What is it that I write?
That is the question I’ve been asking myself, over and over again.
What is it, exactly, that I write?
This summer I’ve been meeting regularly with a true wordsmith-in-arms to share our stories and refine our craft. (Heather, by the way, is an exquisite children’s writer and illustrator!) Her generous feedback has been both encouraging and inspiring.
You know that feeling when you’re finally able to name a dream? When you’ve plucked up the courage to put to words to a hope? Like those old abandoned houses with thick, white sheets draped over the furniture, it’s as if the sheets over my creative ambitions have been flung off and brought to light.
I want to be a published author.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved visiting the library. Not just for the smell of old books or all those little corners you can get wonderfully lost in, but for the authors. For some reason, I found it captivating that the titles lining the shelves were written by people. Real, live, oxygen-breathing humans just like me. Their stories were no ordinary stories, though. Their stories were carefully selected out of the slushpile. Their stories were illustrated, printed, stitched together, and found permanent homes on bookshelves.
I must have had some sort of nerve even back then because I would always get the little stories I wrote for friends and family printed and spiral-bound. You know, just in case a New York editor came strolling in our living room with a contract in hand.
When I think back on it, I can’t remember a time since childhood that I haven’t been writing. There have been times when my writing has been unfocused and wayward. Rambling, even, if you prefer. At the moment, it seems as if those ramblings are finally leading to a path I’ve wanted to pursue all along.
I’ve scoffed before at J.K. Rowling’s advice on getting published. She said, “Firstly, you need to write something that a publisher would want to publish (it only takes one, but it might take a while to find them. If you are turned down by every single publisher in existence, you will have to consider the possibility that what you have written is not publishable).” Write something compelling, okay. Then send your story to every publisher in existence, really?
Of course, I can’t say exactly which story of mine would find its way to a publishing house first. I can’t even say for certain that a story of mine would ever find its way to a publishing house.
What I can say is that is my course.
Looks like we’re going to start rambling towards a bookshelf, folks.