Friday, August 3, 2012

The Writing Life -- Mine

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Do you have a novel in you screaming to get out? I'd like to say I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn't. Oh, I played with writing from grade school onward, but not seriously.

My first adventure into writing fiction was part of a third-grade assignment to write my autobiography. For crying out loud, I was eight. I hadn't had a life to write about, so I made one up. It was pretty good, as I remember. I also remember two other things about that assignment: my first and only F, and my mother saying that if I was going to lie, I should consider being a novelist.

In college, I wrote my first novel. On my trusty Underwood upright, no less. I wrote a science fantasy novel. Yes, on a manual typewriter. I couldn't afford the latest IBM Selectric, so it was manual or handwritten. I was enthralled by Ray Bradbury and a guy I was dating. It seemed so easy to write science fantasy. All you had to do was let your imagination go. I did. I spent a summer after sophomore year pounding away on the keyboard, piling up a huge stack of pages. I reached "The End" and pronounced I had written a novel.

My mother asked to read it. She actually finished it. She never said it was dreadful, but she suggested I continue with my education. Mind you, I wasn't in a creative writing program. I read the story. I cannot describe how dreadful it was. I mean, redefined dumb. Redefined purple prose. Redefined "don't quit your day job." I fed every page into the fireplace.

In grad school, I decided I had more to say so I started writing poetry. Pure, unadulterated doggerel. I really hated reading poetry. What made me think I could write something I didn't like reading? At least with the science fantasy, I read and loved Bradbury.

I piddled around with writing off and on for years. I wrote several novels, all of which are gathering cyber dust. I ground out pages, pages and more pages. I was hooked. I didn't know what I didn't know about writing. I knew I was possessed to write.

And then I bought a book called My Time: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life by Abigail Trafford. Her book changed my outlook on life. Seriously.

To know what she wrote that was so profound and why it hit me will have to wait until the next post.


  1. Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.... Can't wait!

  2. Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you... Can't wait.

  3. I've always wanted to be a writer, ever since I knew that there were writers, but I haven't always been dedicated to that dream. I've gone for long periods of time not writing. But now at mid-life there's no more time to waste or wait.

  4. And then, one day, you can't imagine what you did before you started writing.

  5. Tina, you are absolutely right. If you don't start writing, you'll always wonder if you have the talent and guts to do it. If you do, you'll find a lift-long commitment that possesses your mind and sensibilities. Just like Donna says. One day, you'll wonder why you do this earlier and will forget what you did before you began writing. So, write on right now.