Sunday, November 30, 2008

To be a Writer

I am not a professional writer...yet. I write, because the stories in my head won't leave me alone, because I think they might drive me mad if I don't let them out. I write because at 35 years of age I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, should that ever happen.
Like most of us who write, I dream of publication. I too, long for the day I hold that glossy, perfect bound volume in my hot little hands, that volume with the atrocious cover art but MY name in sort of small print at the bottom. Then I shall lift it on high as shout, Whoopie, look what I did! Hey, it's my dream. Did I mention I also want to get paid? It's a small detail, and a percentage of writers will sneer at it. I know, I know, the art and all, creation for it's own reward, purity, yeah yeah yeah. Here's the deal. I like money. Money buys important things, like chocolate, and wine. Money is good.

I think I've always entertained the idea of being a writer. In my ambitious youth, I figured I could paint and write, then illustrate my own books and buy a lot of land with a small cabin in the middle. Not that ambitious, I guess, but it sounded good at the time. Little did I know, well.. Let's just say "Little did I know" and leave it at that.

When the time came to choose a college major, I naturally fell to Art for the stability and complete guarantee of income. Or something like that. I painted, I weaved, I adopted an angst ridden expression and bought a beret. (not really) Six years and too many loans later, I had my BA in "interdisciplinary visual art" which means I didn't really stick to one medium long enough for a BFA. Still, it's a degree, right?

Another few years later, I had become a retail manager. (wait, what?) I'm good at retail, I'm mediocre at management, but damn can I put up a good front, and it turns out I'm really good at getting promoted. In fact, I have a hard time not.
This Sucks.

This is about the time the epiphany hit and the voices in my head started screaming, "you want to be an author you DOLT" Nice. Well, at least I know.
I got married, had a child... or two, and thought to myself: "Maybe I should write something."
aha!
The first novel took about five years. Disastrous. I'm fired. The second took one month. Whoa! Wait a minute. I have to confess the second novel was done during NaNoWriMo (National Noveling Month and subject of a future post) It was insane, but... let the floodgates open!

So here we are, I haven't stopped writing since. I now have three novels in various states of editing and needing to be edited. I have a finished novella, a novellette, a dozen short stories. I belong to a writer's group--the most supportive and inspiration group of women I know. And I am still not published. I write Speculative fiction. Because I read it, and love it, and there is where I am happy. I can't help the romance, it's not my fault.

I have dipped toes into the world of submitting, markets and agents and queries. (Oh hell) I'm collecting rejections. (not as much fun as it sounds) and I am doing research into the crazy world of making books. I'm making tons of mistakes and learning amazing things about how retarded I am. Sound like fun?

Well, have a seat. This is my plan: I'll take all the falls and you learn from my horrible embarrassment. Deal? Okay, how about if I just share what I learn, talk about the journey, and maybe something will turn out helpful.
Cheers! (pass the chocolate)

Frances

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