Friday, July 7, 2017

Are there moments, experiences, or hobbies, that helped prepare you for the writer’s life?


Friday again, my friends! Shannon here. I'm trusting you all had a fun and safe holiday week. I've been very busy over here, writing and traveling and taking care of sick kids. I thought summer was supposed to be for vacationing!!! 

I finally got my new website up and running. My husband has always been my IT guy, but he's been super busy this summer so I had to figure it all out myself. Take a look and tell me what you think. While you're there, hop over to the NEWS tab and sign up for my newsletter. I'll be sending out my first one in ages next week and there will be a fun, bookish giveaway included.

And now back to our summer panels! I hope you're enjoying them and learning a little something along the way. 



When you look back on your childhood, are there moments, experiences, or hobbies, that helped prepare you for the writer’s life?




Yes, certainly. I was always a creative soul. I performed in theater productions and puppet competitions (don’t knock it, I have gold medals). I’ve always enjoyed adventuring and looking at the world through the lens of a storyteller. All of those things greatly contributed to my writing. There can be a fair amount of public speaking that comes with this gig as well and I think I was well prepared for that because I spent time in both cheer and student government during my high school career. I think if you're a good collector, every experience can be tucked away for later use. Your past adventures are fantastic tools.



You have gold medals from puppet competitions, Shan? You are a constant surprise to me.

What pops to mind for me is actually a negative memory that I’ve shared on the blog before. In high school, a friend of mine told me she didn’t think I was talented enough to be a published writer. We were at an unhealthy place in our friendship, so this statement was intended to inflict pain, and it certainly did. I vowed that I would never show anyone my writing ever again, and that my friend would feel really stupid when I was a huge success. (How I thought I would become a huge success without showing people my writing is a bit of a head scratcher, but I wasn’t thinking my clearest.)

Two great things came out of this. The first is that by shutting out others from seeing my writing, I was free from what they might think. I wrote without fear for several years, and from those fertile years, my author voice bloomed.

The second is that I learned a hard but good lesson on criticism. There’s no escaping it in life-- whether you’re an artist or an accountant--and I feel like going through that pain and the years it took to heal have been good for me as an artist and a person.

I should also mention that after several years of not speaking to each other, my friend reached out and apologized (and I apologized for wrongs I’d committed as well) and we enjoy getting together when she’s in town.


My entire childhood prepared me to be a writer. I grew up in Alaska with no electricity or running water. I read a lot. And I played outdoors a lot. Most of all, I daydreamed all the time. Somewhat similar to Anne of Green Gables, I lived in a fantasy world. This has developed into somewhat of a problem for living in the real world as a grown up. I can’t daydream my way out of problems. But it is a wonderful talent for a novelist to possess.


How about you guys? Are there moments, experiences, or hobbies that you are involved in now that you can see preparing you for the writer's life?


23 comments:

  1. I think my whole life has been preparation. Not necessarily just preparing me for writing, but for my calling of speaking and spreading the Word of God.

    I could talk before it was normal for a child to talk because I would hear how professionally my mom talked on the phone. I actually wouldn't take naps when I was younger unless she was talking on the phone, so she would have to pretend sometimes. This led to me having a larger vocabulary.

    My mom home-schooled me and still home-schools my siblings. I think that also gave me the opportunity to write more. I could expand my vocabulary that was as well and just write because I had more free time than someone who went to class all day.

    Everything in our lives lead us to our purpose that God has given us. Sometimes, it takes longer to find it and we can panic not knowing where we are going. Something I'm constantly having to remind myself is God planned this. He has overcome all struggles and all we have to do is put our trust in Him.

    God bless y'all. :)

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    1. *I could expand my vocabulary that way. Not was. When your mind types faster than your fingers, this happens. :)

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    2. I was homeschooled too! And yes, it seemed like there was much more time to write. But now I wish my vocab was broader. Why'd I take so many naps?! :)

      -Ann

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    3. Cool, another homeschooler. I've met so many through this blog. Its nice because people I've met in real life are either really judge-y, or they don't care.

      There is much more time to write that way, but lately my muse has been on vacation. I have to drag it back so I can get to work on my July goals.
      :)

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    4. I love that you guys are looking for ways to use your experiences as you truck along. <3

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  2. I've been creating characters as long as I can remember. All my cabbage patch kids and stuffed animals have unique traits and voices. The C.P.K.s have especially strong personalities that have never died, and I don't see them ever leaving their place in the household. There would be a mutiny first.

