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March 1, 2011

Remember your first time? Close your eyes and take yourself back. I remember the sun on my face, my back pressed against the lounge chair, as my heart raced a bit faster in anticipation. Completely transfixed in the moment, and transported to a place of sensuality and drama and heat. Furiously pushing myself toward the end, toward the ultimate satisfaction, I finally reached it and slumped down in complete satisfaction, wrung out emotionally, physically, but happier than I have been a long time.

The End.

I had read my very first romance novel.

What did you think I meant?

I was thinking about firsts the other night. The first kiss. The first sexual experience. The first sexual experience going “all the way.” The first love. The first baby. The first heartbreak.

Firsts define who we are. Our journey is individual and unique, and someone else’s first will never be yours.  Sometimes, we rush through life and rarely catalogue what made us who we are. As a mother, I record all of my children’s firsts. First haircut. First tooth. First day I fed them baby food. First step. First day of school. Their journey gives me a fierce satisfaction that rivals nothing else. Concentrating on our children is both a pleasure and responsibility, but sometimes we get lost along the way.

Maybe it’s time to remember our own firsts.

Take a moment when you read this to think back on some of the moments that you experienced as your first time. For example, I remember my first kiss. I had dreamed about it for so long, fantasized how it would happen and how it would feel. The reality was a sloppy, saliva laden kiss by a boy I didn’t really like but felt like it was time I was kissed. On my mother’s faded floral couch in the basement. I felt nothing but a minor disgust. I panicked immediately, wondering if something was wrong with me, and told my best friend I wanted to move out of state because I hadn’t FELT like I thought I should.

So, expectations of firsts change us also. Thank goodness I finally met a boy who I actually cared about and the kiss was so much better. But the memory still makes me squirm.

The first time I got my book published I felt like something had completely transformed inside of me. I held the real book in my hand, glided my finger over the shiny cover, and stared at my name. I had arrived. I was published. I had changed my life. That week was like a wonderful dream. I floated through my days with a dreamy smile, feeling nothing would ever be the same. I wouldn’t give up that memory for all the world. Later, I realized I hadn’t sold many copies, and I still couldn’t sell my second book easily, and the happy satisfaction faded away while I focused on my next goal. But no one could take away the feel of a success well deserved for that little bit of time.

As writers, we build characters. When having trouble with a character, take a break and think about the hero or heroine’s first times. Sketch out a background of his/her first sexual experience, first kiss, first heartbreak, and first success. You’ll be surprised how much deeper you can go.

What about your firsts? Take a moment and share one with me – I’d love to hear your stories.

❤️ Leave a comment → 


  1. Wonderful, as always.

  2. Aren’t the first kisses always a disappointment. We bumped noses and his bled. The next time was better. Then he grew up and became a priest.

  3. Aimee Carson says:

    Awesome post, Jen!! I really like the idea of exploring all of these “firsts” for my characters. Interestingly enough, I don’t think I’ve every explored one of my character’s “first” successes.

    And kissing done well is melt-your-knees incredible. Done poorly, it’s just gross.

  4. Regina Richards says:

    Great post, Jen. It really made me think about how defining firsts (both positive and negative) have been in my life. I ‘d never considered doing that with my character studies. Great idea.

    • jennifer121 says:

      Thanks, Regina, so nice to see you here! I agree – both negative and postive factors have a large influence on people and should be thought of now and then.

  5. Carol says:

    I think ‘firsts’ are so rich with story. I once took a writing class where we were asked to write the first thing that came into our heads when we heard the words ‘the first time’. I wrote about the first time I saw a positive pregnancy test. Wow! I hope one day to know your joy on publishing your first book! Great post.

    • jennifer121 says:

      HI Carol, I am so glad you stopped by and I think that is a great exercise in a writing class. We forgot how our first experiences affect us and our growth. I know you will have the same experience one day with holding your book in your hand on on your kindle! Just never give up.

  6. Theresa says:

    Wow Jen you really had me going there for am minute your firsts huh? First kiss, hmm all I remember is we were kissing and I was like we should be doing this lol!! I even think when I am kissing scary but true!!!!! I am waiting which I know will HAPPEN sooner than later I go on line for you to sign a copy of your first novel and I can say yes that is my buddy Jen love you girl!!!

  7. Hi Jen!
    I’m late to the party. When your post first started I was imagining myself in the front seat of my car with….. But then I read the second paragraph. And, well, you know damn well what I thought you were talking about!!!

    Firsts are exhilarating! As we get older we experience fewer firsts, but they are no less exciting!

    • jennifer121 says:

      Wendy, you are never late to the party! Good, that is what I wanted you to imagine! And I agree, firsts are less frequent but just as exciting and appreciated when one comes!

  8. Lori Dyan says:

    I’m so happy we’ve found each other, Jen! I love the “firsts” idea…too many to mention (some good, some kinda sucky)…

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