Please forgive this “duh” moment in my life. This guest spot posted, much to my surprise. . .
I thought I’d clicked SAVE and not PUBLISH! Apologies to Traci who so kindly provided this guest blog about her journey as a writer.
Writing for success…what is success? Each writer needs to define this for themselves. Success for one of my friends is cold, hard cash. For another, it was security and a savings account – another one wanted the personal fulfillment of reaching a dream. As individuals, we are motivated by different things, so it makes sense that our idea of reaching the ‘aha’ moment is as varied as my hair color – which ranges from natural gray to Clairol number 6.
One of the questions I have a hard time answering is, “How long have you been writing?” because kindergarten sounds so boring. Boring or not, it’s the truth. I’ve always loved writing and reading and rhyming and making magic out of ordinary language. But the moment I knew that I wanted to tell stories outside of my world – which consisted of me and my baby brother – was when I realized that I could draw other people into my story – I scared my cousins so badly that they all still remember our camp outs and my haunted pirate stories.
My secret dream was to write great stories– and my secret wish is to make a living at it. I grew up with a single mom, and I know how hard she had to work to pay the bills. Writing, like my dad’s music, was for ‘later’ – a nice hobby while you went to work and paid the mortgage. I plastered duct tape over my writing dream and I became a florist – and a receptionist – a wife, a mom, a florist again – then I owned my own daycare. I read to my kids. I saw what stories made my kids’ eyes light up with excitement. Selfishly, I wanted to be the one who told stories good enough to earn that shine – Taily-po – by Joanna Galdone – always got the best reaction.
My dream wanted to be let loose. I’d always written short novellas or poetry, but I started focusing on children’s stories. I sent my work in to magazines, and I got published. Hob Nob magazine isn’t around anymore, but I won a People’s Choice certificate that I still have hanging in my office.
Instead of spurring me on, winning terrified me. Writing was not putting money in the bank. There was no sure thing with writing…I could write forever and never earn a dime.
But what if?
I decided to take writing classes at the community college – nothing too serious, but it kept me around other people who had stories to tell. I wondered if I was any good. I bought the Writer’s Digest and devoured how-to books. Turns out that my teacher was a literary artist…she didn’t exactly like my stories, which were unapologetically genre fiction. And at the end of the classes, I didn’t feel like I was any closer to being a real writer.
I stuffed my dream back in the closet and concentrated on taking care of my kids and working at the school district as a paraprofessional (teacher’s aide, lol), and I wrote short romances. With ghosts.
They started stacking up and I didn’t know what to do with them, so I tackled a full length romance novel. It sucked, don’t get me wrong – I was clearly not on the road to overnight success with the way I kept sabotaging myself – but I finished it.
By the time we’d moved to Florida I was on my third romance and my husband told me to start taking myself seriously. To write and follow my dream and stop giving excuses as to why I wasn’t doing it. Neither one of us was going to drive a Ferrari, but we weren’t going to starve, either.
It was a leap of faith that scared me to my toes.
I joined Florida Romance Writers. I went to conferences. I followed poor Nancy Cohen around at each monthly meeting, lol, just wanting to absorb everything she knew.
I was with writers.
I was a writer!
I let my dream out and went for it – and I’ve never regretted it. My road to ‘success’ has been far from smooth, but I’ve hit my mark. My first ebook came out in April – a Young Adult titled Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways, and my first print book is available now at any store – and Amazon.com, of course! Love’s Magic is the first in a series about a family that can trace their origins back to Boadicea in first century A.D.
I have two more young adult books in the works, and two more in the paranormal romance series scheduled for 2009 and 2010. I have a non-fiction book, Adoption Is Forever, co-authored with Rhonda Pollero, coming out in March 2009.
I feel pretty successful – for me, success is reader feed back – so far, so good. ☺
Now to work on the ‘making money’ part…lol.
TRACI’S BLOG: WRITER’S BLOCK