This is going to have to be short. Tiny dictator seems to be going through some sort of growth spurt (Yes, rumors are true, I've become one of those photo happy mamas. If you would like to see her in the awesome x-mas outfit that our own Lisa Pulliam sent her, just click here, and if you missed the November RWA meeting, here she is in her going-to-RWA meeting outfit), and I've got back to back meetings in preparation for teaching next semester. AND . . . it's my 29th birthday.
Ye gods! When did I get to be 29? My mother and I were talking last night, and she said that it took her a very long time to realize that she wasn't 38 anymore. In her mind, she'll always be 38 and the mother of three school age children. This is the age she seems to identify with most, and her writing tends to reflect that. In my mind, I think I'll always be around 18--researching colleges, starting college, being away from home for the first time, falling in love with the totality only an 18 year old can demonstrate. In fact, if I'm honest, sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm not the babysitter or the nanny anymore--this is MY kid. I'm the MAMA. And even though it may feel like I'm a teen mother, I'm actually on the old side for having my first kid.
When did I get old? I think my "mental age" drives me to write YA. It's reflected in my voice, and it's why I struggle with writing characters in their 30's and 40's (I seem to have no problem with older people, surprisingly). I suppose I'd better get better at that in hurry--seeing as how I'm going to be in my 30's next year. Jesus Jumping Jellybeans, I never pictured 30. I was always thinking ahead to the next stage of my life--high school, then college, then graduate school, then work, then . . . I'm still not sure how to define this next stage in my life. I've got a year left in my twenties. What do I want to accomplish by 30? What's realistic?
A few years ago, I thought I'd be a failure with a capital F if I wasn't published by 30. But, that doesn't sting the way I thought it would. I know the drive will come back--I can feel it creeping in with every night of better sleep. (And yes, Eli, I mailed that request off!) However, right now, my main focus seems to be less on major life goals and more on enjoying each day. For someone who's spent her whole life living in the future, that's a major accomplishment. Living in the moment by 30? Check, check, check.
So, I'm curious. What age are YOU mentally? 18? 25? 40? 60? Is this reflected in your writing? Has this changed over time? And, where were you in your writing journey at 29? Was 30 a turning point for you or did that come later (or earlier)?