I’ve now missed my writing birthday for two years in a row.
I don’t even know if a writing birthday is something other writers commonly observe, or if it’s my own unique brand of writerly madness.
Even the exact date of my writing birthday is uncertain. I mark it from the day I commenced my first (incomplete, shelved) novel, which was sometime in early February, 2002.
I remember I started that novel on a day I had karate class. I was already late leaving the house, but a great opening paragraph suddenly flashed through my head that I had to type before I left.
Not that I was planning to continue with the novel at that point in time – this despite my having already made the decision to stop writing short stories in favour of longer works.
I didn’t feel ready then and thee to actually start something novel-length. I remember telling myself I’d just take down the opening and leave it at that – that I’d come back to it someday in the future when the time was right.
Well, “someday” ended up being the very next day, and the next thing I knew, by April 24, 2002, I was emailing a friend to tell him I’d just finished writing my first hundred pages.
Taking a clue from the date of that email, and also an entry in my journal in which I mentioned my new project, I arbitrarily chose February 10 to be the start date of my first novel, and thus my writing birthday.
Which makes me a 6-year-old writer.
It also makes me an Aquarius writer.
|Positive Aquarius Traits||Negative Aquarius Traits|
|Friendly and humanitarian||Intractable and contrary|
|Lively, honest and loyal||Perverse and unpredictable|
|Original and inventive||Unemotional and detached|
|Independent and intellectual||Chaotic and rebellious|
|Likes to be different|
This as opposed to my birth sign (Scorpio), which, on the same website linked above, contains the worst possible list of negative traits, including “jealous and resentful”, “bitterly cutting”, “lashes out unconstructively”, “no fury equal to”, and “daydreams to the extreme”.
(Not that I’m not denying there isn’t some truth to that, but there’s a judgmental tone to the list that I find “unconstructive”. Nobody’s perfect, after all.)
Some of you may be scratching your heads at my math in saying I’m six, a condition surely to be exacerbated by the knowledge that I’ve actually been writing since Grade 3, when I “published” my first fan fiction “novel”.
I don’t count that. I don’t count anything prior to that first novel, which was when the idea of future publication became a serious ambition in my life. Which still doesn’t equal six years. Or at least not six uninterrupted years.
Life can be full of interruptions.
Celebrate good times (or not)
I don’t generally do anything special to celebrate my writing birthday, although the fact I’ve twice now missed the date could have something to do with that.
I do think the day is worth at least a cupcake if not a full-on birthday cake, for a lot has happened over the six years of my fledgling writing career:
- I wrote 98% of a big fat morbidly obese fantasy novel
- I shelved all 98% of said fantasy novel
- I learned to stop adding adjectives to the word “writer” when applying it to myself. Indeed, I feel like the moment I stopped being afraid to call myself a writer, plain and simple, was the moment I truly became a writer, and the moment my writing took a quantum leap in terms of quality.
- I started blogging (again)
- I learned how to use (some) social media (which didn’t even exist back in 2002!)
- I’ve written one and 7/8 books of a two-volume historical fiction that I feel confident about.
I’ve also finally forgiven myself for having quit writing from 2006-2011. For even though I still feel incredibly late to the party considering the progress I’d made as a writer pre-2006, all the life experience I gained during my hiatus helped me find my artistic voice and self, and has only made me a better writer as a result.
Besides, by the time this year is over, I’ll finally have been writing seriously longer than I’ve not written.
Plus, I’ll have exorcised the ghost of my unfinished fantasy novel with not one but two completed works of historical fiction.
Which, in my opinion, will be the greatest belated writing birthday present of all.
Incidentally, I also forgot about my blogging birthday, which was on February 20.
This blog is now two years old and a Pisces, which, as a blogger, makes me imaginative, sensitive, intuitive, artistic by nature, weak-willing, easily led, and at times spiteful, greedy and downright immoral….
Writers, do you mark or celebrate your writing birthday? Do you recall the circumstances surrounding your decision to write with an aim for publication? Do you know your astrological sign – as a writer, blogger, or in general? Let me know in the comments.