When I was a little girl, about four or so, I gathered up my favorite book from my grandma’s house along with paper and a crayon from the play room, and got to work. The story was about a goose who saved money to buy the gander she loved from a farmer that wanted to eat him for Christmas dinner. Don’t ask me why it was my favorite, but it was. (Edit: I found it!!! It’s called Petunia’s Christmas, and it was written in the 1960s.)
My dad noticed me a few minutes into my project and asked what I was doing.
“I’m writing my book.” I showed him the picture book, and the page I was diligently copying out of it.
“That’s plagiarism,” he said. I still remember the sound of his laughter. “It’s stealing if you just copy somebody else’s book. You have to write it on your own.”
the goose book Petunia’s Christmas away, determined that the next book I wrote would not be plagiarism.
That was thirty years ago. Thirty years of scribbles, poetry, short stories, essays, fanfiction, writing classes, workshops, a journalism degree, and not much else.
It hasn’t all been failure, though–I have a portfolio of published articles from my college days, a poem that was published in an anthology when I was in junior high, and an article about my pet rabbit that I wrote for a school newsletter when I was ten. I received exposure bucks for most of it, but I got a bag of hay for the rabbit article. Score!
Anyway. Life dragged on. I couldn’t find a steady job with my degree after college, and ended up going to work in an office. I never quite shelved my writing aspirations, but with full time work, aging grandparents, a house and a spouse and pets that needed care, and other hobbies, there wasn’t much time or energy left to put toward my old dream.
Then a few months ago, some friends decided to pick up writing. They sent a few short pieces for me to look over, and I remembered my own work. I dug through my hard drive and looked at the stories I had started and never finished, or started, finished, and put aside without editing, and decided that it’s time.
For me, 2020 is going to be the year of the novel. Follow along if you want to keep up with my writing journey, or if you just want some inspiration for your own.
Updated July 11, 2020.