Jump In

Whether you are currently crafting your book, are in one of the stages of making your story known, or are too afraid to dip your feet into the publishing waters, here is a short story then some guidelines to help you take that next step.

"I wanna be a rock star!" responded the boy with coal black hair. He raised his fist in the air and rocked his head up and down like a buoy in turbulent waves.

"What are you going to do with your life," the teacher questioned the next student in the fourth row.

Jennifer's heart raced like hummingbird wings. She knew she'd have to give a response. How could I share my dream? I want to let my fingers fly across the keyboard creating a tapestry of metaphors, descriptions, and engaging scenes.

Then Nicole, the girl in the front of Jennifer's row with strawberry blonde loose curls, shared her aspirations. Jennifer disliked her because Nicole always looked down at her when Jennifer talked.

I wish I could write myself out of this class. She thought about the last time that dreaded question was asked. It was by Aunt May, who had a mole under her left eye that reminded Jennifer of inmates with a tear tattoo. Jennifer had blurted out, "Shirpa," since she'd recently finished watching a series on television about them braving Mount Everest.

The voice of the next student answering the teacher's question brought her back to the present. Could I dare respond truthfully to my teacher? She knew that meant risking hearing the snickers of not only her classmates, but also that internal voice more wicked than Snow White's stepmother.

Suddenly, she was in her teacher's line of sight. All eyes were focused on Jennifer. She sucked in a deep breath and answered.

When I was in junior and high school, becoming a writer was one of my dreams. By the time I started college I steered clear of any literature or writing classes. My fears of failure and the world laughing at my attempts at creativity kept me in the shadows for too long. Could I make a living off my words? Would I sell even one book? Would the reviews be so scathing I'd regret it?

My fears of letting others read my writing were overshadowed when I was in my mid twenties. My introverted personality terribly mismatched the receptionist position I held. To get out of it I decided I’d attend graduate school to get my master's degree in creative writing. I prepared by taking small steps. The beginning one was sharing my stories with trusted gal-pals. Then I stifled numerous panic attacks during my first writing class. The fear was as strong as swimming in shark-infested waters. As I worked on my craft I also worked on my confidence. A big boost came when my school published my short story in their yearly book of students' writing.

While climbing increasingly larger boulders I did encounter criticism. I listened closely to what was constructive. Other times I felt like my entire self-worth was torn to shreds by pure hate. One professor shared with the class for twenty minutes about how much she loathed what I wrote. After a month of crying I shook off her unconstructive remarks and moved past it.

As I put myself out there where I could experience praise or criticism, my confidence grew at the same pace as my writing skills. My short stories turned into books. My average work turned into something I was proud to show off. I broke through the chains that bound me from my potential.

Eventually I was ready to try my hand in the publishing world and became a ghostwriter at Tate Publishing. I worked with a pilot on his true story about how he and his crew saved over 150 lives during a dramatic plane crash. I also helped tell the account of one woman’s journey through the traumatic world of multiple personality disorders. I’ve written about numerous events that cause laughter and tears. However, none of my dreams would have come true if I hadn’t taken that first small step and shared my writing with others.

Now if I'm ever asked what I do, I flash a toothy smile, and declare, "I'm a writer."

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Jessica wrote:
It is tough to put yourself out there, but you're right! You just got to pick yourself and keep trudging along! :)

Tue, January 22, 2013 @ 8:07 PM

2. Sarah wrote:
So proud of you for having the confidence to declare your profession! Good job.

Fri, February 1, 2013 @ 9:11 PM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.


 Six months before Cola turned eighteen in Dancing on the Straight Edge, she met the Drug Virgins. Read how it all began in this free short story prequel.

& more http://jlgillham.com/favefan1




JLG Photos