The first thing I can ever remember writing was a poem about rain. I was 6, in the first grade, and I’d just begun to make the connection that letters formed words . . . and words? Well, words formed everything. In the living room on a rainy day, I took a small pink (pink!) notebook and scribbled down a few phrases. Then I proudly showed my handiwork off to my baby sister and parents.
I don’t remember their reactions, but I’m sure they were struck dumb by my brilliance. I mean, rain? Who has ever written a poem about nature’s beauty — or that wet stuff falling from the sky? I was a prodigy. A revolutionary. I was changing the world!
Aside from a stint in the creative writing program in college, I haven’t crafted many poems — but have diversified my subject matter. Twice a week, I write about my life and adventures for the newspapers where I work. Only 450 words and focused on whatever pops into my brain, the columns come easily. It’s like blogging . . . just in print. Where 50,000 people read it.
Sometimes that scares me.
But that’s another blog post.
No, the columns don’t cause me any trouble, friends. Sometimes the stress of trying to be consistently witty is a little daunting, but that’s totally a #firstworldproblem and not something I would ever complain about. (You know, not in public.) I know how lucky I am.
It’s everything else that’s tricky.
The short format of my articles and these here blog posts have ruined me. After failing to complete a novel for National Novel Writing Month for the second year in a row, I’m beginning to worry that I don’t have the stamina to sustain a single plotline over the course of a 200-page manuscript. Am I now only capable of writing short non-fiction? Am I — gasp — A SHORTY?
Well, yes; I’m short (5’2″). But I don’t want to be known only for the little thoughts I scribble down. I do want to finish another novel, and I do want to seek publication for my works. So unless I’m scooped up and asked to pen a hilarious memoir about cupcakes, online dating and pumpkin spice lattes, I need to get my act together. I’d love to be the next Laurie Notaro or Jen Lancaster, but I have to be realistic. I have yet to be informed that someone soiled themselves while reading something I’ve shared, so I have plenty of work to do. And have to get back to pluggin’ away on ye old book.
But first? I need a little inspiration. And leave it to Etsy to deliver it.