Growing Up Stephanie: Just Me

I’m not sure I’ve ever shared my journey with you specifically. It’s interesting and boring all at the same time, but it’s also a bit of luck and camaraderie, community and putting myself out there that got me where I am today: an 8 time published author.

I’ve come a long way from the hesitant, humorous mommy blogger that started out in 2010, succumbed to online bullying, and survived. Many of you I have to thank for that. We are a loyal tribe, happy to help each other through every phase of writing, offering support when it’s needed most, and just hovering in the background waiting to be needed.

I became “the author” sooner than I expected, took longer than I expected, and slowly built a following that still surprises me to this day. I still write passively too often, add too many adverbs, use purple prose more than I should, but somehow, somewhere, readers decided they liked me.

I wouldn't be where I am today if not for #readers. #amwriting #neverquit Click To Tweet

I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for readers; if not for the writing communities I joined, hungry for motivation and acknowledgment. I had to put myself out there. I hid behind a moniker out of fear. Some people with too much time on their hands stalked me for years, kept a folder on me and my information (true or false) that they pulled out and used against me as often as they could. They almost succeeded in chasing me off the internet for good, so much so I feared the lashing I would take should I become a successful author. I worried they would appear again, defaming my name, doing what they could to ruin any chance of success as they had before…


(And I am probably giving them way too much credit by sharing this, but it’s important)

I stuck to my personal writing blog, My Write Side keeping my stuff mostly out there in the prompt groups I participated in (and there were many!), popping around other blogs to leave comments on their work. Kirsten Piccini pulled me in as a writer for Just be Enough, a swift kick in the ego I sorely needed. Then, I ran the writing group for Bloggy Moms, where I discovered that as much as I maintained the mantra “I’m just a writer,” and I really had nothing to teach, people had things to learn from me anyway.

I still lacked confidence, though. Even after a friend published a poem in the magazine she worked for, the confidence wasn’t there. Even after Til Death hit the online book world, the confidence still wasn’t there (though improved). I continued my writing, kept sharing on my blog, found other things to participate in—random writing contests here, win by popular vote there (a real ego crushing technique, I promise!). Despite
my overwhelming desire to disappear, I didn’t quit. The urge to write outweighed the need to hide. The need to be read outweighed the urge to quit.

The urge to write outweighed the need to hide. #amwriting #writerslife #truestory Click To Tweet

And then Amanda Mabry, the writing partner Write on Edge set me up with, happened. She drew me into Eat Sleep Write where I was offered the position of Managing Editor. I fought, hard. No way was I an editor. No way did I fit the job description. After all, I’m “just a writer.” She didn’t give up on me though, and even Adam Scull, the owner of Eat Sleep Write, pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I discovered who I was, what I could really do, and learned that the only sky limiting me is the one I placed above myself. I made connections that lasted, helped authors in need, and the biggest joy I’ve ever experienced?

The first time someone gushed over me with stunned reality that they are good enough to be published. The act of becoming the person that made someone’s dream come true.

No matter what happens from this day forward, and plenty has, no one can take that away from me. Ever.

Do you have a defining moment that clarified you as a writer? Tell me about it in the comments.

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