Friday, January 15, 2010

In the Beginning . . .



Hi! I've been wanting to share my thoughts about certain aspects of writing for a long time and talked about it with my new pal Kim! She says it sounds like a good idea, too. I feel that it is a very important aspect in a writer's life and we all need to (should) share this with each other.

It's about how I started out. It's a funny thing, really. I grew up with teachers telling me that I had a hard time comprehending the things I read. True. When I started college, I had to take a remedial writing class. Funny. I found out why I struggled with comprehension. Interesting. One would think that I would steer way clear from the stuff. Look at me now--a writer and loving it! Well, ahem, I love to read, too.

Okay. Sorry. My problem had to do with the way I was raised. I endured child abuse. I had learned how to mentally switch off. A coping mechanism. I turned to pretending. As a child, I found great escapism in creating stories and living them. I LOVED stories. My sisters and I would whip up plots and characters and settings that blew our minds and had us involved for hours--even weeks at a time. We would draw (yes, draw!) entire tales on paper about elves, horses, unicorns, mermaids--anything that snared our fancy. It was so much fun!



The magic of creation never left me. I wrote my first poems in 4th grade. My first novel when I was 11 (Shelly and the Two Stallions). It was as cheesy as I'll get out. I still have the book! I wrote another story after that (Thunder). Thunder was a wild black stallion. I started little stories here and there. Just whimsical--fun--at this point. Nothing serious. I wrote many poems in high school and then took a creative writing class. I fell in love. I was engaged. I was soon after married to writing and have never looked back!



I have a serious relationship with writing. I started my first full novel when I was 16 (1991). Proud of my first chapter, I handed it to my older sister to share with her my excitement. She handed it back, marked up with red ink. I was devastated! I remember throwing a fit and fixing it up and stashing it away. Well, I wrote several pages after that and began to illustrate enough pictures to fill an entire scene. I got bored and set the novel aside for a year. Then I would take it out and add another passage and set it aside for another year or so. This went on and on until one day, when I was 19, I decided to make a go of it. I finished it 5 years later. By this time, I was married to my husband and pregnant with our second baby!

It is over 700 pages long.

I had written it long-hand, and then transcribed it into my brand new computer when my baby was about 3 months old. Whew! I did tons of revisions and rewrites. I had fallen in love with the magic of writing and never stopped. I have written and completed many other novels since.


It wasn't until 2 years ago I decided to turn my hobby into a career. No, I am not published yet. I will be. I look forward to the time when I am. One step at a time. I am savoring the journey and will not have it any other way.

Since, I have attended a few writers conferences, several writers groups and found the coolest writing friends ever. You know, writing can be very lonely because there are really no 'co-workers'. There is no competition but within yourself, I've learned. But writers need writers.

I would love to hear how it all started with you--as far back as you can remember. You can post it on your blog and/or leave a comment here if you'd like. I can't wait to read what you have to say!

11 comments:

  1. I can't remember my childhood but I know since the age of twelve, I wrote stories. Nothing great. In fact, if I read the stuff today, I'd probably die laughing.

    When I left high school, writing as a career wasn't really an option. I never really liked writing anymore and took up accounting.

    When I stopped working however, I found stories within me that needed to be written and I wrote my first book in a few months. Unfortunately, my grammar sucked. Since then, I've joined writing groups, studied writing and made a career out of it.

    My latest project, a literary magazine.

    There you have it.

    Great blog.

    ann

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  2. What I'd like to know is how that book ended up. Is it shelved? Being rewritten? Already finished? What happened to that 700 page first love story?

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  3. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your writing journey with us, Elizabeth. I love hearing how others came to be where they are right now. I've always wanted to write children's books, but I didn't find my courage until a few years ago.

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  4. I loved your story of how you became a writer. I might get to sharing mine some time as well.

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  5. Ditto what L.T. said! Hmm, that's an intriguing story ~ I think I'll answer it on my blog this next week.

    Thanks for sharing your story Liz. I'm SO glad you decided to give this "romance" another go!

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  6. Thanks for sharing. It always fascinates me to learn how others got started. I'll put together a post about my start soon.

    I can't wait until you get published. It will be such an amazing experience. And then someday, I'll join you in that club.

    Here's to being a writer!!

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  7. Wow, Ann! Wonderful! I think the writing just needed a small rest, but look how fare you've come! So happy for you!

    Hi Laura! Well, that story is shelved for now because I am working on Rock Star--but I did finish it and rewrote it and polished it to death. Though I feel it needs serious work still. :) Thank you for asking! One day I'll submit it to Scrawl!

    Shannon! How exciting, I'm so proud of you! I have written a few children's books as well! (I don't know how to critique them, tho!) :(

    Amber, I would LOVE to hear your story!

    Ali! You are welcome! I can't wait to hear your story, I would love to know how you came about to writing! ;)

    Kim! I think it's very special how you came about to loving writing! That's just wonderful. You are so sweet for me getting published, thank you! :D

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  8. What a journey you are on. And how far you've come.

    One step at a time, right?

    I started writing at age 8 and never looked back. I have 41 journals of memoir-style insight to my life and those around me, although I've morphed into a fantasy and dystopian writer in the last few years. I also love reading and writing poems and essays and children's picture books (it's the storytelling Librarian in me!).

    Lovely, heartfelt post. And as I say, "Write on!"

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  9. Terresa!

    Thank you so much for sharing your writer's life with me! How wonderful to hear your love transpire into something so wonderful!

    Love your saying!You are right, write on! ;)

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  10. Elizabeth, you have a gift. A unique ability to touch the hearts and lives of others and kindle emotions long buried. I loved hearing your stories at critique--they swept me away.

    I, too, endured an abusive childhood. I first knew I wanted to write when I was in fifth grade. I have struggled my entire life to give myself permission to put pen to paper. Over the years a few things spilled out, but now I'm at a crossroads. I need to write what is really in my heart. I'm working very hard to believe that I have the ability and the right to do so.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are a wonderful person. I sincerely hope that one day you will be able to rejoin the critique group. I miss you!

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  11. Hello Lori!

    I miss you too! You have impressed me with your sweet disposition and I really admire you for your strength in wanting to approach writing straight from the heart. I feel that is hard to do because of how intimate it is. I believe that you do have the ability to do so. With Heavenly Father's help, anything his possible! :)

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