    Characters, once birthed, became entities I could no longer control, so I would dream up "events" to see how they would react. Nothing much has changed.

    -Ann


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    1. Something I would do before I started writing was when I would be going to sleep at night, I would tell myself stories in my head. I would come up with characters and adventures. If I fell asleep, I would continue the story the next night or move on to a different one. The stories were cheesy, but I got the idea of plot and characters. I think some of the personality traits of my old characters are put in my characters now.

      My stuffed animals had personalities, too. When I was younger, I had a blacks stuffed cat I named Felix because of the cartoon. Of course, I would make it a girl because I was little and boys had cooties, lol. :)

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    2. Fun! My kids do the same thing. Their imaginations are always running. Keep that!!!

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  3. I read a lot. I was home-schooled (which helped on its own), but in a place where there weren't a lot of home-schoolers. So we didn't have a co-op or anything, and when there were kids my age around, I almost never wanted to play with them. My best friends were in books first. To give you an idea of how much time I spent reading: I could read the Silmarillion, the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings (complete with appendices) inside a week, and without skimming either. I don't know where I'd be now, as a writer or as a person, without all the reading I've been doing since I was five.

    Of course, that also means I have no shortage of good writing to compare mine to, and point out how far I still have to go.

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    1. I was never in a real co-op, either. We joined one, but at the time I was young and the co-op was gearing toward older kids who were about to go off to college and trade schools. So we left that one. But I don't feel bad about that. I've had plenty of time to read, write, and do things that I want to do. I loved homeschool and it will be something I miss doing. I'm still trying to get the hang of being a high school graduate, which is insane to me. It can be really hard, but I know God has plans. :)

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    2. Reading is a fantastic experience to pull into writing! Don't underestimate the power of working with others though. You won't click with everyone, but those kind of social experiences will help you in so many ways.

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  4. Mrs. Dittemore, I tried getting to your website to check it out, but it wasn't working. Thought I would let you know. God bless you. :)

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, Ivie. I just checked it and everything looks good. I wonder what browser you were using?

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    2. I'm using google chrome. I'll try again on google and if it still doesn't work, I'll use Microsoft edge. :)

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    3. Okay, it worked now. I love it. It looks really nice. Wonderful job. :D
      God bless you! <3

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  5. Firstly, Mrs. Dittemore, your website looks amazing! :)
    I am home-schooled as well, and all the funny, interesting, or annoying sibling interactions (hahaha) contribute to my writing. Also, when I was younger, I used to read a book, and then write a blatantly plagarized (that is definitely not how you spell it but I'm too lazy to look it up haha :) version of my own. I have dozens of story beginnings about farms and horses and the orphan train (don't ask :). Books have definitely helped me grow as a writer.

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And oh my goodness! I am fascinated with the orphan train. So many story ideas there.

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  6. I was home-schooled and spent a lot of my time playing outside with my big brother. We used to create all sorts of stories which we would act out for day after day. Eventually he got to the point where he stopped doing that, and I wasn't ready to grow-up and give up stories; so I started writing. I don't think I would've thought of writing without that bittersweet time.

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    1. That's so sweet. Home-school is the best thing in my opinion. I think its sweet that you and your brother would do that. And though it was probably hard when he grew out of that, it inspired you to do something you love now.
      God bless you! :)

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  7. Mrs. Dittemore, I checked out your website and it looks amazing! It actually reminded me that I've been wanting to read your books, so I finally got around to getting Angel Eyes. I loved it!!
    I used to act out stories with my siblings or stuffed animals when I was younger. Just when I started to grow out of that, my fascination with empty notebooks led me to start writing a story for the first time...and, well, after that I just kept going. It's been an exciting adventure so far! :)
    ~J

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    1. Oh! J! You just made my day! Thank you so much for supporting me and my books. I'm so glad you enjoyed Angel Eyes. I love empty notebooks too! SO MUCH POTENTIAL!

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  8. Such a nice blog! Wow!

    I gave your blog a follow, and I would truly appreciate it if you could check out my book reviews blog located at https://elsbookreviews.blogspot.ca/ and possibly give it a follow as well! Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!

    - El

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