October 22, 2017
Part 1: A Tale of a Wannabe Writer
In the third grade, I discovered I wanted to be a writer.
I used to write [extremely] short stories on my dad’s computer. If I recall correctly, we were using the MS-DOS system back then, so my little stories would print on those sheets of paper that you had to rip the dotted-sides off.
When I first typed “Written by Laura Mims” beneath a cheesy title, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I would forever dream of seeing a piece of work published by yours truly.
Then came the big day that changed everything…
Dad brought home Windows 95.
I remember playing with Microsoft Word and discovering new fonts and styles and effects. Having the ability to add a bit more creativity to my writing put me in a frenzy. I may have spent too time constructing new story titles with special effects, but it did not take away the time I needed on my stories.
There was a short story called “Best Friends and Aliens.” I was so proud of this one. My audience was very limited then, as I did not like to share my writing with my parents. My little sister would somewhat sit patiently as I read to her. The first true audience of my writing was my grandmother. I remember it did not take her long to read the whole story. Grammy smiled at me and gave me the praise I longed for. Grammy was also the one that introduced me to the Harry Potter series, so I like to think that she added to my love of reading and writing.
My family moved to Georgia in 2001 after Dad retired from the military. One day in middle school, I went back and reread “Best Friends and Aliens.” I stumbled upon the original printed copy my parents had saved. So there I was, unpacking and organizing, and I found the two-page story.
To be fair, I was in the third grade when I wrote the story. I tried not to be a harsh judge of my own writing, but I could not help it. My story, which I believed had a good plot, was not organized well. There was an overuse of the word ‘gregarious.’ And, in two pages, three little girls discover and defeat aliens while also saving the townspeople. I feel wretched for having thrown it away, but my thirteen-year-old self didn’t think the piece was worth keeping.
High school reignited my love for writing. I was taking advanced courses in English Literature and I started writing again. I feel no shame in admitting there may have been some Fanfiction involved, however those accounts have since been deleted.
I started to take notes down of novels I would one day write. But my time was mainly focused on school, so my notes just stayed hidden away.
With the end of high school, I had to answer the question most of my peers were having to answer – what college am I going to?
I did not know how to become a writer. I had dreams about going to out-of-state colleges that could prepare me for this future profession. Alas, my family was only able to afford the local university. While Kennesaw State University gave me great opportunities to write more and to learn different areas of writing, I never received the tools on what to do.
I did what most graduates did – I kept working a job until I had advancement opportunities. The new adult goal became money.
Since college, I have tried to keep up with my notes and outline possible new stories. I have not fully completed any personal pieces. In recent years, I did accomplish a couple of goals by writing pieces for writing workshops and programs. While I did not get accepted into these programs, I have continued to try and allot time for writing.
But being an adult is time-consuming. There are so many adult things to do in life. Graduating college led to a new relationship (my now husband, Daniel), promotional opportunities, and money to travel and take fun vacations. I started to lose myself in the fun and stresses of being an adult. Time I could spend writing was now dedicated to budgets and paying bills and etc.
After a recent rejection into another writing workshop, I realized I needed to take a different course of action. Quit my job and write a novel? Find writing jobs in Atlanta? (Note: I have spent a lot of time researching writing opportunities here in Georgia. I found nothing.)
I found that moving into journalism or technical writing would not get me where I wanted to go.
Part 2: What do I want to write?
AHA! The big question in all of this – – what do I want to write? What do I want to do specifically?
I am primarily focused on television or film. Regarding film, I have the Final Draft program, which is a lot of fun and I highly recommend this tool. But I discovered writing a screenplay on my own to be difficult. So I have put script writing on hold.
There is not a particular genre of writing I am interested in. I do enjoy horror and fantasy. But I feel confidant I could write in any category. I took a fiction writing course in college that challenged us to write short pieces based on specific scenarios or genres.
I would love to write for television. I believe I have the skill and talent to write for any show that peeks my interest.
How does one write for television? Based on my research, there really is no step-by-step guide.
What do I plan on doing?
I am going to apply for entry-level positions within the television industries.
Backstory: Uncle Peter is a Performer and Puppeteer for Sesame Street and The Muppets. A few years ago, Peter put me in touch with a writer friend of his from Sesame Street. I spent hours talking to this lovely woman who shared with me her same love for writing and how she got started. She explained that she had started working for SS in an assistant position. She said that by proving herself to be a great worker and through networking, she was able to easily place her work into the hands of trusted people. Today, she is an Emmy-award winning writer for SS.
The writer explained that I could go the route that many writers follow – write, complete a full piece, hire an expensive agent, and try to get published. She explained that this route, while the most popular, can be the most expensive and time-consuming path to being a writer.
I completely understand that the route the SS writer took was her own way. How do I know this could work for me?
I see HBO hiring for Administrative and Executive Assistant positions all the time (I have been stalking their hiring page for the last year). I feel my resume would allow me to be an excellent candidate for this position.
I don’t expect to start off as an assistant and BOOM! I’m a writer within the year. I realize there will be years of work involved, but what is important in working for television is having the opportunity to learn how it all works. I need to network. I need the experience.
If you have gotten this far in reading my blog, know that my blogging is a new environment for me. How I write this blog is completely different than what I do creatively.
Since Grammy, I have received the push to continue writing from family, friends, and college professors. It’s satisfying, isn’t it, when you have people telling you you’re good at something?
I’ve also accepted constructive criticism of my writing.
What is important is that I know I am a writer. I know my skills and abilities. I know that nothing gives me more satisfaction in sitting down and creating a new world out of my own words.
Between now and our leaving for New York, I am still researching and looking for ways to make this dream a reality.
Oddly enough, I have been lucky enough to talk to and find new resources that could actually make this plan work.
We have ideas on how to get a jump-start:
When we put the house on the market mid-January, hoping for our New York move-in in March, Daniel and I will be starting the job application process again (using Peter’s NY address). I’m hoping my new resources and my steadfastness will give us a good head-start on our New York plan.
Have any ideas or suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Thanks for reading and do not forget to follow my blog!