The Write Year

I have only had this blog for a couple of months. However, I decided to be proactive with my writing one year ago. I consider this an anniversary of sorts, a writing anniversary, if you will. I’m calling it The Write Year.

While I have been a writer for many years I didn’t put anything into motion until January 2011.  I went to the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC, despite feeling absolutely petrified. They were holding a Query Slam where authors had 3 minutes to pitch their novels to literary agents.  I told myself if I’m serious about this book, if I’m serious about being a writer, then I had to do this.

Some background: Thanks to a bump in the road, I saw how pathetically stuck I was. For the first time ever I saw all the mistakes I’d made in my life, the poor decisions, how I continually avoided risks. For the first time ever I stopped blaming someone or something else, stopped making excuses about “no time” or “not ready yet.” For the first time I saw that I was at a do-or-die point in my life.

Writing was at the crux of all of this. Like I said, I might have been a writer for a long time but I was unable to recognize its value. When I “found” writing, it was like finding a part of my soul that I didn’t even know was there. The only time I felt any peace was when I was writing. The only time I felt like I was doing something I was meant to do, it was when I was writing.

When I decided to go to that conference, my entire world–spirit and shell–altered.

Looking back, I know it’s because I forced myself to do something that terrified the hell out of me. Not only did I go to NYC by myself, but I got up at 1:30 am to catch a bus to South Station in Boston—during a blizzard. I got lost at South Station, and I had a chance to change my mind. I didn’t.

When I reached NYC, I wanted to throw up. All my fears were coming true. NYC was everything I knew it would be: intimidating, fast-paced, overpowering.

But I pressed on. The conference turned out to be great. I met wonderful people, and I learned new writing tactics. When I returned home, things happened.

The Greensilk Journal published my short story, “Treasures.”  I had a couple of friends hire me to edit their novels, thereby kicking off an unplanned writing coach/editing business. I was asked by the local school district to teach a creative writing class, which eventually became part of my writing/editing business. I started my website/blog and began meeting people across cyberspace. I met the wonderful LimebirdBeth over at  limebirdwriters and became part of her fantabulous team. Then I got a hit on my query from an agent interested in my novel.

Through it all I’ve had to coach myself every day, as if I were training for a marathon. There are days I don’t want to get up at 4am to write. There are times I feel so burned out I can’t imagine maintaining this pace. Sometimes I feel like hurling my calendar against the wall because I can’t face one more task. I’m inclined to take an out when I feel too overwhelmed and unskilled to be an aspiring novelist.

Essentially, I am living against my nature. Going against my grain. Fighting the personality that I grew up with isn’t a treat, I must say. But if I want to live my dream, then I have to combat my impulse to run scared. And when I feel I just can’t do it anymore, I think about the trip I took to NYC, beating the odds that I’d turn tail.

Happy Anniversary to me.

Do have an experience that has changed you for the better?