When I first graduated from grad school in 2009, I was unemployed for a few months. Restless and uncertain with nothing better to do, I sat alone in a coffee shop called Crumbs, drinking chai tea and trying not to feel sorry for myself.
[I tend to throw pity parties sometimes. Very elaborate. Imaginary balloons and confetti and a cake with blue frosting that makes you look like you ate a smurf when you smile.]
I leaned back in the chair and closed my eyes. I was tired of staring at a laptop screen showcasing fruitless job searches. Lots of round pegs for this square hole.
I stared out the window.
I inhaled the spicy, cinnamon smell of the chai tea in front of me.
I watched the baristas bustle behind the coffee bar.
And then...then!....a thought bubble floated to the surface of my brain:
What if I started a blog?
I mean, I have always loved writing.
Writing helps me make sense of my emotions.
Writing is the only thing, quite frankly, that I'm semi-okay at doing versus other things, like math and cooking complicated meals and fixing computer viruses. Also, paddleboarding. Also, eating popcorn without making a mess (I’m a very messy popcorn eater).
Writing has always been a part of my life, especially during difficult times.
So why not write now?, I thought. Now, when my hours are emptier and my brain is full of thoughts, floating and searching for an outlet, like music playing without speakers.
That day at the Crumbs coffee shop, I started a blog.
I called it "Tales of a Twenty-Something" (link: http://twenty-to-life.blogspot.com/). I spent 2011-2014 chronicling my awkward moments, bittersweet goodbyes and introspective reflections that often characterizes the 20something years:
Missing my dog.
Using AOL Instant Messenger.
Going Black Friday shopping with my dad and new boyfriend (a boyfriend who became my husband this year).
My grandpa unexpectedly passing away.
I'm forever grateful for the Tales of a Twenty-Something blog. Because that blog inspired me to start writing…. Not for academia or for a newspaper assignment or because someone needed me to. Writing because I had things to say. I had feelings to share.
Writing for me.
I didn't even know I wanted to write for me; I had written for others (teachers, editors, assignments) for so long. But when I started writing for me, an amazing thing happened. I became inspired to write for other sites, which inspired more blog posts. Shared stories. Connections with other people in other cities and other states.
And now, on the cusp of a new year, I once again sit in another coffee shop, drinking chai tea, staring out the window. Starting again.
Today, I say goodbye to my "Tales of a Twenty-Something" blog and that girl and those lessons I learned during a crucial time in my life, and I introduce you to this new website.
The website is hooked to a dream of mine, a dream I’ve had since high school that I’ve never really paid that much attention to until I started the Tales of a Twenty-Something blog. So, in the spirit of the new blog and the new year and my new goals, I’ll share with you:
I want to publish a novel. I’ve wanted to publish a novel for a very long time.
Part of this site is to give me a space to write and create and keep everything in one place. But it’s also a way for me to chronicle my journey of chasing my dream of getting published.
I have no clue what I am doing. I’ve never studied creative writing. Other than the stories I told my kindergarten teacher about teddy bears drinking coffee with my mom and the Wicked Witch of the West (“The Wizard of Oz” scarred me for awhile), I’ve never written a novel or even attempted to write a novel.
I take my cues from authors I admire and writing/publishing books like Stephen King’s ON WRITING and Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD. I read articles and examples online. I read lots of Young Adult books because that’s what I love and that’s the area of writing I gravitate towards. I re-read my own writing, constantly questioning word choice and structure and if this is a legit thing I am doing.
Is this a legit thing I’m doing? I don’t know. What makes something legit, anyway? All I know is I care and I want to try.
I have a finished manuscript. My first. I’ve worked on this story for two years, a contemporary young adult fiction story. That’s all I’ll say for now because young adult author Sarah Dessen is my favorite author and inspiration. She says nothing about her work until it’s published, so I will follow suit like a true newbie, copying the pros.
I’m excited for 2016. I’m excited to start a new chapter and chronicle new adventures and experiences on this site. I mean, I’m anxious too, because we have 365 days ahead of us. Blank pages and fresh starts and uncertainties.
And it’s all good.
Happy New Year.