Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hey! I Think I'll Be a Writer!

Not many people in my life know that I write. It isn’t some big secret, I just don’t bring it up in conversation unless I’m asked. But honestly, I just started writing again once my youngest went off to kindergarten. The conversation in my head went something like this:

Well, NOW what? Have a baby? Not a third, thank you very much. Go back to work? Hm, doing what? Not advertising again, I’d be a friggin dinosaur compared to everyone else. Go get your Master’s in something….Well, maybe.

As it so happens my friend Dee Dee had arranged for a book luncheon for about 20 or so of us. Her friend Karen Quinn had authored The Ivy Chronicles and agreed to talk to the gathering about her book, her life, and the publishing business. Karen was just so cute and bubbly and she made it seem so…easy. She quit her job and created a book suitable for publication within a few months. Just set your mind to it and *presto,* a book appears.

Isn’t that how it works? I mean, I was an English major and had written stories before—I might have been a little rusty, but it shouldn’t be so hard, right?

We shall see. I wrote a short story for The Missouri Review, a well-regarded literary magazine that just happens to be published by my alma mater. They would print it, of course. Except…no. Neither would Ploughshares. Nor Mid American Review. Nor many, many others. What the! What's going on here?

I have actually had a couple of things published (under My Writing) and I’m nearly finished with my novel. Turns out, I don’t have 1/10th the energy of Karen. But I’m plugging along.

Hey, how’d you get started?


John Robison said...

Well, you can start writing any time. My brother decided to write his first book ten years ago, and I appeared in the second one and most of the rest.

People kept asking him about me, and I finally decided to write my own story.

That's how I got started, in 2006

WendyCinNYC said...

You certainly have a talented family, John. I loved Look Me in the Eye--I recommended it to a whole slew of people. Running With Scissors was disturbingly fantastic.

Thanks for stopping by!

colbymarshall said...

I've always loved the write. I wrote my first nocel-length story at age 13 on my grandfather's dinosaur word processor. Ever since then I've had to write...if for no other reason than to get the characters out of my head (they won't shut up, see)!

Elrena said...

Hey, I have a rejection from the Missouri Review! Actually I think I have two. And one coming from Ploughshares any day now, most likely....

I loved this post, I also happened upon writing -- well, the first thing I wrote for publication, anyway -- through motherhood. I was a brand-new mother, reeling from everything, and I decided to try and write about it. And the rest, they say, is history and rejection letters, and the occasional acceptance.

Good luck to you!

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I first started writing short stories and poems in junior high but stopped when I got to college. When I was getting ready to leave Chicago and move to Mexico, my coworker and close friend Matt said, "Now you'll have time to write the novel!" Meaning, the novel everyone says they're going to write.

I wrote a memoir instead and NOW I'm working on my novel.

Janna Leadbetter said...

My story is like both yours, Wendy, and elrena's. When I had my first child and began my stay-at-home life, I looked deeper into my personal wants. Writing had been an underlying passion and, as it turned out, it was fairly cohesive with not having a full-time job outside the home. I started by writing essays about motherhood (some of which have been published), which I still write. Then I decided to take it to the next level with my novel.

Good luck to us all, I say! :)

And John Elder Robison - many kudos to you!

Precie said...

Wendy--Hi! I'm qdsb from AW but haven't been around much. I hope all is well!

WendyCinNYC said...

It's funny how motherhood will do that to you. You reach a point where singing and clapping in a circle of other singing clapping mothers is just not cutting it.

Precie--Hi! Glad you found me!

Celina Summers said...

I wrote for entertainment starting when I was a child. I read so quickly and my imagination demanded so much more that it became more fun to just write stories for myself.

I wrote one in the second grade about 'the' group in our class (if there is such a thing at that age) and accidentally left it out on my desk. The subsequent ridicule trained me to hide my writing for years. Then, after my car wreck and having to stay at home, and us being too poor to afford things like cable or internet or books--I wrote my first fantasy series to keep myself sane. And, lo and behold! Now other people are reading it too.

Keep your chin up--it will all come through for you too. :)

fairyhedgehog said...

My first longish story started on a wet camping week in France with my husband and two sons. What else was there to do?

Becky Mushko said...

I wrote stories when I was a kid. Then had some dreadful poetry published in the college lit magazine.

I didn't start "really writing" until after I had (1) taught English for a quarter century and figured I had the skills (2) critiqued plays for a regional theater's new play contest and realized I could write better stuff than a lot of what I was reading (3) contracted chronic mono for 22 months and didn't have energy to do much else (4) won some money in a short story contest and figured maybe that could happen again (it did).