When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to be a writer. My mother still has the “books” I wrote in kindergarten. They’re nothing more than lined pages folded over with illustrated construction paper covers, but I was always proud of those stories. One in particular involved a girl named Kathrene who bought a free puppy for .05 cents. A free puppy for .05 cents? What a deal! Obviously I was in need of an editor, as any five-year old author would be, but that puppy story was a work of fiction and creative license says anything goes.

In fact, I think the name of that book was A Puppy Story. I’m telling you, sometimes the creativity just oozes out of me.

It hasn’t been lately, though, and I’m hoping to fix that. The good thing is that I get to be around a lot of writers, or writer-types. Some of my co-workers are writers (which isn’t unheard of in a library).  A couple of my museum volunteer friends have written books. And I joined a writers’ group back in January, a collection of historians and fantasy world creators and novelists gunning for a spot in the competitive world of Young Adult fiction. One of our members just won a national award for an article he wrote that was featured in Oklahoma Living.

Writing is not easy for me. I don’t know if it’s my lack of an attention span or my interest in so many things that makes narrowing down a topic so difficult…and then sticking to it. Even my own inability to not make a plan gets in the way – how can I justify spending all those immeasurable hours ignoring the world, my family, my responsibilities, just so I can write something that might turn into nothing? All of these are part of the problem.

But nothing is still something.

I was sharing some of my frustrations with my co-workers this afternoon, mainly about my poor timing. It seems I have a habit of developing an idea and putting it down on paper (virtual paper, these days) just before learning that a similar, if not exact, story has already been written. This has happened enough times that I honestly wish Jodi Picoult and Claire North would just slip into a short-term coma or something, long enough for me to get ahead of them for once.

My co-workers, though, being the friendly and supportive bunch that they are, simply reminded me, “Their version of the story has been written. You just haven’t written your version of it yet!”

Sound advice! I think I’ll be working on my version from now on…

Edited to add: WordPress thoughtfully suggested I use “free puppy” as a tag for this post. Psssh, why not?