Archive for December 4th, 2008

December Sell-A-Bration Day #4: Shorter Can Be Better

By Janine Boldrin

The first book I ever published was called “Why Lakes Freeze” and my third grade teacher said it was certain to be a hit. The book was self-published on card stock and typing paper and put together with paper clips. It was “quite a hit” with the third grade set but, alas, the book had only one printing.

Recently, my mother set out “Why Lakes Freeze” on a table at my baby shower to show off my writing “success.” And on that day next to my third grade novel sat another book. This one was not bound by paper clips. It was called Household Baggage Handlers (May 2008) and it was the first book that published my short stories. Three of them were included in the anthology.

In October 2007, I took Christina’s class (Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff) and, around the same time, I had made the transition from writing fiction to attempting non-fiction. I was now a stay-at-home mom but my desire to be a writer never waned from my days in elementary school through a misguided career in business. My hope was to start small with nonfiction and see if I could be “successful” where I hadn’t been with fiction writing. Christina’s class was a part of my new beginning.

In no time at all, I found that the “short stuff” worked for me. I wrote about the things I knew best, my own life, which came easier than when I had to make stuff up for fiction pieces. In 2008, my work was published in three different anthologies with a fourth appearing in 2009, and I started writing a column about military spouse life in a local newspaper. I don’t get paid much for my work, but I hope to change that as I start working on the bigger “short stuff”.

I still dream of writing fiction one day. Hey, I worked hard at writing four (yes, you read right) novels so it would be nice to see one in print; however, I’m not sure if that part of my dream just needs to be put away.

I have a new love. And it’s called creative non-fiction. I’m excited to see where our relationship is going to take us because I am certainly proud of where we have been already.

My short stories appear in Household Baggage Handlers (May 2008), A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors (October 2008), A Cup of Comfort for Military Families (November 2008) and A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (2009). My column, “A Spouse’s Point of View,” can be found in West Point’s newspaper the Pointer View, the first week of the month. Visit me at my new website: www.janineboldrin.com.


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