The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made

Image

 

Some of you might think this is where I launch into my previously sitcom-worthy love life, but you’d be wrong. That probably ranks third, but I’m going for the gold, here.

 My biggest mistake in life was to stop writing.

 I was always enamored with words. I had scads of spiral note books, filled to capacity with ideas, short stories, and sometimes little doodles of unicorns or seahorses. I took those notebooks with me everywhere. I had a pen fetish, too. My friend Eric dubbed them my “million dollar pens,” on the grounds that no teenager pays seven bucks for a fountain pen. Besides yours truly, that is.

 When I moved to Washington, I stopped writing. Not completely, of course. I did my homework, composed English papers and psychology reports, etc. I wrote letters and emails and lists. I composed descriptions for characters for MUDs and I drew up plots for games. I even managed to write a few chapters for stories here and there.

 That’s where it would end, however. I might succeed in four chapters of a novel, but my methods were trial-and-error. I didn’t go to school to learn methods that would help me succeed as a writer, which is Biggest Mistake #2.

 I can only forgive myself for these two big mistakes because almost all of my favorite authors didn’t start their writing careers until much later in life. I am proficient at beating myself up, but it’s hard to say, “I screwed this beyond salvage” when I know I’m still considered to be young to be an author. Certainly not the youngest by any stretch, but if you look at the median age of my genre of authors, I’m a spring chicken.

 The other reason I can find forgiveness for my sin is because I feel like I’m making up for lost time in huge ways. I have one novel out, one more in process, and since I’ve published, I have joined writers groups, found insightful newsletters, and have found a community that has embraced me as an artist. My friends have been amazing with their support as well.

 It’s true what they say. I regret not writing far more than any of the things that I have done. I long for a redo, a magical backspace that will take me back down the path of folly to lead me down the path that rocks. Lacking my own personal TARDIS, I will have to accept my failure and use it as a cautionary tale instead.

 In truth, giving up writing was giving up my dreams. That’s why it was the biggest mistake of my life. Lucky for me, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

 

 

Advertisements

I’m too busy being an author to write!

October was a fast and furious romp of learning all the things an author does, when they aren’t busy writing.

I now understand why George R.R. Martin takes 3 years to get a book out.

I have author pages up on Goodreads.com, Facebook.com, and Chaptersee.com. I review proofs, both digitally and in print, and learn about formatting and editing. I write when I can, gotta get that second book out. And let’s not forget that I’m a person with a full-time job, a son in Kindergarten, a programming class, and occasionally I like to oh, see a friend or read a chapter of something that isn’t a manual.

Even this blog post is a part of these new expectations. I don’t resent it. I love to write, and this is a way for me to keep a log of my journey through this process. However, it’s getting in the way of me catching up with a couple of friends over IM, and watching a Dr. Who episode.

Life is always a balancing act, but lately I’ve felt like that clown who is expected to juggle more and more objects of differing sizes and weights. I just keep repeating, “I think I can, I think I can” over and over again.

My previous job was at a small app development company, that was built from the ground up from the humble beginnings of my living room. I got to do it all – a little project management, a little HR, a little marketing, a little programming. I even got to write a story (technically, my first published work.) It was called Dragon Scales & Unicorn Tales, and it’s available on the iTunes App Store.

I had no idea how valuable the experience would be. When you become an author, you hang your shingle and you set up shop, inventory of one item. (Until you build your library.) There’s a whole lot of marketing, and from what I’ve read, even the big guys expect authors to peddle their wares. You can hire someone to do it for you, but for a first time author, it’s better to do it yourself. There are things you learn, things you experience. Giving it over to someone else to do cheats you of that.

A friend of mine (the one I was IM’ing earlier) told me that because my name was in print, it had inspired her to write for the first time in years. My co-worker took a recording of me at work to demonstrate how his camera’s record function worked, and my boss said, “You can’t delete that. You have a real live author recorded now.” It’s an unexpected side effect, getting these little pieces of recognition. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had.

I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work involved in being an author, but I’m happy to say that it’s a job that I love.