'On March 6th, 1988, I started writing a book. A novel,' the author writes.

By Eric Renner Brown
March 07, 2016 at 02:12 PM EST
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Author Diana Gabaldon shared a heartfelt Facebook post early Monday commemorating the anniversary of when she started writing her acclaimed Outlander series. “Today (March 6th, I mean) was sort of my personal New Year,” Gabaldon wrote. “On March 6th, 1988, I started writing a book. A novel.”

Gabaldon provided some background information about her experience in academia — before becoming an author she earned a doctorate in quantitative behavioral ecology and taught at Arizona State University — and explained how it informed what she did next.

“You don’t get to that point without learning how to write, but writing fiction is a little different than writing grant proposals, scholarly papers, text books, tutorials, quizzes, and all the guff that an academic career entails,” she wrote. “At the same time… writing _is_ writing. Concision, clarity and elegance are as desirable in the most literary of fiction — and the nuts and bolts of good writing are just that: basic and essential.”

But, according to Gabaldon’s note, she didn’t intend to share the novel that became Outlander with anyone else. “This was for practice,” she wrote. “I didn’t plant to tell anyone what I was doing. This was just for me to learn how.” Just over three years later, Gabaldon published Outlander‘s first installment in 1991. “This wee message is a note of thank for all of you who’ve accompanied me on this long, strange trip for the last 28 years,” the author concluded.

Outlander paved the way for more novels and a hit television series on Starz — which appeared on EW’s cover in February. “It attracted a lot more attention to me and the books, which resulted in enormous amounts of travel,” Gabaldon said when EW asked her how the TV adaptation changed her life. “And it does, in fact, cut down my productivity considerably, so that’s why I decided this year I’m just not going anywhere.”

Read Gabaldon’s full Facebook post below.

Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time-travel novels come to life in Starz's series.
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