I have wanted to be a writer ever since I wrote my own "Star Trek Next Generation" episode in the second grade. Once in college, however, I decided that my passion for writing should be assigned to the "hobby" category. My practical side was afraid that aspiring to be a professional writer was like hoping to become a professional athlete or a famous musician — overzealous and improbable. Instead, I did what many college students do: I graduated with a liberal arts degree and headed to law school.
I have a certain fondness for the law. I still have visions of myself as an advocate for justice. My idealism has yet to be beaten out of me. But, even after passing the bar exam and entering society as a legitimate, employed attorney, I still felt something was missing. I was settling. How could I fully embrace life as a lawyer without first pursuing my true love, writing?
At the end of August 2011, I left my job as a circuit court law clerk because, well, I finally decided to write a book. I signed up for a weekly writing class in the fall, and officially started writing my book on September 17, 2011.
It was disorienting going from working full-time and studying for the bar exam, to having zero responsibility other than doing laundry and keeping the dog alive. The first few months I stayed pretty busy. I cleaned out the garage, organized our closets, fixed the broken odds and ends that had accumulated around the house, caught up on neglected friendships, and worked diligently on my book every single day. Such self-motivation can only last so long, however, and soon I found myself waking up a little later, eating a little worse, and accepting very small amounts of activity as sufficient progress for the day.
The once polite question “what are you doing today?” suddenly seemed like a personal attack. Showering marked the highlight of my day, and instilled me with a great sense of pride. There were days where I was genuinely excited to try a new bath product. I found myself telling my husband, a medical resident, “Oh, today you saved lives? Ha! I found a new micro-scrubbing face wash that doesn’t dry out my skin.” It wasn’t long before I started looking for new law jobs just to keep my feelings of worthlessness at bay.
I was recently inspired to get my life back on track while going through a box containing forgotten mementos from my childhood. I found a journal entry I wrote in the ninth grade that reads: "I will never be entirely satisfied with my life unless I touch someone else's life with my writing. I want to have the power to make others see things in a different light, to comfort someone in their time of need, or even to rid someone of their boredom. I don't want to be a writer for wealth or fame, but for the happiness and knowledge I could bring to others. I want to make a difference in the world, and I feel, and hope, that God gave me a talent in writing to accomplish this goal."
This was a much-needed reminder that what I’m working on is more than just a fleeting interest or a wavering passion. It’s a lifelong goal that I am finally in a position to complete.
I am working hard to stay on track. I am learning to cook (I just discovered the magic of the crockpot), studying Spanish every day, and keeping up with household chores. And every day I work on my book. As of today I have written 35,000 words or 154 pages. Next week, I am attending my first writing conference, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Finally, I’m starting this blog. My hope is that it will inspire me to continue progress on my book and give me the chance to reach out to potential readers who might garner some enjoyment from my writing. Ninth-grade Jenna would be proud.