Guest post! Everyone, meet Anna. Anna, meet everyone. You can read Anna's regular thoughts on reading, writing, and knitting on her blog, Diary of an Eccentric.
I’ve been a writer since I learned to string a few words together to form a sentence. I remember clearly that the first poem I wrote was about cats, and I proudly gave it to my fifth grade teacher on a drawing I made as a gift to her. (I still remember the poem, though it’s not written down anywhere. I won’t repeat it here, but trust me, it’s embarrassing!) A couple of decades later, I’m still writing.
I’ve always been shy when it comes to sharing my poetry, and I’m very secretive when it comes to the novel I’ve been writing off and on for the past few years. Even my husband is left out of the loop, and a close friend who edits for me here and there is the only one who knows the story. I feel as though talking about my characters (who are very real to me) and the plot will make the magic disappear (or make it sound like a lost cause and prevent me from finishing). I haven’t published any of my poems, partly because I think most of them need a lot of work and partly because they’re like my children and I’m not ready to pack them up and send them off into the real world. But in the past year or so, I’ve come to realize that fear has a lot to do with my hesitation.
It might be fear of rejection. Obviously, no one wants to receive rejection slips, but that’s part of a writer’s life—there’s no getting around it. (I read somewhere that even James Patterson and J.K. Rowling had trouble finding someone to take a chance on their first books, and look where they are today.) But I think it’s more than that.
Writing, to me, is baring my soul on paper (or the computer screen). It’s a very intimate process. I get inside the minds, bodies, and souls of these people I’ve created and pour their lives out onto the page. Sometimes I feel as though I know them better than I know myself. I don’t know about you, but standing naked before a group of strangers doesn’t sound appealing. But that’s what you do as a writer.
This fear is what prompted me to create a blog. I needed to set aside time for writing—writing about anything, just so I’d be writing. The fear had taken hold of me, and for a long time, I wasn’t writing at all. And to be honest with you and myself, I was miserable. When I’m not writing, my nose is in a book, so I figured blogging about what I read made a lot of sense. You have to write what you know, and I know that when I reach the final page in a book, the thoughts and feelings inside my head are close to overflowing. It doesn’t matter if I spend one day or one month reading the book, I’ve forged a bond with the characters, and I know it’s a good book if I have a hard time letting go. Sometimes my book reviews are a farewell to the “friends” I made while reading or a way to express the hurt or frustration I feel when things don’t turn out the way I want. Regardless, I’m writing and that was my goal all along.
Blogging is a baby step for me. There’s still some fear involved. What if the author takes what I’ve said the wrong way? What if I’ve offended someone? What if no one cares what I have to say? But then I tell myself it doesn’t matter. If I can look back and be happy with what I’ve written, that’s what matters. And if I get the creative juices flowing by jotting down my feelings about what I’ve read and allow them to jump into the notebook where my precious characters reside, that’s even better.
Diary of an Eccentric is the home of my book reviews, discussions about writing and motherhood, and my knitting projects (when I actually have time for another hobby). I hope you will pop in to express your opinions about the books I’ve read, offer some reading recommendations, or simply say hello. I’d love to hear what you have to say!