FMWriters is traveling the web via the Merry Go Round Blog Tour. Site members have grouped together to write monthly on themed topics and turn the blog tour concept on its head: we’re not the ones touring: you are, as you read one writer’s perspective after another. This is my contribution to the Merry Go Round Tour. Enjoy your ride.
When I was younger, I didn’t dream about writing and being a writer; I just wrote. My first story was when I was six, written on the back of 3×3 yellow luggage tags. No one understood it but me, but it pleased me. The following stories were just as horrible and I had one particular teacher vehemently telling me that a person cannot make a living on writing short stories. It was good advice, but without any other direction and my parents not taking it seriously from a twelve year old, I went to high school to pursue art. Which is funny because I only took the required art classes. I took a lot of math an extra year of foreign language. I wrote some joint articles for the school paper and was asked to be the editor one year, but I had plans to graduate early. I didn’t want to stick around high school, I wanted to be a grown up and do grown up things.
I wrote through all of this, of course, even while I pursued a criminal justice degree. Halfway through the program, I considered declaring a dual major so I could add “English” to my degree so I could be an editor or an English teacher and ‘write on the side’. It would have added an extra year to my undergraduate education, so I dismissed that option.
After graduating and temping in the NYC area, I started to realize the pull of writing and signed up for some correspondence courses. I started submitting short stories (dear editors: I humbly apologize for the crap I sent you all those years ago). It was at this point, reading Dean Koontz and other suspense writers, that I knew writing was important to me, more than to be a side gig, but I had no place to learn more. I applied to an MFA program, but they had no interest in me or my fantasy writing.
I liked Star Trek and Star Wars, and even joined a Star Trek based role playing group online where my writing literally exploded. A friend from that group encouraged me after I commented that I’d role played enough characters to fill my own ship. She told me to do it. Fill my own ship, write that story.
I did. And it was awful. But I wrote it. The dreaming started.
I started to understand what it took to write a novel, what made it work, and what broke it. I understood the time and dedication and craved more. I was living alone at this point in my life and my writing became my best friend during the workweek, and abandoned on the weekend for my college-town boyfriend. It was a fun time. My guy encouraged me, his family encouraged me, and my parents finally joined in.
I’ve always written because it made me happy. My readers often disappointed me because a) my writing stunk so they didn’t get the story and b) my early readers didn’t take me seriously because my writing stunk. Because of this, my writing has always been mine first and foremost. Same thing with my art. The difference between the two is that my art exists to support my writing. My writing knows no bounds, is not defined by genre and rules made by someone else.
I write to please myself. I’m happy to learn the market and write in a direction that other people will love (so long as I’m still loving it). The moment this becomes a chore, torture, or otherwise unpleasant, I’m done. I don’t see that happening though. At times, it’s difficult and trying because I’m exhausted from trying to do too much, and other times it sucks me in so deep that the blood sweat and tears are truly part of the manuscript. I love it and will never stop loving it.
I write because it pleases me. I continue writing to increase my happiness. My dream is to write–write better, write more–but my plan is to share it with as many people who will enjoy it. I hope this journey brings you the joy it brings me as you experience the worlds and lives I’ve created.
Dreams don’t need to be farfetched or grandiose. They need to be yours, foremost, but they can’t exist in a bubble in your subconscious. They need and deserve to be realized and acted upon. Yes, the hard work begins then, but nothing else makes it taste so delicious.
I have the privilege of posting this topic on a day that is significant to dreams of freedom and autonomy to my nation. Today is the realization of dreams.
Have you had a chance to recognize or realize your dreams? Are you working toward achieving them?
Today’s post was inspired by Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round topic “Earliest Writing Dreams”. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read about their ideas, then check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Bonnie is up next at Cowgirl in New England.