Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Writing Journey Part II



As I said in an earlier post, I’m telling my writing journey in parts. If you missed part I, click here. And now with part II:


Jan 19, 2009. The day I wrote my first sentence. (Strangely, I’ve always remembered that date). We had finished two rounds of chemo treatments with our son, and like I said, reading wasn’t enough anymore. It couldn’t transport me—not with the stress. I needed a challenge. Something that could distract me from real life.

So I thought, “I can write a book. If reading won’t give me what I need, maybe I can create it.”

So I wrote. I dug deep into who I used to be as a child and tried to summon any kind of magic I still possessed and let it spill onto paper. And I thought I was pretty good. Thought. I joined an online critique group (on yahoo, I believe) and found out pretty quick I had A LOT to learn.

But I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I remember one guy telling me I needed to learn how to “Show not tell.” I had no idea what that meant, so I Googled it.  Yes, I Googled “Show not tell!”

And that’s when I met my first writing angel. For some unknown reason, brilliant author, Jason Matthews, decided to take me under his wing. He taught me how to write. Showed me the difference between passive and active voice, how to eliminate unnecessary words, make my writing as tight as possible. But at the same time, I immersed myself into any craft book I could find. I had purpose again, and I wanted to master this craft.

I put myself out there, continued to do the online critiquing, when I heard about an online community called inkpop. The idea of this site was to upload your work, people would then vote or “pick” your project, and if you made it into the top 5 by the end of the month, the prize was a review from a HarperCollins editor.

So on Jan 1, 2010, I submitted the first 10,000 words of my first novel. I didn’t expect what happened next. Within two weeks, my story rocketed past 30,000 projects and landed in the number one spot. The opportunity connected me to people I still consider my closest friends today. 

That was when I knew I could do this. Er… when I had confidence and thought I could do this. Little did I know it was barely the beginning.

A few months later (I’m 28 at this point), I got pregnant with our 4th child. I still had only 10K written with my first novel and it stayed that way for the rest of the year. For some reason (I blame it on preggo craziness), my brain shut down completely for the next 9 months. I couldn’t write. But I could read again. I spent the whole pregnancy devouring books, this time with a different eye. I knew that for whatever reason the creative juices had left, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t still progress.

I continued to study, as well as find the magic again in reading.

It wasn’t two days after I had the baby that inspiration struck hard. I was ready to write again, and this time with a vengeance.

And this is where I’m sad to stop the story, because in the next segment, not only do I finish my first novel, query, and meet my agent for the first time, it’s also the darkest part of my journey.
Red. Head. Out.

Other Parts: Part I.  Part III.  Part IV. 

42 comments:

  1. Thanks, Morgan. This segment of your journey has really inspired me to work harder and dig a little deeper. And I am enjoying the way you are presenting your journey to us, by the way. :)

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  2. I'm loving these installments and appreciate your honesty and transparency in your story. You're right, it's a learning curve, but good for you for your persistence; it's inspiring.

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  3. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of your journey as a writer and a mom. Your story is both brave and inspirational. I love that you threw yourself into writing and worked really hard to improve. Such a good reminder about the determination it requires to be a good writer.

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  4. I love how you've persevered through all this, it's not only inspiring, but motivating as well. (:

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  5. The beginning of this segment wasn't the darkest? Scary...

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  6. Oh goodness, I'm scared to find out what happens next. Love that you're sharing this with everyone. It's very motivating :)

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  7. Oh, you know how to leave us hanging, don't you?

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    1. LOL! Just a little writer's technique I know you're aware of... *wink*

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  8. These are just teasers! I'm eating up your story though!

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  9. This makes me think of the ups and downs of my own journey. Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to your next post.

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  10. Hey,

    I agree with the ladies (Mrs. Koopmans raised no fools), your journey has been incredible and your fortitude to keep following your dresm is an inspiration.

    Seriously.

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  11. Okay, I'm hooked. I need more. Please post segment 3 now! :)

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  12. Wow this is truly an amazing journey. I can relate to wanting to find something that you aren't getting from reading. Can't wait to read more. I am finding some inspiration here myself.

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  13. I'll be waiting to hear the rest too.

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  14. Never heard of inkpop. The website that changed my writing career was 'Ladies Who Critique'. That's where I found my first CP, Theresa. She was my angel for sure.

    Can't wait to hear the rest.

