Monday, February 13, 2012

Once Upon a Time... Origins

DL Hammons (link), captain Alex (link), non-creepy expat Katie (link), and Mr. Q3E (link) are hosting this "Origins" blogfest.

We're to share how we started writing, blogging, or both.

For blogging, my story's pretty short: Janet Reid (link) said writers weren't ready to query unless they had an "online presence"--and Facebook doesn't count.

So I started a blog and coerced all my friends and family to follow. About six months later, I'd met many of you guys, and here we are. And it was the best decision ever--it led to my awesome betas/critters, it led to my agent, it led me to you...

As for writing, it's a bit longer. I wrote my first "book" when I was seven or eight. It was a sci-fi graphic-novel called Fury Woman. It was about a lady scientist who'd spilled acid on her face and turned evil.

almost-Fury Woman
I don't remember what she did when she was evil, but I do remember she looked just like Natasha Fatale from the Bullwinkle & Rocky show. Only with bigger eyebrows and a mole--those features were distorted by the acid.

Later I wrote another book that was illustrated by my bestie Dara (Rush) Bartee called Dignity & Detriment.

It had nothing to do with Pride & Prejudice, but there were princesses. I think there were also unicorns...

So it was always sort of me telling stories. Mostly to myself. Sometimes to my mom or Dara.

One day when I was a freshman in high school, I read something my brother had written for English class (he was a senior), and it literally blew me away. I couldn't believe he'd written it and I was so... burned.

How could he write that well? He didn't even want to write! He wanted to be a lawyer. (He now works in human resources and to my knowledge never writes creatively.)

But I followed his example and started taking my school writing assignments more seriously. I joined the newspaper staff, did some short fiction writing for school anthologies--and was always embarrassed by my lack of edginess compared to my peers.

My mom said I'd be a novelist then, but I quickly told her no way.

Real writers weren't dorks like me. And besides, I didn't have that... thing... that It... real writers have. I'd never write a book.

Still, I majored in English at LSU (geaux, Tigers!). I wrote some poetry for a while that made that same brother of mine cry when he read it. But when I showed it to a poetry professor at LSU, he said it was pretty derivative and not so great.

JRM said that guy was a tool, but the professor spoke words I believed.

So I stopped writing poetry.

I got my master's in mass communications and edited other people's writing for a while. I learned to write news articles and did that for a while, too. I pretty much did everything in communications, from public relations writing to television production to news writing to magazine writing and editing...

Then in 2002-03, I had two lovely little girls.

Then in Fall 2009, I sat down and started writing my first book. In December of that year, I told JRM what I was doing.

That's my origin story! Hope you liked it, reader- and writer-friends. If you'd like to read some of our other bloggy friends's stories, go here (link).

Have a great week! <3




55 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Glad you didn't give up. Sounds like your brother and mom are pretty smart.

SA Larsenッ said...

You, my dear, are NOT a dork. :) So glad you started your blog and that you write!

Laura Pauling said...

That's why I started blogging too b/c that's what you had to do. Best decision ever! And it's amazing how children can inspire us to write!

Melissa Bradley said...

I had a professor who told me that I had better stick to editng and critiquing books because I clearly lacked the imagination to write them. What nerve! I'm glad you stuck to your guns and are writing. You do have that It factor. :)

Old Kitty said...

You listen to your family!! Ignore that bad professor - no teacher should be so discouraging or just plain awful as that bad professor (spit!). :-)

I'm glad you believe in your writerly self now lovely LTM!! Look how far you've come!! Yay! Take care
x

Theresa Milstein said...

An evil acid-faced woman!

Looks like you had similar starts and stops. Glad you found your way.

April Plummer said...

Children are truly inspirations, aren't they? I think we've all had our starts and stops. I'm glad you kept it up! Where would we be without your creativity? :) And I'm not being sarcastic!

Pat Hatt said...

Glad you didn't let the bumps stop you and I lol'ed at Facebook doesn't count, so many would disagree, as they have to tell all when they go to the loo after all..lol

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That's great your brother indirectly gave you the spark you needed to push onto become a writer. :D

Kelly Polark said...

I love that your brother was an influence in your becoming a writer!

I loved writing stories as a preteen but stopped until about 6 years ago. I wish I'd saved my stories from long ago!

