As this is my first post; I figure it is only befitting to talk about how I became a writer.
Over the last couple years, I have been asked many times what age I was when I started writing. I have gotten some mighty strange looks when they hear my answer. I believe they expect me to say something along the lines of, “since I was a child”. I suppose if you consider homework, occasional journal entries and the random scribbling of a child; then yes, I have been a writer since I was about three. But, reading was always my truest passion.
I started with picture books, and then moved onto YA thrillers. When I was eleven, I picked up my first full-length novel and never looked back. I was the type of girl that always carried a book around in my purse, book bag or pocket (if it was big enough). Yes, I did get ‘A Lot’ of questioning stares, but I couldn’t help myself. At any free moment I would crack it open just to read a few more sentences.
In middle school I found that I enjoyed writing book reports and essays. While a chorus of complaints could be heard from most of the other students, I secretly got a thrill, and could never understand why they did not enjoy it as much as I did.
All of the stories I read began to show me that there were endless possibilities of how to build a story, and it sparked my imagination to begin churning out my own—mostly outrageous—ideas. I would sit for days or weeks chewing over how the scene was set up, or going over how each character would speak or react if I changed even the smallest detail.
I did try many, many times to write down some of the stories that I created in my head, but I would quickly lose patience after only the first hundred or so words. It was such a chore to focus on describing what I saw in my mind. It was so much easier to just put the paper away, close my eyes and jump back into my head to enjoy the story there instead of fighting to describe it so that another person could enjoy it.
It took me quite awhile before I had enough patience to sit down and finally write my first story. Twenty-five years to be precise. I was woken up from a scary dream, which should have scared me—but it didn’t! Instead, I felt inspired by the antagonist (bad guy), and I knew that I could spin the scene into a great story.
When I told two people in my family about the dream and the desire to write it, they both asked the same thing.
“So, why don’t you?”
Those four little words changed everything. There was no reason not to try to write it. If anything, I felt so sure of how great the story could be, that I could barely think of anything else. I quickly jotted down a few notes about the dream, so I could reference them later, and then set out to choose character names, and brief summary of their background.
I did not have much to go on, but I took a deep breath, opened my laptop and began typing—and continued typing with complete abandon to any writing or plot rules—other than what I decided was realistic for that specific world. I kept typing from daylight into the late hours of the night. Two weeks later, I wrote the last sentence of that story and hit save for the last time.
I cannot explain the level of excitement I felt, as I scrolled my mouse up and down, soaking up my amazement of how many words (112,404 to be exact) are in that document.
My first thought was—so, what do I need to do to get it published?
After some research I quickly realized how much work went into getting a manuscript ready for the eyes of agents and publishers. I knew right away that I still had a lot to learn before I was ready to submit my work. (Just to give you an idea of how little I knew when I started: when I wrote that story, I did not even separate my sentences into paragraphs. To date; I am still overwhelmed when I think of editing that novel.)
Instead of stressing about the novel, I began to look for as much information on writing and publishing, and waited for the next story idea to strike. Luckily, it was only a few weeks later and I was writing my second novel.
Since that time, I have written a few more full-length novels—a few of which are apart of a series. I find lately that it is a bit difficult to work on those large projects distraction-free, with young children.
Though there are plenty of benefits from the traditional route—I decided early on that I preferred the idea of self-publishing most of my stories. If nothing else I would have a deep understanding of how the industry works. I spend hours upon hours every week scouring the internet, books, talking to other professionals in the industry, attending workshops, conferences and webinars—anything to learn new techniques—every single chance I get. (I am a big believer in always challenge myself to move forward and learn new skills.)
I have worked hard to teach myself how to take good photos and edit them, create book covers, set up an entire book from front cover to back, write press releases, setting up a website, writing short-stories (which is remarkably difficult if your consistently writing 50,000+ words), and much more. Right now, I am in the process of teaching myself how to properly use blogging and social media to build an author platform.
This whole process has taken a lot of dedication and has turned out to be quite an amazing adventure. I feel so blessed to be able to pursue a career that impacted me so much as a young child. I cannot wait to see where this journey will lead me, and who I will meet along the way.
Now, I will turn the stage to you.Do you have any idea’s for a book or story that just keeps tugging at you? Is there something you keep contemplating doing, and your wondering if it is worth your time and energy—I just have one question for you:
“So, why don’t you?”
Please write any questions or comments in the box below. I look forward to hearing from you!