Throughout the years of learning the craft, perfecting it, striving to be better than I thought I could possibly be, I never once thought of stopping. The idea of not writing again didn’t seem possible.
Never giving up, I finished a book of poetry and short stories. It wasn’t very good, but I had a book in hand proving to myself that I did it.
That was the beginning, the raw, ugly beginning of the realization of the long hard road ahead, one filled with discouragement, lack of support from family, loved ones, and friends. Added to that was the realization that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did it anyway.
Determined, I wrote another book, a novel. It was a monster at 147,000 words. I was ready to sign a contract.
Again, that long hard, and lonely road loomed up ahead appearing as a winding mountain road with sharp cliffs without guardrails to stop a descent, or fall. I refused to quit. I begged, I pleaded for someone to read what I had created.
Finally, my oldest son (husband, father, and aeronautical engineer) read the first few pages, (I think just to shut me up). His remarks were my first genuine, caring critique, “Mom, I really don’t like reading Shakespeare.”
Rather than feeling discouraged, saddened, or angry, I rejoiced.
I read the manuscript again as if for the first time. That was another beginning, a new road called, “Editor.” Years of practice on that book proved to be one of the biggest lessons of my life in rewrites, copy-editing, editing, proofing, and it is still my practice work. (Howbeit, it is now growing towards a four-book series even though the first manuscript has been reduced to 123,000 words and shrinking).
Then, I followed an agent’s blogspot gleaning all I could in learning how to write query letters, synopsis, rewrite the first page until it no longer was my first page. I read about fiery hoops, agents, expectations, and writer’s groups of all kinds – support, critique, and social media groups.
Then…I wrote a novel. It was full of woe-is-me, but it was a healing from domestic violence, abuse and childhood nightmares caused from abuse. It has not been released anywhere, yet.
Reading blogs, books on writing, and endless lists of how to become a successful writer from every author, agent, editor, or wise guru of the craft, I almost forgot.
Then…I wrote another novel, free from me - free of who I was, or who I might be tomorrow. Making the decision to self-publish, I released it on Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle.
Another bumpy road, Marketing. If I had to describe what this road was like, it would be much like the off-road adventures of a blogger from Queensland, Australia.
Time and thoughts became absorbed with selling, getting it in readers hands. I read about selling to a targeted audience, not just anyone who was willing to read it. I also read about how to write with the targeted audience in mind while writing the next novel.
Then, I read a quote from JK Rowling. She said she wrote what she wanted to write without concern about the target audience. I write what I want to write - it felt good to finally see that someone else did, too.
Tonight, while watching a movie on Hulu.com (I have no television), I remembered a poem in my very first book in print. It was purposefully located as the first poem because it summed up why I write, what I hoped to accomplish from writing. It is now on my homepage of my website to help me remember what it is all about..
All the support groups where writers feel a need to be accepted, read, critiqued, encouraged, are all great for those who need that to continue. I don’t.
Writing is a lonely endeavor. It is not for the weak, the needy of heart, or for the money or fame. I don’t have to write, but I do. I don’t feel empty inside if I don’t write, but I rejoice when I do. I rejoice in the story as I discover what will happen next. I rejoice in my characters as I get to know them better like friends. I enjoy writing, but I rejoice when someone reads what I write and expresses how it affected them.
As I Write
If I write about the insanity of life
Then I may intrigue you
If I write about the passions in life
Then I may move you
If I write about the joy in life
Then I might lighten your load
If I write about the truth in life
Then I may cause you to think
If I write about the pain life gives
Then I may touch your compassion
If I write about the love in life
Then I may reach your heart
If I write about the beauty we share
Then we can connect with peace
If my writings never touch you at all
Then I have failed