Chris Fries said...

Wonderful story, Leigh!

It's amazing how many creative and talented writers, artists, and musicians start out as dorky kids. I think it allows them to develop better insight into the human condition and helps ignite that inner desire to create.

So, you were wrong -- Real writes WERE dorks like us!

Heck, I'm a grandpa, and I'm STILL dorky. ;^)

Great post!

Jessica Bell said...

You wrote poetry????? Where's the flipping professor so I can slap him for making you not believe in yourself! I want to read your poetry!!!!

Tracy Jo said...

I want to read Fury Woman! It sounds awesome. I love how writing seems to burn in people's souls...like we HAVE to do it or I think we would fade away. So glad you are going for it...you have a gift! :-) Hugs. Oh P.S...I agree with JRM...that professor was a tool.

Matthew MacNish said...

I pretty much knew a lot of this already, but it's cool to learn more.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

An evil acid-faced woman, huh? I dated an evil, acid-hearted woman once. Think there is a story there? :-)

It is lovely that you had a creative family to support and challenge you to be a writer! Roland

Colene Murphy said...

Hahaha! Evil acid faced woman? That sounds AWESOME! ^_^ Great Origins story!

Clarissa Draper said...

It seems to me like you were meant to be a writer, even if you didn't think you were good enough. Thanks for sharing the story.

LTM said...

@Laura--is it? Janet Reid? I think someone called that post of hers, "the post that launched a million blogs." :D

@Melissa--Durn bad professors. I've read several times today about teachers not being encouraging. I like to think they were caught on a bad day... :p Thanks, girl~

@April--They are, although, the only inspiration I've used from my girls so far have been names and looks. :D Thanks~ <3

@Chris--I think you're right. I think being somewhat "outside" helps in the observation department. I know I've learned so much from watching. Rock on, dorky grandpaw~ <3 ;p

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Love your post--already a follower, but I love that title, "FURY WOMAN." Sweet.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I LOVE the title Dignity and Detriment! You should resurrect that and write a non-princess/unicorn story to go with it.

Nothing against princesses and unicorns. They just can't have that title.

D.G. Hudson said...

Some teachers forget that they're dealing with impressionable minds.

I used to write poetry too, while working in a music library on campus. Didn't stick with it, either.

Jennie Bailey said...

Fury Woman sounds AWESOME. I chuckled at that and immediately wanted to read it! I'm glad you're still writing (a few years later *wink, wink*), that you started this blog and that we happened upon each other!

Adrienne said...

Stopping by from the blogfest. I can really empathize with your self-doubt as a writer, but I'm glad to see you didn't give up. What a great origin story!

DL Hammons said...

Ahhhhh...an ORIGIN rooted in a sibling rivalry, how juicy! This is exactly why I come up with these goofy blogfest...so I can read stories like these about my blogging-buddies! And blogging....BEST.DECISION.EVAH!!

Thank you for taking part! And GEAUX TIGERS!! :)

nutschell said...

loved your origins story. I hope Fury Woman makes it as a character one of these days. She sounds vicious. :)Great to meet you through this blogfest!

your newest follower,
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Lynda R Young said...

It's amazing how words have such an influence on our lives. It's a shame you listened to that professor, but brilliant you are writing again.

DEZMOND said...

well, how could you skip Unicorns :)

Lydia Kang said...

Aha. "Real" writers, huh? I though "real" writers weren't doctors either...

I'm glad you started writing, after all that. The world is a better place with you writing in it!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

One thing this fest has taught me is writers either are of two camps -- always knew and No Way! but here I am.

Really has been fun!

M Pax said...

Fury Woman sounds fabulous. It's fun to read the stories you and others came up with as children. My poetry professor didn't inspire me either.

LTM said...

@Heather D--Yeah, I wish I still had Fury Woman. So many questions might be answered... :D

@DG--poetry's tough. Bad poetry's humiliating--LOL! :D But you're right. Teachers should always be aware of the power of their words. <3

Janet Johnson said...

It's been fun hearing everyone's story. And isn't it amazing that the one negative voice always sticks? But it's so hard to ignore it. I'm glad you are writing and that you started blogging, because I wouldn't know you otherwise!

Carolyn Abiad said...

OK, so I completely missed this blogfest because I had my head under a ream of paper - but how cool is this?! Have to go see what everybody else wrote. <3

J.L. Campbell said...

