I recently picked up The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkein. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book. But with two of the three Hobbit movies out, I figured it was time to read it again. The Hobbit is such a delight–twist of phrases, quirky banter, action, and of course all the wonderful characters: goofy/silly mixed in with the serious.
“He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it.” -from Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark
These sentences struck me, and got me thinking about the turning points in my writing career–Turning points that I didn’t know would be turning points when they occurred. As I look back, there have been several already.
Turning Points (that I know about now)
#1: Going to my first writers conference. This started me on my path of “serious writing.” My path has been filled with tears of frustration and joy. I’ve seen growth in every area of my life. It’s taught me much about patience, but at the same time it’s been crowded with many, many writing friends and “bouncers” that have made the journey exciting.
#2: Handing BOUND (my YA urban fantasy) to my dad, and asking him to edit it. This was one of the hardest things for me to do. My dad is the one who cultivated in me a love for reading and writing. I knew that if he read my WIP, he would let me know honestly what he thought—in a nice way he’d tell me to take up knitting or to stick with things that I was good at, singing and giving him grandchildren . . . But I got past my fears and handed him my WIP. (He did tell me later that he had been hesitant to read my work as well. He didn’t want to have to tell me it was bad . . .) But to my relief, and my dad’s great joy, he LOVED my writing. It actually surprised him by how good and funny/quirky it was. (WOOT!) His style of editing was to read BOUND out loud to me. This was a journey in and of itself. It was quite embarrassing at times to hear my dad read my book out loud–especially when it’s written in first person, from the point of view of a seventeen year old girl. (I made him read the kissing scenes to himself. I wouldn’t have survived that . . .)
#3: Finding a wonderful editor. I have the best editor in the world! She’s amazing and super- talented! (Oh, and she just happens to be one of my best friends.) She is one of those people, like my dad, that I knew would be lovingly-honest with me. I was scared to give it to her. But I’d gained some courage since I had survived my dad’s editing. She told me right up front that she would tell my what she loved, and what she didn’t love, she’d help me make great!
I’m still on my journey. And, who knows, I may be able to look back in a few days or a few weeks and find another event that actually was a turning point.
**How about you? And events that have turned into turning points for you? I’d love to read about them.