Saturday, November 6, 2010

full disclosure, novel writing, and bravery

One of the main reasons my blog posting has been so sporadic is because most of my extra computer/creative time is devoted to the project of all projects. If you've read my 25 for 25, you know that my goal is to finish my manuscript's first draft by my 26th birthday.

So now it's out there: I'm writing a novel.

This admission is something I've always been hesitant about. My proud husband tells anyone and everyone about my aspirations, and his pride is backed with so much support and expression of confidence that I can accomplish this daunting task.

I appreciate his vote of confidence, but when people ask me about my aspirations, I'm somewhat hesitant to open up about it. Being in the book business has taught me one thing: almost everyone thinks they have a book in them. And many of those people think their book is the next bestseller if Oprah has anything to do with it.

The reality is, I've been reading and telling stories since before kindergarten and writing fiction since I learned basic handwriting. There are notebooks full of short stories in my tentative new handwriting (I may be young, but this was before the age of computers). I've been known to stay up all night typing away at a story, and have learned that inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time, so I keep a notebook and Post-it notes with me almost all the time. There's even an almost shameful YA manuscript saved on my computer. (Let's just say if you found it, I'd awkwardly joke that One Tree Hill writers hacked my ideas.) And fellow writers know these common symptoms: thinking in narrative language and the agony of being literally or figuratively far from a writing utensil when inspiration strikes.

Writing is ingrained in my blood. Yet for some reason, I'm hesitant to admit I'd like to be an author, hesitant to label myself a "writer," even. It's not so much that I'm embarrassed or ashamed, that writing is somewhat of a taboo subject for me. I think it's the fear of failure. That if I put myself out there as an aspiring novelist, and either lose steam on my project and never complete it, or like many, never get published, I will fail the innate part of myself that comes to me like a second language (often at the most inconvenient times). Or worse, there's that hovering dark cloud of doubt that sometimes fills my mind with the belief that my dream is anchored in quicksand -- that I'm wasting time and energy on flawed, talentless writing that's simply not interesting to anyone but me.

But for now, I have a story to tell. And I think not telling it is the worst scenario of all. I think my sanity would seriously be compromised if I didn't put it on paper. So I'm going to try to do better at putting myself out there and being more confident about it.

Because sometimes you just have to stop thinking about something and be brave.


  1. Laurie, I haven't read your blog in a long time, but I am SO excited for you! I still write and I know what you mean about the fear of failure, but go for it. I am always inspired to keep at it when I hear of others doing things like this :)

  2. Failure is scary but the fear of never going for it is worse.

    So congrats and good luck. I am sure you will love the experience regardless of the outcome


  3. I'm doing the same thing, Laurie - writing because I have to, even though I'm afraid of failure. (I, too, am blessed with a husband who believes in me.) And fittingly, my word for this year is "brave."

    Keep writing!

  4. Laurie, You always inspire me to be a better person in some way or some how. I can't wait to read your novel some day!


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