My first post! Yay!
I’ve let a few people (friends and family) know that I’m committing myself to a novel. People who have known me for years are generally saying, “it’s about time.” People who have only known me for the past few years are generally asking, “why?” As in, who in their right mind would want to sit down and write upwards of 70,000 – 100,000 words?!?! Crazy, right?
So, a little background: I started writing my very first novel when I was about 13 years old. I remember sitting at a desk, strategically placed by a window in my bedroom, and taking pen to paper. To be honest, I don’t even remember the story now, but I’m sure it was something of the horror variety since I had just discovered Stephen King. Note: “Salem’s Lot” will scare the bejesus out of a 13 year old girl!
I continued writing through my teen years and early adulthood. Sometimes working on stories and other times working on poems and sonnets. But, life gets in the way, right? I got married at 19 and had my first baby just a few months shy of my twentieth birthday. Baby #2 was born 13 1/2 months later. Nine years after baby #1 was born, I gave birth to baby #5. Yes, five kids in 9 years. So, I worked and had babies. I kind of specialized in babies 😉
I loved being a mom and loved being around my kids, but I was also blessed with a love of knowledge and the ability to learn. I decided to go to college. I needed to do something to help support my family.
I started college in 1994, attending Drury University at night. I worked a full time day job, raised my children (and they all played sports) and still completed my college education in four years. I graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and minors in both Sociology and English.
I didn’t set out for the minor in English, but I ended up with one. English, especially writing, was my first love. I was from a small town, which even in the year 2012, has exactly zero stoplights. So, it wasn’t “practical” to get a degree in the field of say, journalism. I am also a determined and proud person. I took English classes to keep my GPA up. English, with all the literature and creative writing classes, came easy to me. Chemistry, not so much. In the end, I graduated with a 3.498 GPA and Departmental Distinction in the field of Education.
I tell you that to tell you this. I LOVED one class. I mean like, LOOOVVEEDD it. It was Creative Writing: Fiction. My professor was Dr. Tom Lawson and I had him for several other English classes throughout my career, so I had an inkling of what his class would be like and he had an inkling of what to expect from me. And, expect he did! We were assigned to write four short stories over the course of the semester. While the other 99% of the class turned in pretty much the bare minimum of 7-12 pages, with an occasional 15 page story here and there, I turned in 60-70 page stories. It was like I couldn’t shut up. And, here’s the kicker, I never sat down to write my story until a night, or at most, two nights before it was due.
One week, Dr. Lawson assigned us a story on an inanimate object. I wrote a 72 page story about a softball, from the softball’s point of view. 72 pages. About a softball. Where did I come up with that??? (even I can’t answer that now) Keep in mind, at the time, I was writing a LOT, just in college overall. I very rarely edited and revised those stories. It just came naturally. Even the grammar and the mechanics.
Each week, after stories were due, Dr. Lawson had various students read their stories aloud in class. Guess what? I never had to read mine. 72 page stories pretty much take up the entire time he had allotted for reading. However, that week, he decided that my story needed to be heard and he did the reading. When he was done, he announced that the only mistake I made in the whole manuscript was…..I forgot to underline my title.
Rest assured, writing doesn’t come anywhere near that easy for me now. I’m terribly out of practice. Years of teaching learning disabled students with my writing focus on IEPs (test scores, IQs, behavior plans, etc.) and more recently monthly reports as the QDDP (Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional) of a group home has taken a toll on my creativeness. For the last 14 years or so, my writing has been bare bones, no frills, just the facts ma’am. And it sucks.
But, I have this incredible husband and he has inspired me to write again. He supports me 100% and even checks in to see how much and what I’ve written that day. I have wonderful friends who don’t think I’m crazy. Or at least, they don’t tell me they think I’m crazy to my face. A few have even expressed their love of writing as well.
So, I started writing my novel on Monday, 12 November 2012, and as of today, Monday, 19 November 2012, I have a whopping 6, 673 words typed. Obviously, I am way out of practice. But, with practice come perfection. So, this blog will not only be a catalyst toward the completion of my novel, it will also be practice sessions. I hope you stay for the ride.