I am maneuvering my way to becoming a published writer. Let me amend that: A paid, published writer. No, I don’t have a publishing contract or a literary agent, but I do have a self-imposed commitment to get it done. By tears, shedding of my blood, or losing my fingernails from typing too much, I will be a paid published writer.
I have been writing or dreaming about being a published, working author for most of my life but, as you know, life sometimes has an agenda of its own. While my wishes were to write every day and seek publication, my needs to eat, have a roof, buy shoes and, of course pay bills, were more pressing. Okay, the shoes weren’t so pressing, but damn it I love shoes.
I began writing as a preteen. Writing was an outlet for me to manifest my unreturned love of Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon. I didn’t get serious about my desire to write until I entered college and had an English professor who not only taught his students to become proficient in the craft of writing and critical thinking, but who asked us to write creatively.
My first story was pulled out of the air in hour, or as short a time as my 19-year-old self could spare. I wrote a weird moody, time-traveling suspense-like short story. My professor liked it. A lot. He proclaimed it the best story written in the class.
Something from that validation awoke in me the desire to focus on writing stories and books. I even, in a misguided attempt at pushing myself, tried my hand at writing poetry. I learned rather quickly that I suck at poetry. What seems like an easy splash of words put together in short passages is a torturous activity best left to brilliant people. That’s right, I’m saying I’m not that brilliant.
When I focus, I can write the hell out of fiction. That is where I am brilliant, that is where I excel, that . . .
. . .may not be true, because people have either not read my work or, after sending numerous query letters to agents and publishing houses, I have been rejected and thrown into an ugly abyss of doubt. An abyss so deep and dark that I got lost to the writer in me, and that is when life decided to kick my proverbial tush.
It was time to work on living my life. It was time to move to many different states. It was time to get married and it was time to work at my career. I walked off the path of dedicating my free time to writing and I worked in my not-so-free time. I didn’t have a second job, what I had was a single job in a constantly changing industry that consumed my life and began to consume me.
I worked and I read because I needed balance and balance for me was the mind-candy of books. I read many, many, many books by people who also had a dream to become published writers. As I watched authors who I was a fan of become more established and successful, I discovered new writers who went on to become established and successful while I wished and hoped and dreamed to have the time and the fearless to become a writer. What I came to realize is that there comes a moment in a person’s life, when you have to ask yourself,
“Self, is this really who you are?” and “Is this really how you want to live?”
Many times, we ignore the questions because these are hard questions to answer. Most of us have no idea what we really want to do with our lives or we know what we want to do but are too afraid of taking a chance and failing or we are afraid of what our family and friends will say. Peer and family pressure are immense hits to the psyche. Many people would say they don’t care what people think, but I believe that the percentage of people this statement is absolutely true for is very small.