A Writer’s Journey

i-love-to-writeWriting has always been a part of my life, and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  Throughout my youth I kept a journal where I wrote diary entries, song lyrics, poems I made up, cartoon sketches, and facts about animals I liked.   I created characters, wrote stories, drew maps of imaginary worlds, and doodled conversations using speech bubbles.  Aside from the contents of this journal, I also wrote letters and notes to family and friends, had a pen pal in New Zealand that I kept in touch with for nearly ten years, wrote lists to Santa asking for gifts I wanted for Christmas, made up movie scenes, and wrote out scripts for my friends to act out.  In school I took pages of notes and wrote creative stories, research reports, informative and persuasive papers, chapter summaries, and literary analyses.  Unlike most kids, this kind of writing didn’t bother me.  I actually enjoyed it.  In fact, in seventh grade I won a trophy for writing the best term paper of the year and my High School History teacher displayed my research paper in the hallway for months.  I never wrote anything to gain recognition, win awards, or make money.  And growing up, I never wanted to be an author. I wrote simply because I loved to write.

The first piece of writing I ever had published was a poem I wrote my Junior year of High School.  It was included in my school’s literary magazine.  I had two more published a year later, one of which earned me a college scholarship and a national publication in a book of collected poems.  While working toward my teaching degree, I continued to write poetry and jotted down story ideas and drafts in a spiral notebook.  All through college I wrote many research papers, thematic units, lesson plans, lab reports, article summaries, critical book reviews, child case studies, and persuasive papers explaining my philosophical insights about various topics.  For the brief time I was in grad school, I co-wrote an article that was published in a state educational journal.

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After graduation, my writing focus switched a bit.  I wrote mostly for professional purposes.  As a teacher I write every day, and most of the writing I do involves curriculum, lesson planning, newsletters, data analysis, short and long-term units, student files, and behavior initiatives.  I am also the department chair and lead teacher in my grade level, so my professional life is consumed by paperwork.  But when I’m not at work, I go into creative mode.  Part of this creative writing involves taking the many notebooks I have written story ideas in and turning them into books.

I began composing my first book fresh out of college.  As the story progressed, I became so invested in the research, storyline, and characters that the original novel I intended to write ended up being a four book series instead.  Of course I didn’t write it all at once.  With a full time job and trying to raise a family, it took me many years to write this series.  At the time I wrote it I had no intention of ever getting it published.  So I sat on this series for years, tweaking it here and there, before I finally allowed some friends and family members to read it.  They loved the characters and tried to convince me to pursue publication.  I was very hesitant.  Being a published author was never in the game plan for me.  After all, I was a teacher and a mother with a busy schedule and didn’t have time for anything that complex in my life.  Publishing a book was something I’d always hoped to achieve, but it was a dream I never thought would see the light of day.  Finally, after much coaxing, I bit the bullet and pursued publication.

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The entire process leading up to publication was time consuming and extremely stressful.  Researching publication options to decide which route to pursue, developing a book synopsis and author bio, writing query letters, reading and re-reading the manuscript over and over again, finding an editor, designing a cover, revising, cutting, editing…the list goes on.  It’s enough to make your head spin.  After months of prep work, the first novel of my series was released.   Scrubs has only been out for about two months now.  I’ve sold a few copies here and there.  But whether I sell copies or not, I find great satisfaction in knowing that I’ve spent years working hard on this project.  The frustration (almost to the verge of tears) associated with the whole process– editorial debates, feelings of self-doubt, wanting several times to bag the whole publication idea, nightmarish formatting issues and marketing woes, exposing myself to the public (which, being an introvert, is extremely difficult to do), and enduring criticism from strangers– has been worth the time and effort.  It’s been a wild ride to say the least.

Even though my first novel is out for the general public to read, I don’t write to reap any benefits, gain rewards, win prizes, or earn money.  If I sell copies of my book and gain readers, I’m ecstatic.  But if I don’t, I will continue to write.  Nothing will deter me from doing what I love.

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My four book series is complete.  The first one is on the market.  The other three need to go through revising and editing before they are printed.  I’m hoping to have the entire series out within year and a half, but with life and work responsibilities, we’ll see how that goes.  Aside from this four book series, I still write poetry and am currently working on writing a children’s fantasy book and an adult crime novel.

Writing is something I love to do and will continue to do.  Writing is my life.

I’d love to hear about your journey as a writer.  Comment below or contact me to share your story.

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