Guest Blog: The Scenic Route

09 Dec

Jennifer Kellie

The road to writing has been a long and winding journey for me.  Looking back, writing was always dancing around in my peripheral vision, vying for my attention. But like a young, insecure boy at a school dance watching the pretty girl standing against the wall, I was too scared to ask her to take a spin with me. What if I wasn’t good enough? Could I handle the rejection?

I remember knowing certain people as I grew up who always knew what they wanted to be. You know the ones. There’s the nurse who spent her childhood bandaging dolls and the lawyer who had been arguing cases since she could talk. I never put too much thought into it at the time. Well, not until college that is. That’s when I started to envy those people who knew, with unquestionable certainty, what their passion in life was. It made their eyes light up. I seemed to be a little interested in everything, but passionate about nothing.

I’d always had some interest in writing. I wrote a couple of short stories and had endless little pieces of paper with ideas jotted down on them.  Once, I even attempted to write a book. The problem was that I didn’t get more than a couple of pages written before I gave up. It turned out that writing was hard. Who knew? That’s when I decided that maybe I just liked the idea of being a writer. After all, don’t people that love to write, you know, love to write?  I scrapped the idea but continued to hold onto my little pieces of paper, just in case.

Fast forward fifteen years. I’d just had my second daughter and apparently children make your house shrink. I began paring down my belongings with a vengeance. While going through some boxes, I came across my stash of “writing ideas”. There were about twenty years worth of random thoughts and ideas for future stories sprinkled with a few poems I’d written. Obviously, I was never going to pursue that old pipe-dream, so I (gasp) threw the box out.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but less than a year later, writing once again slipped into my consciousness. I decided to give it another shot, but I knew I needed guidance so I started looking for writing groups and workshops on the internet. This research eventually led me to my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). It was joining this group that made me realize that writing is my passion. These are people that I can get lost in a conversation about writing with.  These are the people that, not only don’t bat an eyelash when I talk about the voices in my head, but encourage me to get to know them.

I’ve talked to other writers about when they were bitten by the writing bug. Some of them have been writing stories since they could hold a pencil. Then there are others, like me, who took the scenic route.  Many of them say that looking back, they can recall ways that writing or telling stories was always a part of who they were. For instance, my friend Steph has only been writing for a couple of years, but she recalls making up stories as she walked home from the bus stop as a child.

Sometimes I think about how many years it took for me to find my way back to writing. I think about how much experience I would have if only I’d have pursued it earlier. I spend a few moments dwelling on the things I should have done. But then I remember something that my favorite college professor told me: “Don’t should on others, and don’t should on yourself.” I like to think that I was simply out doing field research. After all, when it comes to writing, life-experience is invaluable. Even though it took awhile, I am grateful to have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

So, here’s to all the late bloomers. Anyone else take the scenic route?


Posted by on December 9, 2011 in inspiration, writers, writing motivation


Tags: , ,

18 responses to “Guest Blog: The Scenic Route

  1. Liz Fredericks

    December 9, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Jennifer – I love your characterization of your writing journey as the scenic route. I’m right there with you. You made my stomach clench with the reference to throwing out your box of ideas. You haven’t lost them, but I can only imagine how hard that must have been. I’m glad you’ve joined CBC and you’ll find lots of support through that group.

    • Jennifer Kellie

      December 9, 2011 at 7:30 AM

      Thanks Liz. I am so happy to be part of such a supportive, smart, inspirational group of people.

  2. Janis McCurry

    December 9, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    I’d say “the scenic route” for me because I started as a voracious reader of romance. I found myself getting more and more frustrated with the TSTL heroines and plots. I then thought those famous last words, “I can do better than that.” What arrogance! The ensuing years have been full of learning and growing. Nice to have you on the journey with us all.

  3. Jennifer Kellie

    December 9, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    Ha! I know what you mean Janis. The great writers make it look so easy.

  4. Meredith Conner

    December 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    I’d say that regardless of the route, it’s the journey and the destination that truly matter. Thanks for blogging today Jennifer.

  5. Jennifer Kellie

    December 9, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Thank you Meredith. I’m definitely enjoying the journey!

  6. ramblingsfromtheleft

    December 9, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Jennifer, as one late bloomer to another I say thanks. My theory is that everything happens when it is supposed to happen. If we second guess one moment, we cheat ourselves of the lesson that moment was meant to convey. Sometimes we come to a crossroad like Dorothy in Oz, or often we might stop by the side of the road and stay for a while, as the boy in the Alchemist, but each of those tales tells us the truth about this journey of our life … all roads lead us back to who we are and bring us safely “home” 🙂

    • Jennifer Kellie

      December 9, 2011 at 9:06 AM

      I like your theory. It’s a good reminder to stay in the moment as I tend to always be second guessing where the other road may have lead me.

  7. stephanieberget

    December 9, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    I’m glad you decided to make the journey with all of us. At least you didn’t wait as long as I have to start. Besides, taking the scenic route gives you a basket full of characters to use in your books.

  8. Jennifer Kellie

    December 9, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Glad to be making the journey with all of you as well. I have learned so much from everyone.

  9. Kelly

    December 9, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Jennifer Kellie I am so very proud of you. I know over the years you have mentioned writing but I haven’t heard you say it in some time. I’m excited that you have found your passion and finally pursuing it. I Love you Aunt Kelly

  10. Mary Vine

    December 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    I am very much a late bloomer. I didn’t even think about writing until I was 36. I was like Janis, I read a lot and thought maybe I could write one, too. I didn’t even finish college unitl my fifties because I never found anything I really wanted to do as a career (other than writing) until then. I got braces on my lower teeth in my fifites, too. Maybe the trade off is that I was totally focused on my children when they were little. Nevertheless, I have three books published now.

    • Jennifer Kellie

      December 9, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      It’s nice for us late bloomers to hear stories like yours. Congratulations on having three books published!

  11. jenn

    December 9, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Jen ~ you are a very creative girl with a great sense of humor! It’s wonderful and inspirational to read your blog. It sounds like you’ve met a fantastic group of people to support you with all of your writing adventures. Best wishes!

  12. Amity Grays

    December 9, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Thanks for the reminder, Jen. We writers all take different roads. Sure wish mine had a few less dead ends.

  13. Clarissa Southwick

    December 10, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    “Don’t should on others, and don’t should on yourself.” What great advice for writing and for life. Add me to the list of scenic roaders. So glad we found the same path. Thanks for guest blogging for us.

  14. Karla

    December 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Hey Sweet Daughter of Mine. Your journey has taken you right where you needed to go to be who you are. You’re a wonderful, strong, funny, intelligent, loving soul. I cannot wait to read your first completed book. You’ve accomplished everything you’ve ever set out to do and this will be no different.

  15. Marsha R. West

    December 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Here’s to the late bloomers. We bring invaluable experience that someone in their twenties can’t match. I heard of a woman who was 70 and she’d always wanted to be a lawyer, bu jeez, she’d be 73 by the time she finished. A friend said to her, “Yes, but you’ll be 73 with a law degree as opposed to just being 73.” I’ve always liked that prospective. Didn’t know I wanted to be a principal until I was 48 and was about 59 when I started that first book. Hope I’m published before 73, but I will be published, one way or the other and hopefully wasy sooner than that. Nice post, Jennifer.


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