Since I was a little girl, I had an imagination that would create fantastic worlds I wished I lived in: I was adorned by friends, personified a strong independent spirit, embodied an importance in my community to be rivaled, and of course, all the boys were enamored with me. The ideas worked into chapter books I wrote in between talking instead of paying attention in Mr. Pecuch's 5th grade class. The plot was weak and circular, describing this perfect life I desperately wanted, illustrated with hideous pictures on lined paper. Boy, did I think I was the coolest.
Fast forward 19 years and I am in the same romantically delusional world I created at 11. Writing fascinates me, and I dream of becoming a writer. Unfortunately, reaching this goal, one must remove head from clouds and write.
Well, I wasn't rehired at the urban middle school I taught at last year, so, I took advantage of the free agent opportunity, and into a box my teaching career went. I decided to collect unemployment, found an internship with a college professor/playwright and applied to writing jobs on Craigslist.
I wanted to take a year, supplement my income with writing gigs and decide what path to walk. Go back to school? For what? Become a full-time writer? What would I write? Live in a cardboard box? Most likely. My grand dreams of becoming a published writer and indecision invariably gave me performance anxiety; the pen and keyboard were ready and waiting but my brain hesitated and my ideas fell flat.
After reading Writer's Digest and Poets and Writers on the train to my internship everyday, I concluded writing needed to happen everyday, even if it was awful. One can only better themselves with practice. Ugh, cliches! Once I stood up to the professor, refusing to work on his pedagogical projects as an unpaid TA, rather than an intern learning the craft of writing, I sat at my computer and told myself to type and submit work for prompts on Writer's Digest and for my writer's group.
Words and ideas found their way onto the computer screen and I accomplished step one: Write. I am sure the super short short story I wrote won't receive awards, but my creative flow loosened. My friend Erica helped, too; I bounced ideas off her and she provided critiques, I couldn't be more grateful.
Ultimately, I want to write a mystery novel or a series of mystery novels with a realistic romantic thread weaving the story together. My dreams of becoming a private detective would come alive on the page. A very exciting prospect.
My research began with reading detective noir, a cooking class mystery series and many in between over the past 20 years, totally enthralled with the clues and the chase. A few authors I enjoy: Eric Garcia, Miranda Bliss, Agatha Christie, Lilian Jackson Braun, and Janet Evanovich. These pros have paved a road that I can start my journey, eventually turning off, writing my own style.
So, lying in bed this morning, an idea for a mystery book came to me. I came downstairs, poured a glass of ice water, opened my journal, clicked open my Darth Vader pen and furiously scribbled my ideas across four pages. A productive start.