I had the pleasure of attending a Libba Bray event on the weekend. She’s one of those authors I find so inspiring and darn right funny. I’m a big fan of her books and of her as a person. She is very approachable and honest about her journey as a writer. At the event to promote her new book, The Diviners, she did something I didn’t expect. She read a story she wrote in fifth grade. Something her mother dredged up from the past. Libba prefaced the reading by saying no one would ever guess by the writing level in the story that the girl who wrote it would ever grow up to be a famous author.
I found this pronouncement hard to believe. How could this amazing writer not show her talent at a young age? But as she read through her tale of a castle filled with a crazy cast of characters of ghosts, vampires and girls that have read way too much Nancy Drew, I realized she was right. The story to put it bluntly, sucked. It truly didn't show the genius of the writer the girl went on to be. And somehow that made me feel so much better.
I didn’t start writing until I was in college. I dabbled in angst-ridden poems and short little tomes in high school but I never had the time or the inclination to sit down and write a book. I was too busy perusing my dream of becoming a fine artist. It wasn’t until I was out of college and working full time before I got the nerve to sit down and write my first novel. It was dreck. But after listening to experienced writers like Libba Bray and their tales of learning the craft of writing, I felt I might actually be able to pursue all the stories that filled my head. I would one day be able to turn them into something someone would want to read.
Watching Libba bare her early writing soul made me forget about the struggles I’m having with my YA fantasy second draft. A draft that sometimes makes me feel like I’m back in fifth grade. Because in the end writing is a skill and it can be mastered. Of course you need the creative spark of the story idea to turn that skill into something someone would want to read.
So thank you Libba and the other experience writers I admire. You give me the strength and hope that with hard work and passion I to will have a successful writing career.