Friday, October 24, 2014

The First Time

That's little Penny. I probably made this sketch when I was in my early twenties, but that's how I saw myself as a kid--a skinny klutz. Notice the bandage on my shin and the scraped knee.

One summer, at the age of nine, I decided to write a book. It was a very short book. I used green ink on yellow legal paper and added illustrations. Not many people have seen it. Today it would be considered a paranormal romance--mostly because in the story the protagonist could fly. If I was able to fly at that point, maybe I wouldn't have had so many scraped knees and other injuries from tripping over my own pigeon-toed feet.

I enjoyed every moment of writing that story. That is what got me hooked on writing. Still,  I had other things to do as well--like get an education, work, get married, and raise children.

I knew, even as a youngster, that my writing would probably not be profitable--at least, not for a while.

So as the years went by, I was often too busy to write, though sometimes I wrote poetry in desperation because the urge to put words down on paper and express myself remained strong. However, my poetry was horrible--or at least when I handed it in as an assignment, the instructors wrote all over it and thoroughly discouraged me because I was not brave enough yet to believe in myself.

Courage is a necessary part of writing but it took a long time for me to develop that type of confidence.

Nurturing my children reignited all my creative juices. I read a book on smuggling as I nursed the baby at my breast. Suddenly, I had a whole novel running around in my head--and it kept clamoring to be let out.

It wasn't until my youngest turned four that the book I had been holding inside for quite a while refused to wait any longer. I was about to return to work in September. If I was going to write a book, I figured it was now or never. I set up my old manual typewriter on the dining room table and I typed out the story--page after page piled up.

Truthfully, writing in a great rush was like flying. It consumed me. I lived in the story and only came up for air to feed the family and tend to laundry. It took me two months to reach the end.

Then we went on a camping vacation and hubby took the time to read my story. He was surprised. "Where'd you learn to write like that?" he asked.

The truth was that I had a rough draft in my hands and it took a long, long time for that book to be published. However, by then I had acquired the necessary determination to survive endless rejections.

Writing is a tough business which requires the same kind of tenacity as a superhero, but writing a story is better than a magic carpet ride. Well, it was for me and still is.

That's why I write.

5 comments:

Irene said...

At 11, I wrote half of a Nancy Drew type mystery...including all my friends. I don't think I ever got to the point. Lots of early attempts fail to get to the point. But if we keep writing and learning and living (that's really important) eventually we get the hang of this love of ours. I'm glad you stuck it out, Penny. You're a good writer!!!!!

Victoria Pitts-Caine said...

I'm glad you found your courage. I so enjoy your books.

Penelope Marzec said...

Irene,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. It seems many of us started out early on the path of writing. You're a good writer, too. :-)

Penelope Marzec said...

Victoria,

You're probably a brave soul, too. I'm convinced that anyone who writes is.

MarkD60 said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, I wish I knew what I wanted to do when I grow up!