Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest AKA How the Madness Began



Good Morning! (Er...or afternoon. I'm a bit late today.)

Today, I'm participating in the Origins Blogfest hosted by these marvelous people: Alex J. Cavanaugh, D.L. Hammons, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl) and Matthew MacNish. Click on any of their links to find the list of links and wander to your heart's content. The blogfest is a chance for us to tell YOU how our dream of writing began.

How did my dream of writing begin? I was eighteen. I had been writing my whole life. Seriously. Stories for school, for fun, chronicles of every summer vacation since I knew crayons were for writing and not snacking. But it wasn't until I was eighteen, unable to sleep, staring at a blank sheet of paper on my desk that I first thought: I HAVE to do THIS! At that time, I was pursuing a career in music. No matter what I did, I couldn't make music fit. I can remember telling my dad, who supported my singing career whole-heartedly, that I wanted to sing and be famous so I could have enough money to do what I really wanted to do: write. Yes, folks, I wanted to win a Grammy so I could retire early and write. This response really got me thinking. If all I want to do is accomplish something so I can get out of it to do something else, why not skip all the middle steps and pursue the "something else" to begin with. Thus, my writing dreams were born.

I still love singing. I found where my voice belongs and hope to ease back into that field one day, you know, for kicks and skittles. But the dream of writing has been burning inside me for almost seventeen years. I've even tried to give it up. I can remember putting aside a book, telling it to sit tight, and turning away from writing to see if I really was committed to the work. My goal was to not write for one month. I lasted a week. And no, it wasn't just my serious lack of patience that was to blame!

That book I set aside? That was the book I started when I was eighteen. It is also - brace yourself - the same book I'm still working on. I've stopped and started, even finished it three times (rewriting and editing and rewriting and editing...) but only now am I able to see where all the pieces should fit and what needs to be chopped up and burned.

Is there a moral in all of this? I'm terribly anal about my stories. Well, yes, but that's not what I'm getting at. I am a writer. No matter what I do, I can not get away from it. I'm even finishing a degree in writing, for Thor's sake! I'm obsessed. I can't put a book away that has been on my chopping block for seventeen years. That right there is the sure sign of an obsession. No matter what I do, it's there, haunting me, hounding me, pushing me, not allowing me to quit no matter how badly I sometimes want to. I'm in this for the long haul and I'm excited to see what the next seventeen years have in store.

What about you? When did YOU first realize you had the sickness? When did it hit you that you HAD to write and nothing on earth or under it would tear you away from that occupation? Join in the Origins Blogfest and let us know!

Be bold, be fabulous and write ON!

38 comments:

  1. Loving to write and needing too are not the same. Maybe someday you will finish that book, maybe not, but I bet the journey will have been worth it.

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  2. Lovely origins story. I've always written, but was mostly in love with acting for a very long time. Until one day I realized: I'm not a good actor. So I took screenwriting and have been writing ever since. Thanks for sharing your story, Jen.

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  3. I had to mention your "for Thor's sake," comment. I've written a Viking novel myself, so I'm quite familiar w/the Norsk gods. Anyway, great story and I can be a little OCD about my writing, too, at least the FINISHING it part, if not the revisions...

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  4. I truly believe things happen when they are supposed to...just like you said...you didn't see how all the pieces would fit together until now. You will finish that book! Awesome to read your story. Have a great day!

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  5. It IS a sickness, isn't it! Bit like the travel bug in my opinion :)

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  6. When did I realize I had to hunt this down and grab my dream, despite all the rejection? I would say two years ago. I've always written, always wanted to be an author. I just never believed I could do it before.

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  7. Love the masthead on your blog. I so know about writing being an obsession and trying to get a story just right. :)

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  8. I love it: wanting to win a Grammy so you could retire to write! Great post and very pretty blog. Good luck finishing that novel.

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  9. Hi Jen!
    I'm dropping by from the Origins blogfest. Writing is certainly an obsession. I love that you've never given up on your book, and that you pursued a degree in writing :)

    Your newest follower,
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  10. Doing something just so you can stop doing it and do what you want is a bit silly. But I bet there are millions of people out there doing just that. Only they won't be smart enough to just skip ahead!
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

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  11. I like your "Just do it!" spunk. I also felt a NEED, versus the mere desire, to write way back when.

    PS Great to "meet" through the blogfest. I'm joining your following.

    xoRobyn

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  12. Love the top of your blog, the pictures are awesome. Great story I especially love how you wanted to win a Grammy so you could write. Ha!

