As a writer, I’m often asked where my inspiration comes from. Where do I get my ideas? Do I have a favorite author that I strive to emulate? What is it that drives me to put pen to paper?
Oftentimes, I don’t have the answers to those questions. I just know that words, stories, anecdotes live inside of me, somewhere under my skin, itching to be released. I wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea for a blog, and lay awake, stars peeking through my curtains, and write it in my head. Dreams lead to book ideas. Illustrations lead to book ideas. A beautiful day at the beach leads to book ideas.
The problem, for me, isn’t finding a way to tell a story, or jotting down a particularly clever turn of phrase. The problem is finding the motivation to do something with it. Share it with the world. Finding the courage to seek publication.
For years, I felt like a dog on a leash, desperate for escape. I had so many ideas tumbling around in my brain like so many puppies. A humor novel. A memoir. A children’s series. Each time I would sit down at my computer, ready to take that first step into becoming a true writer, that choke collar would pull me to an abrupt halt. Questions, doubts, fear would creep in and take over, sending my creativity into a retreat.
Would someone really pay me to publish this story?
Are my characters under-developed?
Are there too many holes in the plot?
What if it’s not good enough? What if I’m not good enough?
One beautiful autumn day, not too long ago, I had a conversation with my brother, Adam, about this very subject. He’d asked me why I hadn’t ever seriously tried to break into the publishing world. And I shared with him those fears, those doubts, that I just shared with you.
|In Adam’s crib, circa 1988.|
And he said to me, in his less-than-poetic way,
“You’ve got to tell that voice to shut the hell up and just get to it, sissy. Because you’re better at this than anyone I’ve ever known.”
I’ve received praise before–from glowing comments to awards and everything in between. My husband cheers me on every single day. I’ve had my Daddy pat me on the back, and my Mom tell me how much my words made her smile. I’ve had friends tell me they look forward to my blog everyday, and that they’ve passed it along to all their friends and relatives.
But those words coming from my little brother meant more to me in that moment than any praise I’d heard before in my life. Because finding out that your little brother actually admires you…well, that’s just priceless in my book.
|A rare moment of sibling concord, circa 1997.|
A month later, when I had the opportunity to join NaNoWriMo, I didn’t even hesitate. I jumped in with both feet and produced a manuscript that’s tipping the scales now at approximately 53,000 words. And while it’s a far cry from being a publishable work, it’s the first time I’ve ever put that much work into a book that is my very own.
And all because, when that little voice started up inside my head, I told it to shut the hell up. And I just got to it.
I have Adam to thank for that.
|♥ Thanks, Bubby. ♥|