Tuesday, February 25, 2014

That's More Like It

I can’t tell you exactly when I discovered writing.  All I can say for certainty is that I was in elementary school. I loved to read and I loved to tell stories to others as well. I was writing full length novels, not well of course, when I was in fifth grade. In my seventh grade English class, my teacher read one of my novels aloud each day to our class before she started lessons. I don’t remember exactly what the story was, but it had something to do with mermaids, which I’m a bit embarrassed to admit now.

My love of writing followed me to high school.  Naturally I did well in English and excelled in the creative writing units. Throughout high school, I wrote stories. I still have some of those stories packed in a box in my closet and some of them are so melodramatic I can’t help but laugh at what an angst filled teen I was.

I continued writing in college and even took a poetry class.  I’d intended to take a novel writing class but I never did. Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing. Just as I couldn’t tell you when I started to write, I have no idea when I stopped other than to say it was in my very early twenties. It was right around that time that I got married and started a family so I can only assume there wasn’t much time to write. I was busy being a wife and mother and working full time and still trying to finish my college education. Writing took a back seat to all of that.

One day, after a ten year hiatus, I suddenly had the urge to write again. It started with a simple sentence that popped into my head. I later discovered this was the line in the midway point of a story I was going to write. Strange place to start, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. With this sentence I was off and running and I mean running with a vengeance. My kids were older so I could afford to devote more time to writing.

Having rediscovered the joy of writing after ten years of it being dormant, I was determined to publish a novel. I made it my mission to find an agent and get my books into brick and mortar bookstores. E-books were still an innovation of the future at that point. The decision was an easy one to make but the journey was full of ups and downs, honestly more downs than ups.

After a series of disappointments that I’m sad to say spanned several years, I found myself falling out of love with writing again. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I’d discovered an online site that allowed me to upload stories for review. My initial stories were well received and slowly but surely I built a following that still exists today. Despite this success, I couldn’t let go of this rabid need I had to be published in what I called a mainstream venue.

Last week I talked about my rededication to writing.  In case you missed it, earlier in the year I decided I was going to take a different approach to my writing.  I was going to write what I wanted the way I wanted to write it for the fans who had embraced all I’d written so far.  I wasn’t going to write with the intent of pleasing an agent or a publisher or an editor.

I’m currently working on a story requested by those readers that keep me going and remind why I’m a writer and it’s going so well I’ve decided to make a four book series out of it. I’ve finished the first draft of the first and second books and am in the editing process for the first one. I’m excited for the day that I’ll be able to share the story with those who’ve been so supportive, but I’m also taking my time to make sure it’s done well. Just because I’m doing this my way doesn’t mean I’m not going to give readers the quality they deserve.

And speaking of doing things my way, I’m almost two full months into this new resolve and I can tell you it’s been the best two months of my literary life. I feel a renewed passion for my work. In fact, I no longer view it as work, though I call it work. Instead, it’s the escape I always pictured it being. Now, that’s more like it!

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