Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Writer's Journey

I fondly remember those first few days of my writing journey. The writing itself started with a children's story, typed on my mother's manual typewriter. Called "The Adventures of the Fanner's Gang," it shared the exciting escapades of an all-animal detective gang. There was Kanga, the kangaroo, and Yak, the...uh, Yak. I can't remember all the other characters, but I still have that manuscript. Each chapter was separated into a different mystery, one of them being, "The Mystery of the Va-Va-Voom!"

Years passed and I remember laying on my bed after school, reading a book, as usual. This book happened to be Rosalind Laker's The Smuggler's Bride. Rosalind Laker will always be one of my very favorite historical romance authors. She wrote the book that introduced me to romance, Tree of Gold. When I finished reading The Smuggler's Bride, a thought popped into my head: Why can't I write a book?

A dream was born. I was in the sixth grade.

I set up shop in our downstairs basement. Using an old school desk from the torn down country school down the road, my plastic table and chairs, and my mom's thesaurus, I had my new office. My first story was a historical romance (naturally) set during the French Revolution. I clacked and typed away all summer long, listening to the radio. To this day, whenever I hear one of those songs from that summer, it takes me back to those early days of innocence in the writing world, when I didn't worry about craft or getting published. I just wrote. I kept track of my progress on a lined piece of notebook paper and you know what? I still have that piece of paper.

My writing zeal began to grow. I switched from the manual typewriter to my Dad's MS-DOS computer - green letters on a black screen. I had to share my computer time with my mom since she was a newspaper reporter. There were times I lost my stories - pages and pages. Oh, the anguish! (which I just experienced again a few days ago). My writing became more and more a part of me. I'd spend hours at the computer. During the summer, while Mom and I watched our soap opera, Guiding Light, I'd clack away during commercials.

In the seventh grade, our English class started a section on creative writing. I had to write one page stories. I was completely horrified. One page? How could I develop my characters? What about my plot? So I talked my teacher into letting me write a longer story - just do a page a day. She agreed. *grin*

Throughout high school, I kept writing. I'd stay home from high school basektball games on Friday and Saturday nights to write. Didn't bother me a bit. I wasn't an introvert in high school - I was in band, participated in drama, had good friends, etc. But I wasn't a partier.

THAT happened in college.

As my Dad is fond of saying (hi, Dad!), "All hell broke loose."

I still wanted to write during the college years, but to be honest, I didn't get much done. I wasn't focused on it and even after I graduated and got my first job out of college, I wasn't focused. I did the normal things - got married, had a baby, became a stepmom, bought a house, went back to get my graduate degree...etc. But every single day, I thought about my writing.

I think I've become quite serious about my writing in the past year. I finished my manuscript and started two more. I'm very active in my local RWA chapter. I write as often as I can.

And it's funny...

My desk is in the basement once more. But instead of a typewriter and a transistor radio, I have a flat-screen computer and a CD player.

I'm a writer. I've always wanted to be a writer, but I suppose I didn't realize at the time that there was no "being" a writer. I just was a writer. And I still am.


Blogger Rene said...

Boy, you started early! I can't believe your dedication through high school. Great story.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous kacey said...

wow, you win on the dedication to writing so young. Heck, at that age I hadn't even figured out what to wear, much less that I wanted to be a writer...

Thanks for sharing.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Awww. That's so great, Melissa!!! I started early, too.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Well said! I remember fondly my first romance novel, penned in green ink on loose leaf paper. I was twelve.

5:44 PM  
Blogger ~~Olivia said...

I remember writing short stories in grade school. The teacher wanted one story and half the class balked. "No way, we can't do that."

I turned in four stories because I couldn't decide which one I liked better. hah!

7:46 PM  
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