Friday, July 24, 2015

Why I write ...


Happy Friday Readers!

I hope your week has been amazing.  Mine had highs and lows, but to focus on the good I enjoyed 2 movies this week (Magic Mike XXL and Trainwreck) and I totally got in some research for reviving Down for the Count!!

In addition to all the new posts over at the Amy O'Neill Online Facebook page, I'm putting forth more effort to make my presence here known.  With that in mind, each Friday I'll be writing a blog post about anything and everything on my mind...I'm a random rambler (in case you didn't get that from any of my other posts) so the topics could be anything from self-publishing or my favorite books/movies/music or even whatever spews out of my brain in that moment....enjoy the ride!

So this week I'm talking ... why I write ... if you Google the phrase "why I write" there are hundreds of images on why people write.  We all have different reasons, some of us have the same reasons, all we know is that writing is something we just have to do.

For me, writing started when I was in my preteens. I vaguely remember having to write a story in 4th or 5th grade where we got a blank book with a white cover, we had to write a story and design the cover artwork.  I guess had I known then what I know now I would have kept that first book.  All I can recall now is I think it had to do with a unicorn...which is weird because I don't remember being a unicorn fan...but I digress.

As time went on, writing became an escape from things going on with my family life.  I know I've mentioned those things in other posts so I won't rehash them here.  Just suffice to say writing helped me through a lot of dark times over the course of my 37 years so far.  

When I was about 14 years old, I went on my first date.  His name was Eric, he lived across the street from my cousin (who also had a huge crush on him), and his mom drove us to see 'My Cousin Vinny'.  I don't remember how long we talked but it was a short lived romance since we lived in separate towns and I think he ended up moving.  It didn't help that when he found the courage to tell me he loved me all I could say was 'uhhh, ok, have a good night'.  In my defense he said it during that awkward moment when you tell someone goodbye on the phone and then wait for them to hang up....it wasn't my finest moment.

Weeks or months later, I heard this song on the radio - "What might have been" by Little Texas - and while it played I thought about every memory of my time interacting with Eric.  I cried at having missed the boat, I was sad that he never kissed me, I laughed at the funny things that happened.  I wanted to cherish those times as long as I could, so I got out a pencil and paper and wrote it all down.  


As the thoughts came out, I wrote more and more around them.  By time I was finished, I'd incorporated our story into an actual story where the girl hears a song on the radio and flashes back to a different time, but when the song is over she is still in her room with nothing but memories.  I kept that story hidden for several more years, until I was a junior in high school and found the courage to show it to my teacher.  I didn't even know if it was any good, but she entered it into a contest and that was enough to show me someone believed in my gift, even though it took nearly 20 more years before I believed it myself.

After that time life - senior year, college, marriage, babies, divorce - kind of all got in the way of writing.  A few times here and there I would start to write, but would junk it after the first chapter.  It wasn't until after I married my second ex-husband that I began to really write.  

As an avid reader, I belonged to all kinds of book discount clubs so my shelves overflowed.  I'd just cleared out everything and donated it to my local library.  As I was laying in bed I wanted to read but realized I didn't have any good books!  So I opened my nightstand hoping I'd forgotten one, but all I found was an old notebook.  In the notebook was yet another starter chapter.  I read it and realized 'hey, this is just as good as anything published I've read!' ... total sidebar - I have yet to finish that book, still have it written in the notebook but it is on my list of books to write...it will totally get it's day in the spotlight.

Anyway, a few days or weeks later, while at my day job I had all my work done and so I just started typing.  At the time I was thinking of the beauty I'd seen while on my honeymoon with #2... we'd gone to San Diego and I think a part of me got left behind there!  So I started to write about a woman who went through a divorce and decided to start over fresh and move from Michigan to San Diego.  It was an alternate me if I didn't have my son Jacob...if I hadn't had responsibilities that kept me tied so close to my roots, what I would have wished I'd had the courage to do.

Finding Home took 3 years to get published...though the first draft was done in less than three week, it was years of re-writing, editing, and taking time off to go through divorce #2.  But I didn't want to just put another book on the shelf and forget it.  I wanted the world to see my writing.  It wasn't until after Finding Home came out that I read it with fresh eyes I could see that I was showing the world some of my inner demons, fears, doubts.

That is when I knew I really needed to write.  I know I'm not the only woman with those feelings/things inside me and I surely want others like me to know they are not alone.  I'm not planning on changing the world, but if I can get one reader to see she is so worth following her dreams and living life on her terms - well that's good enough for me.  I'm still working on that myself - following my dreams.  Life has a way of getting in your face and making you take a step back, but when you know deep down where your feet need to go, you can't help but follow and forge ahead through anything.

So that is why I write.  Because I am forging ahead on my own path, I am following my dream, hopefully inspiring and encouraging others to not take life laying down. Believe in yourself, have confidence and be fierce!

There is nothing sexier than a confident woman...except a half naked man ....sorry...my. brain. overheat. magic mike.  candy. mmmmmmm  (seriously, go see that movie if for nothing else but the last ten minutes...and take monopoly money, lots of monopoly money!)!!!




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