Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Support and Encouragement

I've said before that I started writing short little high school sweetheart HEA's when I was probably about 10 or so. Silly rubbish, really...

By 15, I simply wrote everything out in Lisa Frank spiral notebooks. You know the ones that had the bright colors of psychodelic puppies and flowers and teddy bears that looked like bright water color paintings. I kept them in a shoe box close by.

I can remember one night sitting up till almost 5 a.m. just writing my heart out on this one young adult one. Someday I will pull that one back out and hopefully rework it and finish it because I loved the twists and turns in the story, but writing about teenagers at this point isn't in the cards. I'm 33 years old now and too far from thinking the way a teenager does that I'm not sure I could accomplish it and give it the dedication and devotion it deserves.

Now, writing in notebooks, on post-its and scraps of paper still works for me, but I use it more for jotting my ideas now. The computer is my main place for the actual writing. But before the computer I did once have a typewriter/word-processor.

My parents knew my love of reading and writing. I think my first interest in writing came from being a member of the "Just for Girls" Book Club that my dad signed me up for. I received a couple of books a month and I devoured them within a few days of getting them and then wished I had more of them to read. It was shortly after that I started delving into my mom's grown up romance novels.

I can remember lying on my bed, the window open on spring evenings and the cool breeze wafting in, carrying with it the smell of the lilacs in bloom while I read romance novel after romance novel. I've heard other writers say that romance novels are the grown-up versions of the fairytales we were raised on and I believe it.

They inspired me and the good old writing bug took a bite. A big bite.

Since then, other than being a wife and mother, writing has been the one thing I think about, dream about, more than anything else. Even when I didn't work on novels, I wrote poetry and read more books. And when I wasn't writing, I felt like a part of me was missing.

The Christmas I was 17, my parents got me the typewriter/word-processor. I think I wore it out. It had a disk save and it had a screen when in WP mode, but it got to where it messed up and the printouts would come out looking like some alien language that couldn't be decipered. That was also the same year they got me typewriting paper, extra correction tape, disks and The Romance Writer's Pink Pages.

My mom encouraged and supported me, telling me she had no doubt I'd make it. My dad, who is the level-headed one, of course, insisted on giving me a "talk" about how hard the publishing business is and that I needed to study up, read everything I could about writing and, without a doubt, told me that if writing is what I really wanted to do, I needed to expect disappointment, rejection and to always remember that it's not an easy business to get into and even harder to stay in it. It would take hard work and determination.

In some ways I think both my parents balanced things out in that respect. My mom was giving me my wings to soar while my dad was teaching me to steer and beware of the way the winds blow.

Of course, the techinical stuff is still overwhelming, but so is the desire to write, write, write. I can't help it. My parents gave me a great foundation- a good jumping off point. Their support and encouragement early on means the world to me. Add to that the encouragement from others- friends, relatives, other writers- What more could an aspiring writer ask for? ;o)

1 comment:

Devon Matthews said...

Wow! Your parents were supportive of your writing. That's great!

When I was growing up, I never saw anyone reading a book in my house, unless my grandmother came to visit. I guess I got my love of reading from her. Anyway, reading wasn't encouraged. I think my parents viewed it as a form of lollygagging. They'd rather we went outside and played. And I've often heard my mother say, she couldn't stand to see someone sitting around with their nose stuck in a book. She hasn't changed her attitude any about that. She still resents my writing time, thinks it's a waste, and would rather see me doing other things that require interaction, like sitting around talking, running around visiting, or browsing stores and shopping.

I got my first typewriter in the mid '60's, and only then by default. My dad needed something written up for work purposes or something, and it had to be typed. So he found an old Underwood somewhere for a couple of bucks and brought it home for me to type his paper for him. The thing was so old, it had raised metal rims around the keys. If you typed for very long, they made your fingers sore. LOL!

Anyway, that's how I got my first typewriter, and I wore it out, too. I still had it when I married and left home. I wrote for years and years in an absolute bubble. At one point, I lived about a mile from RWA headquarters down in Texas and had no clue they even existed. I only discovered there were organized romance writers after I'd been back in KY for several years and I stumbled across an article about Teresa Medeiros in our monthly electric magazine they send out to every customer. It was Feb., and they ran an article about romance writers here in KY because of Valentine's Day. That's when I started looking into it and found KYRW. At the time, I didn't even have a computer. The original KYRW loop was just all of us CC'ing every message to all the members of the group. There was no Yahoogroups back then. Weird to think about now, but there wasn't much going on online back then.

And now it looks like I've told you my whole life history. Sorry about that, but you already know I have a tendency to ramble. :o)