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It’s time for the first Insecure Writer’s Post of the new year. So happy 2020 to you!
And can we all admit right now that the complete absence of automatic glitter, tacky gilt ornaments, alcohol, and Charleston step instructions falling gently from the sky at midnight was a huge disappointment? I mean…all we got was plain old fireworks. (Well, since I live in Nevada USA, we got sporadic gunshots all night SO THAT WAS FUN.)
The co-hosts for the first month of this breakaway new year are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff! Don’t forget to go hand them a dazzling digital thank you in real 1920s style. (What does that mean? Yeah I have no idea either. I’m working this theme for all I’ve got, okay. My grandma was born in 1920, I sure wasn’t. Give the co-hosts the right to vote or make an arbitrary rule that’s as enforceable as the 18th amendment, I dunno.)
The question for this month is: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/partner? Did you just “know” you wanted to write?
To answer this question, let’s go all the way back to 1997 and a ten-year-old SE. Yep, I was the universal author origin story, writing what was basically adoring fanfic of Patricia C. Wrede and Tamora Pierce. We could call that the start of my writing journey.
Or we could move ahead to the remedial math class I took in college (2005) which I limped through until our professor threw us non-maths types a break by assigning a creative writing essay about the relative usefulness of what we’d learned. Which finally got me a paper back with a big A+ on it. The professor’s clear enjoyment of my nonsense gave me a big dose of hope that the story splinters I still etched into random notebooks could be…well…entertaining. For someone else, not just me.
No. Probably we should zip right along in some kind of split-scene montage. (I get to pick the music.) Imagine This Life, by Vampire Weekend jaunting around in the background as SE graduates college (2009), she gets a job, her son turns 4 with a cute Spiderman theme party, she gets another job, moves to Carson City, becomes engaged, gets married, has two more children, and leaves the job to becomes a stay-at-home mom.
There we are. There’s the real start of my author journey. Up until this point (2016), I was a devoted reader, a total nerd, an enthusiastic bookworm, a scribbler of small private bits of stories, but not a writer. Writing my own book and, even more terrifying, trying to publish it stayed a vague “someday” idea in the back of my mind for all of those years.
Then one day I was reading a novella on my Kindle, which shall remain nameless, and it was awful. Giant plot holes, badly written sentences, stiff dialogue, random scene transitions…this novella had it all.
And I can’t even describe the huge, electrifying, hopeful shot it gave me as I read. This was a real, formatted, published book. With a cover. And with buyers. As in, people like me expended actual money on it (whether they enjoyed it or not, I can’t say). If this could get published…why couldn’t I? What did I have to lose, right? Only my own time, and I wouldn’t consider it lost.
That was kind of the watershed moment, where all these tiny streams came together to lift up my foot and push it into that first step. There were plenty of other little impetus moments I haven’t described here, but these are the ones which stood out to me for the purposes of this post. And somehow, four-ish years later, here I sit. A writer.