Jodi L. Milner has been a member of our Wednesday Writers’ Whatchamacallit group for about a year and a half. During this time, it has been so much fun getting to know her and celebrating with her as she has published her first book, developed several amazing presentations and grown in her confidence as an author and speaker. She loves her family, is incredibly smart and has such a great sense of humor. I am so glad she’s a part of our community, and I can’t wait to see what her future holds.
I always encourage writers to really become aware of and connect with their bigger reason for writing. Jodi and I recently had a conversation about this, and what she had to say was so good, I wanted you to hear it too. So, I asked her if she would please write an article for my blog, and she generously agreed. Please keep reading to get a sneak peek into the heart of this amazing author.
The Little Writer that Could
By Jodi L. Milner
My childhood home was situated two houses away from the base of one of the mountains in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. One of my mom’s favorite stories to share about me is when, at the short-legged age of four, I insisted on climbing the mountain with my much older cousins. Gravity doesn’t favor the short-legged, but, by tootin’, I was determined to make it. When things got tough, I kept telling myself, “I think I can, I think I can!” just like the little engine that could. And I did.
Mom never shares the part of the story where I essentially rolled down the steep slopes of the mountain all the way back. Again, curse you gravity, thou art a cold-hearted wench. In the end, it was success due to my grit that made it a good story.
There is nothing quite like seeing someone accomplish something amazing. It’s why we watch the Olympics, it’s why we love sporting events, it’s why we crave success stories. When we share the experience of someone else’s success, it lights up all the little parts of our brains associated with happiness and well-being. It literally makes us happy when we see someone succeed.
As a writer, and an avid reader, I noticed that even now in our fairly enlightened age of equality, there is still a tendency in books and movies for the boys to have all the fun and find success despite overwhelming odds and for girls to get used as furniture. They’re there, they’re pretty, they have a singular straight forward function, and in far too many stories, they need to be rescued.
What’s worse, I was guilty of writing the same trope too.
When I was under contract for my first book and working with my fabulous content editor, she flat out told me my main female character was acting like furniture and all the important actions went to the lead male character, her father.
Even with my best efforts to create a strong female character, I gravitated to the message I’d been flooded with my whole life, starting from my very conservative family and plastered on everything from the covers of grocery store magazines to commercials for everything from cars to beer. By following these ingrained subconscious messages, I inadvertently made poor Katira no better than furniture being carted around in the story.
I was horrified.
From that moment, I wanted to do my part to change the narrative. I rewrote Katira into a girl who needed to overcome her fears and show true strength and grit to save her family. Currently, I’m writing the two sequels and working hard to help Katira continue to grow into the hero she needs to be to turn the tables on the villain, Wrothe. Trust me, it’s going to be spectacular.
It wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more. On Instagram I started a series of empowering tips specifically written for teen girls that have everything to do with building self-esteem, health, and better friendships (Curious? Search for #stronggirltips). On my blog I feature an amazing woman from history once a month. Last month we learned about Ada Lovelace, the first person to envision and document the concepts behind modern computer programming.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to change the world for my daughter. So many amazing women have already drawn their lines in the sand, refusing to be reduced to furniture, and making a difference in their homes, their communities, and the world. I’m proud to be a writer and join my line with theirs until together we create an unbreakable, unmistakable highway of opportunity, success, and empowerment for the next generation of women.
For anyone who needs to hear it, “I think you can!”
Jodi L. Milner is the author of the YA noble dark fantasy Stonebearer’s Betrayal as well as several short stories appearing in numerous anthologies and SQ Magazine. She’s a firm believer that life is what you make it, and she intends to make it a good one.
An avid student of the interesting and obscure, Jodi has an unhealthy fascination with medical science which led to her working professionally in both human and animal medicine. These days she raises a pair of cranky chickens and is interested in taking up exotic animal rescue, much to her husband’s horror. She makes her home in the mountains of Utah.
Connect with Jodi
Visit her website at jodilmilner.com
Follow her on
Buy her book: Stonebearer’s Betrayal