Monday, March 22, 2010

The "eep" Factor

Back when I was a weird grade-schooler in a dinky inner-city school, I wrote cute little poems that my grandparents loved. Is there a grandchild’s scribble grandparents through the ages haven’t loved? (Rhetorical question #1.) Then I hit high school and created a notebook filled with angsty teenage love poems that I entered into contests. Won a few, too, and somewhere in the basement are a few tarnished vase/bowl/water dish thingys to prove it.

But at the same time, I stopped showing my “real” writing to anyone. That would be the bizarre horror short stories and the scenery-chewing D-R-A-M-A. (Teenage girl, remember? What did you think I’d be writing?) (Rhetorical question #2.) This was the “scardey-cat” factor: What if I show it to my BFF and they hate it? Or worse, laugh?

So my fiction languished in desk drawers for years. (Yes, any whippersnappers reading this post, I mean “before PCs.” Now pull up your pants and get off my lawn.) I took it with me when I went into the convent and kept it with me for the next 20 years. The “cold feet” factor, perhaps.

The stack grew, the plots and pace and storylines improving. No more blue zombies re-fleshing themselves from garden dust—the incinerator got that one years ago. No more drama-laden unrequited love stories. (You’re welcome.)

Until the day I looked at the rut I’d dug for myself: Work, cooking, laundry, cleaning, chauffeuring the kids,. Lather, rinse, repeat. Watching people act now that I didn’t have six weeks to dedicate to a community theater production. Reading books I liked rather than writing one. I’d become a bystander.

Not for long. Also known as the “in a pig’s eye” factor.

Fast-forward several years. MI just had my book launch meeting. They discussed cover designs, suggested some minor edits, confirmed the title. My book is going to be sold on the Net. In bookstores. Bought and read by total strangers. Oh, wow. Did that weird grade-schooler writing cute poems for her grandparents ever dream of this? Maybe.

Unlike some versions of the Cinderella story, no fairy godmother dropped this in my lap. I worked my tail off for this, always hoping, always with a tiny, nagging doubt that it would happen. Yet it has.



Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Look at all the years of practicing writing you put in! Congratulations! You deserve it.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Lisa Bork said...

Congratulations, Alice! You deserve to have all your hard work and creativity pay off :)

Alan Orloff said...

Congrats, Alice! I like your choice of post "labels," too. Dreams and perseverance, two mighty powers!

G.M. Malliet said...

Beating back the nagging doubts...I remember that feeling SO well. Scary feeling, immediately squashed.

Congratulations on having the heart to follow your dreams.

Keith Raffel said...

Can't wait to read your book, Alice. Can't wait.

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks for sticking with it, Alice!

Cricket McRae said...

Thanks for making me laugh and dishing out inspiration at the same time. You definitely deserve to have your hard work pay off. Looking forward to your book!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I once showed some of the writings of my youth to a neighbor woman who expressed an interest in my desire to be a writer one day. She immediately informed my mother that I needed serious counseling. Except for school assignments, I never showed anyone anything again until I began writing seriously in my 40's. Reminds me of that line in "The Sixth Sense" - "They don't have meeting about rainbows."

Congrats, Alice. We should all ignore our nagging doubts (and negative comments) and just go for it! It's a much happier existence.

Charmaine Clancy said...

Litopia had a great podcast about the odds of being published and they figured out that the odds are more against writers actually finishing their book. If you do that, edit & redraft properly, then submit it to the appropriate publishers, you actually have a good chance of publication. Knowing that it's more about hard work than luck is really comforting for me. Great post.

Alice Loweecey said...

Thanks, gang! Your comments gave me a week's worth of warm fuzzies.

Darrell James said...

Alice- Late to the party as usual, but your post made me start thinking about some the poems and early stories I might have forgotten about, lurking in the file cabinet in the garage. "Eeeep", is right. I'm afraid to look! Thanks for the trip back in time.

AchingHope said...

It always makes me feel so encouraged, hearing people's success stories. Yay :D Thanks for sharing.