They Say It’s Your (Writing) Birthday

Grumpy Cat's birthday greeting

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.

Aquarius

Aquarius, by Yuhon

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”.

Scorpio

Scorpio, by Yuhon

(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.

~

Pisces, by Yuhon

Pisces, by Yuhon

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.

(Image source #1, 2, 3 & 4)

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10 thoughts on “They Say It’s Your (Writing) Birthday

  1. I had a two-year blogiversary near the end of February as well (according to the WordPress email I got). I’m not sure I’ve done much to get my name out there during that time, but I’ve met many cool people, so it was worth it.

    I’ve been an on-and-off writer throughout my life (mostly off). I have no sense of birthdays or anniversaries, because I’ve always felt like “somebody who writes,” even when I wasn’t doing it. I’m pretty sure I started my first novel in 2008 (I had written 100 pages of a horror novel when I was a kid, longhand. I’m sure it was brilliant) and finished in 2009. I wrote my second in 2010 and haven’t really done much since, other than several unpublishable novelettes. I love me some 10,000 to 15,000-word outcasts.

    Now I’m working on novel #3, though my passion for it is not what it should be. I had the benefit of naivete last time, not realizing how many great writers are out there and how I wasn’t one of them. We only get better by doing, though, so I hammer away. It might not be this one, and it might not be the next one, but eventually it’ll click.

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    • I’m still of two minds of this idea of getting mu name out there before I truly have anything to offer to which people can associate my name (i.e. a book). Beyond the online friends I’ve made, I tend to think of my blog as insurance for that day I do have a book, so that when people Google me, they won’t just find crickets and cobwebs. And perhaps at that time, my various blog posts will be given new life.

      I’ve always felt like “somebody who writes” too (minus that 6 years), but I haven’t always felt like “somebody who writes well”, which is where I make the distinction with my writing birthday. I’m an incessant journal writer, plus I like to note important dates for posterity, so things like writing birthdays that most normal people don’t even notice are par for the course with me.

      If your passion for novel #3 is waning, get on writing and publishing some new novelettes! Those sorts of things are ripe for self-publishing and being read on tablets and smartphones.

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  2. Happy Birthday. Hm…I’ve been writing my entire life and before I knew how to put many words down on paper, I drew pictures and saved them for future illustrations. (Covers face with hands…they will never be used, I hope!) I will however, probably do something to mark the day I tore into my old manuscript and said, no, I’m owning this, it’s going to publication and I’m going to get out there. Probably write Johnny, Shawn and Dave and blame them for it. I don’t think the boys over at the Self Publishing Podcast will mind taking credit for it.

    Enjoyed your inclusion of birth signs! I don’t believe in such things, but I like how reading them gives us moments to consider different sides of ourselves! Once more, Happy Birthday and all the best for the coming year!

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    • I’ve been writing my whole life as well (minus those six fateful years), but I haven’t always been writing well, or even sort of well, which is where the writing birthday becomes significant. Writing can be such a protracted process, I think it’s beneficial to have little things to celebrate along the way.

      I mainly included the signs in this post because I found the artwork so stunning! I don’t really follow astrology either, although I am fond of looking up my characters’ astrological signs (they were in spot-on in my WIP, entirely unplanned).

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  3. I have no idea what my writing birthday is, Janna but I’d love to think it falls under the sign of Aquarius. My birth sign is Sagittarius.

    I think my blogging birthday is coming up soon and I hope WP remind me because I can’t remember exactly when it is 😉

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    • My birth sign is “technically” Sagittarius as well, but I was born on the Scorpio-Sagittarius cusp and have always felt Scorpio described me better, ’cause I’m moody and defensive like that. 😛

      WordPress will remind you of your blogging birthday, ’cause it’s helpful like that. It’s nice to have little writing milestones to celebrate in between the slower, larger ones.

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    • Oh dear! If you don’t remember your own birthday, how can you guilt other people into buying you cake and cookies for the special day? Even if I’m not doing much to celebrate my birthday in a given year, a sugary dessert (that I didn’t have to pay for) is a must! 🙂

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