Friday, February 8, 2013

A Brief History of Maggie Maxwell

You would think, wouldn't you, that as a writer making a writing blog, I'd know what to say for my first post. Writers block on page one. This bodes well, doesn't it?

So, I guess I'll start with a bit about me. While we're here, you all can call me Maggie, or Maxwell, or M, or "that crazy chick". I'll answer to pretty much anything. I'm not picky. I'm mid-20s, and my entire life, I have wanted nothing more than to be a writer. When I was in kindergarten, I was the first kid in my class to learn to read, and I promptly fell in love with books. When I was in 2nd grade, I came upon the revelation that I could make up stories of my own and write them down. From that moment on, my head was filled with stories, with people who didn't exist, objects that defied the laws of physics, and places most fantastic. The rest of my childhood and all of my teenage years, I read, and I wrote. I made friends who wrote and built myself a community.

You know that old bible verse, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things"? I fell for that. I believed the people telling me "I know you love to write, but study something that will get you a job." I listened to everyone who told me "Writing won't pay the bills. Get a day job." I faded away from my writing friends. I went into a computing field when I left for college. I told myself I'd keep writing like I had in high school, during class, so I could have time for a social life outside of school. But class didn't allow time to write like high school had, and the social life took over my time afterwards that wasn't devoted to homework. When I walked across the stage and took my diploma, I was a college graduate, top of my major, a bright future in computing ahead of me. What I was not anymore was a writer.

Two years passed, and it had been six since I put pen to paper. All of the things I had written were archived on my computer, or packed in boxes. I had put the childish things away. I was... broken. At 24, I had already fallen into the cycle of "work, eat, watch TV, sleep, repeat until retirement". And yet, tucked away in one little corner of the internet, a story written long ago sent whispers to my ear, whispers of long-abandoned "glories" and the smallest modecum of success as readers somehow continued to find it, review it, thank me for writing it.  In the recesses of my mind, a single surviving story stirred and begged me to come back to it, to finish it.

"But I can't," I said. "My muses have left me. All that remains is the memories of who I was then. Unless that can be my muse, I'm finished."

And somewhere in my mind, those memories hit me with a sledgehammer, called me a dumbass, and told me to sit down and write.

So I did. It was...pathetic. I got two pages written, and they were terrible. I put it aside again and went back to the routine. The muse was back, though, and she was not going to let me push her aside again. A few months later, I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo and did that little begging survivor justice.

It's been two years and three NaNos since then, and they've been good to me. I made new writing buddies, one of whom has become my biggest supporter and one of my best friends. My second NaNo, I wrote "the end" for the first time ever. I have written well over 200 full pages of stories, and it feels amazing. That which was broken is mended. The stories still beg to be told, but it's not just one anymore. My head is filled with people that don't exist, objects that defy the laws of physics, and places most fantastic. And I have never been happier.

Well, I was GOING to talk about the blog, but I suppose I've given you all enough of a novel for the first post. I'll save that stuff for post two.

Oh yeah, and if you need a tip on getting through writers block, just write. The above is what happens when you do.


  1. Damn, Maxwell.

    I could go through and make a list of everything that applies to me and/or I agree with, but that would again be a repetition of everything in your post.

    This is the story of my life.

    Really good blog post. I seriously think I like what ended up coming out better than a run of the mill 'this is mah blawg here thar be dragons' thing. You make a good point by bringing up the ongoing journey. You've come a long way from your first NaNo, and you've got a long way to go, but hey -- so do we all. (Of course, I can say this because I fall into one of those groups you mentioned. Three guesses which. XD)

    In any case, you've motivated me to pick up my blog again, which I have abandoned. I can't leave all the slacking to you!

    Now I'm going to shameless throw out pirate metaphors. We're all right there with you, matey in the exact same boat, sailing the same literary sea, waiting for that glorious publishing call:

    Land ho!

  2. I'm glad your muse won. It meant I get to read things you write. :)