Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Putting it out there...

We all know the scary side of going Indy is putting your real name out there with a big bold sign that says LOOK WHAT I DID.  When we were real little most were anxious to show our artwork or newest creation to the world. We vied for attention of adults. Then getting older we were suddenly too cool to care. Shrugs, head  flips, acting out in other directions, and, for some, hiding replaced our anxiousness to share.

Stephen King never seemed to have this problem. He wrote in his book, On Writing, that he was sending stuff out to magazines even as a kid. He had a big nail in the wall over his desk and used to spike the rejection letters onto it. I find this brave stuff for someone of such a young age. 

I had good parents. We were on the poorer side of life but happy. My parents went the extra mile to talk with us and be active in our interests. When the teen years hit I was mostly a hider. I hid my stories and most of my art work but for the life of me I don't know why. Even after high school I wouldn't show my work to anyone. I got married, never shared. Had kids and made up stories just for them and let the adult stories fall by the wayside.

Then I met Leni. Our kids were in kindergarten and we'd sit outside by this big tree waiting for them to come out of class and talk. She was one of the smartest people I'd ever met. A voracious reader, Leni was the kind of person who believed we were capable of anything. Eventually, I told her about one of  my stories and her first reaction was: PUBLISH IT! I stared at her. Never in all my years of writing had I thought of publishing anything. I wrote because I couldn't not write. But Leni was a do-er. She saw something and did it. She was amazing and encouraging and I decided to write something aiming to publish.

The story was about a woman who went back in time to the days right before the Civil War. It went into how a woman from the 80's  adapted to life without all our modern conveniences and how she dealt with the climate of slavery, suppression of women's rights, etc. It was a hard write. I'm way too liberal to be able to survive that without a fight.
That story is in a box somewhere and will probably never surface again, but I have to thank Leni, my dear friend, for giving me the power to put it out there. Without her I'd still be hiding. Leni passed away from MS but her spirit has never left me. She was all that was good in the world.

My question under all this is when did you decide to put it out there? How did you find the courage?


Charles Gramlich said...

I always read a lot, and after doing a few stories in grad school and comparing them with what I was reading, I thought I deserved to be published and started submitting. I admit, the first few rejections were really tough, but after selling a few things and getting that validation, I realized I could do it, although it wasn't going to be easy.

Stonyb said...

i have not published anything...tho i have recently decided to share some of my writing with the world. im not totally sure of how to do that...your comments here have inspired me to continue to write tho i have been slacking at it lately...I too wish to share some of myself...my writings as it were...i shall follow your writing with interest and maybe drumm up the courage to publish some of my own

Nick Wilford said...

What an inspiring story. It's great to have had someone to encourage you in that way.

I was the same - I used to scribble down ideas on paper and hide them all over the place... very rarely attempting to take them further. My wife actually inspired me to take writing seriously after I mentioned it to her and she said it was something I should pursue. That gave me the push I needed - having that support in place. Glad I've got her!

Charissa said...

Leni sounds like the kind of friend all of us need in life--and the kind of friend we should be to others. Thanks for sharing. I've always wanted to write (and knew I was good at it, but always waited for that magical moment to start--which never comes along). Finally I took a Creative WRiting class as an adult and realized that stories are born through writing in the moment now--every day. So I pushed myself and finally got my first book out this year. Yea! Now I can't seem to stop. I love the things I learn about myself as I write and create.

Anonymous said...

Ennisophobia can be conquered when you can project the enjoyment of your work outwards. Believe in it and do it - others will follow.