Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting Started...and Finishing

In between huffing and puffing during my run this evening, I got to thinking about writers...specifically how I got my start. I started writing when I was twelve. I used to think I was special, but via the power of the internet, I've discovered a lot of writers who also started early in life. Well boo. I think I preferred feeling special!

Andrew Andrews, I do adore you!
Writing was my happy place growing up. It was where I could retreat after a bad day at school. I was perenially picked on in those days because I was a little plump. All I can say is that the concept of bullying has progressed in the years since I left public school. Anyhoo... I was much happier in the Antebellum period with my characters. My first novel was entitled "Secrets in Savannah" and featured William Bradford (named after my middle school crush, of course) who was actually the "Savannah Shadow" who was modelled after "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

Except instead being set during the French Revolution, "Secrets" was set in Antebellum Savannah. And instead of secreting aristocrats out of Paris, my hero conducted slaves through the Underground Railroad. And naturally, there was the independent, willful heroine Drusilla Jessica who somehow married William via a marriage of convenience and was certain he was the devil because he owned slaves in the first place (but he was secretly paying them on the sly). Wow--I had an imagination! But now that I think of it, this was a pretty good idea. Maybe I should revisit it someday!

I still remember the day that my crush found out about my dark secret (i.e. that my hero was modelled on him). I was terrified...I was sure my life was over. But lo and behold, he was flattered and somehow I became a temporary celebrity amongst my classmates. I should have charged money for all the folks who wanted me to name characters after them!

I sometimes wish I could go back to the days when writing was my hiding place. It's more of a chore these days--as I have mentioned it's turned into a "got to finish this so I can maybe hopefully pursue publication." I wish I could go back to the days when it was easy...when I was blind to the idea of ever seeing publication. I know I've got to find my mojo again; to just ignore what happens once I finish that last word.

So how about you? When did you start writing and what are your obstacles to finishing your own works?


  1. I started writing before I even knew how to actually write. I dictated stories to my mother and grandmother who would write them down for me. Then, naturally, I would put in the lovely illistrations. My mom still has the first "book" I "wrote" about a baby elephant. I think I actually ripped that idea from an already published book.

    I don't find writing to be a chore--most of the time. Editing, however, can be an entirely different story. Pun intended.

    Good luck on this next adventure! If you need a beta reader, you know how to contact me. :)

    1. Thanks Sarah! I might shoot you "Rebellion" once it wraps up. I had around 100 pages until I stupidly saved an older version over the newer version on my flash drive. So since there's like a 5% chance I will be able to recover that, I'll have to re-write. Sigh. Technology: I can that to my obstacles.

  2. The first stories I can remember writing were after I started school. We had exercise books which had room for a drawing at the top, and then lines at the bottom to write on. I starting writing multiple page stories when I was six (I think), and it grew from there. I remember when I discovered my grandparents' old typewriter and started banging away on that (mostly babysitter's club rip-offs and mysteries). Then once we had a computer when I was about ten, I was off and I haven't stopped since! Although I did go through a poetry period in my teens which did slow down my output of long stories.

    I think the main obstacle I have to finishing is when it becomes "work" as you said. Once the fun of inspiration is over, I have to really buckle down to get through the next steps.

    1. I can relate, Charlotte! I graduated from hand writing to my grandmother's word processor. It's amazing how far technology has come in 20 years!

  3. I started writing when I was very young. And I was terrible at it. Many years later I learned to stop trying so hard and let the stories come to me.

    My biggest obstacle is lack of time. I've got three special needs sons, a daughter, a disabled husband and a dog. I do most of my writing in November (thank you National Novel Writing Month!).