(a.k.a. jlly_coppercorn on livejournal)
I started out as a young storyteller, quite often with an audience of one. Throughout my young life, I desperately wanted to be an artist. I wanted to draw and paint – to create beautiful things – but I had no real talent for it and no real access to the technical training. It wasn’t until I crossed the line into my thirties that I realized writing was art too. I came to this epiphany when I found a group of friends who were all equally imaginative and encouraging. One in particular put all of their stories on paper (or in a post) to foist on their friends and ask for feedback. When I tried the same I got a lot of mumbles or excuses, which was either due to terrible writing or the sheer size of the text wall I was putting up in front of them. This taught me two things – I really needed feedback and I needed to find a different group of friends to share my writing with.
In 2008, I started working on a novel, quite by accident, that I took into NaNoWriMo and was able to earn the coveted badge with. I hit that word count goal and kept on going. The writing bug had really gotten under my skin. I was trying to write out a plot for every idea I had when my mind was at rest, but it was all unfocused and could not come to a resolution. Then one day LiveJournal shared Brigit’s Flame community in its spotlight section and I clicked over there to have a look.
A new prompt had just gone up. It tickled my senses right away and I proceeded to write a 9k+ word piece of garbage that I was so proud of because it had an end. I had actually finished something! It was pure crap, but it had an end. It took until the following October before I was writing stories people gave me glowing feedback on. In between, I spent almost every moment away from work writing stories, reading the stories written by the community, and socializing in the old flamechat rooms. I was so incredibly happy. I was learning from (and with) my peers and finally productive as a writer (even though most of the writing was still crap). It was communing with the community that drove me, as much as the love of telling a story.
I’m here now to give that back. If I can help someone else to find joy in sharing that spark of creation, feel it grow, and satisfy their inner artist; then I’ll have come full circle. If they also find in us a family or safe haven — we will all burn brighter for it.