Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Stories to pave the path to dreams

By Emma on September 9, 2009

I am restless. Relaxation seems futile – no ridiculous. I’m ready, you see. Ready to be a published author, ready to be read. Ready to be seen.

After years of hiding the writing from myself, I started to write. After years of hiding my words from others, I started to show them. After years of hating my voice, I started to speak.

Now, after years of waiting, I’m ready to start being noticed. I want my book to be out there in the world, a real thing. A real book that someone I have never met will pick up, read and be taken away from their life for a few hours. A book that will feed imaginations, lurk at the back of people’s thoughts as they walk through London – or any thriving city, a book that might inspire.

I think back to when I started this blog. I was terrified of all of it. It literally took months to publish my first post. Then I was gloriously Havi’d (yes, that should be a verb). Then I found Diana and Graham, then later Twitching Grey and of course, Paperback Jack. And so many others.

So many people on my journey. I’ve questioned this insane heroic quest, I’ve railed at the success of my friends and told you about the mad conversations that happen in my head – and sometimes on my desk in front of me. And you’re still here. Bless you.

Being a writer – a published-and-being-read-by-other-people writer isn’t something I have been able to stumble into – and you know, I’m glad. Because I think being one of those successful writers I crave to be is something one has to train for. It requires stamina and endurance, because if I got a contract, it wouldn’t be the end of this quest.

It would be the beginning. It would be the part of the adventure where I reach the port, and find the ship waiting to board for new lands and new challenges. There will be demons in those lands because I will take them with me. I will always suffer dark times of fear, and there will always be triumphs. My challengers will no longer be gatekeeper agents and publishers, they will be critics and those who don’t like what I write or what I do.

But I am ready to go there. My father says that confidence is like a muscle; you have to keep doing things to strengthen it, everyday, and it will get stronger.

I think writing is the same. It has to be exercised, again and again. The page is like a gym. Some days I’m dying to get there and work it all out, pour anger, frustration, bile out of myself. Other days I know I should go but it’s comfortable where I am and I am sluggish, reluctant, even though I know it’s not good for me. But oh, how good it feels to go there and work hard and to feel spent afterwards. To feel that sparkling virtuosity of the writer who went to the page and worked hard, even though they didn’t feel like it.

I’ve never been fitter. I’m ready to travel to those new lands. But there is no ship to take me there yet. Who knows, I may have to make my own raft and sail myself there. But I will get there.

And what shall we do in the mean time, you and I, whilst we stride towards that port? Well, we can light a fire and sing songs of contests, and how this was voted as one of the best 25 writing blogs announced in the feasting halls of Editor Unleashed. I may get drunk and tell you how Post-Apocalyptic Publishing got the most votes in the fiction writing blog category, and expound upon the generosity of the readers that supported me. But I’ll probably stick with tea and English habit of not blowing ones trumpet.

Or we could go to the little town of Chinese Whisperings, and you could keep me company whilst I wait impatiently for my turn to write. I’m dreadfully impatient you see. Forgive me.

And what better to lay beneath our feet but stories, yes! Stories to pave the way to the port. It’s Short Story Club time, my friends, time to give me your ideas, your opening lines, your questions. Tie them to the feet of birds and throw them into the digital sky. Let them land here and give this fire something to consume. Let me write for you.

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{ 22 comments... read them below, or add one }

  1. Gunter says:

    And in the end it’s true: every journey starts with the first step. It doesn’t matter if it is just a small step or a giant leap.
    Go ahead Emma. I wish you luck you deserve and the courage you need. We’re here…

  2. Rosa Say says:

    Yep, you are very ready!

    What a marvelous thing to feel, and this is so great that you share it with us as you do Emma.

  3. Rick says:

    There is no one between you and where you are headed, Emma, no wall, no obstacle, no “yes, but…”

    It sounds like you are ready to acknowledge the truth of your powerful self.

    I’m very happy for you and for all of us who have the pleasure of reading what you birth.

  4. Iapetus999 says:

    Hmm, first line ideas

    It’s considered to be unusual when a dog speaks her mind.

    Today was not the best day to be wearing chaps.

    The untraceable text message on my phone read, “Meet me at 12 midnight, behind the old cemetery. Or die.”

  5. Dom Camus says:

    I suspect this suggestion isn’t so much a first line as a line from somewhere in the middle…

    “Wear a good suit. That way nobody will notice you’re dead.”

