I want to start by saying how much I'm enjoying this round of posts about your writing journeys. With a book out on submission, I am currently experiencing high anxiety and it is so comforting reading about everyone's struggles and successes and realizing this is just the way it is.
I grew up with a writer-father so becoming a writer was less of a risk or rebellion and more of a given. I have always been surrounded by family support in my desire to do this for a living and I am eternally grateful. I know many writers who's parents or spouse or children just simply don't *get* the career choice or need. That aspect is one less emotional battle to fight, because God knows there are many others.
Writing, for me, has been a sturdy hand that has lead me to dark corners, dangerous places, unbelievable adventures and compelling people. Writing lead me to graduate school and subsequently to retreats in California, Vermont and Illinois. I've been fortunate to participate in conferences both as attendee and speaker, the highlight being the Carmel Authors and Ideas Festival where I dined with Frank McCourt and Elizabeth Edwards, among others. My writing journey has been static at times, and on a trajectory at others. I have celebrated publishing victories both large and small and have wallowed in rejection, a writer's constant companion. Most recently, my writing has lead me to explore a lifelong fear (not sure why) of kidnapping, and with this, a visit to Utah to observe the Elizabeth Smart trial, an experience I will never forget. It has helped me answer many questions ("what if there was such a thing as lazy sperm?") and more importantly has given me the confidence to ask questions in the first place. Being a writer has also lead to being a teacher, discovering fresh and brilliant voices in students who have never expressed themselves in that way before.
Being a writer is being on a journey that is neither kind nor gentle - it brings up issues, triggers feelings, stirs up self-doubt at an alarming rate. But despite everything I've experienced, and read about in your experiences, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Melissa Clark will give away one signed copy of her novel, "Swimming Upstream, Slowly" to someone who leaves a comment on this blog or follows me on my regular blog, connections clark, by midnight tonight. Oh, and happy almost new year!