Funny. I know I’m a writer. I know I’m an author. And yet, after years, I still never really felt that I was, in my mind.
Why? I guess it always seemed like this journey was some sort of marathon. And I’ve no training in running. I was going to have to learn from scratch. Wear through a lot of shoes. Further, some of the ways I’ve approached authorship have been unconventional. I therefore believed I would have to run really hard and really far, to prove that I was a real runner. I believed I had to cross some important marker along the way (what that was, I wasn’t sure) before I could really call myself An Author.
This thinking was absurd, of course. But I couldn’t make my stubborn brain accept what it wouldn’t, until it would.
My newest novel Still, will be in readers’ hands shortly (more to come on that soon). But about a week or two ago, while working on edits, I knew. I’d gotten past whatever my imaginary marker was.
This book, it took a piece of my soul with it. And it was genuinely, hard work. I can’t even question myself now. I’m an author.
So as I considered my experience with Still, which will be my 17th title, I decided I wanted to share a bit of my book writing journey with you.
It’s no matter if you are a writer, or not. I think you’ll find my thoughts applicable to anything you have a goal to do.
Your journey may not look at all like mine, nor even your craft, but this is really about inspiration. At my shop The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, I meet authors in every step of their journeys. I learn so much from these conversations. So here’s what my experience has been…
I thought I knew the English language well. I was wrong.
Here’s the fact. I LOVE words. I’ve always loved reading, and another great passion of mine was once public speaking. I love hearing how others use words to express a message. I love crafting words to express myself. I love reading words. I love writing words. I’m just nuts about it.
And though I never received any focused education in writing, I thought I understood the English language and the basic spelling of it decently enough.
I was wrong. But it’s so funny! In fact, I laugh at myself all the time.
- I write words that I thought were real. But it seems I made them up.
- I thought I knew what words meant, but am frequently surprised to learn my understanding was incorrect.
- I still have to look up some of the same words, again and again. Like lose vs. loose (even though it’s cemented by now…I think).
- I’ve occasionally gone wild, and yes, printed words in my books that are neither ‘real’ nor ‘perfectly applied’. And I’ll do it again. Because I’m creating art. My art. I can do what I want.
I like reviewing a ‘word of the day’. I find it so hilarious every time! They are always long and complicated-sounding, and I like to first guess what they mean and have a giggle inside when I find out what they actually do. I wouldn’t use even a small percent of these words. But it’s such a delight to learn about them anyway. And they remind me, I still have so much to learn about the English language.
What I know? We always have more to learn about our craft than we thought we did. But that’s what makes the journey awesome!
My birthday always falls over Labor Day weekend in September, coinciding with the final weekend of Bristol. For me, there is no better way to spend my special day than at The Quill and Brush, chatting with folks about my tales. It is always enchanting…
[Above, transcendently happy to be in my little shop…]
As I get older, and I am guessing this is the case with most, I think less and less to anticipate anything more than a normal day when my birthday rolls around. If someone remembers me with a “Happy Birthday” text, or a card in the mail, or the occasional gift, I’m already feeling quite special. Such small gestures remind you that you are cared about, and I have always been fortunate to feel blessed in that…
[Here, smiling with the most noble of ladies, Lady Ettie.]
Having only humble ideas of my birthday, imagine my extreme surprise to see this utterly beautiful, absolutely amazing fairy garden waiting for me in my tented shop when I arrived that day this last September! I assure you, my mouth hung open wide for at least a full minute…
Who had spent such precious time (of which it seems no one has any these days) to make me something so extraordinary and memorable? Well, there is a very special family that participates at Bristol. Seasons 2015-2017 they owned The Sow’s Ear, and they also help with Pyewacket’s Body Art, the petting zoo, and alongside other vendors. Mickey (mom), Cody, Caily and Kena (daughters), have been the kindest and best of neighbors to me on King’s Landing. You might remember that Cody made the incredible sign that hangs before The Quill and Brush…
You ever meet someone (and in this case a family of ladies) who already has a toe planted on Heaven’s golden floor, so caring, helpful, and thoughtful a person are they? You know, good people. Well these gals, are real good people. I wanted to thank them for making me feel so special, and to share their oh so special creation with you, as it was so inspiring…
Let’s talk fairy garden! This scene has a tiny house covered by the spine of a Danielle Steel novel. Love it! There are itty-bitty leather books, an adorable vine chair with table, lamp and tea cup. On the walls of the house are a birthday message, and the words to one of my fairy books, Delight. Let me just grab a kleenex…have you ever seen anything so sweet!?
The yard of the garden is covered with moss, stones, plants, another table and seat, and a swing under a leafy canopy for the fairies to read beneath. How creative, how delicate, how wonderful! Excuse me, I need to grab another tissue…
Of course for the rest of that Bristol weekend, everyone that stopped by The Quill and Brush marveled at the fairy garden. This gift not only brought delight to me, but to many others as well. It now has a place beneath a sunny window in my house, sure to return with me to faire next summer!
I sometimes like to imagine that when I am away from home, a fairy or two slips through my window or under the crack beneath my door, to sit a spell and read in the fairy garden…
Stay Inspired Friends!
A bushel of books, a bundle of words, sitting in a basket just there. A great many more, all carefully nesting, all tenderly wrapped with care…
But why do they wait? Such adventurous volumes! Do they not have some place to be? Why yes, oh yes! They’re looking their best, for at Bristol all will soon see!
Just 10 days until The Quill and Brush will be open to all, sharing stories and art, inspired and drawn from the heart!