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  15. I think I had the same reaction as Alex. It got darker? Without knowing what's coming, but seeing you where you are today, the saying I've heard all my life rings true. "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger." You seem to be proof of that. Looking forward to the continuation.

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  16. You're very motivational and inspirational, Morg! You're one to look up to! I love hearing your unique writer's journey. Reading your posts are making me think, should I do this too later on - write about my writing journey on my blog?

    Can't wait to read more!

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  17. It's interesting how while reading this I thought back on what projected me into my writing "career," and I have to say, I've had similar mile posts. I like to think of them as God's way of ensuring I didn't (don't) give up.

    I'm ready for part tres!

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  18. You are the master tease, aren't you? First Alex's bloghop, and now this....

    I am loving your story so far, by the way. You are a very good storyteller; it felt like I read this blog post in a second.

    Can't wait till the next part :)

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  19. morgan - you have a great story...can't wait to read the rest *hugs*

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  20. Your story is an inspiration thanks for sharing it with us. Awaiting part 3. *cyber hugs to you*

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  21. It's a strange thing, the words that come out of us when we feel so wordless. While I'm afraid for what comes next, I'm waiting on your words and sending you a prayer all the same.

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  22. Very inspiring Morgan. Glad your love of reading intensified and that through great critiques and other help you got to do so well on inkpop. Congrats on your hubby and all those kids too.

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  23. Love the fact you are sharing your story. Thank you, Morgan.

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  24. Hi Morgan .. love the end of the post Red.Head.Out - hadn't spotted that before ... very interesting to read the different phases you're going through .. part three sounds kind of sad ... but you're here so it must turn out all right eventually ... cheers to one busy lady - Hilary

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  25. While every journey has dark spaces where the path is overgrown and hard to see, every journey has pinnacles where we can see not only the way we've come, but the direction we need to take and the goals along the way. I think it's important to be aware of our journey. It keeps us from getting lost, helps us focus on what we need.

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  26. Oh, I love this! Just love it! You're so talented, Morg, and seriously have such a great writing journey, I'm glad you're sharing it!! :D

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  27. Well you've certainly learned how to write chapter endings that encourage readers to turn the page! Gah! Can't wait for the next segment :)

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  28. I'm really enjoying reading about your journey. Can't wait for part 3! :D

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  29. I have fund that writing is excellent therapy. I started to writing to avoid that harsh thing called reality too. Can't wait till the end of the story is...and the Redhead is in the #1 spot!

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  30. I'm a little nervous for the next part but am loving your journey so far...maybe you could fictionalize it for another novel?

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  31. I am enjoying hearing your story. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to part 3.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  32. I love this. People rag on Twilight, but I love how many realized they love reading because of this book. After I read it, I was your mother in law--giving it to everyone to read and getting way too excited when it made people love reading and they wanted other suggestions from me. It's almost like setting up a couple that ends up getting married. That's a lovely feeling, too.

    I started writing when my son's health problems got overwhelming as well. In their kindness, people tried to give me books about other people who's kids had down syndrome or lots of surgeries or other things that I didn't want to think about and I'd always say: I'm living it, I don't want to read it, too. I poured a lot of it into my second book (one I'm querying) and I think that that book will forever go down as my favorite I've ever written, no matter what happens with it.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Oh my gosh... I totally get the "I'm living it, I don't want to read it" thing... that's exactly it. So very sorry with all the difficulties with your sweet boy. Lots of love. <3

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  33. You inspire me so much! You remind me so much of my sister, who has a child with Cystic Fibrosis. Despite the craziness that is the "hospital life" she is still working her way through nursing school. You guys push me to make the most of my situation, whether it's a broken spine or mono (or both), and to go after the things in life that I want. I thank you for that push.

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  34. I'm playing catch up...

    I loved this post... it evoked a mixture of emotions... tugged at something inside... I could "feel" your ups and downs... but ultimately, it made me realise that I'm not alone on this writing journey. There are others out there who have been through/are still going through the the different phases of this crazy yet unbelievably exhilirating journey...
    Thanks Morgan!

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  35. Wow, Morgan...so much going on for you~
    I look forward to hearing more...
    going back to see what I have missed!

    (((hugs)))

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  36. WOW...

    What an EXCITING journey... REAL TALENT always wins out! You are shining light, Sweets.

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  37. I had to come back and read this because I could never get the first part out of my head. Moving on to the next part! (You sure know how to hook a gal!) I love writing angels! And when I was pregnant I couldn't write a damn word!

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