Follow the secret lives of Moonlighters Carrie Hinkel-Gill and Margay Leah Justice.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beginnings

The story begins in a small New England town where a little girl with a big imagination learns how to put words on paper. From the first moment the girl picks up a pencil, she beholds its magical powers and her eyes light up with wonder. With just a few strokes of her hand, she is able to transfer the words swirling around in her head onto a piece of paper. A story! She can write a story. So she does. Many years later, she is still beholding the wonder of the words swirling around in her head making their way onto paper, only now it is through the magic of computers, not pencils. And the “paper” is sometimes virtual or neatly gathered into a nice cardboard binder with a pretty picture on the front and not the blue-lined medium of her youth. She is a writer.

So began my humble journey. From my imagination to my reality, it all began with a love of words – and the desperate desire to get them out of my head and onto paper. Long before I realized that there was a word for what I was doing – writing – I put pencil to paper and let my imagination have free reign. Whether it was in pictures or words, I felt compelled to put it on paper. Everywhere I went, I carried a notebook and pen. Every place I visited, I hoarded brochures that inspired my imagination. My favorite place to hang out was the local travel agency whose employees indulged my habit of collecting pamphlets advertising trips to faraway places. I was always planning, researching, writing and rewriting. For me.

In the beginning, I wrote for my own pleasure. Even my friends and family had to fight to get a peek at what I was doing. It was a private thing and I didn’t want anyone sharing in it. Perhaps I was afraid that they would get an intimate glimpse into who I really was as a person and wouldn’t like what they saw. Perhaps I was afraid that they would laugh at me because I really didn’t have the talent to write. Or maybe I was just stingy and wanted to keep it all to myself. Whatever the case, I didn’t start out thinking that I was going to publish some day. I just wrote because I was driven by some unknown need to do so. It wasn’t until junior high school, at the encouragement of my English teacher, that I began to realize I had some talent for this. If an English teacher thought I had promise, then surely I must – right?

Still, I kept my writing mostly to myself. My friends and family still had to fight for a peek at what I was working on, even when I was half-heartedly sending out submissions to publishers. I think, in the beginning, I sent them out expecting to be turned down to justify my suspicions that I wasn’t good enough to be published. With that knowledge in hand, I could go back to writing for my own pleasure and stop the nagging of others who thought I should publish what I wrote. For me, then, writing was still a very intimate thing that I wasn’t ready to share with the world for fear of exposing myself to it – and coming up short. After all that time, I was still worried that I wasn’t good enough.

In the beginning, I didn’t have the confidence in myself – as a person or a writer – to pursue the dream in earnest. It did smolder in the back of my mind, a little ember lit by my first feeble attempts at getting published, but it didn’t begin to burn up my misgivings until I’d learned to believe in myself. I realize now that I had lived in something of a cocoon back then and didn’t have enough life experiences behind me to instill the confidence I would need to pursue this career. And one thing I have learned on this journey is that you need a lot of confidence – in yourself as well as what you write – in order to achieve any level of success. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

So it begins with a dream. It is sustained with belief. And it is achieved with perseverance. Whether it is an epic tome or just a flash, it all begins with the same things: A blank page, a big imagination, and you.


Margay Leah Justice is the author of Nora's Soul, available on Amazon.com

13 Moonbeams (comments):

Jerrica said...

Great post, Margay! What a wonderful and inspirational journey to publication! I sincerely believe that if you can dream it, you can do it, which is why I dare to dream on a daily basis :)

A. F. Stewart said...

Great post!
I think all writers are reticent to share their work at first, and perseverance is essential to success.
I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Sheila Deeth said...

What a lovely post. You almost make me believe I could persevere... one day... maybe. But I'm really glad you did.

Margay said...

Jerrica,
Thank you for stopping by and your lovely comments. Yes, I think every writer is just a dreamer who learned how to put those dreams on paper. Which is kind of ironic as several of my books, including Nora's Soul, literally came to me in my dreams.
Margay

Margay said...

A. F., I agree. And I think with each little success we see, our confidence blossoms until we, too, believe we can do this. But perseverance is key. Thank you for stopping by. Margay

Margay said...

Thank you, Sheila. I do believe you can persevere, too, and if you need a little cheering section, then you've come to the right place because we Moonlighters are here to encourage the dreams of others as well as our own. I hope you stop by often to see what else we cook up.
Margay

Carrie said...

On a funny note, for years I subscribed to Writer's Digest and I guess sometime this past year I let it run out. Now that I'm not getting the magazine, I'm being productive with my writing!

Margay said...

You know, I love Writer's Digest magazine and I still buy it sometimes, but I have to agree that I'm more productive when I'm not reading it all the time. Although it's filled with wonderful articles and advice, I think I was spending too much time studying its contents and not enough actually writing.
Carrie

Margay said...

Silly me, I meant to sign off with my name and I wrote yours instead, Carrie! What can I say? It's been a long week.
Margay

Storyheart said...

Interesting and enjoyable, however I had to reload 3 times to get the correct background for the white font and this be able to read what had been written. BUT it was well worth while

Barry

Margay said...

Barry, thank you for persisting! I appreciate it.
Margay

Sierra Wolfe said...

I'm like you Margay, I have trouble sharing my writing. Even with my book coming out this fall, I'm reluctant to let my family read it. I think it's easier for me to let strangers read it than family, because they don't know me. LOL. If strangers don't like me, it'll be easier to take. :D

OMG, Carrie. Your story about the magazines is so familiar. I didn't subscribe, but I was always running to the book store to purchase them. I never do that anymore, so I guess that's pretty much the same thing. I'm way more productive now than I ever was when I was buying them. Maybe it's because I'm actually writing instead of reading about writing.

Margay said...

I know what you mean, Sierra, especially if the book contains some, shall we say, steamy scenes. I always cringe when I think of my family reading them (even though I don't get graphic, just very suggestive), but not one has mentioned that yet. In fact, my mother read the book and loved it, my aunt passed it around to everyone in her family, and two of my sisters have read it and all of them loved it. So I guess I should learn to share better in the future, shouldn't I?

Margay