I started down this road 2+ years ago. I had something to say and I wanted to say it in an entertaining way. That was it. That was what started all this.
I let the tickle of a story outweigh my insecurities. That was an amazing feat for me.
I learned to get up early and write no matter what. Even if it felt like what was streaming on the screen was total word salad.
And get up the next morning and do it again. No editing, no rewriting yesterday’s junk, just moving forward.
I dove into building out a gritty, gutsy female hero. It was slow work.
I got my head around plotting. Or rather, I learned how to move paragraphs and chapters to make some semblance of a plot, then move on to the next paragraph and the next chapter.
I remember the day when I looked at the screen and realized I had enough of a story–a beginning, a middle, and an end–to be a goddamned novel. Staring, I was mute. The exhilaration of that realization was like no other I’ve ever experienced. It had miles to go before it could rest, but a novel was staring back at me.
As of this week, I’m three novels and a short story later. For many aspiring writers, that’s an incredible benchmark. For me, that’s a mind-boggling achievement. Three. Novels. Holy Crap! Who knew I had so much to say? (Joe, for one. Grin.)
I haven’t done this alone. I have a virtual team of inspirational, loving, smart people that keep me on track. They read drafts. They send emails of support. I’ve also got a tough-as-nails editor who doesn’t let me hide. This team write reviews. They talk about me on Goodreads. They bloody retweet or share my shit on social media–hello, follow me on Facebook or Twitter. And to anyone who thinks that last sentence is a throw away, step into a solo captain’s shoes and we’ll tell you–that stuff weighs HUGE in our efforts to build an audience.
This has been an amazing journey of discovery. For every 5 star review, for every fan who likes my voice, I have read the critical ones too: I’m too light on character, I’m too simplistic with my writing, or I’m too complex in my plotting. Get it. Hear that. Feedback is an incredible alchemic mix of support and criticism. All things to be considered. All choices a writer has to make. Many times, there is no right or wrong answer. You close your eyes and jump.
I’ve learned to be ok with my choices.