I first began writing when I was about ten years old. I actually still have some of my first writings that I keep in my box of keepsakes. One of my favorites is about a girl who's mean younger brother replaces her shampoo with dog shampoo and she grows dog ears. It was very silly and rather creative for the age of ten - at least, that's what I think. What a fun children's book that could make.
As I grew, I was inspired by The Babysitter's Club and the Sweet Valley Twins. I would always write stories about a group of girlfriends who had everything they wanted - like huge closets full of clothes and how they lived in the master bedrooms of their houses because their parents were just cool and accommodating like that. And they threw fun parties and had boys that liked them all of the time. I wish I would have held on to those - I threw them away when I realized that they were childish and unrealistic. I became disenchanted with life and was no longer interested in stories where everything always went like you hoped it would.
Throughout the course of my life I kept a journal religiously. I have stacks of old journals from the age of 9 to 18. And I occasionally go back to re-read them. I held on to them so that I would have proof to show my kids that I too had once been a teenager. Because I remember thinking my parents could have NEVER been my age, nor did they have that kind of proof. Little did I know though, that those old journals would end up being more of a gift to me.
Over the years, I've written many things. Essays, poetry, and short stories. I've won a handful of little contests and I suppose I could say I'm a published author, but it was one of those contests where almost everyone who entered was published, so it never felt like an accomplishment. I've started many novels and fictional stories too, and a few chapters in, I decide my characters are weak and my story lines don't seem to go anywhere, and my plot sucks and anyone who read would probably be bored. I have a list that contains dozens of ideas on things I think I might like to write a book about. It varies from things like memoirs to different fictional stories or how-to's (ie. "throw awesome parties on a budget") and children's books. Since I've never completed a project, I'm not sure which I would even feel the most passionate about. Maybe I would write all of them. Who knows?
Today, I keep this little blog. I actually keep another, much more personal and oh SO very necessarily private blog, for the days I need to get something out and I don't feel like handwriting in my journal.
And here I am. Twenty years later, I am still writing.
Writing a book has been something I've only romanticized about. I've thought how great it would be to start a story and actually finish it. I've thought how lovely it would feel to see a book I wrote on the shelves of a bookstore and know that others were actually paying to read the words that you have written. And I've talked myself out of allowing myself to not only get started, but to finish once I've begun.
I read so many other blogs/books/articles of others who I think have so much more talent that I could ever possess and talk myself out of it. I have no business writing a book, I tell myself. Just within my own circle of friends, there are some amazingly talented men and women who write with such depth and beauty and I feel like what I would have to write would pale in comparison. And then there's the whole getting a publisher thing which I know is the hardest part of all.
But I've been thinking about those same things more recently:
Yes, it will feel like hard work some of the time. But I know that it's possible to finish something that I've started.
Yes, my writing could improve. But if I don't start writing what I'm really wanting to and just do it, then I will never really know exactly what I need to improve on.
Yes, getting a publisher is hard. But it's much harder if you don't even have a book written.
Yes, other people may be more talented. And yes some of my friends are amazing writers - and what a GIFT that is. But that doesn't mean I'm not just as capable or talented nor does it mean that I have no business writing.
Those things feel much more true and accurate. And I am all about believing and living truth rather than living out of and believing lies. Too much of my life has been spent living that way, and I'm kind of over that. I'm sick and tired of thinking I have to be small, that I have to walk around feeling defeated, and that I'm not worth going for the things I really desire.
I'm kind of feeling like my little girl again. The one who would sit at her desk with a pencil and college-ruled notebook paper and write out stories about all of the wonderful things she imagined life could be like and hold. And in between sentences and carefully composed paragraphs, she would stare out her window at the world outside and feel like just maybe, she had found her place in it.