I didn’t know when I wrote the first love spell that it would actually make things happen. Like, actually make people fall in love with each other…
How could I have known something like that? I mean, magic isn’t real, right?
But here’s the thing—the spell does work and so does the next one and the next one...and suddenly I’m getting a whole lot of attention from everyone at my high school. Me, Blend-into-the-Walls, Please-Let-Me-Introvert-in-Peace Rowan Marshall. And not only that, but I’ve also caught the attention of Luca Russo, a godlike, football-playing hottie who claims he likes me just the way I am. Ummm...
But as I’m about to learn, playing around with things you don’t understand means when things go wrong—like really, very awfully wrong—you don’t know how to fix them.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing
They say hindsight is 20/20; that you can see things more clearly after you’ve lived them, which I suppose is true. It’s easier to see your mistakes/missteps after you’ve done them. But sometimes things need to happen in a certain way so that lessons are learned, even hard lessons. If you changed some of those hard things, you wouldn’t learn what you need to learn to get where you’re going to end up. Make sense?
Let me tell you a little story…I’ve been writing since I was around six or seven. I knew at that age that I wanted to be an author. I even have my work from back then. My first story, complete with pictures, was called The Fuzzy Wuzzles. Every opportunity I got, I wrote. If I could talk my teacher into letting me write a story instead of whatever assignment they wanted me to do, I would. (Surprisingly, a lot of teachers actually let me do that, which only nurtured my love of writing.) I don’t know where this creative spark and drive to be a writer came from but it’s been a part of my life, and has been a major factor in the decisions I’ve made throughout my life.
I went to university to study literature and chose a university that had a creative writing program that I could apply to in my second year. But I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t think I needed to prepare. I didn’t even really have a portfolio. When the time came to apply to the creative writing program, I submitted what I did have, which was a lot of genre writing. (Bad idea for Canadian university programs-- I learned the hard way). I got rejected. It was my first major rejection. I balled the letter up and threw it into the backseat of my car. And never saw it again.
I became a teacher which consumed my life for many years.
While on maternity leave with my daughter, I wrote my first full length novel.
As I worked and worked on my writing and began to get more and more things published, I became very angry at my teaching job. I was frustrated that it seemed to be preventing me from doing what I truly loved: writing, full time. I had to make hard choices between marking student work, planning lessons and my writing time and that made me so angry.
One day, one of my students came to speak to me about her writing goals. She had applied to a few universities for writing and was chatting with me about my writing journey. I told her how much I regretted not devoting myself completely to my writing world from early on. I told her I’d wished that I’d taken it more seriously. That if I’d avoided teaching all together, I would have immersed myself in writing. I carried the belief that if I’d done that, I’d somehow be further along in my journey.
And she said, “Mrs. Barrett, you’d never have become the writer you are today if you hadn’t become a teacher. Think about it, you learned how to be disciplined with your time. You learned how to use every spare minute you had for what you’re passionate about. You’ve taught so many students the things you’ve learned and you always tell us that the best way to learn is to teach someone else. You’ve proven how dedicated you are.”
I’ll never forget her words because they completely floored me. She was right. Totally, completely right. I needed to learn those things. I needed to learn so I could teach. I needed to understand the value of
time and to set priorities based on time available. I need to use every minute I had. And, yes, I proved to myself, through my discipline, just how devoted I am to writing.
If I knew then, what I know now, I would still have done things the exact same way because I’ve learned that it’s in the journey that you gather your strength and hone your skill. It’s in the journey that you build thick skin and learn the trade. It’s in the journey and, even if I could use hindsight to change the hardest parts, I wouldn’t, because it all brought me here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Angie Barrett lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada in an old century home that is also known as the “cat house” because, well, Angie likes cats. A lot. She also likes shopping for books, or for anything really, and spending time RVing in the summer with her family. She has worked for sixteen years as a high school English teacher and Librarian and is currently a Curriculum Consultant for new teachers. Angie has always dreamed of being a published author and strives to create worlds where there are strong, relatable characters who maybe are not always perfect but who understand the meaning of friendship and loyalty and who will use their collective strengths to overcome adversity.