First off, thanks to Kristie for inviting me here today take part in her guest blogger section! I’m thrilled to be here!
So Kristie asked me how I got started writing, and I had to think back a bit. A looong bit. You see, I started this madness when I was thirteen years old. I had a terrible case of the flu, and when I couldn’t sleep, my dad would sit with me and we’d watch Star Trek reruns. Yup. Star Trek. Being thirteen, I was a little hormonal, so I fell like the Hindenburg for one of the characters. Being me (a little different than your average girl), I fell for Scotty. Not Checov, Kirk or even Sulu. Scotty.
Even after I felt better, I’d sneak out of bed and watch. I was so obsessed with James Doohan that I started “writing” myself into the episodes as his girlfriend. Up to this point, it was all in my head, but one day I sat down with a packet of notebook paper and started writing down some ideas I had for a new episode. I kept writing and writing until soon I had over one hundred hand-written pages.
That’s when my mom found it. I was mortified! I mean it was a silly little fantasy indulgence, and my mom was not very tolerant of anything so frivolous. But she surprised me. She pulled out an old Royal typewriter she had used in college – and let me tell you those keys were stiff – and told me to type it up. I did. And another hundred or so pages to go with it.
Then my teacher found out about it.
She let me use class reading time to work on the book. I’d go home and type what I’d written at school, then bring it back to her to read the next day. She decided what I needed to do was submit it to a state writing competition, but there was a catch. I had to finish what had now become a novel within a month. At the tender age of fourteen, I was under my first deadline.
I set out my goal, knowing I’d have to edit and retype the whole thing. And I did it, too – with two days to spare. I was so proud handing her that manila envelope, all addressed and ready to go to the contest. I just knew this was my first step into the big world of publishing.
So you expect me now to tell you of my great victory, don’t you? Multiple requests from editors for my fledging work? Yeah…no. I was disqualified. Copyrighted material – I couldn’t write about characters created by someone else, even if the main character of my story was created by me.
It was too late, though. I was hooked. I kept writing – on the sly, mind you, all the way through high school and college. I even took a couple creative writing and journalism classes along the way, but never took my writing seriously. I got my degree in music education, taught school, got married, pumped out babies, and never looked back. Except those times when I’d sneak away to the computer (way easier for editing, by the way) to write a little something.
And then one day, another idea hit me that started sucking up a lot of my free time. It took me six months to write that puppy – all 700 pages of it. Yes, I overdid it a bit. But by then, I had the internet and had met other people who enjoyed writing and who could point me in the direction of a publisher. The rest, as they say, is history. No, I didn’t publish that 700-page book. It’s awful, just like those stories I wrote as a kid. But they all taught me a lot, and I took those lessons and use them today. And my biggest hope is that you can fall as hard for my heroes as I fell for Scotty all those years ago. I know I can.
And to think, I owe it all to a case of the flu.