The summer I was ten, my mom handed me a towering stack of young adult books she bought at a yard sale. Judy Blume anyone? That summer I read so many books, by the end of the stack, my parents were begging me to go outside and close the page. This started a long battle of people telling me that I was spending too much time on things that made my heart soar.
The next time it happened was when I begged for a VCR(like a DVD recorder with giant things called video tapes that you had to rewind for you young folks). My very cool and generous grandfather gifted me one for Christmas, and I used it to record hours of television to study scenes and characters I loved. I played them over and over, and sometimes edited them into collections of my favorite scenes. I’d rewrite scenes with endings I preferred. My father grew concerned, and told me I was ruining my mind with useless TV.
Now, I don’t want to single my parents out as anything other than concerned and loving. This is something I think many pre-adults and even later adults hear all the time. Our interests are a waste, they aren’t important like the list of X, Y, Z that everyone else finds acceptable that you should be doing. There’s a fear behind all of that, how somehow if we’re left to our own means, we’ll turn catatonic and recite the lyrics to our favorite boy band while never leaving the family basement.
Many years later, shortly over two years ago, one day I was discussing the things I used to love with a friend and it hit me. What I’d always gravitated toward was getting absorbed in imaginary lives. And guess what? All those things that were wastes of time, I was still doing! No matter how many times I replayed in my mind I shouldn’t be doing them, and they weren’t as valuable as other things.
I’d continued to create my own fictional worlds over the years, I’d continued to analyze and study television and movies, and I’d continued to get absorbed into books- getting my hands on every detail I could for all the above.
The secret dream I held? To be a writer. I even had the perfect story for it. But, unfortunately for me, I lacked the confidence and honestly the skill to make that possible. I had some skill. Skill that could be improved.
All I needed was the confidence. I had to face words I’d heard my entire life, words I’d internalized when perhaps they weren’t meant to be taken as seriously as I had. This revelation has been a long process, some of which I’ve touched on in my previous blog posts.
Since then, I’ve written three short stories, a few chapters to start another two stories, and close to 165,000 on another book, THE book I set out to write at the beginning. It’s my baby and still isn’t complete(as many of those words sit in a virtual recycle bin). But ONE of those short stories is being published on February 1st.
My brain kicked and screamed the entire way through the process, telling me I wasn’t good enough, the story wasn’t honed enough, I was juvenile, silly, uninteresting, unskilled, and just not ready. But I forced past all of that, shared it with my group of fellow critiquers, sent it to an editor, had lots of friends read it, and even sent it to lots of strangers. And guess what?
Nothing horrible happened! Some are even telling me they truly enjoyed the story. I’m sure there will be people along the way that won’t like it. I’m sure some will think some of the things I mentioned I feared they would. But I did it. I can call myself an author now! And maybe, just maybe, this will be the push I need to finish my pet story sometime this year.
Step One: Get over the fear to put my writing out there and learn to be a better writer. COMPLETE
“Missed Kisses” is included in the upcoming “Story of a Kiss Anthology” releasing on Amazon Kindle February 1st.
Struggling with the recent death of her mother, Jess finds solace in her best friend Ben. Years of sweet memories cause their feelings to grow, until he does the one thing that could tear them apart.