by Melissa Ann Goodwin
I’ve noticed that writers’ magazines invariably have at least one article per issue offering advice to help writers do what they say they want to do: write. Isn’t it funny that we have this strong desire within us, a soul-driven knowledge that writing is what we are meant to do with this life, yet we must be coaxed and cajoled and prodded into doing it?
There are the real logistical obstacles: jobs, families, illness and any number of life’s demands. But we also know there are people who manage to write – despite the job, despite the kids, despite the flu. I mean, didn’t Danielle Steele have something like seven kids while she wrote her first books? And I recently heard of a bedridden woman who can only write while lying on her back, hanging off the edge of her bed. People like that can make you feel really guilty.
I knew I wanted to be a writer, should be a writer, when I was about eight or nine years old. Yet for the longest time, I did very little with that knowledge, mainly because I felt I had nothing valuable to say. So years went by in which I chose to fulfill other dreams – dreams of romance, financial security, lots of nice stuff, and tropical vacations. The Writing Dream sighed, went to the back of the Dream Line, sat down on the couch and waited.
After many years of letting all those other dreams take precedence, I finally let the Writing Dream come to the front of the line. And it was only at this point, having lived much and accomplished much in other aspects of life – success and failure, joy and heartbreak, rejection and acceptance, that I was finally able to start putting things together. There are people who, from a very young age, can see the stories and tell them. I wasn’t one of those people. I was a gatherer. I observed and gathered for many years before I was able to see what I had, before I could put things together and figure out what to do with it all. I like to think of it now as an extremely long gestation period. I’ve stopped berating myself for all the years in which I did things other than write. I just wasn’t ready to bloom yet. And now what I think is this: Everyone is different. Some people bloom early. Some people bloom later. Some lucky people bloom all the way along. It really doesn’t matter when you bloom, it only matters that you do.
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