I’m a magazine reader and one thing I love that many mags have been doing lately is devoting a page to author bios. I particularly like Marie Claire’s section because they pull out a fabulous photo of the author and fill in their paragraph with interesting info about them, like their choice for a last meal on earth, style description and what they do to stay in shape.
Secretly (or not so much anymore!), I long to be on one of those author pages. I want to be a Marie Claire contributor. I want my name followed by such sentences as, “Ericka Andersen has also written for Shape, Glamour and Vanity Fair. Her new book will be out in the Spring of 2013.”
I’m not a girl who said she wanted to write a book on a whim. I wrote two books (that no one read, on wire-rimmed notebook paper) before the age of 15. I once won third place in a local writing contest, wrote for my school paper and majored in Journalism and English Ed. I’m a passionate reader and have at times written some pretty awesome paragraphs, maybe a few good articles too.
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My first real job was as doing journalism for a small political newspaper and I naturally transition from journaling to blogging after that. I start keeping a diary at the age of 8 and since filled up over 10 books of hand written pages. In my late teens and early 20s, I wrote on everywhere, getting my depression and angst out through poems and long-winded rants that I probably never want to read again. The worst days produced some of my best writing. But it was all depressing and disconnected. Like a brilliant paragraph lost in space with no book or piece to which it belonged.
When I was 22, I bought the “Writer’s Market” guide that gives you all the details and guidelines for magazines and publications that accept submissions. After submitting a few articles to women’s magazines and getting rejected, I lost my spunk. I must not be that good, I figured, and hardly anyone makes it as a writer. I stopped submitting things and stopped trying to write because it was so disheartening. I’d spend hours on a piece only to find it was going nowhere. Was it really worth my time?
That first job was unlike my personal writing. It was news writing — straightforward and slimmed down. I enjoyed, though I was okay at it but it didn’t fulfill me in the same way. My second job allowed more creativity but I received a lot of criticism that really stole my confidence. After that job ended, writing became a lost dream. I got a job that didn’t entail much writing and I was secretly glad to lift the load of pressure off of myself.
I’m back on a job now that allows me to write. The same demons of low self-confidence that trampled me before are back. A part of me knows and believes there is a good writer inside of me. But I continue to feel discouraged and struggle with any kind of criticism. Constant thoughts of negativity interrupt any momentum I get going. I recently began writing a biography of my boyfriend’s life, due to a fascinating story he has to tell. I interviewed him on tape for hours and begin putting the story together. I came up with about 1/5th of a book and can’t get myself to continue on. Is it really possible I could write a real book, that would be published?! He’s got quite the story but if I can’t put the words down the right way, who will read it?
I’ve been feeling “off” lately and this is part of it. I can run a million marathons but if I don’t expand my goals, I will remain stagnant. I’ve conquered the marathon, I love running. I am fulfilled there. But after two years of leaning on that, I know it’s time I stepped it up in other areas. Like writing. I must stop being afraid to try.