July 11, 2008

The Writing Pressure Cooker

I've heard, throughout the years since I was 17 or so, that I'm a good writer. When I majored in psychology in college my College Writing 101 professor, Dr. DiMarco, kept asking me to change my major to English or to at least minor in it. She was convinced that's the department I belonged in. After three semesters, I did just that - and was SO RELIEVED to be out of the psych department. My advisor was mean and uninterested, my classes put me to sleep; clearly, I was in the wrong major.

But now that I was an English major, I more or less paid attention in class, was actually interested in what I was learning, and got A's and B's consistently. My GPA never dropped below 3.0 and in my junior year, my American Literature II professor asked me to join Sigma Tau Delta, which I politely declined a few times, but when she wouldn't let it go, I joined. It is Greek, but it's not a social fraternity/sorority, it's basically an honor society for English students. In all honesty, I wasn't involved at all save for the induction ceremony, but it's a nice thing to stick on a resume should I ever seek gainful employment again!

So I graduated in May 2002 (okay, technically I was an August graduate, pending my internship), precisely four years into my college career. I was so proud to have done it in the standard four years! I did my internship at the Meadville Chamber of Commerce for about three months and I absolutely loved it there. I got to be around office supplies all the time - that's a blog for another time - and I got to wear office apparel. I had a reason to look good every day because I dealt with the public all the time! I don't have a reason to look good anymore. :-(

Seriously that job, although unpaid, was freakin' awesome. I felt important. I answered the phone, organized a golf scramble, created, organized and conducted my own survey of the tri-state area chambers and their methods of creating income (since chambers are not government organizations and have no funding other than what they create), and I wrote for their newsletter, created business letters, etc. It sounds like a glorified administrative assistant position, and it was, but I really enjoyed it. I applied for a permanent position because the girl that ran the office was leaving in the fall, but they gave the job to someone else. Boohiss.

When we moved out here, I looked for a technical writing job but came up with nothing. See, when I entered college, the dotcom business was booming and my major - Professional/Technical Writing, which is not creative writing, folks - was in high demand. But by 2003, that had come to a high-pitched screeching halt. So I worked as a receptionist, off and on, for about six months and then got fired (for reasons that were never explained to me). I tried to find a job for a few months and then found out I was pregnant. We had a long talk and decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom until our kid(s) were in school full time. This of course meant tightening the bootstraps but that was okay with us; it was more important for our kids to have me at home than having all sorts of extra money.

Ahh, how quickly that idea turns sour! Especially when your husband buys a motorcycle two months into your 2nd pregnancy. Now don't get the wrong idea, I was all for it too, under the condition that he get a second job to finance it. HA! Thirteen months later, I'm posting an ad on Craigslist to find a kid to babysit. That's when Boy came in.

Now, in addition to babysitting, husband's on my ass to write a book. Like I could just sit down one afternoon and by bedtime have cranked out a bestseller. Like I have even an inkling of how to start writing a book let alone create a whole book. Like I would even know what to write about, what people would be interested in. I'm no good at fiction. I took a creative writing course in college as a requirement and all I wrote were stories from my life with the names changed. So a fiction novel is out. I could do a memoir, but who wants to hear about my boring life? (Okay, so maybe all 30-some of my daily readers do, but I seriously doubt you'd all buy a book from me!)

He's always on me to do this. He thinks I could really do well at it. I, however, have much self-doubt. Self-doubt in my talent, in my ability to finish the project and see it through to publication, my ability to find a publisher dumb enough brave enough to take a chance on an unknown writer whose only writing samples are her blog posts. Lots of doubt.

That doesn't mean I'm opposed to the idea. Hell, royalties from a book?! NICE. Being well-known for something I'm actually good at? I could deal with that. Not gracefully, I don't think, as I'm very self-conscious and HATE standing out in a crowd. But I could deal.

But then who would I ask to write the foreword? Actually, I have that person all picked out. She, too, hopes to one day write her bestselling novel. ;-)

7 comments:

Valeta said...

Have you ever heard of Stephenie Meyer?

She too has a degree in english. Had three babies and stayed home with them. Now she is the author of the best-selling "twilight" series.

Anyway, if she can do it, why can't you?

I have started several novels, but I never finish. I think I may be better at short stories. Also, I have no degree and I only write for fun.

diana said...

i freakin love you darc...

Darcie said...

Back atcha. LOL

Anonymous said...

I loved Dr. Dimarco...She was a fabulous teacher!

azeezam said...

I'm a technical writer. It's difficult to get into but can be very compatible with motherhood. You might try to get into it again (ask me for help if you want)...

Also, I also aspire to write a novel one day. I have so many ideas it's ridiculous and just need to get it together. My friends have taken to rolling their eyes when I mention my latest idea. Still, I hold out hope that the day will come...

For you too. I think you'll write something great.

Jessica said...

I think you should give it a whirl. Good luck.

Denise said...

I am a blog-stalker too! :) I say GO FOR IT! :) I love how you write and I'll be one of the firsts to buy it! :)

 
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