My Writerly Timeline

January 24, 2011 § 9 Comments

In response to this post over on ‘What Not To Do as a Writer’, I present my writerly timeline. AKA, how the hell did I get into this endless round of self-flagellation and spiralling despair anyway?

Age 7: Received cute unicorn sticker from headteacher for a poem I wrote about poverty. I recall this because I kept it for a long time afterwards. Sad.

Age 11: Received an assignment from English teacher to write a story based on a Greek myth. I chose Theseus and the Minotaur. Got carried away and presented my teacher with about fifteen pages, written both sides.

Age 12: Won essay cup at nightmare prep school because I was way behind in class, but the one thing I did with more enthusiasm and ability than anything (and anyone) else was writing stories and essays.

Age 14-15: Came to love English exams because they gave me one hour to write a short story based on one of three or four provided prompts. I still do this just for fun. (No… I really do).

Age 16-17: Through boredom, isolation and general misery I turned to fantasy world-building big time. I still have all those hand-drawn maps I created back then. In fact I’m still planning to finish that plot I came up with someday.

Age 18: Encouraged by writerly parent to think of writing as something I actually could do. Subsequently began long apprenticeship writing short fiction. Should I hate you or worship you for that, Dad? Still undecided.

Age 22: Took a creative writing course with the Open University, received distinction. Encouraged by this to submit a story to a fiction magazine for the first time. Got it published. Looking back, this was probably the real beginning of the end for me.

Age 26: Taking a more advanced creative writing course with the OU. Still submitting stories. Drowning under rejections. Currently approximately 21,476 words in on what will be my first completed novel.

The story so far. I’ll update this timeline again in a few years, shall I, and see whether I’ve ended up in writerly heaven or writerly hell – or, as is most likely, some weird amalgamation of the two.

Interesting note: did I ever talk much about any of this outside of my own family? Not really. I can think of various friends and acquaintances who are reading these blog posts now and saying… Charlotte’s a writer? I never knew. Why did I do that?


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§ 9 Responses to My Writerly Timeline

  • Perhaps it might help to realize that – first of all – you write for yourself πŸ™‚ And that all of us here love what you are doing. *hugs* don’t despair Charlotte.

  • Catherine Wallace Hope says:

    Poor Charlotte. It’s obvious that with the early onset of your condition, you’ll just have to accept it. There’s nothing to be done about the symptoms either. Creativity, world-building, attention and care for everything around you. You’re just going to have to embrace the h/h amalgamation and get on with your novel. If you’ve already got 20,000 words, that means you could maybe finish this draft by the end of the year. After that it’s all just polishing. Something fun to add to your timeline.

    • Charlotte says:

      No hope for any of us, really, is there? At least there’s a good support group across WordPress while we struggle with our shared afflictions. My rough goal is to finish the draft within about six months more, as the pace is going well at present. I’ll look forward to adding that to my timeline around July! I think it will be a great feeling. Thank you for the comment!

  • the aforementioned 'Dad' says:

    …go with hate – it’s easier – and let’s face it, none if us are at all religious, so worship is DEFINITELY out!

    Keep at it – in 30 years you could be like me if you work really hard…

    • Charlotte says:

      How depressingly true, hatred is much easier. At least, it certainly is for me. I can’t hate you, though – I’ve tried. Honest. But it didn’t work. It’s that damned good humour that foils my master plan (and maybe the bunny ears, too).

  • amkuska says:

    There’s a lovely article in this months Writer’s Digest about rejection. This lady was doing a fundraiser for her school, selling lollipops. She called up a local lollipop factory hoping to get a discount by buying in bulk, and found out it’d be too costly. The owner of the factory kindly said, “I’ll save the rejects for you.”

    Turns out lollipops are rejected for all sorts of reasons, none of which actually matter when you consider it’s a lollipop.

    The idea was to point out that getting a rejection doesn’t mean you’re a poor writer. It just means you sent a lollipop with four colored swirls in it to an editor who only wanted 3 swirls. >_>

    You’ll do fine. Just keep sending them out. ^^

    • Charlotte says:

      That’s an intriguing and very effective analogy. It can be hard not to view rejections as a full, complete rejection of the very core of one’s imaginative being, after all. I will keep the Tale of the Lollipops in mind… as long as I keep producing lollipops, all may yet be well. Thank you for sharing!

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