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  13. My stories are like yours...nagging little things inside my head that keep at me until I let them out. Some percolate longer than others, but you don't need to rush them. It's like cooking...low and slow is best. Never microwave a roast!

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  14. Your enthusiasm is so catching! I feel ya on the obsession - this whole blogfest reminds me of a Top Chef interview I watched. I can't remember who said it, but it basically boils down to: "Who else will talk cooking for twelve hours on end?"

    Who else will listen to us talk about writing, except for other writers?

    I'm excited to see what the next seventeen years have in store too. =)

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  15. What a wonderful perspective, Jen. I admire your persistence--and your willingness to perfect your story. Here's to the next 17 years!

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  16. Hey! Your writing changes a lot from the time your 18 on. I love that you can also sing and write...I'd love to sing! That's probably why most of my friends are music majors. lol.

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  17. Good for you for keeping at it! It takes a million deep breaths and so much patience, but you've maintained in doing what you love, even though it meant a change in direction. That takes guts.

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  18. "I am a writer. No matter what I do, I can not get away from it." << That's totally me!
    Great story! Thanks for sharing ;)

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  19. I LOVE your origins story! I have had a story with me for so long, and it still isn't finished. I always say that it waits for me to be a better writer, and I train myself as a writer by writing on this story :)

    Have a GREAT day
    Sylvia, your newest follower

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  20. Now that's dedication!

    Great origins post. :)

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  21. I think we are born writers and storytellers. I've always loved to write--starting when I was very young. Singing is similar, isn't it? I mean, it's just a different medium of expression and storytelling.

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  22. Well, I'm quickly approaching 50 and I only recently got the "sickness." And you're right. it is so hard to determine when you're done. I finally had to stop and say, "I am done. No more revisions. It's ready." You'll get there, too! And those of us writers who are also artists of some sort, for me it's drawing & designing, for you it's music & singing, well, we just cannot be contained. We HAVE to create.

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  23. I understand the inability to let go of a story that's been on the chopping block for far too long! I've got an old novel that I completed in high school tucked away in notebooks in my dresser. Love your origin story!

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  24. OMG, I so totally relate to your "origins" tale! Why is it that we know what we want and then decide the way to get there is this self-created maze-like path??? Oh yeah...because we're writers. Duh. Loved reading this post and I really look forward to your future ones. You have a new follower (me!). :)

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  25. Write ON!!! Love it!!! I've got a novel or two that'll probably NEVER see the light of day! LOL!! But I learned from them. Things I never would have had I not written them. :)

    Nice to know you, Jen!

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  26. 17 years, wow. I have a hard time letting go myself sometimes. I really like the idea of becoming a rich and famous singer just so you can have enough money to follow your true interests.

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  27. Writing is most certainly an obsession-a sickness even. I believe it all happens when it is meant to. You will finish that first book.

    I am a new follower from the blogfest.

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  28. Thanks for sharing your origins story. I'm returning your visit. I'm sick and like it. :) The bit I don't is the obsessing about how I stack up next to other writers. I always compare myself out of writing. Then I have to creep back, head down in case I notice myself and start all over again. I realise I'm doing myself no favours with this comment. I'd better go :) X

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  29. I think there was a point when I realized that, even when not physically writing, I was always writing in my head. I was either narrating a story about things and people around me, or making something else up entirely . . . Just could NOT stop writing! Still can't.

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  30. Writing is a safe obsession. Its kind of cool I think. LOL! Good luck with your writing...

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  31. Wow, great origin story! I love hearing how people go started! And I really like. Glad I found it.
    P.S. That evil genius blogfest sounds really cool. Thanks for posting it!

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  32. I decided I would write when I was young, but life got pretty busy. When I was in my late 30s, I started seriously writing, really writing.

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  33. You've got to finish that book! Just got to!! Thank you for such a wonderful ORIGIN story! :)

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  34. There is nothing that we owe more to ourselves than to quench our burning desires. Good luck on your next 17+ years ...

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  35. I believe that we sometimes found out our talents late. 18 years old I guess is not too late. there are other writers that they found out their skills and talents more than your age.

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  36. What a wonderful sickness to have! I love that you wanted to win a Grammy only so that you could quit and write--that's dedication right there! :)

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  37. With a story like this a famous writer is all that you can be. Best of luck.

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  38. Look at all your lovely comments for this one. Of course, you're a writer. Love it that you claim the name and the gift. Write on! And, sing on, too. They go hand in hand.

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Well hello there! I'm happy you wandered by. Make yourself comfortable and I'll pour the tea. Cake? Chocolate? Take your time, meander, and don't forget to join in. Be sure and check back later! I respond to all comments here :)