I can almost pin point the exact moment I realized that I wanted to be a writer.
I often refer people back to my Freshman English Teacher who was always rough on my writing with her blasted red pen (I firmly believe that is one of the reasons I have difficulty reading red ink to this day). But in thinking about it, I realize that while she was inspirational and woke me up to her own perceptions, I can’t really give her the full credit of the beginning of my writing journey.
I can, however, lay the awakening at the feet of an old friend of mine. There was a writing contest at our school. She wanted to enter, but she had a major flaw in her writing skills. She couldn’t write dialog. I, on the other, jotted out dialog and plays. Mostly because I heard it in my head (and I won’t even contemplate the idea of a kid hearing these voices means….) and had to jot it down. So my friend, wanting to win, suggested a collaboration. I write the dialog, she writes everything else. I thought, great! We could enter it into the contest and if we won, we’d share.
She disabused me of that notion after I wrote the dialog.
Do I remember the argument, precisely? No, I’m happy to say that the words themselves don’t matter. What does is that in my anger, and in the middle of a crowd, I made a bet with my friend. That we’d both enter the contest individually and whoever lost (or placed the worst) would have to run up the Senior Steps at lunch time. Remember, we were Freshmen at the time so that was a big deal.
We shook hands and as we parted ways to get started, my Senior pals began to plan what they would do to the loser….like I said, it’s complicated.
If anyone is curious, I won by a huge margin. I don’t remember exact placing, but I do remember my friend being covered with green goo…… probably safer not to ask what was in the goo.
In thinking and remembering all this, I realize that I honestly have to thank my friend for opening my eyes the rest of the way. After that contest, I was a writer.
But there are days when I think that maybe I should curse her instead. It’s tempting to call her up…if I had her number that is…and demand why did she have to wake me up to this wonderful expression of self???? How dare she?!?
When that outrage takes hold, I hate being a writer.
Now, before anyone decides to throw any type of fruit at me, or run the other direction hissing at the audacity to suggest that being a writer is worth loathing, wait. There’s more.
I am pleased to say that it doesn’t happen often. When I’m in the zone, writing up a storm without pausing for breath, thought, drink, or food, and it’s just me and the world I’m in, I’m hopelessly in love with the process. It gives me a rush, a feeling of being home within my soul. At these moments, I know that I’m being true to myself to such a degree it’s…undescribeable. Yes, I know as a writer I should be able to give an inkling, but I can’t. It’s pure joy.
But when I do hate it, it’s usually because I’m at draft five, I’m dealing with tenses, punctuation, repetitive sentences that begin with the word ‘She’. Or, when I realize, I have no more excuses. I have to start sending out the letters to Agents, cross my fingers, and hope that I don’t have to wade through too many rejection slips (or is it all e-mail now). I’ll be honest, I’m a nanosecond from biting my nails. I know that once I start sending them out I’m going to hover around my computer or mailbox…probably both…waiting anxiously. It’s a never-ending cycle of thought in my brain. Sheer terror fighting with a deep knowledge that I have what it takes to do it. Of course, it doesn’t help the terror when an editor friend comes back with ‘I loved, loved, loved the story’ and ‘Brilliance’ then promptly slashes out approximately 3000 words from my manuscript.
I suppose, in reality, I should focus on the fact that while reading through all her suggestions and slashing at my crime scene, I wasn’t discouraged or upset by any of it. In fact, for 98% of what she wrote I was nodding my head, or knocking my forehead with my palm at the stupidity of not catching that a thumb isn’t the same thing as a thump…and how the heck do you put a b instead of a p when they are on opposite sides of the keyboard anyway????
Anyway, like just about everything about me, I find that writing isn’t immune to my strange mood swings that bounce me between love and hate. It’s a good sign in my opinion though, because that shows how much it means to me personally. Will I ever settle on just one feeling toward my writing over the other? To be honest, I hope not because even on the days when I hate it, I can’t stop doing it.
- My Own True Words (storiesinmypocket.wordpress.com)
- Writing Is Hard (yearofthebooks.wordpress.com)
- A Writer’s Beginnings (l3montree.wordpress.com)