Finding my way back to fiction
For the next 28 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge. There’s still time to register – and if you post today by 6 p.m. my time (PDT), you can still be in the running to win a bunch of cool free digital stuff from other participants and a $50 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. If you join after that, you’ll be in the running for the daily giveaways for every day that you post.
So here we go – with the Day 1 writing prompt:
Describe your earliest memory of writing. How did your writing habit/process/career develop?
I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been reading, and I’ve been reading since I was 4 years old and tired of needing to ask my dad to read the Sunday comics to me. Though I can empathize, I’ve never been able to relate to those folks for whom writing is difficult because writing (and editing) is like breathing for me. However, I also believe that most people are better writers than they give themselves credit for.
The challenge with having an editor’s mindset is that I nearly always see the mistakes or the ways things could be made better. Sometimes, I just have to remind myself to relax. I’m reading a novel – it’s not a professional gig!
It was Sr. Laurian, my sixth grade teacher at St. Agnes parochial school in Phoenix, who really first encouraged me to explore and take my writing seriously. She told me that one day I would have a career that involved writing. I took something of a windy path to get here (unfortunately common for women of my generation and older), but have, in fact, borne out the good sister’s prediction.
The specifics of my career I owe more to my own sister. I was bored working as a word processor for a local law firm, so my sister said, quite matter-of-factly, “Well, why don’t you do the writing thing? Make business cards on them that say Writer.” It was almost that easy – until I discovered I much preferred editing for clients than writing for them. I have a few exclusive, long-term clients for whom I will create copy – but for the most part, I take what they’ve already written and improve it.
That business model led to the discovery that although my clients were good at writing and making books, they were, for the most part, lousy at marketing them. So I began to incorporate marketing into my business, teaching and encouraging my authors to follow James Malinchak’s advice and “learn to think like marketers.”
This blog has been my most prolific writing experience – especially over the last 54 days! As long-time readers are aware, I write mostly marketing, publishing, and book business-related stuff. Occasionally, my inner cheerleader sneaks in a post that’s more motivational and encouraging. My degree is in nonfiction creative writing – and that was no accident. Fiction is where I’ve always felt somewhat uncomfortable. Of course, that probably means I just need to do more of it!
I did have some success with my first foray into the 3-Day Novel Contest. Loosely based on a very real relationship, it’s the story of Stan’s journey to figure out what he really wants out of life. Here’s the link – if you want to read the still-very-much-a-work-in-progress draft. Written in 2004, the events of 9/11 figured significantly into the story. Clearly that needs updating! (Gentle criticism gratefully accepted!)
As my friend, the very talented Carol Hogan, said after reading it, “It’s a really good outline!” Of course, I had just three days in which to write it, but I haven’t added all that much to it (maybe 30%) in all these years. My very practical, no-BS sister (the same one who encouraged me to make a career of writing) gave me the highest compliment about it, though: “Of all the creative things you’ve ever done in your life – and you’ve done LOTS – this is, by far, the best.” That’s validation I still really appreciate, as the story beckons to be finished one day.
Who knows – maybe Marcie and Stan can share my time?
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!