Okay, so I wasn't sure I was going to follow up my last post, but then I stopped by B.J. Anderson's blog and saw a post called Organic Chemistry Made Me Do It. B.J. essentially asks what caused you to go from thinking about writing to actually picking up a pen and writing.
I wanted be a writer when I was a kid. I read Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and E.L. Konigsburg and I wanted to write books like theirs. But then I grew up and kind of forgot about it. I went into Deaf Education and when I got burnt out from teaching I went to work for an Internet company that developed kids' content. It was at this time that I went to Cozumel with the author of The Ramen King and I.
Now Andy Raskin is an impressive guy. He is quite brilliant (huge turn on), he's multi-lingual (even bigger turn on) and he is a skilled trombone player (yes, even bigger turn on). I was extremely taken with him. The problem was... I was too taken with him. I couldn't be myself around him at all.
He told me that one day he decided that he wanted to be a writer and he gave himself two years in which to get an article published in a national magazine. He started with small publications and within two years, he had indeed met his goal.
So, what did I do? I went home and decided I would get published too. (Not that I'm a copycat, but I had always had an interest in writing) I would write a picture book. I just knew that was my genre. I felt I had to prove something. I don't know if I had to prove it to him or to myself. But it was sort of like a dare. I was very focused on the end result. I didn't set out to write for the love of writing or the enjoyment of the process. I wanted a book on a bookstore shelf. I gave myself two years to get a contract. (Okay, so maybe I am a copycat)
I did meet my goal and I was pretty darn pleased with myself. Now I write for the love of language. I write because there is nothing more satisfying that finding the ideal word for rhyming picture book- the word that makes the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly. The joy for me now is the process.
I probably would have gotten to this point anyway, but he certainly got me here faster.