Sounds like you took a long and scenic route back to writing. I guess there's no getting back to something until the time is right.

Botanist said...

I think I started blogging for much the same reason :)

And I've read several "origins" stories with awesome teachers who encouraged people and got them started, this is the first one who squashed someone. Boo on him!

Ella said...

I love the support of your family~
It is in your blood! So glad you shared~ We can't always believe teachers, so sad, but true. I have before, too...
<3 555

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful story! And Fury Woman - wow! Very dark indeed.

Bish Denham said...

What a journey. I like how most us have stopped, started, stopped...yet no matter how much other "stuff" gets in the way, we keep at it.

Emily R. King said...

As a new follower, this was a wonderful way to get to know you.
When I was younger I thought writers were people who wrote in their spare time. I didn't think anyone actually did it for a living. Ha!
Nice meeting you!

Amy Jarecki said...

Hi Leigh - I tagged you in a blog hop! If you'd like to participate, head on over to my blog :-)

Amy

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh .. well you stuck to your story through and through and you practised - the time had come for the flower to blossom .. congratulations - and here's to a successful authorship future .. cheers Hilary

Hart Johnson said...

Awwww... little creative you... so cute. Also VERY funny--your illusion that writers aren't dorks. *snort* I can't believe how productive you've been though, for only being at it 2 1/2 years.

walk2write said...

Maybe you should rework those original stories. I love stories about evil, acid-splashed, malcontents, especially if they're scientists. You do have a way with words, and I know your decision to follow your dreams will take you far. I can't wait until you get to tell that professor face-to-face what a goof he was for discouraging you!

Lisa Gail Green said...

I love your story! And I'm rooting for you! Silly, silly English professors.

Jay Noel said...

Came here via the blogfest (phew, so many to get through). What a fantastic story. Similar to mine. I've started and stopped so many times. Life get in the way.

Glad you kept at it.Screw those English professors. I had one tell me I sucked at poetry. And, um, he was right.

He said I needed to stick to writing novels. Okay, so maybe some professors know what the hell they're talking about.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great writing origins story. Thanks for sharing it.

Monica B.W. said...

Awww... your first book when you were 7 or 8?? That's so lovely! I wish my kids would write something now, lol.
Thanks for sharing your story--I think this blogfest is awesome! :D

LTM said...

@Nut--I don't know what to do about Fury Woman. I don't recall there being much of a story there. Just a lot of her doing random, angry stuff... LOL! :D

@Bot--yeah, but in his defense, I probably wasn't much of a poet. I actually had really awesome teachers for the most part~ :o) <3

@Amy--Yay! Looks like fun. I'll have mine up on Monday~ :o) <3

@LGG--Thanks! I know. But at the same time, I think he might've been right... ;p <3

@Mon--Yeah, but it apparently had no plot. Just one memorable character... :D My girls are actually writing "books," so that's interesting. Yours might start as you continue. :o) <3

Pk Hrezo said...

Yep I was never edgy enough either when I'd write in college. My stories were to happy and good... but that was my life. It was the writers who went thru tribulations whose stories got somewhere. That was an indicator I needed to experience life a bit more.
Sounds like you've always been a writer too. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent story! I hope you're only listening to the positives out there now. :)

Kittie Howard said...

Pick up the 'roses are red; violets are blue' pen cause an LSU professor told Joanne Woodward (that's the Oscar winner) she couldn't act! Gracious!

Geaux Tigers!

LisaAnn said...

What a wonderful origins story! This is such a great idea... We all already know each other, but this helps us get to KNOW each other!

Jeremy Bates said...

wow things r changing fast! a few years ago a lot of agents didn't even accept online queries, and now JR is saying u need an online presence... crazy

LTM said...

@PK--ah, but looking back, I wonder how much *stuff* Jane Austen went through... :D I think maybe we might have it built up in our minds, although it didn't change my feelings back then. And here we are~ :o) <3

@Jeremy--she actually said that back in 2010-! So, yeah! Changing fast. But I like it. Less paper... I almost said "moves quicker," but nope. It doesn't. ;p

Ellie Garratt said...

I've really enjoyed reading all the origin tales and yours was no exception. Sorry for taking so long to get around to it!