The Secret Life of a Writer
I was born when writing romance novels were basically considered trash. Yep, romance was trash. Can you believe that? One of the most fundamental things in a person's life is finding a mate and marrying, and yet romance was trash, published in magazines that were of the same caliber.
So, yeah, we've come a long way baby!
But back to those days. I hinted at wanting to be a writer when I realized I could write a essay well. When I realized my imagination. Now, unlike some, my dream of being a writer was obscure to say the least.
Then the voices started. It was sometime after I saw my first movie. Now I realize that most of you have seen many movies, but you gotta realize that movies came into my life around the 1950's. Even though the 50's were a wonderful time to grow up, writing romance back then was not a desired field.
But for years after I saw my first movie as a teenager, with other teenagers, Blue Denim, I began to have those voices in my head. At first not knowing what to do with them, I acted them out in the backyard with my friends who thought I was a little crazy at the time. Jungle Jim and Tarzan were inspiration. I think one of the very first movies I saw was Gone With the Wind, but I obviously didn't pay much attention to it then. Either that or it stuck in my head so bad, romance was planted, who knows.
However, my parents hadn't a clue that deep inside me was a romance writer
In high school I wrote a book. My first. It was a Swiss Family Robinson kind of book, written more in the style of the Count of Monte Cristo. Friends found out and wanted to read it. I loaned it out, and it never came back to me. After getting over the shock, I shrugged and decided I would just write another one some day. I never rewrote that one. And back then I didn't have a copy of it, because I couldn't afford the paper or carbon.
Now you'd think I'd rush out and write another one, right away, wouldn't you? I didn't. Life seemed to get in the way because my parents moved a lot. I never went to the same school twice so to speak. I was the new kid on the block most of my life. Hated it.
Still, during those years, I barely wrote anything. I did manage to write a short story and send it to Redbook Magazine. Naturally it was rejected. I had no idea the long drawn out process of learning to write. It still didn't deter me. I kept on writing, because that is what a real writer does, keeps on keeping on.
I wrote off and on for years, stuck the manuscripts in my desk drawer, and said, "Maybe someday."
At thirty, after I had married my second husband and had two children, I went to a writers meet and got more interested. Came home, began writing more seriously and still tucked my work into my desk. Someday, I told myself.
It wasn't until I married my third husband that I really buckled down to writing. He was such an encouragement to me. So I joined a writing circle and began to take myself seriously since this voice thing wasn't going to go away.
It took a lifetime to learn all I needed to know, and still I'm learning something new all the time. You see I learned to use a computer, use a Word program, then I learn to format into e-formats. That came along when a e-writer came to a conference to talk about ebooks. Boy was I interested in this. So I began submitting to e-publishers, and I became published.
You'd think that would be that, writing for an e-publisher, but self-publishing evolved into it's own and I was even more enthusiastic. I learned to format my manuscript, l learned to make my own covers, I learned to put them on line, and let me tell you, all that sounds so simple but it wasn't for a seat of the pants kind of person who really did have to learn it herself.
Today, after more than fifty years of writing, I support myself. I'm not rich, I'm not even famous. I'm just a writer. But it didn't fall in my lap. I had to earn it. With God's help I did learn and get self published.
So the next time you hear someone ask, "How do you know you are a writer?" Well, if you keep on writing despite the rejections. If you keep on writing despite the critics, if you keep on writing and even shoving your work into a drawer, you ARE a writer. A writer is someone who writes no matter the outcome. A writer keeps on learning all their life, and someday with God's help it starts to pay off.
Don't get me wrong, some people have a quick success. I wasn't that lucky. But I was lucky enough to know that I really was a writer. It was never an easy road for me. It was a struggle. Despite the fact that until my third husband came along, I had little support, I continued to write. I learned not to tell anyone I was a writer. It took years to accomplish what I did, and most of the people that didn't believe I'd ever make it are gone. But God and I know I'm a writer. Not the best, not the worst, but a writer! And God knows it has fulfilled my life's dream.
The first book I published was Pretend Mom, not the first one I ever wrote, but the first one to make it as a real book. This isn't the original cover, but it is such an improvement. Pretend Mom is a sentimental journey about a girl going home after some years, after she's made a success of herself, and yet rediscovering herself.