Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing Outside The Comfort Zone

When I first began writing I was most into poetry. I found inspiration in almost everything around me. I wrote about my pets, flowers, the weather, even the buildings we drove by. I found a way to turn everything into some form or rhyme. Of course I was just a kid. I just figured writing was a hobby I would grow out of since I had explored more than a dozen different interests by the time I was ten.

In elementary school there was a competition for fourth and fifth graders called Calbury. I am not quite sure of the spelling of the award anymore but I remember taking part both years. I do not pretend to be an artists so when I entered an illustrated children's book in fourth grade I was disappointed but not surprised when I came in second place. My poetry book in fifth grade however took first easily and if I had listened to my parents about the importance of not just the work but the presentation I would have been in the running for the city level award.

My poems were praised but the hand made book left a lot to be desired. It didn't stop me though. As I entered junior high I joined clubs and teams but always maintained a time for my writing. In fact by that point I was determined to be the next Shel Silverstein. I liked the playful imagery as well as the more whimsical topics instead of stuffed shirt sophisticated poetry. I wanted to share with people my own age and inspire kids the way I had been. While many of my classmates in second grade were reading Three Billy Goats Gruff I was reading David McCord's This Is My Rock. It moved me and as I grew up I wanted to write something that would move others the same way.

School progressed, junior high became high school. Suddenly I was incorporating short stories in with my poetry and my teachers were asking me to share with the class, to stay behind to discuss my work. I loved it. Still though the writing almost always involved me and my life in some way. I was scared that if I branched out to write something totally based on my imagination it would fall flat. Three years ago I wrote my debut novel Never Give Up. Again based in part on my life. Two years later thoughI wrote Breathe during Nanowrimo and that one came from my imagination in whole.

I sent it to my mom to beta read for me and she had a comment that shocked me. Not only did she not expect to like it much if at all but as it turned out she enjoyed it better than Never Give Up. Now as I finish revising Breathe and write Sharing Strength, which is based on me, I am getting excited about my ability to create and gaining the confidence to keep pushing my own boundaries to new and exciting places.

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