  6. Joanna Young says:

    What a fantastic journey you’re on Em – thanks for taking us with us. I can’t wait to see where the ship takes you :-)

  7. Paul says:

    Oh it’s coming, don’t you worry – I think Rob is just about ready to reveal his story, then it’ll be your turn!

  8. Emma says:

    Thank you for the votes of confidence – and the ideas – keep them coming! Joanna, Paul, Gunter, Rosa, Rick (welcome to the short story club!) – any of you got any story seeds to sow into this soil?

  9. My suggestings:
    1. “Just brilliant,” she muttered, trying to drag the ring from her finger.

    2. They called her Ruby Tuesday after the song, but she always thought it was quite daft given she came earthside on a Thursday evening.

    And yes – Rob’s story is coming to you Em. It landed in our inbox this morning. Thanks for the serial plugs of CW here on your wonderful blog :)

  10. Mike and Liz. says:

    Here is our little contribution.
    1. She awoke in a field it was pouring with rain but she was not getting wet!!!
    2. He was looking in the mirror there was a crash of thunder and the mirror broke but his reflection was still there!!!
    3. I am floating surrounded by a familiar scent I just can’t place!!!

  11. Smoph says:

    Hey Em!
    Looking forward to this month.
    How about:
    1) With a sarcastic “A-bubbye” she slammed down the phone in its cradle, grateful for the seconds of silence.
    2)Groggily he came to, the inside of his skull beating like a tribal drum, the cold around him seeping to the very marrow of his bones.
    3) On the platform stood her lone suitcase, filled with an assortment of items she most likely wouldn’t need where she was going.

  12. Jean Hunt says:

    Hi Emma,
    I haven’t tried this before so hope my little submissions are up to scratch!
    She sat on the edge of the bed, a silhouette in the moonlight, not daring to move or look behind her.

    If this is heaven, I need to try hell and pdq.
    Jean xx

  13. Dianna says:

    Hello,

    I’m a new reader :) Love this blog and joined the short story club. It’s a great idea.

    First line:

    A shadow fell over her face as she looked into the little memory holder, seeing the last memory of her brother, his smiling face suddenly twisting in agony and his screams echoing through the room alongside the unseen assailant’s laughter.

    Random.

    ~Dianna

  14. Waking up nude and hungover was nothing new. Having it occur in a mall with shoppers gawking and no clue as to how he got there was a new twist. He wanted nothing more than to ask the crowd if anyone saw his arrival but realizing your tongue has been cut out is NOT conducive to regaining clarity.

  15. Sam says:

    The worst of it wasn’t that she was leaning against a gravestone talking to the cat, or that the cat was talking back to her, the worst was what the cat said made sense.

  16. Rick says:

    “Before we get too far into the story, let’s get one thing out in the open right from the start: he had no intention of spending the rest of his life as a well-behaved little cog in a huge machine owned and operated by someone else.”

  17. Rick says:

    “Her breath caught in her throat as she realized that it was not a dream–not at all, for there he was, in her room, his swash completely unbuckled as he began moving toward her. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. She was born a poor young lass in Pittsburgh.”

  18. Emma says:

    Okay, I am officially impressed, and ever so slightly disturbed – the right kind of disturbed I hasten to add. Seems to be a darker tone this month, winner announced next week, but already I am struggling to choose between several that have got the cogs turning…

  19. [...] Stories to Pave the Path to Dreams – Emma Newman is a writer to watch, this post captures that restless feeling we all experience on the road to change. [...]

  20. Caroline says:

    “I think writing is the same. It has to be exercised, again and again. The page is like a gym. Some days I’m dying to get there and work it all out, pour anger, frustration, bile out of myself. Other days I know I should go but it’s comfortable where I am and I am sluggish, reluctant, even though I know it’s not good for me. But oh, how good it feels to go there and work hard and to feel spent afterwards. To feel that sparkling virtuosity of the writer who went to the page and worked hard, even though they didn’t feel like it.”

    I LOVE THIS PARAGRAPH! That is all …

    (Apologies for the late comment – I’ve been away for a while.)

  21. [...] “I think back to when I started this blog. I was terrified of all of it. It literally took months to publish my first post. Then I was gloriously Havi’d (yes, that should be a verb). Then I found Diana and Graham, then later Twitching Grey and of course, Paperback Jack. And so many others.” – From Stories to pave the Path to Dreams [...]

  22. Just read The Owner – a well written piece and I enjoyed it very much. It’s one of those “what if?” type stories, pondering the ramifications – the human impact – of a most unusual change to the physics of the universe.

    Keep up the good writing!

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