In the third grade, I became infatuated with books and reading and, upon discovering The Little House in the Big Woods series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, with writing. People could write about their very own lives—what a revelation. But my life was too boring to write about, so I wrote fiction instead. Lacking confidence, and having a brain that focused much better on a book than a blank page, I wrote sporadically for the next several decades.
During that time, I came to believe that writing wasn’t a practical career, so I tried to pick a career that was. My first choice was professional student (I like to KNOW things) but my parents pointed out that student was the opposite of a career—paying tuition instead of being paid a salary. I toyed with the idea of being an elementary school teacher, and then an English teacher, but I did not have the necessary enthusiasm for either.
Then, thanks to my husband, I got my dream job—stay-at-home mom. Kids, and plenty of time to write. Ha! Nope. Didn’t happen. For a myriad of reasons I’ll probably address in my blog, or in a memoir, writing was a struggle and continued to happen in fits and starts.
One of the many cool things about having kids is that they get older and more self-sufficient. And you get older and don’t care as much about keeping the house clean or making complicated meals. I wrote more. And the thing about writing more, is the writing gets better. For five years, I was in a writing group mentored by a retired professor who was also a published author—he wrote novels of feedback on my short stories. I learned a lot—an MFA of sorts—but I still wasn’t writing enough.
Now my kids are adults, and I’m no longer on various school committees, the PTA or a band roadie. The only thing keeping me from writing every day, in fact the only thing ever keeping me from writing every day is, of course, me.
At the age of fifty, all I want to do is write, preferably with my calico cat, Reeses, wedged between my tummy and the computer, and I do write, pretty much every day. I have a finished novel that I’m not sure is worth revising. I have a handful of short stories that I send out in bursts, and a growing folder of rejection emails that only deter me for a moment. Currently, I am working on a linked short-story collection.
I no longer consider my life boring. In fact, all boredom ceased in 1992 when our first child was born, but I still prefer to write fiction, which sets the bar pretty high when you can write about anything but also, you can write about anything!
Writing is inherently a lonely business. I am indebted to the Red Wheelbarrow Writers and my weekly critique group Fridays Only for their support, encouragement, and plenty of constructive criticism.
When I’m not writing, I take walks through the forest and up the mountain, or weather deciding, on the treadmill, and visit craft beer breweries with my husband.