so that I could have a successful career. I got married soon after graduating from college and soon after that had children. I had lost any time that I might have had in college and the demands of motherhood had caused me to lose my inspiration. I prayed for inspiration that never seemed to come. I still struggled, and even then when an idea would come along, the words never seemed to come out right. I was stuck. Maybe writing just wasn’t in the cards for me.
But it’s also said to be careful for what you wish. You see, I may have lacked inspiration, a muse during my high school and college years, but there was no lacking excitement and experience once I became a mother to two children. In motherhood, the stories write themselves, my friends. And now, those children have received diagnoses that has since taken me on a very different journey that I anticipated. I’ve also become an Army spouse, had bounced back and forth between working and staying at home, and have lived in 5 different states in a 7-year period. If I didn’t have a story to tell before, I certainly a few up my sleeve now! But there was still this issue of time to resolve. And I hadn’t really written anything creatively in forever, so how could I possibly get my skills up to par?
So I started this here blog for fun. I figured the more I wrote, the better I would get. After all, practice makes better. So I wrote about my life- my journey through motherhood, my journey of personal discovery and identity, and my writing journey. But I still needed that one extra thing… I still needed to learn how. Classes take time and many times cost money. But there’s no cost to joining writing groups online, and reading more books. And so that’s what I did. I learned more effective ways to promote my blogging, made connections with other writers online, and started writing fictional short stories to see exactly where I needed improvement. I spent about a year total on these works, and then sent them to a few trusted friends. And their mostly positive feedback was just the boost of confidence I needed to pursue my calling.
I know it will be a long and arduous journey to get where I want to be in my writing career. I still have so much to learn about the business and in accepting the fact that not every person will like what I have to say, or even understand my style of writing. But with the right support, the right motivation, and the right guidance, I have faith that I will finally end up on the “write” path.