Almost two years ago I wrote this post. It was at the time, a very lofty idea of mine and I honestly didn’t think I would follow-up with it. Between now and then A LOT has changed.
Today I hit 12k on my first novel. Not a lot considering my end goal is 80-90k, but it’s a start. I developed the idea for this story awhile ago, but didn’t really allow it to consume me until recently. Honestly, my biggest hesitation in writing was my fear of rejection from publishers. I’ve read so many blog posts about how hard querying is and how you need to be ready for dozens and dozens of “No, were not interested” before you got that gold letter of acceptance. I just didn’t think it was worth my time.
Well, about 9 months ago I stumbled upon the world of indie-publishing or self-publishing and its totally changed my life. Ninety percent of the books I read now are from authors who do not have a publishing contract. They basically woke up, wrote a book and uploaded it to amazon. That of course is a major understatement, but the point is that they did everything themselves. In a sense they are their own boss and truth be told, that appeals to me more than anything.
Being only 27, I didn’t spend too much time in the working world before crossing over into my new role as a stay at home mom. However, the little time that I did work in corporate America I was able to learn something very vital about who I am and simply – I just hated having to work for other people. Some of my bosses have been cool, but more often then not they were several varying shades of CrazY. For awhile I thought I was defected. Maybe I just don’t work well with others, maybe I really am a bad employee, maybe I just wasn’t cut-out for the working world. But, after seeking out the advice of my husband (who doesn’t sugar coat things for me) I realized it wasn’t really about me or them. It was about the circumstances.
Sure, some of them truly were crazy, as was evident within the office gossip, but the basis was that I didn’t thrive when I was limited by the confines of another person’s brain. If I couldn’t be encouraged to try new things, think outside the box and be free, then I got bored, my work wasn’t as stellar as it had been and I began to look for a new job. It was an unfortunate cycle.
When I became a mom and shifted into the role of being my own boss, I was utterly ecstatic. I set out to accomplish what I wanted with my days and I felt like I thrived. Some woman hate being at home all day with their children and although I have days where I desperately want/need a break I truly love it. It suits me. However, like previously mentioned, once I got into the swing of things I started feeling that itch of boredom. Not that motherhood is ever boring, because its not, but I just started to crave something more. I wanted an outlet to pursue my creativity.
So, I began to get more involved in being crafty. I came up with about a dozen different Esty businesses and never fully pursued any of them. I would make something, then turn around and give it to a friend or keep it for myself. I had so many business ideas it was ridiculous. I was single-handedly the most unsuccessful entrepreneur of 2010 (which is when all of my shenanigans started). Needless to say, this was very disconcerting. My husband had faith in my talent and abilities, but my creative mind was tainted with my business background and I wouldn’t pursue any of my ideas unless I knew it would be worth my time. Meaning, I broke every venture down to what I would potentially make as an hourly wage and none of them were ever worth it.
I figured my time was more well spent washing dishes, doing the laundry and cleaning our bathrooms with a q-tip. I mean, if at the end of the day I wasn’t going to make money then what was the point. I didn’t want to pursue something that would take away from my family time unless it was going to substantially add to our bottom line. That may sound horrible, but isn’t it the reason behind why most of America works?
So begrudgingly, I tabled all of my “work from home” business ideas and wrestled with being unfulfilled for several months. I was encouraged by several of my friends to apply for writing jobs. After starting this blog it came to my attention that I had a natural way with words and the more I wrote the more I enjoyed it. At first I thought they were pulling my chain. I mean writing?! I hated grammar in middle school and term papers were the worst in college. Didn’t you have to have a love of both to be a writer?
Apparently not. That’s why editors exist and term papers…. well, term papers were nothing in comparison to creative writing. Creative writing opened me up to a whole new world. In fact, this blog opened me up to an entirely new passion that I never even knew existed. It was freeing.
Naturally, I love to talk. I know I probably use 100x as many words as my husband does on a daily basis so it made sense that, that, character quality would translate to paper. I know that’s not true for all writers, but for me my inability to shut my trap and my desire to share my heart with the world translated into a new love for writing. So, I attempted to pursue this new direction. And low and behold, I got a real J.O.B.! I spent two blissful months writing articles for an online company that was based in Orange County. I worked at my own pace, created my own topics and wrote around my daughter’s schedule. It was fantastic. Until the company decided to move in another direction and let-go all of their writers. Cue the womp womp and insert sad face < here >.
