Friday, June 14, 2013

Biting the Bullet

I've been putting this off for a while. You see, I was once a big proponent of social media, proudly saying that I was on Facebook before everyone and their brother (and I mean my entire family) was on there. I've always prided myself on being somewhat tech savvy - I was writing email when it was sent through the mainframe at my University, in the years just before the World Wide Web meant anything to anyone, before Netscape fought with IE, before Firefox and Open Source, and long, long before citizen journalists wrote blogs or social media was a concept.

Okay, so that dates me. Fine. I don't care. I'm not a spring chicken nor am I an old lady - I am a woman at the end of GenX who sort of loves the idea of both the old and the new. Who knows she was probably born both at exactly the right and wrong time in history. And I am a mother who realized that, when my babies were really small, I was spending way too much time on Facebook and not enough time with them. So I left Facebook and then everyone else joined. Twitter and Tumblr, etc, etc, became the place to be. And I wasn't there. I was okay with that. Really, I was. I did other things and was glad for it.

Now, well over three years after I deactivated my Facebook account, I'm faced with a dilemma. See, one of the things I had been doing in that time was writing. I had always been a writer of sorts and had always lived inside my imagination in one form or another. But about two and a half years ago, a story that had been brewing inside my head for a long, long time decided to pour out of me. And I've been writing regularly ever since. I've realized in that time that the thing I have always wanted to be was a writer. I could give you my long, long, long career story right now, but I'll save that for some other time. For now, I'll say that I'm at a crossroads, where I realize that I have to put myself back out there in social media if I'm ever going to make this writer thing work.

So, here we are. I had to start somewhere and since I both want and need to write every day, at least a little, it seemed like the blog was the place to start. Why today? Well, it's self-serving. You see, today, Man of Steel hits theaters. And while that seems like a non-sequiter, it isn't. Let me explain.

Last fall, I was reading The Hunger Games trilogy and like many a fan, I felt like the last book had a huge gap that needed to be filled. I sat down and I wrote what I thought had happened in between the end and the epilogue. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And before I knew it, I had written something like 280k words. Yes, I said 280,000 and that wasn't in the course of several months, that was in the time it takes the people who participate in NaNoWriMo to write 50k. I'm never planning to publish it. Anywhere. But it got me writing every day, whereas before, I wrote occasionally - sometimes daily, sometimes in big chunks - and it got my brain working like a writer's brain. I've had all these ideas in my head for years and sometimes they make it to paper. Writing that fanfic got me writing like a real author writes. And it was so freeing! It was like I finally found my groove.

So, back to that story I began 2.5 years ago, as a way to focus a little more on me at a time when I was all about the small people - breastfeeding, diapers, etc. I had a lot done on that story. I really did. I felt like that was the place to start my real writing career because it was so far along, was something that had been brewing forever. Turns out, despite it being completely fictional, it's just too personal for me to see objectively yet. Instead, I turned to the story I began when that other story started feeling stale. See, when I have writer's block, I need to write through it and that's what I did.

The next story I wrote had a different title when it began. Its genesis was, originally, several years ago and had numerous false starts (occasionally due to tech problems - aka computer crashes), but the basic premise was always in my head. And by stroke of fortune, the concept was just perfectly timed for relevance in the current culture. By the time the first of the year rolled around, I was nearly done with the story. And then I hit a writer's block. There was a pivotal scene and I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn't bear to write it. So I took a break from it. And a series began, involving the secondary characters in that story. It allowed me to go back and write that scene and I'm happy to say that I finally finished the first draft of my first novel at the end of March. It's in revisions and will, with any luck, be truly ready for publication very soon.

All that time I was writing the story and I knew, in my head, what my hero looked like, who he was. When I write, the story is a movie in my head. Not a screenplay, just my own little movie inside my brain. And if I see someone who looks like my character, well, even better because then they feel even more real. But Rob, the hero in my story, Back to December, just didn't look like anyone I knew out there, famous or not. No one fit the bill.

And then ads for Man of Steel started appearing and I said, "My God! That's Rob!" Tall; brown, wavy hair; piercing blue eyes; sexy, mischievous smile; beautiful body; the kind of man who makes women swoon. Because, you see, Rob's a movie star who loves his job but hates everything that comes with it. He's good at his job, he's the perfect leading man, but he hates everything about actually being a movie star. He just wants to be an actor. But like every person out there who wants the job, he has to live with the fame and what it means.

Now, I can't speak for Henry Cavill, since I don't know him. But it shocked me to find that if I had modeled Rob after him, literally, I might actually have been close to the mark. I didn't. I swear. Rob is completely fictional and popped into my head long before I'd ever heard the name Henry Cavill. But Henry Cavill could be Rob, on screen and in real life. Except, you know, for the being British part, because Rob is a midwesterner through and through. What better time to introduce Rob and his heroine, Emily, than on the biggest day of his doppleganger's career? What better day to force myself to get back out there in the online world? Okay, maybe there is a better day. But I had to force myself sometime soon, and today was as good a day as any other.

So, my next post will be an introduction to Back to December. I have no idea how often I'll post here and no clue what day I'll go back to Facebook or open a Twitter account, but I'm sure I'll announce it here when I do. I like this stuff. I do, really. I sort of love it, actually. But two adorable, brilliant and sweet children needed me more than the internet did. In a few months, they will both be in school - one in first grade, the other in Pre-K - and mommy's role will change. It's time mommy's life adjusted to accommodate that. And it's time mommy finally started pursuing her lifelong dream.

This blog will surely be a combination of things - it will be a place for my writing, it will be a place to comment on things I think are important and it will be a place for people to catch a glimpse into my life. Like Rob, I've realized that I have to put myself out there if I want the job I love. Just not too much. I'm looking forward to sharing my writing. At least I'm trying not to be terrified about it. Maybe someday I'll have followers and fans - I know a few people who might care - but for now, it's okay if it's just about me.

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