I’ve always been a bookworm. From the time I could read, probably, I’ve loved novels. I was the kid in school who always had her book with her. At recess, instead of playing dodgeball or grounders, I was sitting on a bench or a swing or a hill reading my book, often with my bookmark in my mouth so that it would not get lost.
Do you remember Scholatistic book orders? They were the highlight of school. Carefully looking through all of the options, circling the ones I liked and then agonizing over which one or two or three to pick and buy. Then the continuing agony of waiting for them to arrive. It never got better than when the Scholastic Book Fair came to our school. I loved wandering around looking over the tables of books filling my school gymnasium.
I’ve been writing since then too. My friend Renae loved books with me. The stories and imagination contained in and spurred by them thrilled us. We liked some of the same books, and many different ones too. We both enjoyed historical fiction and mysteries. Renae liked the ones with magic and a little bit of other worlds, the supernatural, the sci-fi. Me, I preferred the ones with a bit of mystery and a bit of romance. We began a smattering of novels together. We would take a binder and fill it with loose-leaf paper. A whole big stack. Then, one of us would start and write the first page. We usually discussed the idea and basic synopsis beforehand. Then, after one girl wrote the first page, she would pass it to the other and the second girl would write the second page. We would go along like that, one page at a time. Our penciled printing must have had phenomenal character development and storyline accuracy. Sadly, we never made it past eight or ten pages. We would get bored, throw that story out and begin a new one, believing Surely, this will be our great novel. We’ll write and publish this one and be famous novelists. We did that for a lot of years. We never came up with a great co-authored novel.
So, it was foreshadowed a little bit that I would study writing and become a writer. I did well in school, English was my favourite subject and class. I formally decided to study Communications in grade 11. I had an over-zealous student teacher for my Career and Life Management class who informed our group of 16 and 17 year olds that if we didn’t figure out our lives and exactly what we were going to do with them right now, then we would never be anything and would turn out as complete failures. I panicked. I was a straight-A student, occupied a seat on the honour-roll and gained a lot of my self-esteem, pride and self-worth from that position. Failure in life was not an option. So, I went onto CareerCruising.com and answered all of the survey questions about what I liked and what I was good at and it spewed out a collection of possible careers that I would be good at. One was writing, another marketing, and so on. The only clear and tangible link I could find between them all was a degree in Communications. So, I decided that’s what I would do after high school. I googled “degree in Communications Canada” and found two universities in the western provinces that offered such a program: The University of Calgary and Trinity Western University. I wanted a university, not a college. University sounds just a little more prestigious.
I chose Trinity as my university and took Comm, focused on writing and stuck with it. Despite my love of novels and fiction overall, I didn’t study creative writing or literature. I studied technical writing, magazine writing, speech writing, brochure writing and so on. I even minored in political studies, and took a biology class to fulfill my liberal arts education requirements.
I graduated, and like most post-grads, am now working multiple part-time jobs to pay my rent and expenses, not making quite enough to save or pay off any of my student debt. One of my jobs is in my “field” of writing, as a Communications Technician at a large church. Over the past eight months I’ve written articles for the monthly newsletter magazine, drafted and edited brochures, bulletins, and posters. I’ve worked on the webpage and updated the facebook fan page. And, because writing is my desire, my boss asked me to create and write a monthly staff newsletter.
Have I done any other writing? Nope. Not really. I was too afraid in university to ever send any of my pieces written for classes to any magazines to be published and that fear stays with me. In the eight months since graduating I’ve started an article or two. I’ve begun thinking about some novel ideas. But I haven’t written more than a few pages here and there.
I’ve fallen into the trap that so many of my professors and authors of books on writing have warned of: Writers don’t wait for the idea to be there, or for the right time or inspiration to hit before the sit down to write. They sit down to write and stay there until something appears on the page.
I’ve caught myself so many times. I’ll write later. I don’t feel like writing at the moment. I don’t have anything to write about, I’ll think of something then try to write. So many excuses. So many fears shrouded by shrugs of feigned indifference. Heck, I began writing this piece in my head while sitting in the shower. Yes, sitting. I was in the tub, feeling the drops hit my knees while listening to the stream fall from the showerhead. It calms me; it is my thinking place. Anyway, I’ve neglected the fact that I’m a writer! Or at least, I want to be one. I choose to be one. I need to make time, daily, to write. That is how great things get written. Authors sit down at their paper, their typewriter, their computer and they write.
About anything. About nothing. For 15 minutes, or an hour or three hours a day. Everyday. It is scheduled time. Either in time, as I just demonstrated, or in word count or page count. I need to tell myself: I’m not leaving this chair or this MS Word document until I’ve written 600 words, 1500 words, 2 pages, 6 pages. etc.
Hence, this blog. I have an artist friend who updates a blog biweekly. She’s a painter and sketcher. If she can write something twice a week and have the guts to post it where others can read it, then I can do it. Heck, I’m the writer here! So, that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to begin a blog. I will begin with writing two blog entries a week. On 4 other days of the week I will write for one hour, at least, on either fiction or magazine articles.
If I want to be a writer, as I’ve dreamed of since I was young, then I need to write!
It sounds so simple. But it takes so much work. It takes so much risk.
And that is why this blog is here.
What will it look like from post to post and week to week? I have absolutely no idea! But that’s the fun. It forces me to write, because you my readers (I hope some of you will appear!) expect me to have something every Wednesday and Saturday.
Posting my writing, twice a week, where others can see and read it is my way of trying to keep myself accountable, because as sad as it is, I, a writer, need someone or something to keep me accountable to actually write. And one day, this force-writing will spur me on to getting that novel written and published. There are some starts sitting, gathering virtual dust in the unopened files on my desktop…this blog will hopefully get those files opened and expanded and filled with imagination and story and all that wonderful stuff that I love so much about novels and fiction in general.
Since reading is a pure love of mine, I’ve decided that the bulk of the material posted here will deal with my “excellent library” as Jane Austen discusses in Pride and Prejudice. I will discuss my thoughts concerning the books I am discovering, perusing and dwelling on. And perhaps, spur some others to taste these delicate delights.