I’ve written about writing influences before, in particular my lesser known, more quirky ones. While I’m trying to build my side business (!), I was thinking about my motivation for getting into this whole writing thing in the first place.
American Girl dolls
My mother, ever the optimistic woman she is, was feverishly excited when she finally gave birth to a girl. After dealing with my two rowdy older brothers, she had been dreaming of tea parties and makeup lessons long before she held me in her arms. Too bad I turned into Tom Sawyer-in-lady-form. I refused to wear dresses or play house in favor of climbing trees and kicking around a soccer ball. Buying expensive American Girl dolls and accessories was her futile way of trying to make me more feminine. She didn’t know it at the time, but she did do some good. Though I hated playing with them, those dolls helped spark my interest in writing. Back then, American Girl dolls came with blank notebooks to write stories about your doll, and I filled every single page with made-up adventures. When I wasn’t traipsing through the mud, of course.
Growing up, I was a voracious reader. I was totally that kid who took those summer reading contests seriously and actually competed to win them. They were my own personal nerd Olympics, ya’ll. When I grew up into your typical dorky teenager with glasses, braces, and frizz, I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t have friends to sit with during lunch one semester in high school. So I went to the library, a place that had long been my sanctuary, to read and sneakingly eat my lunch. And that’s where I first found CosmoGirl, the goody two shoes little sister of sassy, kinda slutty Cosmopolitan. I tore through that magazine every month and quickly found myself relating and idolizing Atoosa Rubenstein, the editor-in-chief. A former high school nerd turned youngest editor at Hearst ever, she proved that nice girls finished first. I lapped up her message of empowerment and confidence, promising myself that one day, I would follow in her footsteps and become a magazine editor in New York.
Charming, but Single
Before RL&A, I had several blogs. I started writing pre-teenage missives on Diaryland (which I was pleasantly surprised still exists! And it still looks the same as it did in 1998!). I then migrated to Livejournal before landing on WordPress where I am now. My Google Reader is still bursting with blogs I read for inspiration, but none had an impact like Charming, but Single, a dating blog written by an anonymous Southern twenty-something. It was the first blog I remember reading regularly and I, like so many others, was hooked on every word. Before Twitter, before Facebook, there was Charming to remind me that I wasn’t alone out there on the Internet. An unlucky-in-love girl who I could cry with, laugh with, and most of all, root for her happy ending. As readers, we never knew if Charming ended up with her prince. She abruptly stopped updating us way back in 2008, but we still wonder about her as evidenced by comments left as recently as last month on her last blog post. If anyone taught me about how to hook an audience with just your story, your personality, and more importantly, your honesty, it was her. Cheers, Charming.