When I was growing up, every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say that I wanted to be a writer. In college, I was an English Literature and Composition major. I was going to be a high school English Lit teacher, and in my spare time I was going to write the next best-selling novel. I went to my first in-service at Duluth Central High, and decided that there was no way I was going to be in a classroom. I changed majors, got a scholarship through ROTC, and joined the Air Force. For 18 years I put off writing my first novel. When one of my husband’s coworkers sadly passed away suddenly in January of 2014, I decided that life is too short to put off your dreams. Throughout 2014 and 2015, I started working on my first novel. I learned so much about myself and writing in general.
If you have a dream of accomplishing something, don’t put it off - especially when it’s something you have always dreamed of doing.
9. Sometimes, the thing you thought you wanted to do is not the thing you were meant to do.
The novel I dreamed of writing was a science fiction fantasy story. The plot was something similar to “The Hunger Games” or “Star Wars,” with a little bit of “The Host” mixed in. I have had this story in the back of my head since I was a little kid. I have written short stories about this story, poetry, and even dreamed of this world I have always wanted to write about. Well, needless to say, this is NOT the story I’m about to publish - it’s a chick lit book, a romantic comedy, and there’s a lot of sex in it.
8. Unless you want your ego to be destroyed, don’t tell your husband the plot of your upcoming novel.
I told my husband about the plot of “the novel,” and all he said was, “That sounds like the stupidest story I have ever heard of. No one is going to read it.” Gee, thanks honey.
7. Writing about sex really enhances your sex life.
I know, I know, TMI - but OMG no wonder writers claim to have the best sex lives. If you think your sex life is going in the crapper, write a sex-filled chick lit novel. It’s sure to improve by leaps and bounds.
6. Writing a novel is like running a marathon.
Now that I’ve done both, I can draw the comparison. When you first start out writing, it’s daunting and overwhelming. You wonder how to make the basic concept and plot into a flowing story that has a definite beginning, middle, and end. When I hit 50,000 words, I felt the same as I did when I hit the 20 mile point in the New York City Marathon. I could smell the finish line, and I could hear the crowds in Central Park. When I finished the story, my first thought was, “When can I start my second novel?” It exactly paralleled my feelings while training and running my marathons.
5. You stop questioning yourself and seeking perfection.
It took me forever to just keep going. I learned that when you write a story, it is not like writing an article or a blog post. You can’t stop in the middle of it and re-write everything you wrote previously, because if you do, you will never be finished. I had to discipline myself not to re-read and edit what I wrote until I typed the two magic words, “The End.”
4. The title you give your novel will not be the final title.
My book was originally titled “The Last Man On Earth.” Then a television show debuted on Fox with a similar premise and title. I almost started to cry. Someone took my story before I was even done with it. But I re-titled it, and reworked some of the plot, and needless to say it’s completely different than the television show.
3. You can write anywhere.
I live in Florida. I imagined that I would go down to the beach, sit on the boardwalk and get inspiration from the crashing waves. Instead, I was trying to ignore drunk college students, homeless vagrants, and seagulls. I did most of my writing in bed in my pajamas with a glass of wine. Confession time: A few times, I even wrote in the bathroom, when the kids and my husband were driving me crazy. There is nothing like your family thinking that you are going potty, when you are actually sitting on the bathroom pounding out another 5,000 words.
2. I don’t have to be on the New York Times Best Seller List.
I had dreams that my first novel would be picked up by a big-name publishing company, or I would get a phone call from a producer who wanted to buy the rights to the book and make it into the next Academy Award winning movie. I know now that’s not going to happen, and that’s OK. I decided in February that I was going to self-publish an e-book. I’m not out to be the next Stephen King, or sell a million copies. It’s like running a marathon—I’m not Karen Goucher, I’m not going to win anything for telling stories, it’s just another thing crossed off my bucket list.
1. I had fun.
I had a LOT of fun writing the book, too much fun. In fact, when it’s published this May, I will start my next novel, the one that has been in my head since I was 6-years-old.
My new novel is titled “Adam And Eve,” and is available for purchase on Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble as an e-Book.
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