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During my teenage years, I kept a journal. It was brutally honest, filled with my deepest secrets. Angst-filled entries about my low status on the high school totem pole. Rants about how much I hated gym (especially volleyball!). Friendship troubles. Obsessive ramblings about the boys I had crushes on.
After a recent conversation with my teenage daughter, I felt the urge to go back and re-read some of the entries. I was filled with inspiration when I read the entry below, written by my 15-year-old self. At the time, I had finished writing my first “real” novel (I, Mary – a Biblical retelling/romance) and started my second (Daughter of the Shooting Star – a science-fiction romance). Note that this is a direct quote from my diary, including the annoying ALL CAPS part:
“… And now I know that I can really be a writer and that “I, Mary” wasn’t just a fluke. If I could get both books published before I graduate, it would be EXCELLENT! But I’ll just settle for “I, Mary” being published before I graduate high school. I pray that it gets published because it really is very good. I also pray that I get typing first semester so that I can type it up and send it off to a publisher. But I don’t worry too much about that. My main note is that I MUSTN’T GET DISCOURAGED!! If I do, I’m not a real, true writer! And I won’t be, either, until I get a book published.”
The year this journal entry was written . . . 1980.
That’s how long I’ve wanted to be a writer. That’s how long I’ve thought about it and dreamed about it, and wanted to make it happen.
To be honest, there were long stretches of my life where I didn’t write, because I was too busy with other things: college, grad school, traveling, working on archaeological digs, museum work, and being a mom. But the dream never left. Somewhere inside me, that 15-year-old kid kept reminding me that I really wanted to be a writer.
That’s one of the reasons I started writing again in 2008, and why I keep writing now. But unlike my teenage self, I do think I’m a real writer, even if I’m not published (yet).
Do you ever read over old journal entries from the past? Are you inspired by anything you’ve read?
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