Saturday, October 10, 2009
When Life Throws You A Writing Bone
Today, I started working on articles about different music artists and how they got their start in their careers. This made me stop and think about the many great writers out there that have gotten their start in the writing world and what led them to this wonderful craft of ours.
Many times I have heard this statement: "If you wake up and all you can think about is writing, then you should be a writer." This does ring true, but many people are fearful of how to get started. Believe me, I'm no expert. The many women here at WOW! that have gotten published in print other than the World Wide Web know from experience how hard it is to find the right niche and get your story read. There are many years of experience that are tied up in the articles you read everyday on our site. These ladies are not only dedicated to getting their messages heard and read, they are also dedicated to helping others get their messages heard and read as well. Each one of them with their special gift.
Each one of these women can attest to the ways that they were "thrown the bone of writing." Each story unique and different. You can find that not many people start out writing in the same way, but all of us had the same thought and intention when it was realized. To be heard, to be heard and read through the form of a printed material. Like the messages that are sung my many great music artists, our words are designed to work the imagination. Some through stories, some through ideas to help with every day life.
Think about what got you started in writing. How unique or different may it be from someone else's story. Was it a turn of events? A dream? An author that just took your breath away and helped you decide that you had a story?
For me, my bone was thrown to me by my literature teacher in high school. I was attending Cibola High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was my Junior year (11th grade), and Mrs. Saunders was the type of teacher that loved to give us writings from well-known authors that didn't quite appear as popular as many of their other great stories, but still had a message. The one tale that really set me on my path was Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. As many know Antigone was the big play that all of us remember quite well, but Oedipus got put on a back burner so to speak. This was due to the type of story and what happened in King Oedipus's life. Mrs. Saunders took us on the normal journey through the story as many great literature teachers do, however she came up with a clever idea. She wanted us to change the story, she wanted us to show, in our own way, how Oedipus's life could be different. Many students groaned and mentioned how much they disliked writing but, for me, it was like a light inside my head flicked on all of the sudden and I had all these ideas whirling and spinning so quickly I felt I couldn't grab a hold of them. I wrote down all that Mrs. Saunders wanted us to do, I even wrote down notes of my ideas hoping I wouldn't forget some of them. I left the room smiling unlike many of my classmates, who looked at me strange. A good friend of mine asked me what I was smiling about, and I explained to him that I was actually excited about the assignment. He laughed and walked away shaking his head, then turned and told me I was weird. In my head I knew otherwise, I knew that I found one of my true passions, writing.
That night, I sat down with my door closed so no one in the house could disturb me and began to write. I started off with the initial idea that I wrote before class let out. Before I knew it, I had written 35 pages--front and back--on notebook paper. It was like I couldn't stop. I even created additional characters for the storyline. I came up with new children for the king. At dinner, my father wandered in and asked me what I was doing, and when I told him, he smiled and closed the door only to return with my dinner on a tray. He kissed me on the forehead and told me how proud of me he was and left quietly to let me continue to write. By 2:00 AM, I had written over 100 pages that went with the storyline. Mind you, the assignment was only for 4 pages. Scratching my head and knowing I needed rest for school the next day, I had to decide how I was going to take and break down this story I created. Thank goodness the assignment wasn't due until the end of the week. This gave me time to make sure I was able to give Mrs. Saunders exactly what she wanted from us. But, at the same time, it brought me to my first journey of writing--and wow, what a journey.
It saddens me to think that I actually almost walked away from this passion, this drive that has kept me going for so many years. When it came time for graduation, I actually chose a different path initially for college; I went into business. Yeah, right! But, after the first year and a half, I found that my heart just wasn't into it. Oh sure, I took the knowledge that I had and was able to apply it to many great jobs, but, unlike with writing, my heart just wasn't in it. I felt a part of me was missing. Now and then I would write some poetry, but it still didn't feel quite the same. It wasn't until late one night--after I had gotten married and had our second little boy--when a story came to me in the middle of the night. It was as if that bone had been thrown back at me. I got up and began writing. I couldn't stop, the story just flew from my fingers, I was driven. I didn't want to stop, I wanted to get the story out. At the time, we had one of the first home computers, a Commadore 64, I had been using to write on. My husband found me the next morning still at the computer typing away. He smiled at me and left me to my work. Throughout the day I stopped long enough to take care of the children and do some of the normal house chores, but the minute I was done I went right back to writing the story. I had to get it out, I had to get it finished. By dinner time that evening, I had finished the story.
Today, I wish I still had that drive, to sit and write all day, to get a story and run with it, but other bones have been thrown in my path once again. However, I have found other great ways to continue my passion with stolen moments at work and at home. When it is quiet and I feel the need, I steal the moments and run with an idea.
I know that some day my true passion of getting one of my stories published will come true. I know that there is a publisher out there that will accept me and my story. Until then, I will continue to write because after all I am a writer.
So if you have been thrown a bone in writing, grab onto it and hold on tight. With all your might, strive to keep your passion alive and write. If you are like me and can't seem to get your story published, that's okay, find other things that you can get published and work from there. Eventually, someone will open their eyes and help you to achieve your ultimate goal of being a published book author.
So now I throw this question to each of you. When did the writing bone get thrown to you? What or who tossed you that first bone?
Mrs. Saunders, if you are out there and if you are reading this, thank you! Thank you for awakening my passion in this wonderful world of writing!
Anonymous at 5:00 AM