Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The First Steps of the Journey

I sometimes wonder if we really choose writing or if writing chooses us. It seems to me that almost all the writers I know write because they can’t NOT write, and that includes me. It’s something I’m compelled to do; tell stories. Whenever I tried to give it up and do something easier, the stories would keep growing in my head, crowding everything else out until I had to write or risk severe mental strain. (That’s only partially a joke!)

The truth is that I’ve been writing ever since I was seven years old and penned my first poem--an Ode to my Madame Alexander doll. After that I wrote an Ode to The Chronicles of Narnia--my favorite books at the time. Luckily, I quickly outgrew my Ode Stage and moved on to other genres. Embarrassingly enough, my mother still has all these old masterpieces and charges me an annual fee to keep them hidden from the public eye!

I wrote all through my childhood and during my high school years. I won awards in high school and considered going straight into writing then, but all the well-meaning adults in my life talked me out of it. It was just too hard. Too much competition. Too much rejection. And while all of that it true, it is equally true that in the end, passion and perseverance can pay off, which it did in my case. I took up writing seriously with a goal toward publication in my early 30's, when I had two young boys who were gobbling up books faster than teething biscuits. After a long apprenticeship during which I produced much dreck, I finally managed to create something publishable. Dutton Children's Books bought THE FALCONMASTER. My long journey toward publication had finally ended. Or so I thought.

Little did I realize that I'd only turned a sharp bend in the road and that the quest was never ending.


dee said...

Now you're on my list of "check this blog daily". You know that right?

Good luck with the new book, and all those other people battling to be heard in your head. I'll be right here, along for the journey!!

Sheri said...

Hey Robin! So glad to hear that you have a new book coming out--can hardly wait to read it! If you need anyone else to write a review let me know... Falconmaster is still my favorite book of yours--I really wish you would write another one!
So how in love were YOU with Aslan?! I am embarassed to say this, but my childhood wasn't all fun and sunshine and I would escape into my books whenever I could. The Chronicles were a haven for me for many years, and there were nights that I would lie in my bed with tears runniing down my cheeks, pleading for Aslan to take me away... Sad, I know, but the truth. And I don't think I have EVER told anyone that particular fact before, so consider yourself priviledged! *wink* I have a young girl from my church that I am going to turn onto your books as soon as she finishes the one she has. She LOVES fantasy and whatnot and even though she is only 11 I love to talk with her about books. She gave ME a book to read, of all things! And it's a BIG sucker, too! *grin*

Glad you didn't listen to all of those naysayers and kept on writing. Wish I had done the same thing... Should name my blog Making up for Lost Time--hmm, there's an idea!

Robin L said...

Oh, Sheri! What a moving story about you and Aslan! And yes, Narnia was that important to me, too. (Our childhoods sound very similar!) I read the whole series AT LEAST once a year from age 8 to 12, I think. I had two family members who were artists and I begged them both to paint me pictures; one of Narnia and the other of Aslan. I still have them both, bless their hearts. It was very kind of them to indulge me!

And you know, the one thing I have to say about the naysayers, is that I definitely had a lot more to write about when I was thirty as opposed to a college-bound 19 year old. Or at least I had a better perspective on things. At 19 I could NEVER have withstood the rejections and the hardships of the industry. (Not that I'm all that fond of them now, mind you, but I can handle them.)

Cherry Red said...

I'm so glad yu decided to creat an RL Lafevers Blog, Robin. I love your website and all the wonderful tidbits you have for young writers there. I'm sure they'll love this blog too.

I can't wait for Werewolf Rising--though I'll always think of it as Wolf Moon Rising. :)

I agree with you that "writing chooses us." I always loved writing--at home or in school. Even from the youngest age, I was only interested in writing novels. Sometimes you just know thing.

I'm glad you never gave up. Countless children and adults are glad too.