I’m Celebrating My 10th Writing Birthday! (by answering your burning writing questions)

Every writer has two* birthdays.

The anniversary of the day of your arrival into this world.

And that of the day you actually became a writer.

That is, the day your writing stopped being just that fun thing you do on the side, and turned into that critically important thing you do, in most cases, with a goal of someday being published and finding an audience.

I’ve written a few times about my writing birthday.  Today, February 10, 2018, I am a ten-year-old writer, which is an especial milestone for more reasons than one.

I’ve achieved a lot in my writing life since this time last year.

I finished a year-long rewrite of my historical fiction WIP.  I read craft books on revision to learn how to do it in earnest, creating a revision checklist for myself to follow in the process.  I started and finished two more drafts of my WIP.  I posted a sample of my WIP on this blog.  I started a successful critique group.  I had favourable feedback from an agent on a (different) sample of my novel.

Surprisingly, the writing birthday doesn’t seem to be an event that’s widely celebrated within the writing community.

Perhaps this is because people don’t have as accurate a record of the day it all began as I do, which I mined from a series of emails I sent to a friend over the course of a week back in 2002**.

That being said, upon rereading some of my past writing birthday posts, I’ve come to realize I’ve celebrated the day alternately on Feb. 12 and Feb. 10.  So there’s accuracy for you.

This is, of course, when I’ve bothered to celebrate the day at all, which is not too often.

I haven’t even always remembered it on the day in question.  The reason being that my writing birthday consistently corresponds with a hectic period of time at my day job.

A period that includes many long days of overtime and nights where I come home not in the mood for much of anything, let alone either a party or a shopping trip to buy myself lavish gifts.

Feeling the burn

This year, however, it occurred to me: I’ve been doing wrong by my writing birthday all these years past.

I shouldn’t be trying to celebrate it with friends who wonder why I’d rejoice in anything less than publication, if not wonder why I’m even a writer at all.

Neither do I need to celebrate it by myself, especially since I’m generally far too ascetic for any prize other than more writing.  And especially during a period where I don’t have much time to do anything special if I wanted to.

This year, I’m going to commemorate my writing birthday by giving and focusing on all writers in general, rather than considering any form of receiving or putting the focus solely on myself.

I’m going to celebrate by answering people’s burning writing questions.

But I’m going to need a bit of help.  This is where you come in.

Namely, by sending me your burning writing questions.

Whether you’re a non-writer indeed wondering why a person would be a writer at all, or curious about anything else regarding the writing life; whether you too are a writer of any stripe wondering how another writer perceives any aspect of the writing game, send me your burning writing questions.

Starting today (Happy 10th Writing Birthday to me!) and all through the rest of February, I will collect as many burning writing questions as people want to send me.

Come March, when my day job schedule goes back to normal, I will answer every question.

Help me spend my writing birthday doing what I love only slightly less than writing itself: talking about writing.

My answers are guaranteed to inform and inspire you.  Or if I really have no idea what a helpful answer would be, I’ll at the very least aim to amuse you with my response.

And if no one happens to send me any burning writing questions, I’ll just come up with my own.  And answer them.

It’s my writing birthday party, I’ll pretend that people care about it if I have to.

Don’t make me have to.

Send me burning writing questions in the comments of this post, via my contact form, or on Twitter.


*At least two.  It’s in no way for me to say how many birthdays any one person should have.

**A six-year writing hiatus from 2006-2012 is responsible for the screwy math that makes this only my 10th writing birthday since 2002.

(Image source #1 and #2)

6 thoughts on “I’m Celebrating My 10th Writing Birthday! (by answering your burning writing questions)

  1. I started writing way back in the previous century, somewhere around 1995. I took a short course called ‘Writing the Mystery’ at Mercer County Community College (around the corner) while the husband entertained the kids for 8 Monday nights (3 hours each) in a row. That’s the only writing course I’ve taken.

    When I read Stephen Pressfield, I decided to go pro on 12/12/12. Nice and symmetrical, and day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (my middle name). Easy to remember and all that. Pro means you stop futzing around and do it. IIRC. So far, so good.


    • 12/12/12 is eerily symmetrical, and nice that it has a religious connotation as well – that seems promising.

      I think I mentioned to you before that you’re not the only writer I know who got started by taking a mystery course. I never saw such a thing offered while I was coming up, but I did read a lot of mysteries in my youth (Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys a little bit). Without a doubt, this early study of the written word influenced my writing, although I’ve never thought to try my hand at a proper mystery (not as yet, anyway).


  2. Hello Janna! Happy writing birthday! As a writer, how do you manage your writing life with your work & personal life? How do you find the balance? As well, how do you come up with interesting character names in your work? Thanks!


  3. My burning writing questions!
    1. What are some of your favourite writers? Are there any writers that inspire you to do your best work?

    2. Do you have any writing rituals? What are they?

    3. What do you find more difficult – getting started or finishing a piece of writing? What do you find most enjoyable – starting or finishing a work?


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