Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How I Found the Write Path: Don't Tell me I can't become an author!

When I began writing--back when all we had were typewriters and the personal computer was just a dream.... I had high hopes. They were the usual ideas of fame and fortune. I thought I'd be published and living my life as I wanted.
Eh, yeah. Didn't happen. But I've had a lot of things happen in between. I did get a publisher (who then quit on me), but I've got books out there (Sabrina Strong Series). So, I've made my own dreams come true--to a point. I'm published!

Today I've joined up with the blog fest called "The Write Path"
The idea is simple. Think back to when you first began to write, and think about how starry-eyed you were, and then consider where you are now, what would you tell yourself back then, if you could travel backward in time. There's more information at PK Hrezo's blog, and you can sign up for it, like I did and join the blog hop. You'll want to think about what sort of advice you might give yourself when you began to write.

So, here is my letter to my 17 1/2 year old self, when I was in my senior year in high school, dreaming of getting my writing published some day.

"Don't Tell me I "can't" Write"
by Lorelei Bell

In my senior year in high school I took a "creative writing" class. I loved it so much, I asked the teacher, Mrs. Penson, if I could take it the next semester, and she said that was fine. I wrote a lot of poetry, and began a continuous romantic story in a notebook(which no one saw but me). One day I told Mrs. Penson, who taught the class, that I wanted to become an author. I was expecting praise. I was expecting at least some sort of encouragement. Something positive. This is what I got from her:

"You'd better find another occupation, Lorelei, because your spelling is terrible and your grammar is horrible." (or words to that effect)

Okay, yeah. That stung! Truth does that to a person. I know I must have sulked a bit. Maybe a lot a bit. But truth be told, it was something I had to work on. My spelling gradually got better and grammar (wiggling hand)--I'm still lousy at grammar, but it's better than then, for sure.

What I remember from this experience was I did NOT give up. I didn't listen to her--as far as going into some other occupation--but I did try and improve on those areas. No one told me I was dyslexic. I guess they didn't really know about such things back then, they just put us all into the "dummy" classes, and gave up on us. I was 40 when I realized I was dyslexic. Go figure.

I spent the next 3-4 decades after high school working on improving my writing skills. It was a rough row to hoe, believe me. I really wish some people had just tried to show me where I could improve back then. If I could go back in time, I'd make sure I'd tell myself some of the things to look for. And, yeah. My spelling improved significantly from back then to now. I was a really terrible speller. Left behind by teachers--I'm sorry, but they didn't want to work on a wasted cause--I had to learn it all myself. Here and there I had small things published, and that encouraged me to continue. I had to ignore rejections of my book manuscripts--another thing that was not fun to get.

My advice is to never NEVER GIVE UP on yourself! Work on improving your writing. Something I used to do was I went back and read over what I wrote a year ago--or even 6 months prior, and compare to how I write at the time of reviewing. The idea is to see if the writing has improved. And it works to help you see that you are improving. I can say it's because of people who helped me along, but also from the books by other authors that I read--and study how they word something. I had to work at writing.

A last thought: the one reason I never gave up writing is because it gives me the biggest joy. Maybe it's how I've figured out the plot, or have enriched the story with unique characters. Oh, and when plotting comes together. And especially when I've gotten the book finished and out there.

Okay, your turn!


  1. Wonderful post, Lorelei! Great advice!

  2. I was in 'dummy' class for a while, too. I spell things the way I hear the words if I haven't memorized it. And words move around, too. I found out I was dyslexic when I was 17.

    Glad you kept writing. I love the Sabrina Strong series.

  3. ~Thanks, William!
    ~I hear ya, Shelly. And thank you!


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