Writing: It's a journey

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I used to not tell people that I want to be an author. I saw it equivalent to when someone tells you he or she wants to be an actor. Most people awkwardly smile and say something nice about it but, much of the time, it's not something that many can succeed in and people think you're kind of crazy for even trying. Kind of like being a writer.

The funny thing is, once I started telling people about my dream, they started connecting me with people who could help me. I've met authors and corresponded with agents that I wouldn't have had I kept my mouth shut. But I didn't talk about it before because I was afraid of not being good enough.

Having other people read your work is scary. Really scary. When I first became a reporter, I was frightened that every time an editor would read my copy, he or she would think I was a talentless fraud. After getting used to the job, I became less fearful. Eventually I started to think that my writing wasn't that bad; sometimes it was even pretty good!

Sharing creative writing, in my opinion, is more tricky. Not everyone has the same tastes in fiction or non fiction. Maybe, no matter how good the writing or story is, some people won't like your stuff because it's jut not their thing. Not to mention many people think they are writers, too, even though they haven't really ever worked on anything seriously.

I feel like every time I show someone new my work, I have something to prove.

Some co-workers and I started a writers group more than a year ago. Our first meeting was at my apartment and we each read several pages of our work to each other. I brought my manuscript for "The Desirables." I knew an author who wanted to see my work and, if he liked it, he told me he'd show it to his agent. I was too scared to let him see it without letting others critique it first, so I started the writers group. I knew many of my friends at work had similar ambitions, so it was a good idea for all of us.

Even though I was nervous that my friends would laugh at me and think my young adult story was silly, I read it to them and I'm so glad I did. We've been meeting once a month since then. The agent ended up requesting my entire manuscript after reading the first ten pages the author friend of mine sent. Although she had several nice things to say about my work, she didn't take me on as a client. But that's okay, because since then I met another successful author who has become my mentor and friend. I've learned so much from her and can't wait to learn more.  I also have a different agent reviewing my book. Last summer, I went to a writers conference in L.A. put on by a group called Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and I plan to attend again this August.

Now that I've taken some workshops and have been critiqued and helped by people in the business, I feel more confident in my abilities (but I still have a long way to go!). It's also nice to get affirmation and have other people believe in me. I'm no longer ashamed to tell people I want to be an author. I wish I could have felt that way on my own, before getting positive feedback, but it's a process. If any of you are writers, where are you in your journey?