Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My writing origins


I've been a extensive reader since I was little...loving the escape that a good book provided. Hours were spent reading the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Beldon. On to Mary Poppins, Charlotte's Web, Cheaper by the Dozen and many others. High school meant less time to read, not due to dating but a heavier schedule mixed with working after school.

Writing also began early, at around age nine or ten, with my starting a weekly neighborhood newspaper. I typed each copy myself on my child's typewriter that I had received for my birthday. I think three neighbors took pity on me and "subscribed" at a cost of 10 cents a week. Wish I still had copies of the few papers I actually completed.

Once out of school, life intervened with an early marriage, blessing me with two children by the age of 22. Reading was still my favorite escape. The more I read, the faster I read, learning to skim read with time and practice. By my thirties I was resorting to only buying 2-3" thick paperbacks, something that would take me more than 2 hours to read.

That was also when I discovered my career passion, moving from bookkeeping into computers. Over the next thirty years I advanced from a data entry operator to VP of Client Services, with many titles and job descriptions in the middle. I learned to write professionally; constructing marketing materials, class outlines, program documentation and client reviews.

I've never been an intellectual reader since, for me, reading is an escape from everyday life. Science Fiction, fantasy and epic historicals ruled my forties. But the career of my forties meant no time to read unless I took a whole day on a weekend to do nothing but that...what a luxury. I remember one Sunday that I took off, reading Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. What a treat! Another was Centennial by James Michener (a favorite that I have read several times) and James Clavell's Shogun.

My fifties gave me my first foray into freelance writing. Scott Kurnit started a small Internet company called "The Mining Company" (TMC - now About.com). I was already running a side computer business and had been networking with other self-employed women. Several of them had applied to be a Guide at TMC. I read the website application process, read their applications and was pretty sure I could do it. So I applied and was accepted.

Web content, magazine and local newspapers were the recipient of my words...besides The Mining Company, I also wrote weekly content for BellaOnline.com, Suite101.com, as well as columns for an RVing magazine and a free weekly local newspaper for seniors.

Several years of non-fiction whet my appetite and I wanted to try my hand at fiction writing. I wrote some children's stories, submitted them and although rejected, I did get some nice comments.

Then once again, real life intervened and my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He became my number one priority and my writing was limited to health updates to our family and friends. He passed in 2004 and I completely lost my writing voice.

In 2005 I took several motorcycle trips covering 42 states, riding 27,000 miles...solo. No, I didn't journal. I tried, I really did. But my voice was missing. Instead I made notes about what animals I saw, where I found the cheapest McDonald's senior coffee, what songs I sang in my head as I rode...silly stuff like that. My year of sanity...

In 2006 I made the decision to sell our house and go full-time RVing. I had lived the life for almost two years when my husband was alive and knew I liked it. Blogs were becoming more popular and I decided to try my hand at one. That was the beginning of finding the joy in writing once again.

Now in 2012, I am back trying my hand at fiction writing. If you made it this far in the post, congratulations. I know I'm rambling a bit, but now I have a post to send people to when they ask me about the origins of my writing.

Oh, I read less science fiction now, but love a good romance (especially with a touch or comedy or time travel - thank you Diana Gabaldon) and have started to really enjoy thrillers and mysteries (James Patterson, Alan Jacobson, Lisa Jackson and others).

9 comments:

  1. Donna, thank you so much for sharing your writing journey with us. I knew that you had been writing for a long time (to me, that's any time over 5 years:)) but I didn't realize quite how long.

    I am sorry for the loss of your husband. I can understand what you mean about losing your writing voice as a consequence. Very glad that you came back to it and are continuing to follow your dream.

    So pleased to have connected with you on twitter! Oh and love the 3 photos, all at the same tilt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Donna, I'm a voracious speed reader like you, and it gets expensive! I can't be without a book at any time.

    Eagerly awaiting your novel!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jo-Anne, thanks so much. It's been quite a journey!

    Marion, that's why I love e-books and the cheaper prices offered by many indie authors.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post Donna. Thanks for sharing those intimate details about your life. So sorry that you lost your husband. That must have been really hard but you are obviously strong. I commend you for knowing that you wanted out of life and going out to get it, all on your own. Kudos my friend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quite impressive and educative one. Thanks for this.

    Job Descriptions

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a journey-very inspirational. I'm glad you found your voice after all that. Come say hi if you have time (A Nest of Words Follow-Swap bloghop)

    ReplyDelete
  7. love all the life interventions :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really appreciated what you said on the theme of "life intervenes." I often beat myself up for hiatuses from writing when other things took precedence. It's encouraging to hear how you steadily pursued writing over decades.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks to all my new readers, glad you followed me from the blog hop. Off to read some new blogs myself!

    ReplyDelete

I'm tired of talking to myself. Drop a note, please?