I’m always curious about how other people began their career, or attempted career, in writing. Mine isn’t all that interesting to anyone but myself…but I suppose that would be true for most people. For as far back as I can remember I’ve always loved reading. I don’t remember when exactly it happened, my youth is foggy these days, but I do remember after reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time I realized I wanted to write something that, maybe, other people would enjoy.
And so it began. I don’t think I put much effort into writing until I was a freshman in High School. I submitted a story for a school contest, only got an “Honorable Mention”, but hey, it was something. Shortly after I began to read even more diligently as I realized my writing definitely needed some work.
Fast forward to my mid-twenties (because many factors caused me to step away from the dream of writing), and there I am sitting in my favorite chair one day and this idea for a story just kept running through my head and refused to be silenced. (Keep in mind that while I absolutely LOVE the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, I read pretty much anything I can get my hands on…even if it’s horrible.) So my first attempt at writing was in the Mystery/Thriller/Suspense genre. Anniversaries was born. It took me months to write it, long hand mind you, but I was so excited the whole time I couldn’t stop. We’re talking two 5-subject notebooks filled with story, backstory, notes, etc. Finally I get a pc and transfer it all to the computer. I can’t explain to you the level of joy I had when I was doing that.
About a year later I decided to submit queries and see if I could get it published. No dice, obviously. I found out a lot of information in that time, and it really opened my eyes to how difficult it can be to have a book published. Then one day I get an answer saying that someone wants to publish my work. Ho-ly crap, NO WAY! After I did a little research I found out that it was possibly the worst way to have your work published and knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Enter the fabulous web site, Absolute Write and their outstanding forum. Truly, anyone wishing to be an author should at the very least browse this site for the mass amounts of information they have there. What I found when I went there was a ton of writers that have been published, some that haven’t, but from my experience all were willing to help fledglings on their way. Fantastic if you ask me. I browsed and I studied and I tried to make myself a better writer based on advice from the people there. Finally, I got up the nerve to submit some of my first book for critique. For the record, regardless of how good I thought my book was, I knew it needed work and I was prepared for some really nasty comments, suggestions, etc. Not all were nasty, but all were truthful. I needed to work on my technique, more than I realized actually. (I had, and still have, a problem with “show don’t tell” and it was very evident from my first attempt at writing.) Taking all the advice I was given, I went back to Anniversaries and revamped my story.
After a while I couldn’t do it anymore, it just wasn’t working. So I put it away and started working on the sequel to that book…but that wasn’t working for me either. Oh no, what now? Ok, let’s look at other genres I’ve enjoyed reading all my life because maybe M/T/S just isn’t for me. Turns out that was THE BEST idea I’ve ever had. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, that’s my thing. Love to read about, love to write about it, and found out that I enjoyed this genre more than M/T/S. Awesome!
A few months down the road I have three or four different works going at once and am having the best time at it. Still reading up on other writers and helpful information. Then I had to take a break for a while, from some things anyway, and focus on other aspects of life. Real life sucks sometimes, these things happen. In that time I continued writing a little, jotting ideas down, bits of dialogue, anything to keep the dream alive.
And here I am back at it again. This time with a better idea of what I need to do and how I need to do it, but by no means thinking that I don’t need to learn more. I know I do, we always have room to learn I think. Anniversaries is once again in revisions, but still being submitted to publishers. But my Sci-Fi/Fantasy work is what I enjoy the most. I don’t know the number of stories I have finished or are in the works for this genre at this time, but I now only allow myself to work on one or two at a time so as not to burn myself out.
Maybe one day I will be able to walk into a bookstore or library and see my name on the shelves, maybe not. Either way I don’t care really. I do what I love and I love what I do. It’s as simple as that.