Friday, November 06, 2009

On Being a Writer

Since this week I am all about waiting to hear from my publisher, my agent (and tearing my hair out while I do) and waiting for my royalties to come in the mail, I thought I'd spend a little time talking about this business of writing.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. My official biography says that it was from the time I understood that letters made words that told stories, but maybe it was earlier-- and later-- than that.From the time I could understand the words that came out of his mouth, my father told me stories. Wonderful, fantastical stories filled with whimsical happenings and happy endings. He made up songs to make red-lights turn green, had me sit in our backyard-- absolutely silent-- and listen to the world around us, identifying noises. Gave me a topic-- from my brand new Esprit shirt to the stuffed dog (Sad Sam the Doggy Man) they bought me the day my real dog ran away-- and had me tell him a story about that object. In other words, he exercised my imagination from the time I was a toddler until I was in high school and too cool to spend much time with hm (something I regret greatly now, as he died when I was 21).
But what I'm getting at, is I learned to tell stories when other children were learning the alphabet, learned to make up tales with HEAs when my friends were digging in the sand-- for me it is as natural as breathing. And the day I wrote my first story down, sitting in the car at the bank while my parents were inside getting a loan, I was hooked. The story was written in aqua marker in an old notebook my mom had in the car and it was about a rainbow, a pot of gold, an evil leprachaun and the princess who fell in love with him. I was seven and from that moment on, I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life.
Fast forward twenty-five years and hear I am, writing stories that I love about characters who interest me-- what more could a girl ask for? Well, the answer to that, is probably a Valium. Or a Xanax, or if you are as high-strung as I am, maybe both. I've never been a good waiter, never had a lot of patience. I'd rather be doing, doing, doing--as my agent found out this last few weeks when I had nothing to do but drive both of us up a wall. And now that I have a contract, I'm not much better-- and I won't be until I hear on the other three contracts that currently have me on tenterhooks.To be honest, I'm not sure what the point of this blog post is, except to say that I've finally gotten what I want-- to be a published author-- but it hasn't gotten any easier since I signed that first contract. In fact, it's gotten worse-- because now it's not just about will I be published but will I still be published? Will I sell the next book and the next one, or will they just decide they don't want me anymore.Publishing is a scary, scary world, and my friends and I complain about it regularly, but the truth is, I wouldn't want to do anything else. I love being able to write everyday, love being able to share my stories with the world. So, if I go gray early and get an ulcer waiting to hear from my editor, so be it. I think it just might be worth it ...
How about you? When did you know what you wanted to do with your life? Or are you still trying to figure it out?


Mary said...

When I was little I wanted to be a veterinarian and then I had to go to the vet's and have my dog euthanized, so that turned me away from that profession.

I wanted to write but I didn't know what until I started writing "How To" articles about Hamsters, Rats, gerbils...ect..Now I do what I like.

Martha Lawson said...

Still trying to decide!! Really, I'm a part time librarian/housewife..

Linda Henderson said...

I am no longer able to work so I guess you could say it's probably to late for me to decide on another career. I can say I am pretty satisfied with what I accomplished while I was working.

Laurie said...

I decided what I wanted to be in college an RN. After I married, we had to move 4 times. Each place was a challenge, meeting new people, making friends, finding places to shop, eat and obtaining a new doctor and dentist. I gave up nursing to raise 4 children. My last 3 are still in college. I needed to find part time work and I enjoy my job in customer service at a grocery store. I have no desire to go back to school to take a nursing refresher course. We're all HEALTHY so life is good. You definitely have to roll with the changes that take place in your life!