How Lit Goes: A Thousand Miles One Step at a Time

Photo by olia danilevic

My first experience with storytelling was when I was about nine years old.

And no, I didn’t mean writing.

I said storytelling

Why did I pick up the pen so early?

It’s pretty simple. My father dabbled in writing now and then, but it seemed like something that “other” people did.

You know, established authors.

I had no idea that “ordinary” people could write!

But the stories would not be denied space in my head. They came whether I wanted them to or not (though they usually had the courtesy to wait until I was doing something utterly boring to invade my poor noggin).

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata

Enter Veronica Starland, my near-constant companion on my paper route.

Veronica (or Ronnie, as her friends called her) was the alter ego living in my head that I wished I could be. She was gorgeous, had long, wavy dark hair, and green eyes (That part may have been inspiration, as my hazel eyes eventually turned green).

Can your imagination influence your physical traits?

Anyway, Ronnie was rich, could do anything she wanted, and had a never-ending supply of candy bars. She was a sweetheart to her friends and spent her time helping them achieve their dreams.

Her adventures were the very beginning of my talent for making a story out of literally anything.

In junior high, I took every typing class available. I got my typing speed up to well over 60 wpm (which was impressive for a kid my age). It definitely helped with my homework, but for some odd reason, the stories stayed in my head. They were not truly given a voice, as I hadn’t yet made the connection between storytelling and writing.

It wasn’t until high school that the proverbial lightbulb switched on and I realized that I could actually write these stories!

Ronnie was a long-dead memory that was a tad embarrassing, as she was entirely self-serving, so she was relegated to the dustbin of childhood memory.

Instead, I created a new series called Adventures in Tulimari Woods.

That one is still a work-in-progress, but it has been edited so heavily, it bears only passing resemblance to the original that I first used as a creative writing submission for my humanities class.

I had limited opportunity to sit down and truly immerse myself in my writing as my family shared a computer. The high school I attended my junior and senior year was new and had large computer labs (which we could use freely). I spent a lot of time on the computer, and with this new access, the stories suddenly turned into books. Long, detailed books. What had just been a hobby turned into real, passionate writing.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

The book I worked on the most is still my baby, my crowning achievement, the literary love of my life. The characters are my friends, and they live within me.

Oh, and it’s no longer one book.

This happens quite often with my work. It is a group of kingdoms, each with their own unique story, that will eventually cross paths in an apocalyptic struggle to save the world from certain doom.

Photo by Andrew Neel

I haven’t tried to publish it yet. Fantasy is a crowded market, at best.

While I have spent over twenty years as a writer, it isn’t until these last five years that I’ve actually made strides in sharing my work with the world.

From paper route fantasies to published author seemed a huge leap. Even now, with two published works under my belt, I still have a touch of imposter syndrome.

I regret all the years I wasted on self-doubt and ignorance.

As I have seen in so many blogs, articles, and forums, the most important first step for any writer is to just sit down and start writing!

You can research publishing, editing, and the top ten grammar mistakes until your brains turn to pasty mush, but until you actually have a story worth sharing, your career as an author will remain nothing but a wistful dream.

Don’t waste the time.

Go for your dream.

It may be a long road to travel, but as the old proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Enjoy the trip!

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