Today I have the sincere pleasure of hosting Marcie Colleen as the Tuesday 12 x 12 author. Marcie keeps a wonderful blog – The Write Stuff. I especially love her Wednesday weigh-in series because they always get me thinking about writing from a different angle, especially after reading the comments from all the others. I also love how Marcie applies lessons from running to writing, as I too am both. So, please welcome Marcie!
In January 2011 I ran my first race – a 5 miler through Central Park in NYC – as part of my training to run a half marathon a few months later. I remember clearly standing in my corral waiting for the starting gun feeling like I didn’t quite fit in. Everyone else around me looked like the “real deal”, wearing cool gear. I looked like I was wearing a costume. “Hi, I’m Marcie. I am a dressed as a runner for Halloween wearing various mismatched pieces of workout clothes I found buried in my closet.” I was sure that someone would stop me and say, “Oh, I’m sorry, you do not belong here. Please exit the corral.” But no one said that, so I ran it and crossed the finish line with a big (albeit sweaty and exhausted) smile!
This scenario has proved a wonderful analogy for my writing career. It has also helped me boil down my adventure into two distinct concepts which I would like to share with you.
1) Find ways to treat yourself like a writer. (build confidence and craft)
2) Find situations where others will treat you like a writer. (build connections and community)
When I first started out, I packed my days with activities that fulfilled the first concept. Yet, I didn’t quite understand why, despite all of the time spent in front of my laptop researching, reading, and actually writing, something was missing. It was not merely enough that I was “wearing my writer costume”…I needed to get into the corral with all the others in order to fully “run the race”.
When I trained for the NYC Half Marathon it might have been my own two feet that got me across the finish line, but I didn’t do it alone. I had coaches, mentors, running partners, my amazing boyfriend, family and friends that were a part of each step I took. Through wisdom, encouragement, laughter and cheers they all fueled and fed me. Just like running that race, life is about community for me. And what my writing “career” was lacking was community.
The real moment came for me when I signed up to participate in PiBoIdMo in November of 2011 which then led to participation in 12 x12 in ’12. I originally decided to participate in both of these challenges in order to give myself goals to work toward, but what I found was greater than that! I suddenly gained entry into a family of likeminded picture book writers who provided support, encouragement, and wisdom. This community shares its ups and downs, its struggles and triumphs. I found a writer to swap manuscripts with through email who doesn’t even live in the same country as me. I gained 24 hour access to writers to bounce ideas off of. My blog quickly gained Followers and became a true place of discussion! It was clear that this circle of writers from various reaches of the earth were a community in every sense of the word.
I value my friends and colleagues of both PiBoIdMo and 12 x 12 in ’12. I am proud to be counted among you. You treat me as a writer and therefore I am able to treat myself like a writer with more confidence. On the day that I am finally published, it will be my name on that book, but I won’t forget that you have been my coaches, my mentors, my “running partners” who along with my amazing boyfriend, family and friends make every step on this crazy journey a triumph and a joy.
Marcie Colleen is a pre-published Picture Book writer living in Brooklyn, NY. You can read about her journey on her blog, The Write Routine (http://writeroutine.blogspot.com). Her new Friday Treats segment deals with the two concepts mentioned above and provides ways to bring them into your own writing life. She loves the challenge of balancing her fulltime job as a nanny with her writing career and various other activities she dabbles in. She will be running the NYC ING Marathon for the first time on November 4, 2012.Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Friendship, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, Marcie Colleen, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Running, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writing