I was beyond upset. I thought I had found Willa Wonka’s golden ticket!! I finally had something to look forward to and it came and went like a tornado in Kentucky (do they have tornadoes in Kentucky?) Anyhow, it inhaled greatly. I tried to be optimistic about it and eagerly pursued other avenues of writing, but nothing came close to paying me as much as this job did. So once again, I was back to looking at that dreaded bottom line…
I ended up tabling my desire to find something new and put my focus back on my family. I spent my spare time reading like a maniac and blogging when I felt like I had something worth writing about. I read 100 books last year and have already read 54+ this year. I have a problem, but this problem gave me an outlet. Reading became my escape and it gave me something to look forward to when E napped and my household duties had been accomplished. It was wonderful. I mean I don’t make any money from it, but it at least ignited something inside me and was stimulating to my brain because day-time television is just horrible (Ellen being the only exception).
Then, out of nowhere, I was stalked by this random person on FB to join a book club. It was weird. She basically just interrupted a thread in which I was gushing about Jessica Park’s Flat-Out-Love (which by the way AWESOME book) and was like, “Hi, I know this might be random, but would you like to join our FB book club? It sounds like you would love the books we discuss and the authors are a part of the group too!”. I will admit, at first I was extremely cautious and hesitant. I didn’t know anything about this woman and now I would be joining their book club. It wasn’t really my thing. Not to mention I have a husband who thinks anyone you don’t know personally on the internet is a psycho serial killer.
Eventually, I ended up checking it out. I proceeded with caution in the beginning and that lasted for all of 3 days. I now spend more time in that freaking group then on actual Facebook! I have met some wonderfully amazing people and its been awesome connecting with a group that is as obsessed with reading as I am. And I am grateful to report that the girl who recruited me, the potential internet psycho serial killer, is in fact not a serial killer. She’s freaking awesome and reads more than what should be physically possible, ahem, Chrystle Woods.
So anyways, this group introduced me to the world of amazing indie authors and I have been blown away with so many of their books. I have been able to pick the brain of actual authors and gain insight into a career that I really knew nothing about. It truly has awakened something deep within and I’ve never been more excited to try something new.
With that being said, I am officially writing! I’m working on a 2 part (possibly 3 part) series that deals with some heavy issues, fears and concepts. The premise of the series is about choices and how life in its simplicity is a culmination of these choices – good ones, bad ones, selfish ones, loving ones, right ones, wrong ones, important ones and basic ones. I think I was always afraid to pursue the story because it deals with abuse, rape and religion. I thought people would judge me for how gritty, raw & possibly disturbing the story might be, but to be honest I just can’t write about rainbows and puppies.
I also won’t write something for the sole purpose of getting everyone to like it. As is evidenced in my blog, I sort of write about the stuff people are afraid to talk about or admit. I’m not shy. However, at the same time, I don’t want people to misinterpret what I write or the point I am trying to make. I recently read another amazing book called Easy. I’ve been a fan of the author (Tammara Webber) ever since reading her debut series Between the Lines. Her book touched deeply on the subject of rape, but was handled so perfectly I never felt disgusted or violated. Watching her accomplish this sort of put the air beneath my wings. I ❤ her!
With all that being said, please note that I am not writing some fanciful piece of Christian Fiction. Not that I don’t enjoy that genre every once in awhile, but I want to write something that applies to the entire world. I don’t want to limit myself to a certain subset of people in which I’m forced to write within a set of rules that have been established as to what is and isn’t acceptable. I just can’t do it. I also realize that just because an author wrote something, doesn’t necessarily mean that the author is writing about themselves personally, their viewpoints or their experiences. That’s why its called fiction. Of course they probably garner ideas and concepts from the life around them, but its not always a direct line to them. Does that make sense?
Anyhow, along with that I am working on co-authoring a book with a friend of mine I met in the FB book club as well. I won’t mention her in case she doesn’t want me to 😉 but you know who you are girly!
And that’s pretty much it! I will post excerpts from my book as it develops for those of you who are interested. For the first time, I am pursuing something that doesn’t make me look at the bottom line. Of course I would love to be successful, but my desire to just do this regardless is finally eclipsing my desire to make money.
In the year of 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
In the year of 2012, Melissa ventured to write a book.
A 500 year historical difference, but I daresay equally as intriguing : )