The most embarrassing thing I ever wrote

Jane Kolven

On developing talent in the pre-internet era

A recent conversation with a writer friend reminded me that before Twitter and WordPress and Facebook and direct emails, before I got sucked into the world of branding and cultivating an audience of readers and understanding market trends, I was a lonely kid who sat in her bedroom writing stories on the back of old office memos from my mom’s work.

I wrote short stories and novels. I designed covers for my books. I reimagined them as movie trailers with Don LaFontaine narrating (although I didn’t know his name and didn’t know “book trailers” were a thing). I created series and drew maps of the neighborhoods my characters inhabited. And – this was my favorite thing ever – I drew blueprints of the houses my characters lived in.

I might have done more ancillary work than actual prose writing, now that I think…

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2 thoughts on “The most embarrassing thing I ever wrote

  1. You know what? I think all writers are pretentious, or at least they certainly start out that way. When I was 6 years old, I decided I was going to be another Dr. Seuss, and I actually had planned out an interior corner of our household where I’d keep copies of the books of mine that Random House would eventually publish.

    Chuck Jones, the inventive cartoon director, once said that each cartoonist has 10,000 bad cartoons to get out of his systems before his career progresses. Who’s to say it’s isn’t the same for every author and 10,000 bad words?

    1. I love the 10,000 bad words idea! And to pretentiousness: my dream in high school was to publish a book that ended up on my English class reading list. I didn’t make that goal, obviously. Thanks for reading!

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