I started by taking a creative writing class through my local community education department. We met once per week and shared our writing, giving each other tips and suggestions on how we could improve our writing and our stories. I wrote a short story for small children, read it to the class, and everyone liked it. It was fun, exciting, and it felt good to know that I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a cute story. I put the story away and pretty much forgot all about it. After all, I had two boys to raise, laundry to do, a house to clean, and I decided I had to be the PTA President at my sons’ school for two years.
My boys are still children, but at almost eleven years old and twelve years, they have become so darn self-sufficient, they rarely really need me anymore. I make lunches, occasionally help with homework (as long as it’s not math), still do their laundry, and give all the hugs and kisses they will possibly allow me to give. But they like their alone time. They enjoy sleepovers and spending time with friends. My twelve-year-old just told me that he no longer wants me to come up to his room at night and fall asleep in his bed. He says it’s “totally OK” if we snuggle and hug, but no more sleeping in the same bed. It’s just “weird.” Got it.
One day I decided I was going to dig up that old story I had written and work on it a bit more. I joined an online writing/critiquing group, and began rewriting my little story. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to start writing, and he gave me the best idea for a book I could ever imagine. I quickly began writing, and writing, and writing. What started out as a small picture book for younger children turned into a bigger chapter book for slightly older kids. I accidentally found a great editor who expressed interest in helping me edit and hopefully sell the book. Thus my writing career began. My editor is also an agent and movie producer, so I truly got lucky and am hoping I can impress him with my words.
At the beginning of this adventure, I thought, “How hard can it be; writing a book for children?” Holy heck, it’s a lot harder than I imagined. Did you know you can’t just pull out a computer and write a book in one sitting? Did you know it’s nearly impossible to write a book without doing a proper outline first? Did you know that your chapter book needs to be filled with conflict, excitement, struggle, feelings, emotion, and risk, and that the story needs to be told in the fewest words possible? It cannot be boring. It cannot be “regular”, and in order to get the thing published, it has to be much better than EVERYONE else’s books. And by everyone, I mean even the authors who have been writing books for decades. The competition is fierce.
As I write more, I find out more. I learn more, and I grow. Many times I have shut down my laptop and thought to myself, “What in the heck am I doing? I’ve clearly bitten off more than I can chew.” But then I remember these things:
-Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
-If you work hard and you truly believe in yourself, anything is possible. I mean, I tell my children this just about every day, so it has to be true.
-I’ve been through my father’s suicide, divorce, graduated from college (no small task for someone with ADD and dyscalculia). Surely I can write a couple damn books, right?
I decided that I needed to stop being a big, fat, baby and just put myself out there. I started this blog and declared myself an “author”. I do realize that is a stretch, since the only things I’ve really ever had published are small stories or snippets, really, and no one even knows about them or even where they are located these days. Honestly, I don’t even think I can find them. It’s been several years ago, and quite honestly, my writing wasn’t all that impressive.
However, I knew that if I built a website, started a blog, and told everyone I was writing books, I would have no choice. I would have to do it. I wasn’t about to look like an idiot telling people I was an author and then not following through.
I have so many wonderful friends and family members who have “liked” my web site and author page. I have new followers on Twitter (six months ago I didn’t even know what Twitter was), and even my kids like my books thus far (trust me, sometimes they are my harshest critics!). I couldn’t be more honored and humbled by the support I’ve received from everyone. I feel blessed and certainly lucky. It’s amazing that there are people out there, some I haven’t even seen or spoken to since high school, who are behind me one hundred percent, who send me little notes or messages of encouragement, and who are genuinely happy to wish me success. What good people they are! I hope they all know how much their support means to me and how it is driving me to become better.
So here I am, with what I think is a great idea for a children’s chapter book, two short picture books already written and waiting in the wings, an editor who is just about three thousand times smarter than I am, and a red hot desire to start this brand new career. Can I really do this? I think I can. No, wait, I know I can.
I’m going to keep writing and learning. I joined an online critique group, and now I’m a member of a creative writing group that meets the first Wednesday of every month. I’m excited and ready. I’m terrified and doubtful, at times, but my desire to succeed is bigger than my worries.
A huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who has been reading my blog and are awaiting the publication of my first book. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen.
Let the party begin....