When I was 13, I wanted to be a writer. I was the kid who wrote the short story about a werewolf for extra credit in English. I still got a C- for the semester, but the teacher liked my story and read it to the class.
When I was 30, I tried to be a writer. I wrote a cool novel about a guy who can release people to pursue their dreams just by looking into their eyes. There was a serial killer involved.
When I was 45, I said I’m gonna try this again. I cleaned up a mystery I’d worked on somwhere in the middle of all that, pushed aside the other three books, and went to a writer’s conference.
Yeah. Life happend. And it will always happen. It has taken me 17 years to realize that you don’t pursue your dream by testing the waters every few years to see if you’re ready. It’s like being ready to have kids. You will. Never. Be. Ready.
My parter, Gina Conroy (aka Super G), has a website called Writer…Interrupted. Aptly named. Gina is the mother of two, though it sounds like five or six sometimes, especially on days when I need input and can’t get a hold of her. She’s traditionally published one book, an excellent mystery entitled Digging Up Death. One would think she’s on her way. It can only get easier, right?
Wrong. She still had two kids to take care of. And the royalties from that first book are almost enough to keep the fish fed. She still has to convince herself every day that this dream is worth chasing.
So how do you go from the occasional writer to a career focused author? Especially when the career doesn’t pay a nickel for the first few years. I’m going to start this Monday series with the advice I gave to my friend from church, Mark, who sent me a message the other day stating his desire to write.
Say you are a writer and make a plan. I’ve laid out my plan to write six novels a year, self-publish but keep my traditional options open, and to write a weekly serial novel with Gina (#AngelWarz). Yours may be: Write and edit one novel and two short stories between August 4th, 2014 and August 4th, 2015. No, don’t wait until January 1st or some other round date. Do it now.
Your plan might change. Your writing might be terrible (all writing is terrible until readers love it). Your husband might want to know why the refrigerator has been empty for two weeks. Press on. Adapt. But don’t wait for something called a “muse” or until you have time. Here’s a bucket full of time. Knock yourself out.
If you sat down and wrote out your plan, I’d love to hear it. Telling someone else about it helps to make it real. Nothing is off the table. Let’s hear about the rest of your life.