As the KSCD Community is growing, I don't want this to be all about me and I want to share this beautiful passion we have. I have asked some of my favourite writer friends from social media who I have met on my writing journey to tell you a little about themselves and their own writing journeys, as well as give you their top tips. First up, is the lovely Heather Kidder of the blog Everything On Paper Is Perfect.
I loved to write as a kid. In grade-school I would beg for extra-credit, just so I could write. When I wasn't writing, I was reading. I have stacks of journals, notepads, and even a few floppy discs that are full of short stories, poems, and random scraps of inspirational word porn. In what feels like another life, I submitted poems and articles to every content mill site that would pay me. Ah, the early days of the internet. For a few years I didn't write a single word and then nearly overnight, the flood gates opened and so far, appear to be stuck that way.
In 2012, I was at my favorite place: Barnes and Noble. Hands loaded with books, I spotted a scrapbook-style journal for sale and its shiny cover brought me to a stop. I remember lifting the book, almost reverently, and getting sucked into it immediately. The more time I spent looking at the book, the more I thought: I could have done this.
I actually have my own version of that journal at home and I still use it. It's a hardcover 8 X 11 that I've filled with bits of inspiration: quotes, pictures, and strings of words, some mine, some not. Its pages are sparkled and scrawled, typed, and taped. It's full of random thought-provoking snippets that help move me towards one mood or another. I remember getting mad at myself in the bookstore as I held the other person's book of inspiration.
I returned my stack of books, bought a new journal to write in, and went home to write. I wrote about how mad I was at myself, I wrote a list of the things I had written before, I started a story, and outlined ideas I had let roam around but never put to paper. I wrote and wrote.
The next day I met Curtis, a marketer trying to establish a business relationship with the company that I work for during the day. He very excitedly told me about the book he was writing and about his journey to get it published. It had nothing to do with our meeting that day and everything to do with how I was feeling. I remember sitting across from him in awe. I had not shared my story with him and yet there he was, a complete stranger, telling me about a journey that I wanted to experience firsthand. I went home that night and wrote some more. The journal I bought the night before holds the first full draft of Sarah Blue.
Curtis also pointed me in the direction of a local writer's conference. I attended the conference in 2014 and it was my first time being around so many people that shared my passion. I took a few classes and dared to buy a manuscript review. My meeting, with a very successful published author, left me breathless. He was beyond encouraging and praised my writing. I couldn't believe it. I danced my way home. That meeting was an even bigger high than jumping off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. Since then, my manuscript has tripled in size and I hope to get it into the hands of a publisher before the year is over.
I've had several more of those moments since then: randomly bumping into strangers who want to write and who want to connect with others and it motivates me to keep putting pen to paper. I decided to start a blog, as a commitment to myself to continue writing, to document my journey, to bring others into my little word, and to be able to just write freely. I love watching my little community grow, interacting with other writers, and being surrounded by others following their dreams. Being surrounded by passionate people is very important in staying motivated.
When it comes to writing you have to be passionate about it and you have to be able to feel things fully. Emotion is hard to feign, so you must feel what you are writing. Want to write a sad romance novel? Think about your last breakup - really think about it - until you feel those pains pricking their way through you again. Allow yourself to be raw, allow yourself to shed some tears, then wipe yourself up, and write it all down. People connect to your story when they can recognize something that's happened to them: whether it's eating a tub of ice cream at 3:00 a.m., shredding love poems, or driving by an ex-lover's house - it's important to be authentic in your writing and that means writing about what's real and in a way that people will understand. Buy a journal, fill it with your own scraps of inspiration, and commit to writing every single day. The only person that can write your story, is you.
By Heather Kidder
Instagram: EverythingonPaperIsPerfect (#paperperfect)