Let me tell you a story, writer.
When I was in the 7thgrade, I got a new journal that I used for writing what I called “prose poetry.” I spent hours in my room at night putting words together in combinations that, to me, sounded smart or interesting or beautiful. My identity as a writer was already taking shape, and my dream to one day bring a book into the world was already clear in my mind.
I’ll never forget how later that year, not long after I turned 13, the school’s creative writing magazine published one of my prose poems, and I saw my name in print for the first time. I went from “writer” to “author,” and I could feel the difference. I suddenly realized that the scribbles in my journal no longer belonged just to me. Now I was in a conversation with my classmates about what I’d written. What was MINE was now OURS. The expanded feeling I had with that first short publication fueled my love of writing and publishing and kept me going on my writing journey for decades.
Years after my 7thgrade publication, when I saw my first book on a shelf in the bookstore, I had a similar realization to the one in my adolescence. What I’d spent thousands of hours on ALONE at the keyboard for nearly two years was no longer only mine. I’d created something and given it to the universe, hoping the right readers would find it and they would love MY book the way I’d loved HUNDREDS of books myself.
In my case, mostly because dear Oprah (well, probably her staffers) picked Second Wind to tout in the O Magazine one month, my readers did find me. Many of them contacted me to tell me they loved my book. And the feeling I had as emails rolled in? Well, I felt like that 13-year-old girl was watching her dream come true.
I had a very similar experience yet AGAIN in January when I watched the authors I coach read from their publications in our True Stories anthology. I’m not kidding when I say that I have every bit as much excitement supporting other WRITERS as they become AUTHORS as I have when I see my own material find its way into print.
If this is your year to turn yourself into an AUTHOR, I (all of us at The Narrative Project, actually) would be privileged to be your guide and your cheerleader.
We are accepting applications now for our 9-Month Get-Your-Book-Done program, which starts March 12. Fill out an application and we will reach out to you to answer your questions and tell you more about the program.
Some of our writers come to us with several thousand words written, while others come with an idea and a dream to write a book. We take writers from wherever they are and turn them into AUTHORS.
Don’t be shy. Take a chance on yourself! Let your 13-year-old self see the dream come true. What do you have to lose?
Cami, Your Chief Story Warrior