The reason for this post today is that, yesterday was Jodi Meadows (Author of the Incarnate Series and Orphan Queen) 10 year writing/book anniversary. She released a blog, which you could find here (http://www.jodimeadows.com/).
As part of her anniversary gift to us (though we should be showing her and her ferrets with gifts for such an occasion), she is having a giveaway which entails…writing. My blog post for today is therefore dedicated to answering a question she laid out for one of her book wins.
“To win a signed paperback of INCARNATE, write a blog post about a time you were new to something, or somewhere, and how you dealt with it. Your post should be at least 200 words long…”
We are now entering very personal grounds-be kind. I will open up about this new venture that is very dear, intimate and recent in my life…
A Time I Was New to Something:
The last 29 years of my life have been a tumultuous journey to say the least. I have spent most of my years since I was 15, trying to understand myself and find out who I was. I have always been a creative child who grew up venturing in all areas of the Arts, only to come out feeling mediocre in all of them. I have been a dancer, a singer, an actor, a guitar player, a struggling beginner on piano, a visual artist (drawing), a fashion designer, a script writer, director, poet, songwriter and the list probably goes on a little bit further. I have dabbled in all of these; some more than others and have been good enough at some but still have fallen short.
There was a season in my life I chose to put them all aside, deeming them as “not meant to be…move on”. Those three years were agony for me. All I ever wanted was to grow up doing what I love. I have attempted to do just that hundreds of times but life never quite opened those doors to me.
The one constant thing I always had with me was Writing. In some form or another, writing was my escape. I have written in countless journals throughout my life time and can’t seem to find it in me to throw them away. I have written poetry and songs that were kept away, lock and key for the eyes of my heart only to see. To really escape, I would write screenplays (scripts for movies). Only my best friend would know about them and read them with me. We’d role play the dialogue throughout the entire 100 page scripts. They were my way of story telling. Since I was a child, I would tell stories in my head. I would act out stories in my room. Laying my head on my pillow every night, I would daydream stories.
Unfortunately, I also grew up with voices around me; close intimate family voices telling me, reminding me, I was not good enough. They were always better at something than I was. Throughout the years, I believed it and never questioned it. I still tried but believed when the outcome many times, not always, but many times, did not turn out in my favor, I considered it expected and never questioned it. It took me a long time to recognize that and fight against it as I got older.
Recently, the end of 2012, a thought shimmied it’s way to my mind…”try writing a book”.
“Oh, you again” I thought.
My bestie and I bought these cute Jane Austen inspired mini journals we told ourselves we’d one day write a novel in, and we’d write it for one another. I had yet to start mine. One night, I did. I wrote pages and pages for three days. The thoughts and inspiration soon fizzled out and life got in the way, as usual.
Here’s the thing. I had never been confident of writing a book. I’m not a literary writer, I said, I’m a creative one. My family couldn’t afford college so that experience was short lived (one semester and a half). I attempted Film School after that, for both directing and screenplay writing but again, financially, it wasn’t going to work out. Me, writing a book, seemed to be the most ridiculous path I could ever attempt. Or so I thought…apparently, my friends thought otherwise.
July 2013, my life took a turn and left me with a LOT of extra time. This gnawing thought refused to die to my negativity. My insides desired a creative release and desired it in a specific way.
WRITE A BOOK.
The concept came to me. (I wrote a blog post about what in regard to that here ~~~> Plot Twist: Writing a Book)
Suddenly, I was researching ideas, concepts, images. Then…came the first sentence…and from there, she flew. When the spurts of energy came, I was in my bubble, bringing these voices in my head to life. When the spurts ended and I had to interact with the world again, the fears came. Who did I think I was, to believe I could write a book? People who write books have English degrees and are literary folk, grammar nazi’s and intelligent! I may be “Street” smart but I am neither of those things. I like to read, sure; but have been in a reading slump for years. I barely broke out of it this year. I like to tell stories, sure; but I’ve done so through the simple confines of scripts/dialogue-NOT THE SAME THING!
While beginning to write this first draft, I was achingly aware of my brain’s lack of containing a chest full of adjectives, verbs, and alternative ways of describing breathing. This project was quickly becoming very dear to my heart and something within me, against my “better” judgment, truly believed this dream was possible. I could write this book and it could get published one day. I thought I was insane and naive (I still do sometimes). I figured, this would be like everything else I have attempted. I could be good at it, but just not nearly good enough.
There was another problem with this new little venture…
I never felt more at home.
My eyes just watered at that. Writing a book, has felt like home. I can not believe, I allowed this much time to pass without attempting to do this before. I could have been working out these muscles a long time ago! The interesting part is, my friends (some I’m very close to, others who are dear to me but life only has our paths crossing occasionally), they all were NOT surprised by my new adventure. All of them pretty much responded the same way,
“But you’ve always been a writer. You’ve always been writing something. “
*my face, shocked, then pondering* I never saw myself as a “writer”. So much of what I word doodled on paper was kept secret. They were my way of expressing myself. I am very much introverted and have never been good at expressing emotions verbally. People don’t get that from me at first because for me, I can speak to a crowd about things I’m passionate about, or believe in but to speak of my emotions, my personal going ons inside…negative, Captain. Never happens. Only from pen to paper can those feelings be expressed.
How Did I Deal With It?
I did the most terrifying thing I could, in order to deal with these apprehensions and crippling fears…I began sharing my chapters. *gulp*
For the first time ever, I believed in the possibilities and knew, the only way this would have any chance of becoming something, is through critique. I needed to share it. I need to, for better or worse, show it to others and get their opinions on it. I started slowly. First, I shared the concept to my bookish 14 year old niece, who helped inspire this venture. (It’s a YA book. I needed an actual teen’s approval). Then to my literary, grammar nazi, very honest best friend who lives states away. Then to a couple more people and recently, to people I know, or kind of know who live out of the country. It’s petrifying, handing over my heart and hoping they find potential in it, like it, even.
I began researching about the business, got in contact with an author whose written a well know book-turn-movie who gave me great advice. I joined last month a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrator’s) writer’s critique group in my city. My second meeting with them is this Monday, and I’m going to show them my first chapter of my first draft and I’m...FREAKING OUT! Some of them are published. Some are amazing writers and some are amazingly detailed copy editors. I’m. freaking. out!
Then I remember, “their critiques will only aid me into becoming a better writer, a better story teller”. They know the publishing world. They know the rules and expectations, where as of right now; I don’t. Telling myself these things, are helping me fight away the demons, who are telling me I’m not good enough. I’m fighting the negativity that tells me to not hope, and keep hidden this living organism which I have fallen in love with.
The story is not stopping. It’s becoming more and more alive with each passing writing session. There’s no stopping it.
It has been four months. There have been obstacles in the way (broken laptop-still waiting to have enough to buy one day a new one) and other life matters that have gotten momentarily in the way but I keep going. It’s all new and scary but I can’t deny the one thing that feels true. It feels like Home. Writing feels like Home to me.
I still can’t find the gulls to ever call myself a “Writer”. I feel as though, until I have something to show for it, I can’t call myself that; too presumptuous.
Anyway, I’ve written maybe too much *big grin* but it felt good to share all that. Thanks to everyone who read it. Thank you to all those who through this blog, have been going on this journey with me. I hope one day, the world finds these pages and characters I love worthy enough to share with all of you.
Happy Reading and Writing to all! And to all, a good day!
(p.s. Just checked on Word to see how many words I wrote…whoops…um…too many! lol Sorry..)